MULLINAX: This is an oral history interview with Phil Jenkins for the University of Kentucky Family Farm Oral History Project. This interview is being conducted by Maureen Mullinax on January 5, 1992 for the minority farmers sub-project. Okay. What I want you to do first of all is tell me your full name and your date and place of birth?

JENKINS: My name is Dean Phillip Jenkins and my date of birth the eighth month of '36, year. I was borned in Madison County in a settlement called White Station.

MULLINAX: White Station. Where is that from, from Richmond?

JENKINS: That's about ten miles south of Richmond.

MULLINAX: Okay. Is that still there? Or--



JENKINS: It's about four miles from Berea, just north of Berea.

MULLINAX: Um-hm. Okay. Is that where your family is from too or?

JENKINS: Um-hm. That's the family farm. I still own it.

MULLINAX: Um-hm. Okay. That's where your--your parents raised you then. And 1:00what are your parents names? Their full names?

JENKINS: My father's name was John Dean Jenkins and my mother was named Bessy Francis Jenkins. She was a Burnham.

MULLINAX: A Burnham.


MULLINAX: And do you remember their dates of birth?

JENKINS: Um-hm. Just talking about it last night.


JENKINS: My father's birthday was the first--he was born in 1897, January the first. And my mother was borned in 1892 and her's was December the fifteen.

MULLINAX: Okay. Okay. So they are both--they are both passed on?

JENKINS: They are both passed. Um-hm.

MULLINAX: Um-hm. When did they pass on?

JENKINS: It's very easy for me because I had two children borned the same year that my parents--each one of my parents died. My second girl was died --was borned the 18th day of August of 1955, '56 and my father died October 18th of 1956.



JENKINS: And the last was girl was borned June 22nd of 1962 and my mother died in February 22 of 1952.

MULLINAX: Um-hm. So she never got to--she never--

JENKINS: She never got to see her. She had asked if she didn't have all of her grandchildren she didn't have a child named Francis. So we named the girl Benita Francis.

MULLINAX: Um-hm. That's nice.

JENKINS: Um-hm. But this is easy for me to remember the years that they died because on account of my children.

MULLINAX: Yes. Okay. Okay. You say that you had two girls. Let's talk about your family? Your wife?

JENKINS: Four girls.

MULLINAX: Four. Okay.

JENKINS: Um-hm. Four girls and one boy.

MULLINAX: Let's--let's start with your wife and then go through your--your current family.

JENKINS: First of all--

MULLINAX: We've got a lot here.

JENKINS: First of all--she's my wife of a second marriage.

MULLINAX: Okay. Well, what about your first marriage then.


JENKINS: Well, my first wife and I were married nineteen and a half years--


JENKINS: --and we just didn't get along.

MULLINAX: Yeah. It happens sometimes doesn't it.

JENKINS: It happens, but she was the mother of all of the kids.

MULLINAX: All of the children.



JENKINS: The second wife and I don't have any children.

MULLINAX: And when were you first married to--

JENKINS: To Gladys.

MULLINAX: --Gladys.

JENKINS: December 11 of 1975.

MULLINAX: Okay. Yeah. Okay. Well, what about your children then with your first wife? What are their names and--and--

JENKINS: The oldest girl was named Parthenia.

MULLINAX: Parthenia. Um-hm. Beautiful.

JENKINS: Um-hm. And the second girl was named Cheryl. The third girl was named Phyllis and the fourth girl was named Benita. And the boy was last and his name is Darryl.


JENKINS: Incidentally, they all have two children. All of them all boys. I have ten grandchildren, all boys.


MULLINAX: All boys.

JENKINS: All boys.

MULLINAX: What a rowdy household they make when you have Christmas here.


MULLINAX: What--let's go back through your kids then and tell me--you already told me when two of them were born, but what were the years of their birth and where are they now? What are they doing now?

JENKINS: Parthenia is--her birthday was--was also June 22 and she was born in 1954. And she lives in Lexington. She works at Standard Products in Lexington. Cheryl she's a--she was born in '55, I may be wrong, '55 and her birthday is June 27 and she lives here in Richmond and works for K-mart. And Phyllis is the--Phyllis is 5:00August 18 and she--

MULLINAX: And what year?

JENKINS: --'55.

MULLINAX: Okay. Those were the two in '55.

JENKINS: And so she is--she works for, I can't think of the company she works for, she also works local. Benita she's a--she lives in Washington DC and she was born June 22 and she works for the same company that, that--it's not Kroger--but it is Kroger. Kroger owns it and she's a supervisor up there. And then my boy Darryl he was born June 21. I've been blessed that they were born in June, two on the same day. And he drives a truck concrete ----------(??).

MULLINAX: And how old is he?

JENKINS: He's twenty-six. He was born in 1954, I mean '64.



JENKINS: So he's--

MULLINAX: Okay. Let's talk about the--the first farm that you lived on for a while back, you said, you had a home place back in--I've forgotten the name of--

JENKINS: White Station.

MULLINAX: White Station.


MULLINAX: Yeah. Can you tell me about that farm. How--how long has it been in your family?

JENKINS: Basically I really don't know, but it's--I'm fifty-five years old and I know it's been in the family as long as I am old.


JENKINS: I was born and raised there and stayed there until I was twenty-eight years old. And I moved--it's still family owned and the--the house that we all lived in and was raised in is still there. I will say that probably within the family a total 7:00of, I'd say, around seventy years.

MULLINAX: So your--your father got the farm? Do you have any idea how he got the farm?

JENKINS: He bought it from, one tract of it, he bought it from Bob Riley. I remember him telling me about when he came--came to buy it and it was--quite a bit of time before I was born. The other tract his brother bought from--from the same man, two tracts of land. And later on we bought the--the brother's tract.

MULLINAX: You and your father?

JENKINS: My father and mother did and, of course, we was working on it. We was there. And after he died and his wife died his children decided that they wanted to sell and so we bought it. And we still own the--that part of the family home now both tracts, but they was both was bought from a 8:00man by the name--by the name of Bob Riley.

MULLINAX: And who was he? Do you have any idea who he was?

JENKINS: Yes, he was--he was a farmer and he had several boys and some girls. And I remember quite well his sons because I worked--we worked together for quite a long time and he first had one girl. After she got seven years old he found out 9:00that she was so much help that he decided to have some more kids.

MULLINAX: That she was so much help.

JENKINS: Yeah. So after, after the first child that he had I remember his brother, I mean, his sons telling me that Earl was--was the next child and then Leon was the next one and then there came three more boys and one more girl. So it, it was a family of--I think there was seven of them, but the first girl was seven years old than any of the rest of the kids. He just decided that one was enough but after that one got big enough to work and that was--that was really the part of the success of a farm family is the children working. If you have children on the farm and they don't work, they ain't much help. But that is--that is part of the life of a farmer and that was our role. I'm the youngest of fourteen.

MULLINAX: Fourteen, oh my.

JENKINS: I'm the youngest of fourteen. And my oldest sister is still living and she's eighty-four.

MULLINAX: Um-hm. And you're fifty-five, you said?

JENKINS: I'm fifty-five.

MULLINAX: Fifty-five. Can you--I was going to ask you about your siblings here. Can you go through those people?

JENKINS: My sisters.

MULLINAX: Well, your siblings. All of the brothers and sisters that you have. Can you?

JENKINS: Oh, sure I can do that.

MULLINAX: Okay. Can you start with the oldest and go--

JENKINS: Audrey is the oldest and she is eighty-four. And incidentally she still works.

MULLINAX: What does--

JENKINS: She works three days out of the week.

MULLINAX: What does she do?


JENKINS: She's a professional cook.


JENKINS: And she's cooks--she lives in Columbus, Ohio and her and two of my other sisters and another lady work for a corporation of, of, I can't think of the name of it. But the man is named John Denny and he the president of it and they cook professionally there for him when--when he--if the business people come in. Instead of him taking them out to dinner he takes them to his home and they cook for him and keep his house. She's not married and so they--they work for him. Nanny--My sister Nanny is the oldest, second oldest, and she lives in Losantville, Indiana, but she don't stay there much. Because her and husband have a mobile home and they just ramble. They go to Florida or either Texas for the winter and then come back home during the summer. My 11:00sister Ethel doesn't have any children. Nanny has one. My sister Nanny Mae had one. He lives in Columbus, Ohio.

MULLINAX: What does--what does Nanny Mae do?

JENKINS: She's never worked. She's never worked. Her husband worked for General Motors in Muncie, Indiana. Losantville is exactly forty miles from--from Richmond to Muncie and they live right half way. They've not always lived there. They--they--after he retired they bought a tract of land and built a home there. They used to live in Muncie. Another, the next oldest--my brother, my oldest brother, his name was Edward and we always called him Jim and he passed away in--in '83. But Jim he had two children and one of him--his son passed away before he 12:00did. His other one lives at the home place now. So he lives right out there. Katie Louise was the--the next I guess she'll be eighty. Ethel was eighty-four. Two years difference in all of our age so let me explain that.


JENKINS: But Katie Louise was next and she had one child. She lives in Columbus and incidentally she has one--her only daughter has twins, twin boys and she's got the sweetest husband in the world. He's just--just as nice to his wife and his mother-in-law and father-in-law. They--they think the world of him. And he will drive--he lives in Dayton. They live in Dayton and when they want to go somewhere they'll drive to Columbus and take them any where they want to 13:00go.

MULLINAX: What did she do?

JENKINS: They are both getting pretty feeble and they kind of look out for them and take them--We went to Washington DC to a nephew's wedding and they drove them up. So then came Johnny and Johnny is not married. Never been married. Sister Johnny, she's never been married. And I don't know why my daddy--wanted that--wanted that child named after him. So Mama named her Johnny and she never married. And she was always dedicated to my father and my older sisters. And she just loved and worshipped her daddy.

MULLINAX: And what did she do?

JENKINS: She's a retired nurse, but she also worked for the Denny's until he died. My sister Johnny and my sister Ethel and Pauline worked for the Denny's in Columbus. And they--they are all good cooks you can tell by me. They are good cooks. We--we went 14:00up for the Christmas Holidays and we just had a feast.

MULLINAX: Oh, yeah.

JENKINS: But then came--then came Sadie. And Sadie has two children. She lives in Dayton, Ohio. The oldest girl is in Dayton, Ohio and the other girl is in Los Angeles, California. Incidently there is twenty-three years difference in the age?

MULLINAX: Twenty-three between the children?



JENKINS: She had two children in twenty-three years. Her oldest daughter has two children that's older than her sister.

MULLINAX: That's incredible.

JENKINS: And one of them lives in Dayton and he's the director of a band. And the younger--the younger--her daughter lives in Dallas, Texas and she married a boy from Texas and he has an electronics shop in Dayton, I mean, Dallas, Texas. Doing right well. I 15:00think he has about sixteen people work for them.

MULLINAX: Sounds like it.

JENKINS: Doing right well out there. Then there came my other brother Bob and Bob is kind of been a little disappointed to ----------(??). I don't know how to put it but he just kind of--he worked, but he never did try to progress any. I guess just one of those people that wanted to go to work and come back home and have a good time.



MULLINAX: How, how old is he now?

JENKINS: He is--

MULLINAX: I've lost--

JENKINS: --he's sixty--I believe he's sixty-six. So you can kind of count two years down.


JENKINS: See this year I will be sixty--fifty-six and you can count two years down from Evelyn. That will about tell all of the ages. Two years up from mine. Then came kind of my 16:00heart of the family my sister Pauline. We call her Flanny. And there's always kind of one that is kind of dedicated herself to--and I think Flanny and I are pretty close. She has a husband from--he's from Texas and we had a good time this summer. We just had a good one. They came down and right in the midst of when I was setting tobacco and on a Sunday night we just set here and talked about working on the farm. And they always set right in the living room and that they had done their share of the farm work and would never do no more. And on Monday morning I got up to go set tobacco and I went and pulled plants and come back about ten o'clock and none of my help showed up. And Pauline and her husband said, "Well, you don't have to worry about nothing. We'll go." 17:00So after all that time she--she ate her words and she's never worked on the farm any more. Got up and went and helped her brother. And her and I rode the setter and her husband drove. He never drove a tobacco setter in his life but he rode and did a good job with it. That's kind of the reason, one of the reasons, why that's she kind of special to me. Not only that it's all of your life. And I'll have to truly say if it wasn't for my sisters I don't know where I would have been at because they was hard on me and I thank them for it. Because I was one of them bad boys that come along and baby of the family and got by with anything and Mama not--and my daddy didn't--he didn't care that much either. He--he would------------(??) that he'd let you do something if you wanted to do it all afternoon. But Mama was one of them kind you either done it or you got a licking but I 18:00was one of the last ones and I was Mama's baby. And I got by with more than anybody--anybody else. But anyhow my sisters kind of, after Mama got sick, they kind of took a hold of me and they made me if I am anything, other than God, they made me what I am. And I, I'm grateful for it and I thank them every time I see them. I just bless and thank my sisters that--that took initiative. To "And young man you either going to do right or you can't stay here." And--and I'm thankful for it. I really am because of the--I have to pass it on down to my children. And they think sometimes, I know Cheryl one time. She was a little bit hard headed. When I would get on them she wanted to talk back and she finally said, "Daddy I ain't going to talk back no more." Said, 19:00"I can't take no more." But you have to have a firm hand raising children. That's the reason why, in my opinion, that a lot of these children today--are the way they are. We've gotten too lenient on them and listen to the laws that have emerged of child abuse. If I was child abused from my mother and my sister whipping me then I'm glad of it. I'm simply glad of it because I'm thankful for it. But I'd probably been in the penitentiary now if it hadn't been for them. I'm grateful for it.

MULLINAX: So they took a really strong hand with you?

JENKINS: They took a really strong hand on me and my brother.

MULLINAX: Um-hm. So you were the youngest?


MULLINAX: And then Pauline.

JENKINS: After Pauline came my sister Sally. Well, I had--no, came Ama---Emma--


JENKINS: --Emma Jean.


JENKINS: And she--she has--she has three children. She has two boys--one 20:00boy and two girls and her husband is dead. She's retired. She's a retired nurse.

MULLINAX: Where is she at?

JENKINS: She's in Columbus.


JENKINS: Then came my sister--my sister that died when she was a baby and her name was Junie and she died as a small baby. Then came Sally Tweed and Sally Tweed got poisoned. Another girl put some poison in, in a Coca-Cola bottle and poisoned her and then she died at the age of sixteen, poisoned. Kind of difficult to swallow when someone poisoned your sister.


JENKINS: We didn't find out, the young kids didn't find out about it later that she was poisoned because they had told us 21:00that she died with spinal meningitis and they didn't want us to know. And then came my youngest sister and her name is Elizabeth. And she was--she lives in Dayton. She is married and she has five children. And she works for the post office there in Dayton. She is two years older than I am. And then comes good old me. And, I guess, I--as my nephew says in Columbus, he says, "Uncle ----------(??) you the king." And I'm grateful for my sisters if they think I'm a king, then I'm grateful for it. Because if I'm a king to them then they made me that way.


JENKINS: I'm grateful for them. I just--I just can't say enough about how committed. (laughs) And I ain't no kin to all of these ----------(??).

MULLINAX: So when you--when you were raised in White Station did you move anywhere else then? Or did you--


JENKINS: I moved when I was twenty-eight years old. I moved to Richmond. This is the fourth place that I have lived in my life. I--when I left the family farm I moved out on East Main and rented a house. And then I went to work for construction and I worked for construction from '65 until '81 but I never totally left farming. I always work the farm. I would work the farm for the weekend. I'd go work for some friends. Do something on the farm on the weekends. Sometimes in the evenings after I got off of construction I'd go to the farm and work.

MULLINAX: That's White Station?

JENKINS: Well, not totally White Station. I'd work, you know, for other people, because at that time the family still owned the farm but I wasn't--wasn't running it at that time. And but I'd go 23:00work back on the farm and work--it's just in my blood. And then I bought my first home in 1968 and I moved in it November 28, 1968. And I bought it out on Irvine Street, 1015 East Irvine. And my boy was living down there and he's buying it from us. And he lives there now and he's dedicated to it. So he lives there.

MULLINAX: He grew up there?

JENKINS: Yeah. He was four years old when we moved into that-- house on Irvine

Street. He wanted--he wanted to keep it. He wanted it. So I let him--we let him have it. And then we moved here, we didn't want to ----------(??) a little over it. We moved here the 9th day of November of nineteen and ninety.

MULLINAX: Oh, okay. So this is you--this is your first home 24:00with Gladys by your, by your--this is--


MULLINAX: --where you--

JENKINS: No. Now Gladys lived down on Irvine Street with me.

MULLINAX: Yeah. Yeah. But this where you first moved together?

JENKINS: Um-hm. Um-hm.

MULLINAX: Well, let's see, where to go from here. We've got lots of things going on here. I didn't expect those fourteen siblings. Let's go back to talking about your farm--your home place. Can you tell me a little bit more about what your--what the farm was like. What--what kind of a farmer was your daddy?

JENKINS: My daddy was a good farmer. He was a lover of mules and horses. Of course, in his day that's all they had mostly. And he raised some large crops and he worked hard. He left early and then come in late. He was--he was a 25:00kind of a man that everybody liked. And his name was John and everybody called him pap.


JENKINS: Even--even us kids, we didn't even call him daddy. We called him pap and all the other kids and all the adults around him in the community called him Pap. That was--he enjoyed that. And he was the type of man and I guess I find myself doing a lot to help people. He was just--he would sometimes often would go off and let his work go undone to help somebody else. I remember my mother used to fuss at him. "John Jenkins you'd go off and help the devil before you'd help me." But he was just that type and I, I think Gladys tells me that sometimes, "If somebody calls and wants something you go help 26:00him. I ask you to do something you put me off." I heard a minister say in a sermon once, "Did you ever look at your kids and saw yourself in them?" So I guess I'm seeing my dad in me a whole lot because of--he was and that's the way I was, but getting back really to him. I don't think that the knowledge of what he told me and what I actually really knew of myself that he only worked on about four different farms. I remember him awful well they--they was a farm when he and my mother first got married that he told me that he was working on for 25 cents a day. And this was had to be in the early--early 19th, you know, early turn of the century, because him being born in 1887 and my mama 27:00born--

MULLINAX: He would have been thirteen in 1900.

JENKINS: Okay. But any how he worked on a farm that was known back then as the Mason Farm. It's known as the Bellamy Farm now or the Walk Farm and--and it was a rather large farm but I remember him telling me how the Mason's had triplets. And they was all boys and him and the one that was named Bob was awful close. And I remember him telling me how that they would--in the fall of the year go down to Mississippi and Georgia and buy a box car load of mules and bring in here, because this other mule could stand more heat than 28:00the northern mules could. And they wanted to something that was tougher. They was just tougher. And how they would break them in the spring. They'd go and feed them all winter just like cattle, people feed cattle now. And in the spring you'd go in a pick you out a pair mules and you'd break them and you'd work them all summer.

MULLINAX: So these would be wild mules they would go down there.

JENKINS: Be wild. Um-hm. And by the time you got them broke with the rings on them. Somebody come along and wanted a mule--pair of mules. He'd sell them a broke pair and you had to break you another pair, but he went on to say that when--when him and my mother got married that the Mason's raised him from--well, they had raised him in the meantime from a quarter to 50 cents a day. And when he got married and they raised him from 50 cents to a dollar a day. And, oh, he could steal without him catching him. I remember him telling me and he would laugh about it. And he and my mother lived in a little one room house and he--he'd slip up to the barn 29:00at night. And Carlos wanted him to steal him a chicken and so he got the chicken and dumplings the next day for dinner. And Mr. Mason would holler at him, "Hey, John. Get out of my chickens."

MULLINAX: And so Mr. Mason was white?

JENKINS: Yeah. And then the next day he would ask him, "What are we having chicken and dumplings today for dinner?" And go home and eat with him. (laughs) So, you know, regardless of how times was people helped one another even back then. They could have--they could have been very harsh to my dad about using his chickens--


JENKINS: --but yet--


JENKINS: --he was humble and he'd go home and eat with him. (laughs) I--

MULLINAX: Do you know, I'm sorry, do you know when your parents got married?

JENKINS: No, not really.

MULLINAX: Think of a date?

JENKINS: No, not really. I, I heard them say but not really. I couldn't tell you.

MULLINAX: Was it before the war, do you know, World War 30:00I?

JENKINS: I think it was.


JENKINS: I think it was because he wasn't in World War I.


JENKINS: But then somewhere along in the late twenties or early thirties he bought this tract of land but he still worked for the Masons.


JENKINS: He stayed with the Masons until sometime in the early thirties when they sold it to Andrew--sold the farm to Andrew ----------(??). And then when the Mason's left the farm then he left and he went to a fellow by the man of Harry Odgen and worked for him. And he--he was a German and he raised a lot of sheep. And he worked for him until he died and 31:00a fellow by the name of Rob Houston, Robert Houston had bought the farm and he stayed with him. And he stayed with him until he died and then he went to a fellow by the name of Cecil Dunn and he stayed there until he had a stroke. And he had a stroke eleven feet high in a barn. And he was a jolly fellow and joked and kid all the time and he told the first cousin involved, his sister's son, he said, "I can't move." And he said, "Oh, come on down and quit playing." He said, "I ain't playing." He said, "I ain't playing this time." And he--what he had done he had ruptured--the bad arm that he had a stroke on it was around the rail and he just dropped and just held it. And they had to go up and let him down. He was eleven feet high up in a barn. And so that ended his farming and then at that 32:00time, I guess, that was--I was still young then. And it was along about in the early fifties and he had never--it was the first time he had ever been in the hospital. And he--I kind of took over and kind of called myself farming and didn't do too good. I was an early age and--

MULLINAX: How old were you then?


MULLINAX: Must have been kind of--

JENKINS: --I had to have been in the neighborhood of around fourteen, fifteen years old.

MULLINAX: Yeah. You were pretty young.

JENKINS: But still loved it and anyhow after he had passed I really missed my father. I really miss him. I didn't miss my mother as much when she passed as I did my father, but I always done what Mama needed because Mama would always give 33:00you the goodies. And Mama was the one that give the final answer. You'd ask your father if you could do something and he would say, "Whatever your mother says." And Mama was the one that give the final answer. So anytime Mama asked me to do something I done it. My daddy was the other way around. He loved to fish and it was occasion he would ask you when he would go to work on Saturday morning to dig him some fishing worms. And I would get in the habit of playing and wouldn't do it and he would never say anything. He would just say, "Well." And for that reason is why I say that I really miss him, because those things would have made him happy and I didn't do them. And that was part of my responsibility of being a child is being good to my parents. The bible tells you that. "Honor you parents. Be good to them." And I really miss 34:00him but I often have dreams after he died of me and him working together and doing things together. I think that might be one reason why that I really stuck to the home place because he loved it. That's where he worked and his responsibilities. A place for his children to lay down, enjoy themselves, have a place to sleep and have a place to play and just have a good time. And he was good at it. He was a good dad. And I miss him and I'm sorry, so sorry, that I didn't do some of the things that he would ask me to do. Then after I got to having these dreams I finally had a vision. And that's kind of one reason why I went back 35:00to the farm. And he finally came to me in a vision in 1981 and I give up construction over it. I was making 16 dollars an hour and went back to farming. It didn't go to well there with Gladys, but I told her, I said, "This is what I want to do and I want to be happy at what I do. And I want to be satisfied with what I do." So that's why I'm full-time farming. And I guess I am just about the largest black farmer in this--in this county that I know of.

MULLINAX: Yeah. Looks like you're doing real well for yourself.

JENKINS: I had thirty acres of tobacco this year and don't own any land at all other than what this house is sitting on. I don't even own my share of the home place because I gave it out to my sister but I operate it. I take care of that farm.


MULLINAX: You take care of the home place farm?



JENKINS: And I actually put more money in it than I get out of it sometimes, because that's home and they are pleased with that. They give me a free hand to do what I want to do. They get half of the tobacco and whatever I want to do with the rest of it--I had 48 cattle on it last year and I get to do what I want to do.


JENKINS: So that's about my dad and I still miss him. I still miss him.

MULLINAX: Um-hm. What kind of farming did he do mostly? You said he was real--

JENKINS: He mostly just--

MULLINAX: --real--

JENKINS: --he mostly just raised tobacco and did farm work. Whatever to do on the farm. Raised a little corn. Wasn't much corn raising back then. But he mostly just the tobacco part.

MULLINAX: How many acres would he plant?

JENKINS: Oh, I'd say he had in the neighborhood of about six to eight acres and that was a big crop back then. Farming has changed so much from--back in the early fifties until now. 37:00It's changed a lot. You can raise twenty acres of tobacco now easier than you raise four back then. It's changed that much.

MULLINAX: Because of?

JENKINS: Well, it's different--there's an easier way of growing plants. These new types of tobacco setters that can help to set tobacco. The new way that you strip it. I remember back when we used to--we used to pull tobacco all day long and--and we'd come in from school and have to tie it up from lantern light and there would be seven and eight grades of it. Now it's one and two mostly. Most of the time it's one anymore.

MULLINAX: I'm not familiar with tobacco anymore can you tell me about the grades?

JENKINS: There was--there was what you call the flyings, there was a trash. Then there as flyings. Then there was lug. Then there was bright and then they had long red and short red. And then they had damage.

MULLINAX: What's the difference between--

JENKINS: Damage was the--was the bad end of it. Was the 38:00green and that's the way they stripped then. What is called the grades of it.

MULLINAX: Okay. So each plant has a different--

JENKINS: No. No different--as it goes up the stalk--it starts--


JENKINS: --the stalk--it starts at the bottom at what they called a trash and that was the real raggedy part of it. And then they had a flying which was the, kind of, it was called a frog eyed chaffy. And then you come to the real good looking color which was the lug and then from there it started darkening. The bright was a little darker than lug. The red was darker than the bright. The short red was even darker than the long red. And then you got a--the damage which would be the black or the green or whatever you want--it didn't go nowhere else. You put is in what you call the damaged. But anymore most farmers now we will pull it out in two grades. Started out with one but tobacco buyers said, "We want it graded off. We are going to cut your prices." They made us believe it. 39:00So we've gone back to grading it. So we are now putting out in one grade. Back then you had to--you had to tie it. Now we bale it. So you can bale four times as much tobacco as you can tie. So--so tobacco raising has changed. We used to, I remember--I remember cutting and bringing tobacco to--to the warehouses and staying up there three and four days before you could get it unloaded.

MULLINAX: Why would you stay there?

JENKINS: Couldn't get it unloaded. The--the way they packed it on the baskets. It just took them longer to do it by tying it and putting it in hands. But now the new way putting it in bales you can come around buy--you can throw twenty thousand pound of tobacco off in the matter of an half an hour and weigh it up and be gone. It's just simply faster.


JENKINS: So farming has really changed here. I remember big changing about four years ago I was plowing tobacco. Had a 140 International 40:00Plow and it really dawned on me I, I had left--I was living on Irvine Street then. And I had left my house and I drove out to the last patch and I had plowed right at a, oh, I think, sixteen or seventeen rows. And I looked at my watch and I had been gone twenty minutes and it really dawned on me. And he said, "You ought to be thankful." And right in the middle of that tobacco patch I got off and thanked the Lord for getting me out behind that mule and putting me on a tractor. I mean owed him that. I really did. I'm serious about that. That I owe Him the thanks that He would bless me to where that I have--nothing good that I had done, but just His blessing. That he enabled me to get behind a mule--from a mule to a tractor and that's another reason why I say it's changed.


JENKINS: It would have took me that long to got the old mule up and put the harness on him and get him out there.



JENKINS: So--so it's just really changed. Farming has changed. Most people that--that I went to school with have moved away and I'm one of the few ones that stayed at home. Have moved away some of them, "Why have you stayed in farming? Farming is the hardest work?" It's really changed. My nephew came in this year and we were stripping tobacco and--and he said, "Well, we didn't do all of this when I was at home." I said, "Now, I told you it changed." So sometimes it might pay you to come back and just go through your--your childhood and boyhood and see the changes that are made. And I think it really made the change for the better. Regardless what they say I really like it. And I really do.

MULLINAX: Can you tell me, it's interesting talking about these changes, can you just tell me what it was like growing up a farm? What kind of work you did? And what happened when you set out a tobacco crop?

JENKINS: Well, my mother, she was basically in control of the 42:00household and there was--she raised--when I came along there was me and my nephew and incidentally my mother raised three grandchildren.

MULLINAX: In addition to the--

JENKINS: Um-hm. And they was all of them--I was younger than all of them. I had a sister--had my sister at home, Flanny, and I had a sister at home and two nieces and nephews that I actually really grew up with. And we all had our chores. We milked fourteen cows twice a day by hand. That--that was the children's job. We'd get up in the morning while Mama was fixing breakfast and we went and got the cows up and milked them. And then we would separate the cream from the milk and that was--had a separator that was a machine but then you cranked it. And it--the milk would run through it and it would actually separate the cream from the milk. And that was the way that 43:00Mama raised us. She would sell as high as thirty, anywhere from thirty to forty dollars worth of cream a week.

MULLINAX: She would--

JENKINS: Sell it to the creameries.

MULLINAX: Oh, I see.

JENKINS: And--and she would sell that much cream a week and that's the way she bought our groceries and paid what bills was around there. There wasn't too many around the house because when I came along I remember when I first--we didn't have any lights. We still used kerosene and the lantern. And that's the way that--that they raised us. Everybody had a job to do. And it was the girl's job to go to the garden and help my mother in the garden while my nephew and I went to the fields and helped my father to raise the tobacco.

MULLINAX: And so he had the help of two boys?

JENKINS: Um-hm. And that was our jobs and then we all had--had chores. After we had done those chores, we had the milking of cows in the morning and then after we had done worked 44:00in the fields all day long and then worked in the garden and around in the yards and in the house. Helped my mother to can. Stuff like that and then we had to go to milk the cows again in the evening. It wasn't too bad in the morning because it was always cool, but you always had to milk in the heat of the day. And nothing no hotter than sitting there. That old cow full of flies and her swapping that old nasty tail and it hot. (laughs) It, it was a good life but Mama was rewarded. She was really rewarded and she loved her children. And she would pick something up and knock you in the head if you sassed her. And she'd tell you in a minute, "You not going to eat my food. Live in my house and talk back to me."

[Pause in recording.]

JENKINS: She was really so good that, that, that on Saturday afternoons, no refrigerators because we didn't have no electric, the, the ice truck run around. They come Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. And on, on Saturday she'd always go and get some ice off of the ice 45:00truck and make a freezer, a two and half gallon freezer of homemade ice cream.

MULLINAX: Hmm. That's great.

JENKINS: And it was made of the real country milk and cream and it would so rich that--that that cream would actually stick on your tongue. And basically my sisters got their cooking from my mother.

MULLINAX: I was going to say.

JENKINS: Mama would anything that was left over and make a cake out of it. She loved--she loved geese. She loved turkeys. She had all of that and she'd take the broth from all of them and make cakes out of it.


JENKINS: Um-hm. Now that--that's a difference. That's the saving part of--of the early families. The new families today, the younger families, they don't believe in saving. They don't believe in using anything. My mother, anything, like I say when she cooked a goose she'd take that broth and make a cake. And that cake would be so light you couldn't hardly tell you had it in your hand. But that was the reward that we got. And Saturday afternoon she would tell my father. She never did work on Saturday afternoon. We all got in. 46:00We took our baths and at three o'clock she'd have the ice cream ready and we would sit down and had all the ice cream and cake you wanted to eat. And then after we had done that then we was free to go to another little settlement which was about a mile away which was called Ferristown. Incidentally, let me tell you this about White Station. We was the only black family that was in White Station.


JENKINS: We was the only black family.

MULLINAX: How did that work?

JENKINS: Worked great.


JENKINS: Great. We had some--there was some MacWilliams, John Coleman MacWilliams and I grew up together. There was Cecil Cochrane and they were all white. And we would just had a good time. There was Cecil Dunn. Cecil Dunn is a lawyer in Lexington now and he's the deacon at one of the Presbyterian churches over there. If you ever run up on him ask him did he ever know Phil Jenkins.

MULLINAX: Okay. I'll do that.

JENKINS: I--we--we--we had great--when Cecil set down to eat-- His family 47:00was probably one of the wealthier families in the white people. But when he sat down to eat I forgot about it. John Coleman when he sat down to eat. I sat down to eat.

MULLINAX: Did you go to school together?

JENKINS: No. We didn't. We went to separate schools. They--they wasn't integrated then. I went to school--I went to grade school at a place called Middletown which was about a mile this side of Berea. The school still stands. The land was donated by Berea College and to the county, but if they--they ceased it from having a school there then it was to go back to Berea College. But the building is still there. I, I went to high school at Richmond High.


JENKINS: But you know--

MULLINAX: Did you have to travel very farm from White Station to get there or?

JENKINS: To Richmond?

MULLINAX: Yeah. To the school you went to?

JENKINS: Yeah. About four miles to the grade school at Middletown and, of course, we rode buses and it was about--it was about 48:00ten miles. Well, the way--the way we had to go was actually--actually about twenty miles to the high school. Yeah. It was about twenty miles to the high school. But the mean time they was right around where they picked up a lot of children and--but getting back to my mother. And after we had our ice cream, we was free to go play. And then we would go to settlement which was called Ferristown. And, oh, I don't remember how many families there was. There was a whole host of us.


JENKINS: And if we didn't have a time. We played ball. We played hide and seek. And incidently you don't see a marble game anymore. I haven't seen a marble game in years and we played marbles and we played puggy.

MULLINAX: What's puggy?

JENKINS: Well, I figured you'd ask me that. (laughs) That was a game that--that--you would dig four holes in the ground. And the 49:00first two holes--first three holes were three foot apart. And the last hole was five foot from the--the third hole. And then we start--what you call a starting line and you started--and you made a stand with your hand. Went like that. And you made a stand and you got on that stand and if you--whichever--whoever got to all four holes and back to the line first was worn out. And the last one that got back he had to put his knuckles down on the line like that and ever who--how many other was playing with you they got so many licks on his knuckles. (laughs) Some of the scars is there now.


JENKINS: That can be painful.


JENKINS: But it was a lot of fun because I would have to get somebody else's as well as they got mine.

MULLINAX: Was this mostly a boys game or did girls play 50:00too?

JENKINS: No. No. It was mostly a boy's game. Puggy is what we called. Some of them called it knuckles, but we called it puggy. Puggy was a boy's game and--and I couldn't have had the nerve to done a girl that way. But it was a lot of fun. We were talking out there in the stripping room Friday how we used to play puggy under the old garage at Ferristown.


JENKINS: If it was raining we was under the old garage. It was a shed of an old garage. If it was raining, we'd play right on. But the main game was really a--really at the--the Wendell Ferris home in front of the store at Ferristown was--was where the ball game on Saturday afternoon or a Sunday afternoon. And all the kids at Ferristown and sometimes they would come from Middletown which was another settlement was about a mile and a half away. And sometimes they would come from Peytontown where my cousins was raised up. They would come up and it, it was just a gathering place and--at a country store. The store was right in front of 51:00it. We'd get hot and run over to the store and get us a nickel pop and which is long gone and won't be back.


JENKINS: No. But--but we just had a good time back then. Now I--see, I'm not really that old but I, you know, I just come up when all that was happening and took part in it. Once again, I thank--I thank my mother and I really thank my sisters for encouraging me too because it was along about that time when--when I got big enough to realize that, you know, playing the games and things--I wanted to play and not work and my head got a little hard. And--and sister Johnny was the one that initiated it. She said, "No. I ain't going to let this rascal happen like Bob come up." My middle brother. She said, "I'm not going to let that happen again." She took the initiative because she was at home. She--she had come back home and she took a 52:00hold and she--she just told me, "If you ain't going to work, you ain't going to eat." It was just that way. After about a couple of days the old tummy got a little empty. (laughs) And, you know, you just go through--you just realize those things. Some people go the other direction and some go--I love to eat. So I had buckle down and go to work.

MULLINAX: She knew how to get to you--


MULLINAX: --didn't she?

JENKINS: But that--that was the fun of--of growing up on the farm. Part of the work. The other part was going to church on Sunday. You--you had to go--that--that was--was a must. You must go to church on Sunday. They--they didn't send you. They took you.

MULLINAX: You--you said that your family was the only black family in White Station.


MULLINAX: Where did you go to church then?

JENKINS: We went to church at Ferristown.

MULLINAX: Okay. Was Ferristown mostly a black community then?


JENKINS: Um-hm. Um-hm. Ferristown was mostly a black community. And we went to church there every Sunday. We walked there. My mother and daddy didn't have any car. We walked and when we'd leave our home by the time--we would leave home and by the time we got to church, sometimes there would be ten or twelve families in the middle of the road.


JENKINS: Because we come along--they knowed what time--time Mama would leave home and about what time--when we would come by. Tom Martin, him and his family would join us and then we'd come by my father's sister, Aunt Mary. She would join us. And then there was Miss Lucy Martin and there was Miss Lucy--oh, two women, she wasn't named Lucy. I can't think of other ones name now. They added on. And there was Mr. Bill White and there was Foster. And then there was Wendell Ferris place. By the time we get to church--

MULLINAX: You had a whole parade going.

JENKINS: --it would be a whole--sometime they would be seventy or 54:00eighty people in the road going to church.

MULLINAX: Would they sing along the way?

JENKINS: Oh, yes. Sometimes they would, but they mostly would be walking along talking. And most of the time they--most of the older people would walk behind and make all the children stay in front. They wouldn't allow a child to get behind. They--you stayed up in front of them and then at night time it was the same way--you go back to church that night. And we'd get--we'd get--most of the time we would get back home about ten o'clock at night on Sunday nights.

MULLINAX: What kind of church did you go to?

JENKINS: Baptist church.

MULLINAX: What was it like? What were the--what was the building like?

JENKINS: It was a frame building and--and I got a lot of memories there. I stayed there until '77, my membership, until '77. And when Gladys and I got married we--we had discussed that--that it wouldn't be right for one to belong to one church and one to another. And in due time we joined the same church and 55:00we lived here in Richmond. And she was already here and she was established. And I was the type that I could be satisfied about anywhere. So I just decided to move my membership from Ferristown to her church. And Reverend AC Goodlow was there and I had attended there with Gladys a lot and when I came in he--before he fellowshipped me any, he had the church that I'd be put on the deacon board. So actually before I was voted in the church, I was voted on the deacon board.

MULLINAX: Wow. Wow. Your reputation preceded you.

JENKINS: And I served--I served as a--

MULLINAX: Go ahead.

JENKINS: --as a--and the new pastor there--well, he's been there ten years--he's the local minister that--that grew up in that church.

MULLINAX: What was services--services like in the first church you went to?

JENKINS: Well, it's a little bit disgusting--well, not disgusting, a little 56:00hard to explain because I was young and I was more or less in training. The bible says train a child the way he should go and it won't stray and I was more or less at church because it was a half to. And I really didn't--really didn't think that much about what it was like but after--after my first marriage and I, I had kids then--then I, I really had strayed--kind of strayed away and didn't--didn't go. But after the children came along and responsibility and then I saw--I went back. And--and the only regrets or whatsoever, whatever I am, that church house is part of it. That's--that was some of people there that I didn't quite agree with. Still don't agree with some of the things they do. But nevertheless they--they still--they help make me part of what I am. None 57:00of children--my boy joined there. My first wife she belonged there to church down the road called Mount Nebo and all the girls joined down there with her and the boy joined the church with me. And when I left Ferristown, he came to the First--he came to the First Baptist. And my youngest girl later she came from Mount Nebo and joined the First Baptist Church. But the first minister that was there was by the name of Rev. William Proctor and I never will forget a little incident that happened. There was a boy, Lorenzo's wife had stuck his nephew with a pin in church and he hollered. Jumped up and hollered and Reverend thought that--that he had actually got religion you know. He told them--said--told one of them deacons said, "Go back and bring him on up and let him confess." He asked him how did he feel and he said, the boy 58:00kind of stuttered and said, "Uh, uh, you, you, you stuck me." And he found out that his nephew had--had stuck him with the pin and his nephew's daddy was a deacon and the strong deacon in that church. And the difference between, here again, is the difference between the parents of today and parents of yesterday. That boy got a terriblest whipping and I felt sorry for him myself. Right there and church going on.


JENKINS: And those people back then they didn't play. They was serious--they was serious about whatever they was doing. Whatever they was doing they were serious about it. It, it was really--it was really--it was funny--


JENKINS: --but, you know, they were serious, you know. And that even taught the rest of us a lesson, you know. By him--him getting that whipping in there taught us a lesson, because I knew 59:00if I done it that I was going to get it. Another thing that really would take place in, I guess, yesteryear you would call it than today. If I was in Bill White's home or Wendell Ferris home or whoever's home it was and I done wrong I got a whipping. Right then and there. They whooped you. And when you got home and they seen you--your mother and your daddy they told them what you had done.

MULLINAX: And they--

JENKINS: And you got another whipping. So, so that--there's another way it was--where we are--we have strayed away and our children is not--see, when children know they can get by with something they are going to do it. I'll guarantee--I don't let them get by. All of them--and they know I'll whip them and their mother's know I whip them. And a lot of times they call me and their uncle will whip them. My youngest boy he--he whips them. I'm proud of him because that's--that's--his sisters can tell him so and so is acting 60:00bad and he goes and sees about it. Now he won't have that out of you all. Won't have it. So I'm proud of him for being that way because that's the way I was brought up, you know, if somebody is acting bad what's your child or not. And we --went, I'll never forget her, my auntie. My mother's sister, I went and spent the night with her one time and I told her I didn't eat no half-done egg.

MULLINAX: No half-done egg.

JENKINS: Um-hm. I don't eat nobody's half done egg. She said, "Boy you going to eat mine. I ain't cooking those--I don't cook them for everybody. I cook for everybody and cook all of it a like."

MULLINAX: Did she make you eat them?

JENKINS: I ate them. I love them now. (laughs) And that's the way those old folks was, you know, they--they just--they were firm about it and they would tell you something and stand behind it.



JENKINS: Mother's today will tell you, "I'm going to whip you." Don't tell them you are going. Get up and do it and that's the way I did my children. And the only ----------(??) my first wife had about our children. She--they would do something and she'd wait until I come home and was going to make them whip them. I said, "No, I'm not going to whip them." I told her I wasn't going to whip them. I didn't see what they done, you did. You whip them. I would not do it. And I, I think I done them right because then she--see she had lost control of them. That's the way you lose control. You--you've got to be firm with these kids.

MULLINAX: What's--let's--let's talk a little bit about your--the first house you were raised in? Tell me about--

JENKINS: The home place?

MULLINAX: --the house. Yeah. The house itself. What was it like?

JENKINS: It was awfully small. Oh, it was about--it was all--woke up a many of mornings with snow on me.

MULLINAX: You what?


JENKINS: Woke up a many morning with snow on me.


JENKINS: Yeah. My father built it and he wasn't the best carpenter in the world. (laughs) But it was home.


JENKINS: And I can truly say for my mother and father and our home I never seen a hungry day in my life. I always had clothes to wear. Always had--I didn't--I never--If I went bare-footed it was because I wanted to, but let me tell you a little story before I get into that--


JENKINS: --about the difference that I see in my mother and my father and some of the other boys that I grew up with mothers and fathers. The boys at Ferristown that--that I practically grew up with--just a mile apart. You know, we kind of--we would all 63:00work for the same farmer back when we were kids, you know, like putting up hay and housing tobacco. And those boy's parents when they through would come and whatever those boys had made for working for those men in that hay, they just took their money and give them what they wanted them to have. My mother and father never done that to me and my nephew. We drawed our money just like grown men, but Mama would see to it that you bought your clothes, your school clothes, because school clothes you had last year was your everyday clothes now. And she would see during the summer that you bought what she would tell you, "Young man you do what you want to, but I want a certain amount of money for your school clothes and your shoes." But I still never 64:00went hungry. Never went bare foot. Mama see that I had shoes. Although I worked to pay for those shoes. That was part of my responsibility. But she would see to it. But my mother and father never went to no one that me and my nephew worked for and told them not to pay us. They paid us just like we was grown men and--and really, I was telling Gladys, it was really a hart sickening to me--for me--some of my closest friends that I had when those men would write me and the nephew a check and hand it to us and then these other boys parents they, you know. To look in their eyes and the expression on their face was really--I know one boy actually--finally left home over it. He actually left home over it. And he was real close, of course, he's back home now and he's living in his home place now. And I go out sometimes and I go across town 65:00and I don't get in no hurry to come back. Sometimes it's a 11 or 12 o'clock when I get back from there. And I will go to Ferristown and I will sit down and I'll talk and I'll enjoy myself with my friends that I grew up with. And we talk about things like this.


JENKINS: And--But that--that's what happened in those days. You--you had to work and you had to--to supply your needs now. I knew that those boys and their families knew I guess, I don't know, but it was a kind of a heart sickening to me that they would actually have to stand before me and I'd have stand before them and their fathers would pick up their checks. Some--it was a joy. We all--especially when it come--cutting tobacco time for the MacWilliams. There was, oh, I guess 20 of us boys and we enjoyed cutting tobacco for the MacWilliams. Of course, John Coleman was--was--he grew up with 66:00us. That was John Clay's son and he grew up with us and--and he--he would just tell everybody. "I'm one of them. I'm one of them. Whatever they are. Whatever they do. Whatever they want to do, I'm one of them."


JENKINS: And--and he's still that way. He's still that way. But we enjoyed working for them and they would always--when we got through. Have a little feast fixed when we were cutting tobacco. I guess that was one of the reasons that we all liked to eat and--and it what--what--we had fun. We would race in cutting and see who could get out of the row. Who could cut the most sticks and he--he actually paid us well. He knew we, by us racing, that was actually making us less money per hour than it would if we had took our time. So he paid us well. So we--we had no gripes.

MULLINAX: How--how old were you then?

JENKINS: Oh, you was generally around age of fourteen--fourteen--fourteen up till 67:00about twenty.

MULLINAX: Um-hm. How much were you making do you remember?

JENKINS: Oh, yeah. You was getting four dollars an hour. They was making big money then.

MULLINAX: Oh, yeah.

JENKINS: We were making big money then. And eventually it got up to five and--and, you know, it finally--one time I got hired eight dollars an hours. Of course, it kind of went back down now and leveled off to about six or seven now. But back at that time it was about four to five dollars an hour. And still--back at that time those boys parents would still come and pick up their money.


JENKINS: And some of them eighteen or nineteen year old, but they were still living at home. And that was home rules. That was the home rules back then.


JENKINS: So that--that's some of the life way back. Back to my home and--my father built it and it, it was three rooms 68:00upstairs and three down. And back when I first could remember anything. He didn't have any stove. He just had fire places in it and those fire places back in our old home wasn't very warm and comfortable. You had to stand right up close to them to get warm on a real cold night. Your front would get warm and your back would be burning up and you'd have to turn around. It would get cold. (Mullinax laughs) And most of the time you could stand and look at the window and see the curtains standing straight out. The wind would actually be blowing through the windows. It wasn't--they wasn't insulated at all. And--and like I said. I woke up many a morning upstairs, sleeping upstairs, and have so much cover on me. You have to raise the cover up to turn over. And then you would wake up and get up and then where it snowed that night and the wind had blowed. Snow would be--actually would be on the cover.


JENKINS: And but that was the type of house that I 69:00grew up in. We've kind of re-modeled it lately and insulated it. It's a real comfortable home now. A good steady home. We--we've done a lot of work on it.

MULLINAX: Who--when you were young most of your brothers and sisters had gone, they had left--


MULLINAX: --house already.

JENKINS: Um-hm. Um-hm.

MULLINAX: So who decided where everybody was going to sleep. Who slept where in the house.

JENKINS: Well,--

MULLINAX: You had--you had your--

JENKINS: Yeah. You had your rooms. The girls slept in the back room and me and the nephew slept in the room right directly over my mother and father. You had strict rules. Not to go in the girl's rooms. Of course, the girls had to pass through our rooms to--to get to their room.

MULLINAX: Okay. So it was--

JENKINS: Yeah. Um-hm.


MULLINAX: --there weren't any hallways?

JENKINS: No. Wasn't any hallways. You--you had strict rules, but--way, in nineteen and I believe it was '88, no, '78. I think, '78. I and my brother and nephew went out and we insulated and re-done it and we painted it up and everything. And gotten the home place looking good. I've done a lot of work on the home place. I've put a lot of new fence. The barns, I've straightened up. Done a lot of work on them. Build sheds on--on--on one of them. And we have occasionally went out and, I think it was three years ago, went out and I suggested to my sisters that--They come home. I will never forget it. It was 71:00the second day of May. I said, "I want you all to come home the second day of May." And they said, "For what?" And I told them what I wanted. And they all agreed. And I told them--this is what I told them. I said, "I want to go back to the home place." "And" I said, "I want to spend the day out there, all of us." And I said, "Well, go to the barn because these people was living in the house." I said, "We'll go to the barn." And I said, "I"--I really--I've got kind of a kitchen in the barn because I do my own cooking out there. And I said, "We'll go to the barn and" I said, "we'll--we'll do all of the cooking down there and just spend the evening out there." I had one sister that, "Oh, what do you want to do that for?" I said, "Well, I just want to do it." And then we--we I had a tractor out there. And we got on the wagon and went riding all over the place. And went riding down the road a few--my grandmother and grandfather were raised at Peytontown. And went back in 72:00what is called--they were Burnhams and went back to what they called Burnham town. And the old home, their home, was still standing. And we went back to it and my nieces and nephews had actually pulled pieces of wood off of that house just for souvenirs. And the sister that I, I wanted--that fussed at me so much about going out there. When we got out there, she came to me and hugged me with tears in her eyes. And said, "Well," Said, "I fought against it, but" Said, "I had the best time of my life." We set there in that barn and it was cool and they talked and reminisced about how they did this and how they did this. And who lived yonder and who married who. And who married this one and divorced him and whatever they could think of, they talked about. And it was just brought back memories that--that they had long, you know, sometime they had forgotten about. What--what this old horse was named and what that old horse was named. And 73:00who milked this old cow and who milked that cow. And that was one of the blessings of a family gathering at a home place. And we hadn't been at that home place for, I know, for thirty-five years. Let me tell you something about that. When my mother was in good health and my father was in good health, every fourth weekend in the month all of my sisters came home and brothers came home. And you talk about having some fun.

MULLINAX: Yeah. I bet. A lot of them--

JENKINS: When fourteen--when thirteen come home and their children and their husbands, we slept in shifts. (laughs) It was a six room house. And--we slept in shifts and most of the time the men would just go out in the front yard, in the summer time, and 74:00put a blanket down on the ground and lay there and talk. And if you got sleepy, go to sleep. And sometimes some of the women. Most of the women would sleep in shifts. My sister Pauline and Louise and--and Sadie, they were the night owls. They'd never go to sleep. An hour of sleep was all they wanted and they would want to stay up all night long. Ethel and Johnny, they was the early birds. They went to bed early and they'd go to bed and they'd get up about three o'clock. And then maybe Alma Jean and some of them that stayed up later, they'd go to bed. But we'd all mostly go to bed--bed all the kids down on the floor and that--that was really. And they talked--we talked about that. It's just a good memory. I kind of enjoyed it myself. But--


MULLINAX: Yeah. You--you said several times that you liked to eat. Can you tell me about the things that your, your mama and sisters could cook back then?

JENKINS: (laughs) Oh, yeah. Yeah. I, I never--Mama belonged to a club, called the Merry Workers club. I never will forget it. She had one brother and four sisters and--next to the oldest--she was the oldest. And the sister next to her and her brother lived together. And I never will forget it come up a storm and Mama was entertained this club that day.

MULLINAX: So they would come around to the--

JENKINS: Um-hm. They--

MULLINAX: --homes and--

JENKINS: --they'd come around club--club day. The club met once a week and they would then--each club member would entertain at least once a year.


JENKINS: You know, until it went all around the circle and then it go back again. But this day was entertaining the club. It came up a storm. And it was a pretty bad storm. And I had never had all the fried chicken that I wanted 76:00to eat and I'd often talked about that. And I told my sister Johnny, I said, "I'm going to get all the fried chicken I want today, because they have done cancelled the Merry Workers Club." I eat--now, I'm married now and it was to my first wife. I had--she was working in town and I had to go to town to get her. And in the meantime while I was gone to town, my uncle and aunt had heard about the storm. And they came out to see if we was all right and everything. And he was a big eater and she was a big eater. And--and so when he came around there was two or three of the boys from Ferristown had came along. And they was coming over to see me so they came along and when I got back all the chicken was gone.


JENKINS: I can--I can understand. So I still didn't get all the chicken I wanted. Yeah. Yeah. The food was good back then. I tell you--I tell you a big difference. Like my father would 77:00always--he killed several hogs for himself being a big--a big meat eater. And I guess I get that from him too, I love meat. But and he always killed a beef. The difference between then and now in the winters. The winters was cold enough in those days that--that you could kill a beef and just take a side of beef and hang it up in the smoke house. And now--there wasn't no deep freeze back then. And they went out and just take a knife--if they wanted some beef, they'd just go out and take a knife and cut off what they wanted. And it was--it was--it actually would turn dark, but--but the weather was cold enough that it would preserve that meat.


JENKINS: And you can't do it now. Flies blow it and you can't do it. But and Mama could take anything and they 78:00canned sausage back in those days. And you ever see any canned sausage?


JENKINS: They would can those sausage and then pour that hot grease on top of it. And then they would turn that jar bottom upwards. And let that grease settle. And when it's cold, it would build all the way to the top. Canned sausage. We had to pick blackberries. Mama would make blackberry pie and make jam. Green beans and I never was a lover too much of canned green beans. I like green beans, but I never was a lover too much of canned green beans. That was one of the things that I did not really like. But then they would make their own slaw back in those days. They would can cabbage. Anything they had that they would actually can. You take potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, those 79:00type things they would bury in the ground. They would--they would--actually would go out and pick them a spot, kind of a high spot, where water didn't stand and they would dig a trench around it. Where they was going--where the water would shed off into that trench. And they would pile all of these potatoes and things up.

MULLINAX: Would they wrap them in any way?


MULLINAX: Just put them in there?

JENKINS: Just put them in there loose. And then when they got all of them in there then, they'd put straw over top of it.

MULLINAX: And then you just go in--

JENKINS: And then after they put straw on it, they put dirt over top of the straw and that--that would preserve them completely. And they--sometimes they'd stay there all winter. And about the only thing that the older people bought in those days were--they would--was the spices. 80:00I can even remember my mother and daddy carried their own wheat and their own corn for the meal to grind to flour meal.

MULLINAX: Yeah. So they were pretty self-sufficient then?

JENKINS: Pretty self-sufficient. So Mama could take, like I say, she could take anything and make a meal out of it, anything. She'd often say, "Well, what am I going to have for supper. I got to take care of my baby." And I can remember well and then she'd come up with one of the best meals you ever had. It was so tasty. (Mullinax laughs) And we--we was laughing about Mama. I had a sister that passed a couple of--about a month ago.


JENKINS: I didn't tell you about her did I?


JENKINS: My sister, Ann. I didn't tell you about her. I missed her. But any how when--when they was all here and we talked about poor Mama and how she loved her children. And there's 81:00one thing--Do you have any children?


JENKINS: There's one thing about time. The difference in their children and grand children. Their grand children can get by with murder but their children can't. Mama wouldn't--Mama wouldn't let any of us set on her bed or even put our head or coat on her bed. But now her grand kids could get on it.


JENKINS: And--and I find myself the same way. I go and see my grand kids. My kids will--but I go see--I want to see my grand kids. And they--they are just that way. And I could tell you some words about them and--and I guess probably disappoint them where I would pull you. But they were just good loving people and they both loved the community that we lived in. And 82:00when one family was in trouble in that community it was all in trouble. I was telling some people yesterday how the men of the community that I grew up in helped one another with no cost. No cost whatsoever.

MULLINAX: In what kind of situation?

JENKINS: Well--well, if I was doing, stripping my tobacco--it was tobacco stripping time. When I got through I came and helped you. When we got through we'd go helped the next one. They--most men was that way and they would have a good time because that was kind of a fellowship to them and--and--hey, "I got a friend over yonder and got a brother over yonder that's not been by let's go help him." But it's not that way anymore. The--the trend now 83:00is I got mine and you get yours. That's the trend. But I, I kind of like the trend of the old days. Me helping one another. When my friend is in trouble or my neighbor is in trouble, then I'm in trouble.

MULLINAX: You, you said that your--the community that your--your family lived in, White Station, was--was a white community on a whole--

JENKINS: Um-hm. Um-hm.

MULLINAX: --and you've also said that you've helped--you had a community of people that would help each other out.


MULLINAX: What other kind of things did you do together besides helping getting in the crops or getting in the tobacco or is that more the--

JENKINS: Well, such as, a thing--if there was a death in the family, most people was there. And--and most of the time if it was my family that had a death in it, they wouldn't let my mother work or do anything or my father. And then 84:00there was the case of maybe winter time comes and snow drifts come and I couldn't get out and you couldn't--then I'm going to bring my--my team and come and see about you. There was a girl, I often wonder about her, she was going to Berea College in 1959 and it came some rough snows in '59. All of the schools had closed but Berea College and all the roads was closed. Highways was closed but Berea College was having school. And her father lived right at our house--his house--the road run right like this and his house kind of set out here and our house kind of set back off the road about like this. And he walks over to our house and--and asked me, said, "Betty Lee has got 85:00to be at school by ten o'clock." This was about eight o'clock. And said, "I was just wondering if you would hitch up your team and a wagon and take her to school." Well, I said, "Sure I will." I didn't hitch up a wagon. Hitched up a sled because the slide would slide on top of the snow and a wagon would cut down in it. And I hitched up the mules and got a couple of bales of hay and put on the sled and went over to his house and picked her and her things up. She came--she came home for the Christmas Holidays and while she was home this snow came. And I carried her back to school at Berea College on mules and a sled. That was one of the ways that people back in those days helped each other. Make the story even more blessing in a way, not--not--the work 86:00that I did. But after--when I went through the community of Ferristown to go to Berea, people seen me go that way with a mule and sled. I had--one or two of the boys that I told them where I was going at. So they went on and told their parents about it. In the meantime I went by a store in another settlement called Middletown. There was a store there that most men of Ferristown--my dad and mother--never did run a charge account for groceries, but most of them did. And--and when they found out that I had gone to Berea to take Betty Lee back to college they called that store and had the--George Davis, he was running the store then, stopped me on coming back and bring them groceries back. And when I came back through Ferristown I had groceries for five different families.



JENKINS: That was out of this. Out of lard and out of flour or out of something, but I had a--a sack of groceries for five different families. And that's another way, you know, that they helped one another. And there was a time that--that Sam White's mule fell in the--fell in the well.

MULLINAX: In the what?

JENKINS: The well. It was in the winter time. And--he had a mule and somehow or another it got up on top of his well and I guess it smelled the water and was trying to get to the water and got up there and it caved in with her and she fell in there. All the men of that community pitched in and went there and they went there and they put a harness. They made a sling and put that mule in and come up and build a tripod and pulled that mule out of that--that well. That was the way with a mule--the families helped one another in the community, you know, they would help one another that way. There was a time when--when my brother-in-law had the 88:00truck and fell through--the bridge fell through with him.

MULLINAX: Oh, my gosh.

JENKINS: And it was like two o'clock in the morning. Those men found out and they all rolled out of the bed and went and helped Kenny get out. Helped him get out. So those were the ways that those people in those communities back in that day. Like I say, when one's in trouble they are all in trouble. They helped one another. And there was also a time if someone didn't have nothing to eat, them old women wasn't going to let nobody go hungry. I didn't care if it wasn't my child. If a child in this community is hungry then--then we going to feed them.

MULLINAX: Does that apply to both of the communities?

JENKINS: Yeah. Right.

MULLINAX: White Station and the other one, too?

JENKINS: The--the--the community of White Station, like I say, we was the only black family that was there. And I use to kid them about it. I say, "I ain't one of you all. You all ----------(??)." But those white people in that community were just as 89:00loyal to my dad as they were to their own place and he was to them. And they were just loyal to one another. I can remember Bob Peterson and I can remember Harry Morgan and I can remember Cecil Dunn. I can remember Oscar Harrison was--was one of the--he was kind of idle. He was a--was a real--my dad, he would talk about him, how his mother would ask him to do something. And he'd have his clothes on a going courting and he'd go back to the house and change clothes and go do for his mother. And he--he never forgot that though in his older life. And he would help me with the big help in the community. Those men were good to me for information and advice. When 90:00I--


JENKINS: About different things. If I wanted to know anything or could use some information to do something or I'd do something, you know, I'd talk to him. He'd say, "Well, young man if I was you, I'd do it this way."


JENKINS: And--and it would help me.

MULLINAX: About on the farm or--


MULLINAX: --about your family?


MULLINAX: Or about anything?

JENKINS: Yeah. Um-hm. But those people were actually that way in those days now--and now I kind of miss them.

MULLINAX: Yeah. Yeah.

JENKINS: I kind of miss them. Now--never had any problems with any white family in that community in my life.

MULLINAX: And you still go back there and?

JENKINS: I, I'm at least out there three times a week. Right now I'm out there every--just about everyday. See, I got cattle there, but I got a boy that lives on the place. He feeds them, but he won't put out the hay. So I have to go out at least three times a week and put out 91:00hay, because right now we are stripping tobacco out there. And I'm out there every day now. But never had no problems with any of those folks. And you can't tell me that white and black can't live together.

MULLINAX: Sounds like you had a--

JENKINS: Because I--

MULLINAX: --good experience.

JENKINS: --I have lived with them and had no problems. Never had no name calling. If I've been called a name that wasn't pleasing to me, it wasn't heard. It was called--called in a low tone of voice or in secret. I never been called out a name. I don't know it. Not even to some of the people that live there now that I didn't grow up with. Now there is a family there now by the name of Ray--Ray Powell and his family. And I couldn't ask for nobody be any better to me than Ray has been.


JENKINS: And when he--he sees something out there isn't right, he calls me. He'll come out here and get me.


[Pause in recording.]

MULLINAX: Okay. Let's--let's talk for a little while about the home place now. What happened to the home place? How--how did that whole story go in terms of who is on it now and how that transpired?

JENKINS: Well, in 1964 I decided to go to--I was there on the farm and I decided to go to construction because I had a really large family. And by it being a small farm there--there wasn't enough there to split halfers on.

MULLINAX: Um-hm. But you had been running the farm?

JENKINS: It wasn't--I didn't--I couldn't see there was enough there to--to raise a family of my size.


JENKINS: So I had to make a move to make more money to raise my family on my responsibility. So I made a 93:00move to go to construction, work construction and I, I moved to town. And at that time a cousin took the farm over, Moss Ferris, he was our cousin. And he took the farm over and he ran it until 1974 and Moss got in bad health and due to his health he kind of let the farm run down. So in 1976 my brother came back from it--he retired from construction in Ohio and he came back to Kentucky to live. And he lived with me for one year and when Gladys and I decided to get married I told him that we was getting married. So 94:00he moved to the home place. And he stayed there until he--he got sick and really I--he didn't help the place too much. And it was kind of sickening to me that--that was home place and--and my mother and my father had--had had so much home pride. Momma--Mama was stressed a lot on home pride and she often told us that--that most people will judge the inside of your house by how the outside it looks. She--she talked about that quite frequently. You know, keep--keep the outside of--the outside of your house clean. Don't let a lot of rubbish get around it. Don't have a bunch of old junk around it because people if they look at your house from the outside and will say that it's junky inside. So by--by me 95:00seeing the way the home place got and--and how I felt about it. And I began to kind of go out and kind of even when I was still working construction do a few things. And I never will forget that--I had some old trees that blowed down and just actually looking bad. Nobody doing nothing about it. And I, I went out, my nephew and I, went out on a Saturday and a Sunday afternoon and we--he had a pick-up truck and I had one. And his mother was burning wood. And we went out and we just cut up these trees and--and hauled them up to his mother's and she burned them up. Well, in the meantime when my brother came back from--from Ohio, he seen the tree was gone and--and it upset him. You know, he never did say anything to 96:00me but he told my nephew that--a few things. And wished I stayed away and everything like that. I actually did--I pulled out. I said, "I won't go back no more." And the meantime my sister--my oldest sister owned the controlling interest in the place and she--she called me. He--he had said something to her and she called him and told me, said, "You go back out there and"--said, "you cut every downed tree up that's out there." Said, "I'm tired of that place looking like it is." So I told her--I said why I won't don't do and not as long--listen to Jim say I won't keep confusion. But anyhow the next year my brother came to my house and we--we standing in my back yard and I noticed he was trying to pick up a pen. And I noticed he kept--made several attempts to get it and then when he did he grabbed it. I asked him, I said, "Brother," I said, "Is there something wrong with you?" And he said, "No." I said, "I believe it is." 97:00He--he just turned around and walked off. And the next week when my sister came and he came over. I was over to the garden digging some potatoes and he came over. And he was trying to pick up a potato and he never could get it. And I said, "Jim," I said, "You need to go to the doctor." I said, "I believe you've had a stroke." And he said, "No, I ain't." Well, he got mad. See I couldn't say anything to him.

MULLINAX: He was your oldest?

JENKINS: He was my oldest brother. I could not say anything to him. He was the type--he would not lie. Anybody could say anything they wanted to him but his brother. And I resented that in way because I knew I had been good to him. I had given him a place to stay when he didn't have nothing. I furnished for three years him a car to drive. I bought a car and furnished it for him to drive three years. And I went out and I didn't have a dime. Still own today--not 98:00an inch of that land in the home place, but I went out there and put up almost two months of my time in the home place. Fixed it up and make it comfortable to live in, but he would still resent me if I would say anything to him. I, If I come on that place and he wasn't there. Maybe I'm going to wrong way with this but it's the way I like to tell it.


JENKINS: But anyhow he--he had this stroke and he--he was married and he was down to his girlfriends house. And that same night my sisters was home and his girlfriend call me and said, "Phil," Said, "You need to come out here." Said, "Jim's in bad shape." So I went down there and I asked him, I said, "Brother what's the matter?" He said, "Nothing." I said, "Yeah. You are." I said, "Well you--I'm going to take you to Lexington Veterans Hospital." He said, "I ain't going." I said, "Well," I said, "I know you always got mad when I told you things or asked you something." 99:00But I said, "This time I don't care." I said, "You are going if I have to pick you up and carry you." He said, "You mean it?" I said, "Yes, I do." And he said, "Well, I'll get ready and go then." And so he got ready and I carried him on up. In the mean time see he had a crop. And--and my nephew and my son went out there and stripped that crop out for him and everything. He still resented me over it. He still resented me. But anyhow, meantime, my sisters told me said, "Phil," Said, "We don't want Jim back out there. He's not able to take care of himself and he don't need to be there by himself. We want you to go out there and whatever to be done. You do it. If we owe you anything we'll pay you." That's what they said. "Whatever you want to do with that place is all right. As long as we make enough out of it to keep it up and pay the taxes." 100:00Said, "That's all we want out of it." And from that point that's where I went back. So I commenced to bush hogging and tearing out fences and putting in new fences. And the barns had actually almost fallen down and I had a contractor to come in and fix those. I don't get nothing get nothing but praises of how the home place looks now. And I just think that I was able to--to do something to--to establish the home place back to it's--I tried to put everything back to it, it's originally the way my mother and father had it. There's a few things I didn't put back to original, but I tried to put everything back originally the way they had it. And to establish some home pride that 101:00my mother had. And there's still some few more things I'd--I'd like to get up.

MULLINAX: How many buildings are on it? It sounds like--

JENKINS: There's actually two barns and there was--there was--there was two houses on it, but one of the houses that I--that my aunt and uncle had replaced it. My dad bought it from them. It, it was in bad shape when we bought it. And we just used it to store hay in, but it, it has two barns on it and one--one house.

MULLINAX: You said something about a smoke house. Are those all gone?

JENKINS: The smoke house is there. No. They're still there. The smoke house and the coal house is still there.

MULLINAX: The coal house?

JENKINS: Um-hm. They--the house where they put the coal in. Those old folks didn't want the coal--snow and stuff to fall on it. They claimed it didn't burn as good. Plus it also kept the snow off of it, you know.

MULLINAX: Um-hm. How far is that from the house?


JENKINS: Oh, I'd say a matter of about twenty foot.

MULLINAX: Um-hm. Um-hm. Did it have--does it have any outhouses on the property or?

JENKINS: No. No more.

MULLINAX: Yeah. Um-hm.

JENKINS: No, it doesn't have any. But--the--the--and then I built some new ponds on it. The pond--the dad--he was--he done the best he knew how and I don't--I don't knock it. He didn't know about it. He built the pond on it and he put it right at the highest spot on the farm--farm. And that didn't work. So I had it filled in and went in the hollows and built the new ponds on it. It's actually--it's--it's real nice. I'd like to--I'd like to own it someday but I kind of doubt that either, because all of my sisters, most of them has children, and most 103:00of them are girls. And, you know, they'll tell their mother that they don't want to own it. See, that's all they got and then the grandparents will die off. They will never seen them Pauline's daughter, she's pretty well--someday she might want to buy it. Joyce and Alma Jean, both of them are pretty well established. Both of them Ohio graduates and Karen is--she's--she's going for a doctors degree at Ohio State, because they are--they are really the ones that are pushing to keep the home place. And I'd like--kind of like to see them keep it. My kids are--my son might be. He's--he's kind of changing his attitude of--about the farm life. He's always worked on them. Been working on the farm since he was eight years old. He--my son has been working since he was eight years old. And--and--I tell the young boys, and I'm leading off now, but I'd just like to 104:00tell you this. I tell the young boys today they--they--some of them kind of envy him.

MULLINAX: They what?

JENKINS: Envy him because he's got things that they don't have. And I said, "Well, you all must realize it's nothing that I--yeah. I helped him get him a start. I helped him get that house. I went to the bank and stood for him at the bank when he bought that house. But he works. He works. And he's been working ever since he was eight years old." When I--when I was working construction and we had a--we had a lay off and I came back to Richmond. I didn't go home and set down. I went down here on the farm down here on Jack's Creek Pike, Tom Parkers, and went to work. I didn't make--I didn't make the big bucks but I made enough to feed my family. And he went along and Tom Parker paid him twenty dollars a week to ride around with him and open gates and he done that for two years. When he wasn't in school--out--out of school for 105:00the summer, he rode around that man every day, five days a week, for two years. The man paid him twenty dollars a week. And he's been making money ever since--that was when he was eight years old. Started when he was eight years old and started riding the tractor when he was ten.

MULLINAX: For you?


MULLINAX: For you? Um-hm.

JENKINS: And those are some of the things that now he is beginning to--he raise his first crop this year.

MULLINAX: What--how did he do that? Did he lease land or rent land from somebody?

JENKINS: He and I together leased this crop from--from this man. We raised twenty thousand pounds of tobacco together. So--so he's really able to do--that gives him extra money to do extra things. It helped him to get his home paid for.

MULLINAX: He's twenty-six. That's pretty good.

JENKINS: So he's trying to get--

MULLINAX: He's doing well.


MULLINAX: He's doing well then.

JENKINS: Yeah. Um-hm. He said by the time he was fifty 106:00years old he said he wanted to have his home paid for by the time he was fifty years old. I'm--I'm quite sure if he don't change, you know, not getting sick or anything. He'll make it all--he'll have it paid for by the time he's thirty--


JENKINS: --the time he's thirty. He's not married. I regret that. He lives with--the girl lives with them and they--they have one child and he has another child by another girl and--but he's a good daddy.


JENKINS: I give him credit for that because he said, "His children and his dogs comes before he do."

MULLINAX: (laughs) His dogs.

JENKINS: My daddy was a lover of dogs and I love dogs and he just--

MULLINAX: Did you have a lot of pets on the farm then too?

JENKINS: No, I don't have any on the farm. My daddy was a fox hunter and, of course, I rabbit hunted a lot and bird hunted a lot and he did. And so he started him, like at eight years old, started him hunting with him and he still hunts but he loves his dogs. And he tells everybody--all 107:00the boys, "No. My babies, my sons and my--my dogs. I ain't bought no baby food. I ain't bought no Pampers and I ain't bought no dog food." So they come--they come first. No, he's a good father but I, I like the trend that he's changing towards the farm. He--he's learning a little bit more about it. I tried to get him five years ago to--to--he and I--he was working in a fertilizer plant part time and I said, "Why don't you come out of there and go farm with me." I said, "I can get all the tobacco we want." And I said, "We'll just split it right down the middle." And he said, "I'll help you but I don't want no parts of it and now he's changed his mind."


JENKINS: The--the home place he's getting a little bit more fond of it. He goes out pretty often and takes his dogs and--and he gets to kind of reminiscing. He often says he would have--have 108:00liked to seen my father.

MULLINAX: Yeah. He died before he was born?

JENKINS: Yeah. Died before he was born. He often--he often asks me and I have a nephew named Charles Wayne but we call him Chuck but they are pretty close. And Chuck is and I'm fifty-five and Chuck is forty. So Chuck kind of come up under me, you know.


JENKINS: And, of course, Darryl my boy has kind of come up under Chuck, you know, and he often asks Chuck, you know, about my father and stuff. Of course, Chuck can tell you some experiences with my father because Chuck came along about the time my father had his stroke. And he was a little boy about four or five years old and he was--he would just take my daddy's left hand and wherever he wanted to go with it, they went.


JENKINS: And to tell you an incident about them. They--they--we had a neighbor that had a cow was kind of bad and they caught it out going walking, going to the creek one day and--and 109:00they got over in his field and the old cow--they had to go into the cellar and stay over there all day long. The old cow wouldn't leave them alone and finally, I think, the man that owned the farm came along and--and counting cattle and checking on them and found them in there. The old cow--and he ran the old cow. Of course, he was in his truck--he run the old cow off. Got the truck and run the old cow off and put them in the truck and brought them home. (laughs) So that's one of the experiences of my father and his grandson.

MULLINAX: Yeah. Does his grand---does your nephew farm still?

JENKINS: He is, incidentally, he is, yes, he helps me. He works for me, but now he is the supervisor of housing at--at UK Charles Peyton is his name. And, I think, UK is kind of fond of him. He's got him a--the run him on several 110:00different committees over there. They--they tried some new stuff and he's on that. He's pretty shrewd.


JENKINS: Yeah. And then he works for me then, like on the weekends and like now he'll go by--he comes in at night and he'll work--he'll help me strip tobacco from six o'clock to 9 o'clock at night.

MULLINAX: Um-hm. Okay. On the side?


MULLINAX: One thing that you've mentioned several times that was not really laid it out, how did the farm--what happened when your dad and mom passed on? How did the farm get into the hands of the--that it got into? What did--

JENKINS: Well, see it was--it was left to all of us children equal--


JENKINS: --equal share. By me, like I say, having the five children and then--then I decided that--that I could not make enough on the farm--


JENKINS: --to--to raise five children. So I had to make a 111:00move one way or the other and then after I moved to town I decided, after three or four years, that paying rent wasn't my bag. Pay rent for forty years and all you got is a piece of paper shows you that. And I needed to get--I needed to get myself established for me and my family that--that--that you or whoever it might be cannot come in and tell me that I want my house or I didn't treat my house right. You've got to move. They--I needed to be established into something that is mine at least while I'm here on Earth. I'm the owner. Then I decided that I needed my part of the home place to buy me a home. It ain't doing me no good there. And 112:00in the second place I never did and still don't. Not even when I was younger or ----------(??) a dime liked partnership stuff.

MULLINAX: Um-hm. So you, you wanted to go on your own and--

JENKINS: So I wanted to go on my own. So I was the first one that actually ever sold my share of the home place.

MULLINAX: And how did that work? Did you split it?

JENKINS: It didn't work too good.

MULLINAX: (laughs) Can you tell me about that?

JENKINS: It didn't work too good. I--my sister Ren, that died was the administrator and I went to her and I told her, I said, "Ren," I said, "Now", I said, "I want to buy me a home and I'd like to have my share of the--of the home place." And I said, "I've been offered a piece of money for it." And I said, "I want you to call--write Ethel 113:00and them and tell them and but if they want it, I want them to have it." Well, this continued--can get into a long discussion because it caused a split in our family.


JENKINS: She wrote them and I told them that I needed to know by a certain date to tell me. I went to Ren and asked her, I said, "Ren have you heard from them?" "No, I haven't heard." And so I said, "Well, I'll tell you what to do. You write them again and tell them I'll give them three weeks and if I don't hear from them or you don't hear from them in three weeks, I'm going to sell."

MULLINAX: Who was this other person you were going to sell to?

JENKINS: Earl Riley. In fact, he was the son of the man that my daddy bought it from.

MULLINAX: Oh, yeah. I thought I recognized the name.


JENKINS: So anyhow when--when that date arrived I didn't hear from them, so I sold it. And later on my sister Ren sold to him.


JENKINS: So he had owned two shares.

MULLINAX: How big of a plot of land are you talking about there?

JENKINS: Sixty--one--one four of sixty acres, the farm, because this one was sixty acres.

MULLINAX: So that was--

JENKINS: So I had--(coughs)--excuse me--I sold it to him and then Ren had sold it. And, of course, I was absolutely the one that really got black-balled in the family because I was the one that made the initial move to sell. And when I sold then--then came my sister Sadie sold and--and my brother Bob he sold and sister Elizabeth sold.


MULLINAX: To the same guy?

JENKINS: No. No. No.

MULLINAX: Different people?

JENKINS: My--my oldest sister bought their parts.


JENKINS: But anyhow, in the mean time, my mother had died and at--at that present time where I was living at when I moved to the farm I sold the cemetery where my mother was buried at was right across--right across the creek from me. And my sister would go over there on decoration day and put flowers on Mama's grave and would not go to the house and--


JENKINS: That was tough and I, I quit going to family reunion. I said, "Well, what's the use of going to family reunion. They ain't no family." I quit going. We've got a lot of family here. I have no one to see. There is seven hundred at our family reunion. I quit going. I said, "I ain't going." And--and my sister Ren and I never did get along too good because I was--never was one that would people meddle in my business too much and Ren likes to meddle. But she told me, she 116:00said, "Phil," said, "I wouldn't let nary one of them stop me from going to that reunion." She said, "I would go." Said, "That is as much your family reunion as it is theirs." And after five years that I didn't go, I made up my mind that I was going. And I was going to talk to Ethel and I was going to talk to Ethel alone. So I never will forget the reunion this year was at the Charles Young Center in Lexington. And went over there. It was this little room. Oh, it wasn't much wider than this right here and this was where they were sitting all the ice cream at. And Ethel was a great ice cream maker like my mother. And she went in there to--to do something to this ice cream and when she went in, I went in behind her and closed the door. And I said, "Ethel I need to talk to you." And she said, "Oh, you do." And I said, "Yeah. I do." And I said, "You know what," I said, "our mother would not be pleased at the way any 117:00of us is acting." And I said, "You being the oldest" I said, "you ought to be trying to hold us together." "I ain't done nothing." I said, "You won't speak." I said, "You come to Mama's grave and me sitting on the porch. Park in front of the house and won't even look over at my house." I said, "Ethel, something's wrong." And she broke down and commenced to crying. Well, by this time some of the others had appeared on the outside and they were beating on the door and I had the door locked. And they were in there beating on the door. I guess that they was actually thought I was in there doing something to her. So we finally kind of compromised and I opened the door 118:00and Ethel come out crying and they wanted to know what was the matter and she--she started to tell them. And then Lenore--everybody was crying. And everybody got to apologizing, apologizing and now--I told them, I said, "You all didn't even make me an offer." I said, "You all--you all had your all's homes and I needed a home and I needed something to give me a start. And that was the only place that I knew to get it. I was young in '68, I wasn't that old." And I needed something--and incidentally let me tell you something about--about--a long about that time. That time, I don't know about any other family, I can speak to this family. I know this family inside and out. At that time, a black man could not go to the bank and get enough money hardly 119:00to buy him a decent meal. He'd get enough to get him in trouble and that was it. And you had to have a co-signer then. And I never will forget. So I needed--I needed the down payment. So I sold the farm. Still didn't have quite enough for the down payment. So--

MULLINAX: Do you my asking how much you got back then in '68?

JENKINS: In '68 for the farm?


JENKINS: I got thirty-five hundred dollars.

MULLINAX: For your share?

JENKINS: For my share, needed five thousand dollars for--for a down payment. Well, I, I had went up to, at that time it was State Bank, and I went up there and I talked to--to two or three different people. And they would all tell me the same story. And then I went to Madison National Bank and I 120:00was--I kind of was working for a fellow by the name of Francis Parish then and he was telling me--I had asked him about going to the bank. Wanted to know--he said, "Well, go up there and tell State Farm I said let you have it." And Kate would go and tell Francis to come up here. And they would come in--after about five days I realized they wasn't going to make a fool out of me. I told Francis, I said, "I tell you what." I said, "You take your job and you keep it." I said, "If you want me to have that money you go up there with me, but you ain't going. You done told them you didn't want me to have it." I quit. Anyhow I come on back and--and an older friend of mine was, I guess, he was old enough for my grand dad. His name was Walter Williams. And he said, "Boy, they tell me you are trying to buy you a home and can't get all your money together." And I said, "Yes, sir." He said, "Come on and go with me." So 121:00we go up to State Bank and walks up to a woman by the name Pauline Lowry and he said, "I want to get two thousand dollars out of my bank account." She asked him what for and he told her, "Ain't none of your business." And she said, "I know what you're going to do with it." She said, "You going to let him have it, ain't you?" He said, "I sure am." Said, "He's the only young man around here that I can trust." And said, "I'm kind of fond of him." And she told me--she told him, said, "You going to let him have it. I'm going to see if this bank will let you have it?" She said, "If I can't get it done, I know who to." She said, "You be back here in one hour." And when I got back in one hour she had the papers all fixed out and everything. So it just took the influence of somebody else to--to do something but that's the way it was. And then after that 122:00took place and--and--and we had kind of got ourselves kind of settled back down from a split family for no reason. And my sisters started coming around more but they still wouldn't come not too often. They'd come up to my sister Ren and they'd come by and holler at me on the way out. So I they knew that I always kept hams in the smoke house and beef in the--in the deep freeze and there as always something to eat in my house. And my sister Sadie asked me one time, said, "You got any ham?" I said, "Sadie you know better than to ask me that." She said, "Bring me a piece." And I said, "I won't do it." She said, "Why?" I said, "If it ain't worth coming after, it ain't worth giving to you. If you want a piece 123:00of ham, you come to my house and I'll feed you." My sister Ren would not feed them and--and she was the tighty of the family. Any how they started coming back and my sister Johnny was--me and Gladys was getting ready to get married and we told me we was going to get married and she didn't want me to get married. See, I'm fifteen years older than Gladys and said, "You don't need to be marrying that young girl." I said, "Well, why?" And she said, "Well, you just got out of one marriage." I said, "I'm not going to set and look at no four walls." And the next time you see me I'll still have a look. Well, in the mean time Gladys was living in her apartment and I was living at my place. And Gladys had invited them 124:00out for--to dinner and I think she won their hearts. And from that point on they really loved Gladys and Pauline and Louise and my sister Louise will never come here and leave when she goes back home she sends us a thank you note for being nice to them and everything like that. The rest of them don't do it. They'll tell you--they'll tell Gladys that they enjoyed it, but they won't send no notes. Of course, I've not asked them to. But any how that's what it took for us to--for our family to get back together. And to get back into the home place. And after that when my brother got sick they--they came to me and asked me, said, "Phil," said, "The home place is down there and we don't know nobody else to turn to but you. And will you go and clean up the home place. Do whatever needs to 125:00be done, but get it looking like something. I'm just--we're just ashamed of it." And that was in 1983.

MULLINAX: Were they living in Ohio then?



JENKINS: And I've been there since '83 and I kind of feel that I've made some improvements on it. I know it looks--I know it looks better, because it was growed up weeds and bushes and whatever. But I still have a little problem with--with my youngest sister.

MULLINAX: Your youngest?

JENKINS: Yeah. My youngest sister. She don't want me to have all the livestock that I have on it, but I told them. I said, "Now look, I cannot. Now, I live at Richmond. Dr. Michael Gordon has--right over here from that house to me gives me 126:00all I make off of it. Two hundred--off a hundred and fifty acres. As long as I don't let it grow up in weeds, he gives it to me." See, I don't need to own myself.


JENKINS: I don't own an inch of farm land, but he gives to me just as--he's bought it and he don't want to grow up and he don't need it. And he don't need the assets off of it. So he gives to me to keep it mowed and to not let it grow up. Keep the fences up on it.

MULLINAX: So you--

JENKINS: So I run cattle on it. I have cattle on it.


JENKINS: And he gives me all the tobacco that's on it and everything.

MULLINAX: So you plant--how much do you plant over there?

JENKINS: I've got--I've got about ten thousand pounds of tobacco on it.

MULLINAX: How many acres is it?

JENKINS: Oh, a hundred and fifty.

MULLINAX: And he just lets you use it?



JENKINS: Can use it just like it's mine--it's mine. He never--if--now 127:00there is one tract of land where he builds a lot houses. And I kind of lease another tract of land. He'll get a little uneasy if I don't get it mowed in a certain length of time. It's not so much as him it's the other neighbors around. He's--they'll call, when you going to mow? When you going to mow? When you going to mow? And then he'll call me. You know, they get on him. Well, he's busy. He said, "I understand what you going through." He said, "I have to kind of say something to you to clear myself with them."


JENKINS: But this over here--this--he don't mess with it as much. He'll go up there and I think sometimes he has--he had a daughter that got killed in an automobile accident and when that bothers him he likes to go back around there and be alone. I can tell when--when--if I'm on the place and he comes up in there if he don't blow or don't come over to where I'm 128:00at, I don't go bother him. I know why he's going back up in there and I just don't bother him. But it, it--if he comes or blows or waves at me, you know, then I'll go--go--sometimes I'll go talk to him and sometimes I don't. 'Cause if he never blows or don't wave I, I leave him alone.

MULLINAX: How do you make the arrangements with him? How did you first meet him?

JENKINS: How did I first meet him? Well, it was still a fellow by the name Bob Elliot and Bob Elliot is the guy that does the excavating and I knew Bob through a friend of my by the named Alva Crosby. I was kind of doing a little part time work for him and Bob had asked me to come out and check--Doc at a field of hay out there. Asked me if I had all the hay I wanted and I said, "Yeah." And he said, "Well, Doc has got a field out there and he's been wanting somebody to cut." And he said, "Would you come out there and cut it." And I told him, I said, "Well, I'm going to Ohio and if I come back and 129:00I can find somewhere to put it. I'll"--Well, in the meantime while I was gone a fellow that I sold--I sell a lot of hay and Floyd Chenaugh called me and told he needed about five hundred bales of hay. So I went out and cut this hay and it made seven hundred bales. So I took five of it and I kept two of it and that is how I got involved with Doctor Gordon. And just from that time one he kept calling me to do this and kept calling me to do that. And in the meantime he had a fellow that was raising tobacco that he had kind of done the same way. And he had told him to ----------(??) that crop. And told me to take a bush hog and go out there and cut it down. I said, "Doc I can't do that." I said, "That is that man's crop." And he said, "I'll take full responsibility." And I sent them--the boys that worked for me all the time I sent them out--sent one of them out there to bush hog it down. And I remember 130:00Doc--ever since I have--that's been five years ago, but he gives me everything I make.

MULLINAX: Yeah. Sounds like that's a good relationship.

[End of interview.]

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