GORMAN: When uh--uh, when I was elected, the city was broke, so I never did take a salary.

BIRDWHISTELL: Didn't take a salary?

GORMAN: And uh--so I didn't take a salary twenty-three years ago, I still don't take a salary.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

GORMAN: I--I work for nothing.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, that's public service.

GORMAN: Well, I'm over--I'm overpaid. (both laugh)

BIRDWHISTELL: You work for nothing (laughs) so uh, what--what I'm doing is for the--the Kentucky League of Cities has chosen a few mayors for me to go to talk to and what I'm trying to do is to uh, spend probably, in most cases, the first session on uh, that mayor's--in this case your early life--

GORMAN: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: --and uh, uh, your--your life prior to being mayor, and then we'll probably trying to spend the second session on the specific issues of governing--

GORMAN: Um okay.

BIRDWHISTELL: --and uh, I don't know if we can do that in one session because of all the projects and all the work that you've done here in Hazard, but we'll see how it goes and (Gorman laughs) go from there. 1:00So uh, I guess we could start out--now, you've been--you've probably been interviewed, uh, for an oral history in the past I would guess--


BIRDWHISTELL: --by somebody. Would--do you know where those tapes are located?

GORMAN: Why no. (both laugh) No, the--the uh--I think there's some at the library--

BIRDWHISTELL: Here in--in the library?

GORMAN: Yeah. Oh, no, not the library, the museum.

BIRDWHISTELL: At the museum?


BIRDWHISTELL: Well, good. Well, I hope so. I hope so. And uh, you know, we might duplicate some of that today, but these tapes will go in the archives at the University of Kentucky--


BIRDWHISTELL: --and they'll eventually be transcribed. Um, (coughs) your full name is uh, William Dewey Gorman--

GORMAN: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL: --as I understand it. Uh, where were you born and when where you born, mayor?

GORMAN: Well, I was born May the sixth, 1924 on Cedar Street in Hazard, Kentucky.

BIRDWHISTELL: Where's Cedar Street?

GORMAN: Is right at the heart of Hazard.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) So--so you were born right here in town?


GORMAN: Um-hm. My--my family came to this country in 1686 um, on my mother's side--

BIRDWHISTELL: What's the name of the family on--

GORMAN: The Daniel family.

BIRDWHISTELL: The--the Daniel family?

GORMAN: Yeah. And uh--uh, my great-great-great grandfather, uh, land- -landed in Middlesex County, Virginia at a place called Urbana, and he came from--um, they lived there, and during the uh, Civil War--or the Revolutionary War uh, his uh--they had a--one of the sons had a son, a fourteen year old boy, who--that's on the northern neck of Virginia up there--


GORMAN: --and they were friends of Georges Washington's family.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

GORMAN: And uh, he ended up as drummer boy, uh, at Valley Forge under George Washington, fought in the Battle of uh--he was at Yo--uh, at 3:00Valley Forge--


GORMAN: --uh, and--and he fought in another battle and he fought in the Battle of Yorktown.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

GORMAN: And uh, after the Revolutionary War, of course, um, they came to Kentucky--


GORMAN: --and--and uh, then--

BIRDWHISTELL: Did they have a land grant down here or did they just--

GORMAN: I--to tell you the truth, I don't remember 'cause at that time uh, it just uh--uh, Kentucky was various counties of Virginia--


GORMAN: --and all this, and uh, tell you the truth, Terry, I have not researched that. I don't know.


GORMAN: But um, anyway, uh, another one of my mother's uh, forbearers was a fellow by the name of William Cornett, and uh, he came to uh, Kentucky, and he uh, settled at what is called Cornettsville. And uh, his house still stands there, a log cabin, and it's been added on to, 4:00and he's buried in the backyard.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

GORMAN: It--(coughs)--they had a cemetery there in the--

BIRDWHISTELL: Now, where is that in relation to Hazard?

GORMAN: That's uh, about twenty--twenty-five miles up the river--

BIRDWHISTELL: Up the river.

GORMAN: --and it's to the south and uh, then um--but uh, he came to Kentucky with a--oh, a fellow by the name of Gideon Ison.

BIRDWHISTELL: How do you spell that last name?

GORMAN: Ison, I-S-O-N.


GORMAN: And--uh, and of course, Gideon Ison settled on uh, Linefork, what I've been told--


GORMAN: --and uh, of course, then William Cornett's daughter married- -no, Gideon Ison's daughter married William Cornett's son, and uh, so that's some of the forbearers here but then--and of course, the 5:00Daniels--my great-great grandfather Daniel is uh, buried in an unknown grave in--in Powell County in one of the old cemeteries down there, and we've looked for his grave for many years--

BIRDWHISTELL: But you can't find it?

GORMAN: --and we can't--there's no--no record of it, and--'cause we would put a marker up there, since he was a Revolutionary War soldier.


GORMAN: And of course, uh, the next generation, uh, uh--this fellow that uh, was the Revolutionary War soldier had a son by the name--his name was Beverly Daniel. Then he had a son, uh, by the name of, uh, John Marcus Daniel. And John Marcus Daniel was educated and uh, got- -became a doctor who was educated in England, and came back to practice medicine in--in this region.


GORMAN: And um, then after that, uh, the Mexican War broke out, and uh, 6:00he served with Winfield Scott in Mexico, and uh, uh, he was a colonel. And uh, then uh, when the Civil War broke out he was back here practicing medicine, and um, in eight--in 1861 he heard from Winfield Scott who was commander in chief of the Northern Armies, and of course, he fought with the Union Army.


GORMAN: And um, then after the uh, Civil War, he came back to Perry County. In 1866 he was elected county attorney.


GORMAN: And uh, he served four years as county attorney, but he was--uh, one of these um, doctors that went up and down the river, you know. (laughs)


GORMAN: And uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: That's tough back then when--to be a doctor.

GORMAN: Yeah. And uh--so um, of course uh, he married; gosh--no, I 7:00can't--I've forgotten who my great grandmother is. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: You'll remember--you'll remember another time.

GORMAN: (laughs) But--but anyway, uh, then of course, he had uh, um, eighteen children and one of my--one of his children was my grandfather who was named Lee Daniel, and Lee Daniel was born in Frankfort and uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Why was he born in Frankfort?

GORMAN: Well, he's--he was (laughs) uh, my great grandmother--

BIRDWHISTELL: Because that's where his mother was, right? (both laugh)

GORMAN: Yeah. That's probably--

BIRDWHISTELL: That's an old--that's--

GORMAN: So anyway uh, uh, he brought his uh, family back to Perry County and he went to--um, up, settled on Littlewood, my grandfather did and 8:00had a job in a country store. And uh, he--he married Susan Ison, and uh then, of course, uh, he had my mother who had been uh--my uncle uh, rather prominent in Kentucky politics, Dewey Daniel. I don't know whether you--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. I know that name well.

GORMAN: --and uh, he was president of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and, of course, uh, Lee, and my brother L. Lee, and uh, my cousins, and uh, all of us grew up un--under Uncle Dewey. He didn't have any children, and so uh, he practically put us out into the world, and--and of course, he was in banking, in general insurance, and coal, and real estate, and quite a few businesses--

BIRDWHISTELL: Now, how did he get involved so heavily into all these 9:00businesses? Your--you said your--uh, your grandfather ran a--was working at a country store?

GORMAN: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL: And how did Dewey Daniel get involved in business so much?

GORMAN: The uh--in eighteen--in 1905, my grandfather was elected county- -circuit court clerk of Perry County. So they moved from Littlewood Creek to Hazard--


GORMAN: --and of course, uh, um, by 1912 is officially when the railroad came to Hazard--


GORMAN: --and during that period of time, uh, well, Dewey Daniel, for instance, uh, got an appointment to West Point, and uh, he was very military minded. He went to West Point, spent one day, he got home sick, and came home. (Birdwhistell laughs)


GORMAN: This is the story that I've been told.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, yeah. Yeah. (laughs)

GORMAN: And--but uh, anyway, up--my--our family is al--uh, have always liked the mountains and uh, me and my brothers, up uh, we have homes 10:00in Florida and my other brother has a home in Arizona. My son lives here but he's got a home in Lexington and uh, and L. Lee got a home in Lexington. (laughs) My ex-wife's got a home in Lexington I bought. (Birdwhistell laughs) But um, anyway uh, getting back to Uncle Dewey, this was in the primary stages of the development of the coal industry, the railroad first coming to the mountains, and the economics of the mountains changed. Hazard, in 1905 and 1900, had five hundred people. By 1915, I think, it was about ten thousand.


GORMAN: And it's grown ever since, Perry County and uh--


GORMAN: --and of course, uh, we run between thirty and thirty-five thousand, based upon what the coal industry is doing and such, but uh, basically uh, the region is uh--has always been coal oriented. And um, 11:00the only thing is, this is--since I've been mayor--well, before--long before I was mayor, uh, in the 1953, uh--well, I traveled all over the country, and I looked at the Tennessee Valley, and I looked at the Northwest, where they had built reservoirs and had a--a constant water supply--


GORMAN: --and uh, saw the development because of water. My thoughts; well, here you got water and you got coal. You marry them together and you get electricity. And uh, of course, our thoughts back then, because of our experience--I--when I went in the service I remember- -(coughs)--that they spoke generally of where the uh, Germans were getting their fuel from and of course, it was coal converted to--to gas 12:00and diesel, or oil.


GORMAN: And uh, we--and uh, we wondered why we couldn't do this, and we made studies. In fact, I worked with Carl Perkins when he was congressman in, gosh, the late forties--for--I think Carl went to Congress in '48, and we had this discussion in '48, '49, '50, '51, '52, and um, uh, why we did not convert coal to gas. And the answer was economically that it cost more to con--to convert coal to gas than to buy twenty-five, thirty cent gasoline. Now, this is a new day. Now, all of a sudden you've got two-dollar gas--


GORMAN: --and so why not do like the Germans do? The Germans ran the allies all over Europe on co--on coal converted to gas, you know, and 13:00diesel oil.

BIRDWHISTELL: This was a project that Wendell Ford used to be heavily into, wasn't he? And--

GORMAN: Well, Wendell is an old friend of mine.


GORMAN: And the uh, uh--I go back with Wendell to when he ran for president of the Kentucky Jaycees.

BIRDWHISTELL: Were you a Jaycee then?

GORMAN: I was a Jaycee and--

BIRDWHISTELL: Are you on there?

GORMAN: I nominated Wendell, or what, seconded his nomination or something forty--fifty years ago to be president of the Kentucky Jaycees--

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

GORMAN: --in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, goodness. (laughs)

GORMAN: And of course uh, uh, Wendell is--he's gone a long way. This was--this picture here is 1993, Terry--


GORMAN: --and uh, if you'll look in the heart of the picture, there is Wendell Ford.

BIRDWHISTELL: I see him there.

GORMAN: And there's Hall Rogers.


GORMAN: There's my wife, Nan, and that fellow on the left is a fellow from Arkansas.

BIRDWHISTELL: I've seen him somewhere. (laughs)

GORMAN: I think his name is Clinton.

BIRDWHISTELL: Clinton, William Jefferson.


GORMAN: And of course, this--this picture in the middle is my wife and-- married in the Yucatan, and uh, 'course the picture beneath there is uh, the president on Main Street in--in Hazard on May the fifth, 1999--

BIRDWHISTELL: That's a great picture. I--I love that crowd out there.

GORMAN: And uh, uh, this other one is uh--that's July the fifth 1999, excuse me. And there's the president with Nan and myself, and--

BIRDWHISTELL: He's giving you a bear hug, isn't he? (laughs)

GORMAN: Yeah. One of uh--one of his aides says, "Well, it's the first time he ever saw the president, uh, hug a man." (Birdwhistell laughs) And I said, "He wasn't hugging me. He was reaching for Nan." (both laugh) But (coughs) but anyway, had a lot of fun. But getting back to Wendell and some of these uh, projects so--nineteen--I was looking for something that uh--the--Governor Breathitt spoke down to the uh, 15:00CRAD annual meeting here three or four years ago and he brought me a newspaper clipping of nineteen--gosh, I ought to find that thing- -sixty--about 1960, '61, '62, before Bert Combs became governor of Kentucky. Uh, we--and--and going back to the Jaycees, um, we were working to get Buckhorn Dam built.


GORMAN: Buckhorn State Park.


GORMAN: --and we had a meeting in Prestonsburg, a fell--a fellow over there by name of Reverend Dorsey. John Whisman was head of the Jaycees and he ordered the Eastern Kentucky Development Council.


GORMAN: And uh--we were, um, you know, full of fire and brimstone, 16:00young. (Birdwhistell laughs) And uh, so we met over there in a restaurant, was about ten Jaycees from all over Eastern Kentucky, and we came up with the idea, I didn't, I was just in the group, of--what we needed was a new highway into Eastern Kentucky, and uh--uh, what it was, we uh, designed a road or just drew a line--


GORMAN: --from uh, Winchester to Campton that forked off to the Big Sandy and up to Kentucky River Valley. Well, uh, we--we got old Bert Combs and we sold Bert Combs on the idea that in order to help Eastern Kentucky, that what we needed, number one, was highways. Well, number one, of course, is always education--

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right.

GORMAN: --but uh, number one is development with the highways and--and development of the waterways. And of course, I was working--I'd been 17:00working on Buckhorn, and we got it funded and um, the uh--I never will forget uh, the--we were trying to get some help out of the Bluegrass, you know, Lexington.


GORMAN: So I think I spoke--Vernon Cooper, now, my cousin, spoke to the Lexington Rotary Club, about six hundred members, and I held up a glass of water--now this was 1953 or '54, I held up a glass of water and I said, "The future of Lexington, is the water in the mountains of Kentucky."

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, goodness. (laughs)

GORMAN: And, um--(cough)--but the only thing is this, what we're trying to do is to get them to help us on Buckhorn, and of course, during that time we had reservoirs, um, in the mountains already--well, you had uh, Jessamine ke--Creek Reservoir, which is right there in Jessamine 18:00County that would back water up the Kentucky River. You had the Boone Reservoir; you had the Buckhorn Reservoir, you had uh, uh, the Jackson cut-off and uh--I think the Red River Reservoir that were authorized. Well, uh, these--the boys in the Bluegrass of the Sierra Club, and a friend of mine--uh, you know, I was on the Kentucky Environmental Quality Commission for thirteen and a half years. Wendell Ford put me on that commission--


GORMAN: --that I was vice chairman of. And uh, I will---never will forget the--some of the boys down in the Bluegrass, and the Woodford County, and Fayette County, and all that region says, "We don't need no dams. (Birdwhistell laughs) We don't need no reservoirs." Well, uh, I'm glad they're dead. (both laugh) Oh, what I'm saying I--I--I would 19:00not like for them to see the droughts--


GORMAN: --that's happened not only in Central Kentucky, but in Eastern Kentucky.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, absolutely.

GORMAN: --because uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, I think it's--

GORMAN: --we've--we got uh, so much opportunity, and there's--of course, Lexington now they're--they're gonna blacktop Fayette County (Birdwhistell laughs) and uh, uh, we're a--we're a little bit sad they're not spending enough money on blacktopping in our county, but uh--and I--I noticed that the people down there are trying to keep the--some of the environment clear and--and I--I applaud them for that, but uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: So you knew the water was the issue back in the fifties?

GORMAN: Well uh, I was a student of history when I was growing up--


GORMAN: --and some of the great cities of the world disappeared because of water. Uh, I watched the development of the Tennessee Valley. The 20:00thing that developed the Tennessee Valley was water.


GORMAN: In the Northwest I saw the development out there. Uh, I used to visit in the state of Oregon and uh, Washington, and of course, everybody--have been to California many times, and in southern California problem, of course. And--and of course, you know, during our lifetime or my lifetime, Terry, I'm seventy-five years old, I watched the development of the Colorado, uh, River Basin.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.

GORMAN: And--but uh, you know, from the first re--uh, memories I have, as a little boy is the building of the Boulder Dam.


GORMAN: But I don't--I saw it in the--in my Weekly Reader--


GORMAN: --and it impressed me, and uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, being born here on the banks of the river--

GORMAN: Yeah. (Birdwhistell laughs) The--you know, if you look at that picture on the wall behind you, you see the banks of the river. They are not too protected.


BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, look at that! What year is that?

GORMAN: Nineteen sixty-three. Now, that is the second worst flood. The worst flood we had is 1957.


GORMAN: There was--uh, at that time there was twenty million dollars worth of damage in--in uh, the city of Hazard, and that was when property was very cheap.

BIRDWHISTELL: Where are we right--where are we here?

GORMAN: Uh, that's just a little below there.




GORMAN: --on down below there. You're--you're--


GORMAN: --that--uh, that creek coming down there, that's the next one.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. Right here?



GORMAN: You're about a half mile below there.


GORMAN: The other way.

BIRDWHISTELL: The other way?

GORMAN: Yeah. You--

BIRDWHISTELL: This is up river.

GORMAN: Down--down river. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: Uh, I'm sorry. Yeah.


BIRDWHISTELL: Look at that, goodness.

GORMAN: But anyway, uh, when uh--I never will forget, we had this old colored fellow in my neighborhood, and we had just gone down the river in uh--we--we took an airboat--well, we had a thirty-six foot boat, 22:00eight feet wide with a sixty-five horsepower airplane engine to get across the shoals--


GORMAN: --and uh, so we were going down the river and then when this flood happened, this was 1954, I think, and this flood happened in 1957. Well, I happened to have that airboat parked in front of my house on the street. And uh, I remember this--uh, my mother telling me about this colored fellow, uh, John Platt Williams said uh, "Miss Allie" says, "Now, they can talk about anything they want to about these boys in this town, but that Billy is one of the smartest ones, because he got his boat ready for this flood."

GORMAN: (laughs) You were ready.

GORMAN: This in 1957. Of course, but we'd only been down the river twice, and we'd--we had uh--we got the first grant for planning on 23:00bor--Buckhorn in 1953 and '54.


GORMAN: And uh, of course, uh, after you get the first money, it's just a matter of time till--till they finish the project.


GORMAN: And of course, after we got that built we built uh, um, Carr's Fork Reservoir which um, is above Hazard, and it's--it takes from ten to twelve feet--


GORMAN: --off that flood there in case, of flood--floods of that magnitude, and uh--but it's a--it's been a wonderful experience playing around with the rivers and--


GORMAN: --river rats (Birdwhistell laughs) and all that kind of thing.

BIRDWHISTELL: Let me--let me--let's go back to your uh--your early family history. Tell me about the Gorman side of the family.

GORMAN: Well the Gormans came to Perry County by 1900 and (coughs) they came here from Jellico, Tennessee. And I think they originally came to the United States through Pennsylvania, and they were in the coal--coal industry.


BIRDWHISTELL: So they were following coal?

GORMAN: They--they--they were pioneers in this field, they--right up there's--that hill I'm looking at, is called Gorman Hill.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm, you're looking south of it?

GORMAN: The one side is looking south--

BIRDWHISTELL: Across the river?

GORMAN: Across the river. That was Gorman Hill, the third car of railroad coal, out of the Hazard coalfields came out of that mine, and right behind Gorman Hill is--is Gorman Hollow, (laughs) and, uh, since I've been mayor, we built about three hundred apartments in that hollow--


GORMAN: But uh, but--

BIRDWHISTELL: How did your family come to own Gorman Hill and Gorman Hollow?

GORMAN: Well, they (coughs) they were n--they didn't own it, they leased it--

BIRDWHISTELL: They leased it?

GORMAN: --at that time, yeah.


GORMAN: And our family has extensive coal holdings, but uh, this--this area up there, in nineteen--probably started in 1909, 1910, du--during the development of the uh--of course, uh, they--they came here 25:00originally about 1900, and they put that mine in, and they put in the-- what they call a 4C mine here and--

BIRDWHISTELL: So they came with some resources? They'd probably saved their money in Jellico and come here with some resources?

GORMAN: Well, they--at one time they (coughs) they--they did very well. (laughs)


GORMAN: And they're not hungry yet, but uh--but they're still doing fairly well.

BIRDWHISTELL: (both laugh) So uh, so you--did your--was that your father who came here or your grandfather Gorman?

GORMAN: My--my Grandfather Gorman, my father, and--and my father's brothers.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. So all--all the--the whole family came?

GORMAN: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL: The whole family came.

GORMAN: And they--you know, they--they--uh, all of them didn't live here, but they worked out of Hazard, and Jellico, and Lexington, and Cincinnati where the coal markets were, you know.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Now your father's name was Perry?

GORMAN: Perry F. Gorman.


BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. But he wasn't named after the county? He was already called that when he came?

GORMAN: He--he was named Perry after--before he came.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's interesting. I--you know, when I saw his name was Perry, I assumed that he'd been born in--he was born here in Perry County.

GORMAN: No, he was born in Jellico, Tennessee.

BIRDWHISTELL: In Jellico, Tennessee.

GORMAN: Was educated at uh, Bardstown, and uh--the uh--of course, the Gormans are Catholics, and uh, um, so they sent all their children to catholic schools, my grandfather's family. And my uh, grandmother was born in Scotland--


GORMAN: --and uh, she came over here about--she died about 1900 and um- -but uh, there's about, I think, seven or eight children in that family and um--but uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: So when the Gormans moved here, were there a lot of Catholics here in Hazard?

GORMAN: Unh-uh. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: Where do they send their kids to school--where--

GORMAN: We--well of course, uh, my father's family were all grown by the 27:00time they moved to Hazard.


GORMAN: And--but uh, when they were in Jellico, they sent them to Bardstown to that--what's the name of the school there, catholic school?

BIRDWHISTELL: Uh, well, it's--I can't think of it.

GORMAN: Uh, all I remember is--

BIRDWHISTELL: But they sent them all the way to Bardstown?

GORMAN: Yeah. And uh--but the funny thing about it is, I remember my Aunt Ceila who's ended up as Methodist, I think, talking about a little--the altar boy--


GORMAN: --the priest asked the altar boy, he says, "Wha--where is the incense pot?" He's--and as in--as--in his uh, singing voice--


GORMAN: --the little boy says, "It's out in the hall, because it's too damned hot," you know, a story I've heard as I was ten years old (both laugh) but uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: So um, then your father, Perry, uh, married uh, Allie 28:00Daniel--

GORMAN: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL: --who is Dewey's sister?

GORMAN: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Tell me a little bit more about Dewey Daniel. When you were--when you were growing up what are some of your--

GORMAN: Well--

BIRDWHISTELL: --earliest impressions of Dewey Daniel?

GORMAN: Well of course uh, he was probably uh, the person that had the most effect on my life.

BIRDWHISTELL: In what ways?

GORMAN: Well, he--the first thing he told us, said, "You all pay for the space you occupy in the community with public service." And of course uh, he grew up in Hazard and uh, I think he was born on Leatherwood, grew up in Hazard, and uh, he started working in the courthouse as a typist when he was about twelve or thirteen years old. His father was a--a circuit court clerk, and uh, used to be a circuit judge here by 29:00the name of Sam Ward. And I remember the story that Sam Ward taught him how to type, and uh, of course, I told you he went on to--um, he got an appointment to West Point, and uh, spent one day up there, and came home and--


GORMAN: --but he was in the band, and there's the book--there's a book that's uh, the museum has published here, a lot of pictures, and in 1912 there's a picture of Uncle Dewey standing at the end of the Hazard tunnel, and uh, they--and of course, he was born in 1898, so he'd been fourteen years old then.


GORMAN: And I don't know why I remember his birthday, (laughs) March 15, 1898, and uh--but uh, he was a very--this is a picture of him right here, uh, Terry.


GORMAN: And (coughs) he was appointed postmaster when he was twenty-one 30:00years old, and he uh--he was postmaster till Roosevelt came along. Of course, our family were all Republicans and (both laugh)--but uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Now, were the Gormans Republicans too?

GORMAN: Well, the--the Gormans, the Daniels, various members of the family wandered off, (Birdwhistell laughs) but most of them have stayed on the safe side of what was the safe side of the street, but--

BIRDWHISTELL: But your father Perry was a Republican?

GORMAN: Right. And um, of course, when I was younger, I've uh enjoyed working thro--with Uncle Dewey, and--and of course, John Sherman Cooper was a great friend of our family.


GORMAN: And Thruston Morton and--

BIRDWHISTELL: So you saw all those guys--

GORMAN: Oh I--I've known every president since Dwight Eisenhower. Not because I was there, but because of my uncle and--and Senator Cooper 31:00and--er--er--Senator Clements, who was an old friend of ours and--


GORMAN: --and then of course, after John Sherman Cooper. Um, of course um, um, we all were Republicans down through the years and the Democrats. Uh, they used to ki--kid me about being a Carl Perkins Republican; (Birdwhistell laughs) Carl Perkins is probably the, um, most uh, liberal Democrat that's ever served in Washington.


GORMAN: But he's a friend of mine.


GORMAN: And I like Carl and we worked on a lot of projects together, and we got a lot of things done, and we changed a lot of things in Perry County and Eastern Kentucky. And uh, and of course he was--the--the only thing about Carl you never knew just exactly where he was coming from. I went to Washington one time, and I went in to see him, and he 32:00reached down, and he took his uh, brogans off, changed his shoes, put on his dress shoes and he says, "Let's go see Lyndon." And we went, got in the car, drove uh, I believe it was a cab, drove over to the White House, and we went in, saw Lyndon Johnson. We were there about fifteen minutes and we left. Nobody said "Boo" or anything else. (Birdwhistell laughs) But uh, he's uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: That's pretty good.

GORMAN: --a great guy and of course um, the uh--Uncle Dewey he was very active in the chamber of commerce, and of course, uh, that got me active in the Jaycees, and you know, different things led to different things.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, Dewey Daniel's name is uh, in Kentucky politics, I mean, he was--

GORMAN: Well, he was--he was chairman of the Republican Party eight years 33:00during the Eisenhower administration and of course um, he was one of the people that uh, was instrumental getting Ike to run for president.

BIRDWHISTELL: You know, David Eisenhower was uh, at UK yesterday--

GORMAN: Oh, really?

BIRDWHISTELL: --as a matter of fact.

GORMAN: I didn't know that.

BIRDWHISTELL: He spoke last night at our annual Library Associates dinner. Uh, from the time you were born then, where did your fam--did your family l--stay living in downtown or near downtown?

GORMAN: Well, uh, our family--my grandfather's family moved out on Cedar Street in front of the Catholic Church, (Birdwhistell laughs) a little after the turn of the century, 1900, and uh, they owned that property, or the majority of it. In fact, where my grandfather lived, where my 34:00mother and father lived--when my mother died in 1987, um, our family didn't want anybody else living in her house. So, they tore the house down--

BIRDWHISTELL: Tore it down?

GORMAN: --and gave the--the lot to the Baptist Church, and the Baptist Church has never done anything with it yet. It's just still an empty lot there.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now where is that in relation to where the Baptist Church is? Is that up the hill?

GORMAN: Well, it's uh--it's about fifteen hundred, two thousand feet directly in front of the Baptist Church up on--halfway up on the hill.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. All right.

GORMAN: So it's not too far t--you could walk. In fact, my mother always walked to church and took--uh, I had three brothers and one sister, and uh, every Sunday morning you could count on one thing, we'd been in Sunday school and on the third row (laughs) in church.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now your brother--your brothers' names were--

GORMAN: Perry Lee was my older brother, uh, L.D. and Joe Pat. My 35:00sister is Margaret--Margaret Elizabeth.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. Okay. Um, so from Cedar Street, where did you move? Did you move from there then or--

GORMAN: Well um, of course, I went in the Army--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm, but you lived on--at Cedar Street--

GORMAN: Cedar Street.

BIRDWHISTELL: --until you left home?

GORMAN: Right, all my life.

BIRDWHISTELL: Tell me--I know this is hard, but it uh--it's about the only way to ask it in terms of, you know, your early recollections as a child of being here in Hazard, I mean, what--are there certain things that, you know, like are just still in your memory from childhood?

GORMAN: Well, the--the only (laughs) let me (laughs) tell you--tell you one.


GORMAN: When I was six years old my brother had a paper route. He's two years older than I was.

BIRDWHISTELL: Which brother?

GORMAN: Perry Lee.


GORMAN: And so anyway, he--uh, he let me help him. And we--we delivered, uh, I think it's The Courier-Journal--no, it was the 36:00Knoxville Sentinel.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, the Knoxville paper? Okay.

GORMAN: And we delivered the Knoxville Sentinel down Main Street, and out through here, and up the hill. You go up Eversole, (coughs) and you go up on College, and then you go into the colored section of town, now, you refer to it as black, it was on Moore Street.


GORMAN: --Moore Street, and you would wind around, and uh, College, and Moore, and back down Cedar, you know. Well, when I was six years old, it was during the Depression, and I mean, times were hard--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, because that--yeah, you--that was right at--right in the middle of it.

GORMAN: I was born in 1924 so it's 1930--


GORMAN: --thirty-one, thirty-two. (Birdwhistell laughs) And I remember that I had holes in my shoes, and what you do when you--if you were a paperboy, you'd take part--uh, take a knife and cut out an inlay for 37:00your shoe and uh, then you go deliver your papers. Well, I remember many times as a little boy, eight--six, seven, eight years old, getting these--uh, the roads were made from cinders from the Power Company. You get those cinders up in your shoe. (Birdwhistell laughs) So (clears throat) now that was--I was elected mayor in 1978. Well, that was 1930 so forty-eight years later--okay, uh, the first--I talked Julian Carroll out of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars to blacktop all the streets in Hazard. The first street in Hazard I blacktopped, now, this is truth, was Moore Street. (both laugh)

BIRDWHISTELL: So you remembered?

GORMAN: (both laugh) Yeah, I remembered. And you see those little kids up there just--you know, just ba--barely hobbling along because of--of 38:00the cinders and all this kind of thing, but--

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

GORMAN: --but the first street I blacktopped when I became mayor was Moore Street.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) That's a great story, Mayor. How do you--how your youth connects with your--

GORMAN: Well--well, if you spend your whole life--well, of course, uh, (coughs) born in Hazard, grew up in Hazard, uh, the first job delivering papers, and uh, when I was twelve years, a fellow who was later postmaster of Hazard by the name--a boy by the name of Ward Taylow; He was the same age I was. We got a job working for Watson's store.


GORMAN: Watson's, and--and we were the janitors. Of course, we never admitted we were the janitors (both laugh) and then g--of course, I left--

BIRDWHISTELL: Were you the sanitary engineers? (laughs)

GORMAN: Is that, well, wha--whatever we were, but they um, used us 39:00pretty much as--they had one more--had a senior janitor was--they used us as helpers. In fact, Carl Ware was our--our scout master.


GORMAN: He was the manager of Watson's and uh, he just sort of liked having us around, so he gave us a job.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Were there uh--were there a lot of kids in the general area where you were growing up? I mean--

GORMAN: Oh, well yeah. I--I grew up--uh, my--our first cousins were the Coopers--


GORMAN: Did you ever hear of Vernon Cooper?


GORMAN: Dick Cooper?

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, yeah. Right.

GORMAN: My--my cousin even? Well uh, we all grew up in what was called the backwoods of Hazard in the--uh, and of course, it's not uh, the--we had a lot of--a lot of kids, you know, in Hazard, um, very fortunate. We had some good ones and we had some bad ones--


GORMAN: --and I think the Gormans and the Coopers probably had the worst 40:00reputation in the neighborhood (Birdwhistell laughs) but--

BIRDWHISTELL: Wa--was it deserved?

GORMAN: Well, we were mischievous.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Let me turn this over.

[Pause in recording.]

BIRDWHISTELL: So somethings--in some ways your closest playmates were your cousins?

GORMAN: And still are.

BIRDWHISTELL: And still are.

GORMAN: That old man over there that looks like my father?


GORMAN: Well, he's a year older than I am. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

GORMAN: Yeah, he's a f--first cousin and a--he's Vernon Cooper. He's--

BIRDWHISTELL: That's Vernon Cooper?

GORMAN: Yeah, he's president of the People's Bank and--


GORMAN: --and he's a mountain climber and--


GORMAN: --oh, he's--he's about--and he's been very--that--he grew up under the same philosophy--


GORMAN: --that we did. Uncle Dewey taught us all what we was supposed to do and what we weren't supposed to do and--

BIRDWHISTELL: What was it like in your household? W--did you live in a large house or was it--?

GORMAN: Well, we--

BIRDWHISTELL: --might seem large as a child anyway.

GORMAN: Well, it was--it's fairly, you know, it was--was comfortable. We weren't--we weren't uh, too crowded. (laughs)




BIRDWHISTELL: And I guess you did the--the regular things that kids do when they're growing up? Games and sports and--

GORMAN: Yeah. Well, the--the only thing is, this is during the Depression, there wasn't any money, Terry.


GORMAN: And uh, one thing that I remember, uh, everybody on Saturday wanted to go see cowboy show--


GORMAN: --and I nev--I never would get--one instance we had--I had a dime and I--s--the neighborhood was three other boys, and uh, one of 'em, uh, wanted to buy a pack of cigarettes, one wanted, uh, to buy a loaf of bread because he's hungry, one wanted to uh, buy one of these ten cents cricket guns--


GORMAN: --and I wanted to go to the picture show. (Birdwhistell laughs) And I think we ended up buying a pack of cigarettes. (both laugh) I've 42:00forgotten it. But anyway, uh, the Depression, you know, was a little bit different. Nobody had any money, you know, it's uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Did you know as a child that there was a depression on? I mean, did you hear the grownups talking--

GORMAN: I sure did. I--I started buying my own clothes when I was very- -very young and uh, be--because of the fact that uh, the coal industry- -my family in the coal business, my father's family, and uh--and my mother went to work for the WPA and--


GORMAN: Yeah. Oh--

BIRDWHISTELL: So--so it was--

GORMAN: It--it--

BIRDWHISTELL: --the Gormans it was a--

GORMAN: Well, it--it was a--a rough situation, but the only thing is this, is everybody is industrious, and we didn't pay any attention to it. We thought that (laughs) this is just another day, we'll make a dollar tomorrow. And uh, so the um, uh--you know, things uh, changed and got better and--and--

BIRDWHISTELL: Now, the downtown Hazard I--of the photographs I've seen 43:00of the time of your youth--

GORMAN: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: Uh, it--it's a lot different today than what it looked like back then in terms of the roads and the--

GORMAN: Well, of course, the only thing about uh--this--this was Main Street. When--when I was a little boy Main Street started down there at the parking structure.


GORMAN: And this--this was--this was just a pathway here and you went up High Street and came down what was Jail Street--


GORMAN: --and hit Main Street and went on down, you know--


GORMAN: --but--and of course, the Memorial Drive was not here. Of course, uh, since I've been mayor we built the Hazard bypass--


GORMAN: Thirty-one--

BIRDWHISTELL: And that's changed a lot.

GORMAN: --thirty-one point five million dollars, at one time was the most expensive, uh, two-mile section of road in America--

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

GORMAN: --and uh--but uh, that's s--it's changed quite a bit.

BIRDWHISTELL: Did you all spend a lot of time as--and--as kids down on the river in the summer time?

GORMAN: Well--oh, yes. Uncle Dewey lived on the--in Willard Park and he 44:00lived on the river.

BIRDWHISTELL: Where is that in relation to where we are?

GORMAN: It's about a mile and a half upstream from where we are.

BIRDWHISTELL: Upstream? Um-hm.

GORMAN: Yeah. And right behind his ha--house was an old power company dam--reservoir, dam and (coughs) so that's where we learned to swim.


GORMAN: And uh, uh, so it, uh--you know, we--we knew the river very well, enjoyed it.


GORMAN: Fi--fishing, swimming, just you name it.


GORMAN: Boating.

BIRDWHISTELL: By rowboats and--

GORMAN: Well, by rowboats. Uh, uh, I've a--uh, I don't know how many boats I've gotten but I think it's about five, (Birdwhistell laughs) and I--I had a--my big boat I had down in Florida and I brought it back to Buckhorn Lake last summer--

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

GORMAN: --and I thought, well, now I'll use it every day. I got over there one hour (Birdwhistell laughs) because this--this office is sort of--

BIRDWHISTELL: It takes all your--

GORMAN: --stressful, yeah.


BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, it'll take all your time. Um, so I guess you, as a kid, I'm trying to think, radio was uh, coming along during the twenties, and I guess at some point, you remember listening to uh radio stations from around the country?

GORMAN: Well--

BIRDWHISTELL: Cause you be--you got in the radio, didn't you?

GORMAN: Uh, television.


GORMAN: And cable--uh, the--I remember, uh, Lowell Thomas--


GORMAN: --and uh, I th--Edward R. Murrow was later.

BIRDWHISTELL: What station were you listening to? Was it WL--

GORMAN: Cincinnati, I think--


GORMAN: WLW Cincinnati, I believe. Now, uh, this--

BIRDWHISTELL: Well any of those fifty thousand watt stations--


BIRDWHISTELL: --you'd picked up, especially at night.

GORMAN: What's--what's the one in Pittsburgh?


GORMAN: K--KDKA or something? (laughs)


GORMAN: Uh, but--

BIRDWHISTELL: KDLA's (laughs)--it's library archives, but yeah KDK-- yeah, something like that.

GORMAN: But--but anyway, I've--I really got into uh--uh, I never was 46:00really interested in radio--


GORMAN: --but I was absolutely, uh, appalled by television, um, and uh, of course um, I'd read all about TV before the uh, Second World War I think, you know, by 1939 basically--


GORMAN: --and uh, in nineteen--about--uh, after the war when I was in the--got out of the service. I went to school in Bowling Green at Business University there. Then I stayed there a couple of years, and then I went on to uh, Frankfort and worked a year in the Kentucky Department of Insurance. And um, after that I worked about three years 47:00for Lloyd's of London, and uh, then I got disgusted. Every time I wou- -wan--I'd set up a date with a girl, I was working at a pipe on Hazard, well, they--they had a mine disaster in Illinois--

BIRDWHISTELL: And you were--you were out of here?

GORMAN: Well, you--Lloyd's had--they had bad habits. (both laugh) I--I never will forget I had a hot date with a beautiful girl in Pikeville, Kentucky to go to a Saturday night dance, and I called her from Tucson, Arizona and told her I--I was on the way to a zinc mine in Northern Mexico.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh goodness.

GORMAN: (coughs) So I--after about three years of this I decided I was tired of traveling, and so I came back to Hazard.

BIRDWHISTELL: You saw a lot during that period.


BIRDWHISTELL: Wha--where did you go to school here in Hazard?


GORMAN: Hazard High School.

BIRDWHISTELL: Or--what about elementary school? That--is all one?

GORMAN: Well, the Hazard city school system.


GORMAN: They just--Lower Broadway they called it in--in them days. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: Lower Broadway.

GORMAN: And then uh--went there the first six--I think the first through fifth grade or sixth--


GORMAN: --then I went to high school been--where they had six through twelve.

BIRDWHISTELL: Six through twelve?


BIRDWHISTELL: How did you like school?

GORMAN: Well, I--I--I got by. (both laugh) Uh, I was the only person in the--we had this lady who uh, was one of the greatest English and literature teachers in the country--


GORMAN: --and--but she was very hard, and that was Emma B. Ross, and she was really uh, quite some lady and uh, I was told I would never get out of her class unless I joined the--the Glee Club or the uh--either you 49:00had to be in her plays or be in the Glee Club. So I figured the Glee Club just practiced once a week (Birdwhistell laughs) and the plays--if you we--went in a play you--you studied for two months. (Birdwhistell laughs) So I went in and uh, uh, Miss Ross had us all on stage and everybody singing, you know, and everything is going fine and all of a sudden she kept--heard a discord of some kind and finally she came up, and she said, "Billy, you're to pull the curtains." (Birdwhistell laughs) And--and so for two years I pulled the curtains, but I got out of English literature. (both laugh)

BIRDWHISTELL: What--what was--what was your favorite part of school? Did--was there something you liked better than other subjects?

GORMAN: Mathematics.

BIRDWHISTELL: You liked math?

GORMAN: Math and history.


BIRDWHISTELL: Math and history?

GORMAN: Yeah. Uh, I hated English. (laughs)


GORMAN: But I liked literature, but--

BIRDWHISTELL: Did you like history in part because of the family stories and the Revolu--going back to the Civil War and the Revolution and the history of this place maybe?

GORMAN: Well, I--I--right--my favorite channel of television right now is the History Channel.


GORMAN: In other words, I just--I just love history--


GORMAN: --and my wife, uh, loves history too. Of course, she's a--an artist, you know, a commercial artist and a--that's not what you call them--graduated at five years at--she went to a girls school in uh, Nashville, work--Belmont two years and then graduated, the University of Cincinnati three years later and uh--and--but we both love history--


GORMAN: --and we travel extensively and--but we love Virginia.


GORMAN: I--I think the greatest history in this country comes from 51:00Virginia--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, that's true.

GORMAN: --till I bought a house in Florida and it's--(both laugh) and then I went to Pennsylvania (laughs) and Arizona, Mexico--


GORMAN: --uh, you know, every place has its own history and it's uh, very interesting if you open up and look at it.

BIRDWHISTELL: And get into it more.


BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Did you--uh, you had people coming here to visit uh, Uncle Dewey and uh, uh--you had people coming from--on the railroad and all kinds of things going on in Hazard when--do you know--do you recall like when you first started to think about a larger world out there, in terms of your sense of that, uh, as a--as a young person growing up, and your interest in it?

GORMAN: Well, uh, I was very fortunate. We--we had--when I was very young, we had a fellow in Hazard by the name of William A. Stanfill, 52:00and he was chairman of the Republican Party in Kentucky and um, during that period of time uh, Governor Willis was governor--


GORMAN: --and Governor Willis appointed, Mr. Stanfill who was very close to our family--in fact, I called him Uncle Bill and Aunt Mae--


GORMAN: --to the--somebody had died in the Senate, I've forgotten who it was now, so he appointed him to the Un--United State Senate. So Bill Stanfill served the remaining part of that term as the senator from Kentucky. And of course, uh, with our relationship with Uncle Dewey and all of them, we'd go to, uh, Washington and--and New York, or wherever--


GORMAN: --and uh, he didn't have any children, so I traveled with him many, many times--

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

GORMAN: --and--and uh, doing so we--we met a great many people in Washington D.C., you know.


GORMAN: And he--just like every Dirksen, Senator Dirksen--Dirksen-- 53:00Bill, Sen--Senator Dirksen came down here on a political campaign for somebody. It might've been Eisenhower, I don't remember. But uh, they sent me--Senator Dirksen flew into, uh, Tri-City's airport over at Kings--Kingsport, Bristol, and Johnson City--

BIRDWHISTELL: Johnson City. Yeah.

GORMAN: --and uh, uh, so I went over and got him, and--uh, they brought him to Harlan, and my job was to go to Harlan and bring him to Hazard. And um, so--it was the Eisenhower years because uh--anyway the um--I went over there and picked him up, and at that time as Joe Creason, who used to be with the Courier-Journal, used to talk about the road from Hazard to Manchester, called the Burma Road--


GORMAN: --well I--I brought Senator Dirksen across 4-21 from Harlan, to 54:00Hyden, to Hazard, and the road was terrible (Birdwhistell laughs) and a coal truck back to back, you know, and uh, so Senator Dirksen and I ride along, I was driving and he was braking for me. (both laugh)

BIRDWHISTELL: He was nervous.

GORMAN: And--(laughs)--and--and then he looked behind him and there's a big--a big coal truck and he looked in front, there's a big coal truck and on the other side was a coal truck (laughs) And, uh, so anyway when we got to Hazard, he says, "William," says, "Most delightful trip I've ever had in my life." And I said, "What do you mean,Senator?" He said, "I'm delighted to be out of it." (both laugh) But, uh, I remember he was speaking at the courthouse here and my job was to--to feed him. So I took him to Old Grand Hotel dining room down here, you know, and--and we'd just got in from Harlan, and--and they'd had a big barbecue over 55:00in Harlan, and he ate like a pig over there, brought him to Hazard and--w--he wanted country ham. So he ate two helpings of country ham and then he got up and he spoke those joyous tones--


GORMAN: --for two hours. A great guy. (Birdwhistell laughs) Well, the--what happened, Eisenhower was elected and uh, so I was invited to the--all the inauguration festivities, and so I got out, uh, my uh, tux or whatever, and--and uh, I just grabbed it and threw it in the suitcase and took off to Washington with some other friends. And we got up there and I smelled like a mothball. (both laugh) And--and-- gosh, smelling like mothballs and everything--



GORMAN: --and the ta--well, were wearing tails and uh, so anyway, uh, I was uh--in the grand march. Here came--uh, back in those days they had inaugural ball--


GORMAN: --uh, might have had more, but one that I know about it.


GORMAN: And uh, so they had a grand march and uh, of course, here came- -I was standing in the chair and uh, this fellow clapped his hands on my shoulders, Senator Dirksen. (Birdwhistell laughs) And of course, he--he insisted on telling President Eisenhower, and--and Mamie about his experience riding the Burma Road from Harlan to Hazard and that I was the driver.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, that's the greatest--

GORMAN: And--but anyway, of course, he was the father in law of Howard Baker, and Howard Baker's family roots are here in Perry County.


BIRDWHISTELL: I didn't know that, I believe it.

GORMAN: Yeah. Um-hm. In fact, I--they're--they're relatives of--of our family. On my mother's side, uh, uh, my great-great grandfather Baker, um, in eight--I think he's born about 1811. He um, used to go hunting with a fellow from--by the name of Griffy, from Prestonsburg, and they'd go down the Smokey Mountains--


GORMAN: --and during the--the Trail of Tears--they knew an Indian chief down there.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

GORMAN: --and uh, the uh--of course, everybody is a chief, you know, you never knew any regular Indians--

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right.

GORMAN: --but this was actually--a friend of theirs was the Indian chief that they would hunt with. Well, the Indian chief had a daughter and uh--who, I don't know what her original name was but they called Elizabeth. Well, uh, when Andrew Jackson started this thing with 58:00the--doing away with the Indians in--in the eastern part of the United States, this chief sent his daughter to Prestonsburg--


GORMAN: --and uh, then the--my--this Mr. Griffy, or whoever he was, advised my great-great grandfather that uh--he had her over there, and so he went from Hazard to Prestonsburg, brought her back to Hazard and married her--

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

GORMAN: --this--this Indian. They--and they had eleven children and um, she's uh, uh, probably where our family got all its brains, (Birdwhistell laughs) but uh, uh, Baker Hill here in Hazard--


GORMAN: --is part of the town just beyond uh, Main Street.

BIRDWHISTELL: There--there's a building over here with Baker on--is that the--

GORMAN: Oh, yeah, that's the same family.


GORMAN: And it's a very prominent family and (coughs) if you go anywhere 59:00from Maine to California, or England, or Scotland, Ireland, you'll find the Bakers have all been there.


GORMAN: And uh--but (coughs) anyway, the uh, uh, family is very prominent, very attractive people. And we're--we're right proud of them but uh, every now and then somebody gives me a hard time and I tell them I 'm gonna file as a minority.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) During the uh--during the heart of the Depression, when uh, things were tough all over, and uh, uh, the Roosevelt administration starts in the s--spring of '33, Happy Chandler is elected governor in '35--of course, Laffoon was uh, elected governor in '31, Chandler in '35, uh, uh, Alben Barkley is uh, the majority 60:00leader in the United States Senate. He's huge. Uh, uh, was there any uh--ever any uh, thinking among your family that the Democrats--that you might want to become Democrats during all of this?

GORMAN: Terry, uh, in our lifetime, in the lifetime of our family, uh, we've been Republicans, but all the people that you've mentioned have been very close friends of our family--


GORMAN: --and uh, down through the years--Alben Barkley, you know, I told you I was in the Jaycees with uh, Wendell Ford--


GORMAN: --well, we had Alben Barkley, when he was vice president fly in to Bowling Green to speak to the Jaycees.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right? (laughs)


GORMAN: And (coughs) the first thing Alben Barkley did when uh, I talked to him, he asked me about my grandfather, (Birdwhistell laughs) and about Uncle Dewey. (both laugh) And I was the only person he asked about any member of the family, but--'cause, you know, we're--we're Republicans, but we--we're not--uh, uh, I don't know how to put it: we ain't stupid.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Oh, that's great. That's great. Um, tell me a little bit about--you told me a little bit about high school, I guess, did you play sports in high school?

GORMAN: (coughs) Well, I wanted to--


GORMAN: --but uh, to tell you the truth the uh--during my high school days--when I was very small, I had rickets and uh, I played--uh, we had 62:00a football and basketball coach by the name of Pat Payne. Pat was a great educator. (coughs) On his uh--uh, I took chemistry un--on--under him--


GORMAN: --and one of the questions were, who were the four horsemen? On the chemistry test. (Birdwhistell laughs) So he--you know, he really had his mind on--on chemistry, but uh, anyway, as growing up, uh, I ended up working at Hazard Insurance, and around the bank, and all this kind of thing, from the time I was fifteen years old, sixteen. And um, I was typing insurance policies ba--back in those days, and I don't know how much I was making. (coughs) I remember my uncle and uh, the former mayor of Hazard, Blondie Eblen, were uh, developing the real estate in Woodland Park which is now crowded, (coughs) and my job was 63:00to cut the weeds, and I don't remember whether they paid me ten cents an hour or ten cents a day. (Birdwhistell laughs) I believe it was more like ten cents a day.

BIRDWHISTELL: I'd say that's probably closer to it. Yeah. (laughs)

GORMAN: But--but anyway, uh, I love sports and uh--but I--but I've never really been, uh--I'm not very agile and--

BIRDWHISTELL: So you were--you had your head into the business side early on then.

GORMAN: Well, the uh--all our family has. We've--uh, uh, we were never- -uh, we were always taught to work--


GORMAN: --and--and, but uh, Uncle Dewey, and my mother and various ones up always said, "Don't just work, think." You know, use your--u--use your mind, whatever vision you have, all this kind of thing; that's what counts. And--and I think one of the successes we've had in Hazard 64:00is for a new vision for Eastern Kentucky--


GORMAN: --not just a vision for Hazard, because what happens good in Eastern Kentucky, is good for Hazard.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. You know, I was thinking of--and this is really off the chronology, but that--we can do that when we want to in these interviews in that--you know, the railroad comes in 1912, and y--we still read about, um, there not being a university--four year university in this region and of course, in nineteen--the 1906 legislature placed--created two normal schools in Kentucky. You know that story. They put one at Richmond and one in Bowling Green.

GORMAN: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: And you just have to wonder what if, you know, in 1906 there's been land here, and the leadership here, and the political influence here to bring that--to bring that institution here.


GORMAN: Well, of course you know, the--this has been one of my--uh, Hazard, in this area, is the furthest away from the four--with a four year uh, university than anywhere in Kentucky--

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right.

GORMAN: --and Bert Combs, after he did the thing on education, trying-- equalizing--


GORMAN: --Bert Combs says, "The next thing we'll do, Bill, is he'll- -we'll bring suit to be sure that the people in the outer reaches of Kentucky receive a four year education." And of course, I've been working with the president of community college, and Dr. Custra, and uh, Dr. Agnent, and uh, and I think there's been some um, commu- -communications with the university about having the uh, Mountain University Center and that we want it located here, where that uh, our 66:00children can get a four year degree without leaving the mountains and of course, it's very hard to bring all that stuff back especially when you have a senate that don't get along with the house, (Birdwhistell laughs) and a governor who doesn't get along with the senate, that-- that--

BIRDWHISTELL: So the timing is not right for it exactly now, but--

GORMAN: But I'm seventy-five years old here, I can't wait very much longer. (laughs) I--I buy no green bananas.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) But you have to, you know, I--obviously that's gone through your mind many, many times. In nineteen--what? Twenty- two, they put a--they put institutions at Morehead and Murray--


BIRDWHISTELL: --you know.

GORMAN: Well, in nineteen--about 1966,'67, the Bert--no, uh, yeah, 67:00Bert Combs had promised that the uh, two year college, the Hazard Community College, be located in Letcher County. And um, so uh, I was in television, so I got hold of--Willy Dawahares and I did a talk show together called Communique. So uh, we had a little studio down here on Main Street. I got a hold of Ned Breathitt and I invited Ned, he was speaking to Civic Night out here in Hazard. The Civic Night is a very interesting thing and we're--we're working on the plans for it right now. That'll give you an idea of what we're talking about.


GORMAN: So (coughs) anyway, Willy and I took Ned in and uh, we set him down and started talking to him, and we asked Ned if uh, uh, at that time, the University of Kentucky recommends that the community college 68:00be built in Hazard, would he go along with it? And of course, uh, we talked to Ned before we got on the air and Ned says, "Uh, I will go along with recommendations of the University of Kentucky." And so that's why the community college is located in Hazard.

BIRDWHISTELL: How about that?

GORMAN: But uh, the only thing is this, that uh, we put on a--a--a telethon for the Hazard Community College and for the university, and I think we raised about a hundred thousand dollars and in one ten-- ten-hour period, because our people are hungry for an education. And of course, we have twenty-five hundred--twenty-eight hundred students here--


GORMAN: --at the Hazard Community College. And I don't agree with the governor. I think that the community colleges should still be under the umbrella of the University of Kentucky.


BIRDWHISTELL: 'Cause you were on that side of that issue?

GORMAN: Well, and--and of course, I don't think the technical schools have any business in uh--in the academic side of the ledger. Um, it's good for them to get whatever they can get, but they're two different institutions and as two--uh, uh, one young fellow came in here and--and uh, wanted to go to uh, the vocational school. He said, "I don't want to take all that crap," he said, " I want to learn electronics--"

BIRDWHISTELL: Right, a few skills. Learn the skills.

GORMAN: "--I want to learn this, the skills." And he said, "I don't have time to go there for two years or whatever, you know." And--but uh, different--

BIRDWHISTELL: You know the uh--the last Republican governor in Kentucky--

GORMAN: Louie?

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) He--he created a school in Northern Kentucky and brought U of L into the state system--

GORMAN: Um-hm. Yeah, I remember that.

BIRDWHISTELL: --and uh, you know, this region was--missed another 70:00opportunity.

GORMAN: Well, the--here uh, uh, we--we're--uh, it's--it's the forgotten land. And the only thing is this, is Hazard, Kentucky--uh, Pikeville's a good town, London's a good town, but the best town in the--Eastern Kentucky is Hazard, Kentucky; and the reason I can say that is I'm the mayor of Hazard (both laugh) and of course--

BIRDWHISTELL: I wouldn't expect you to c--name another one.

GORMAN: The--the--the mayor of London might disagree, and the mayor of Pikeville might disagree, but--but still the--what we got--we got this- -this great need, and they talk about what's wrong with Appalachia? The thing that is the greatest wrong with Appalachia, the greatest problem is not jobs; it's education. You give me the--the uh, people who have 71:00the proper education, and I'll get 'em the jobs. In Hazard, Kentucky right now, I can show you where we've brought in--well, when the president came he brought in Sykes Incorporated. Uh, they will have probably six hundred employees. Ther--they have, right now in Hazard-- the uh, um, manager of Sykes was at the chamber meeting here at uh, nine o'clock, eight-thirty, just before you got here, Terry; they got three hundred people they're already working.

BIRDWHISTELL: How about that?

GORMAN: The uh, uh, Trust Joist McMillan; a hundred and twenty eight million--a hundred and thirty two million dollar investment in Perry County out here. They've got four hundred employees. The um--we got the--DJ Incorporated, which is a--a plastic injection system. 72:00Uh, we have over a hundred employees there. The Perry County Manu- -Manufacturing Company, which is a clothing manufacturer; we have four hundred--three hundred seventy-five people working there. Uh, on March the thirty-first we're breaking ground for a new veterans' uh, nursing home. They'll have--it'll be a hundred and twenty men nursing home, veterans' center, and they'll have a 156 jobs there. And uh, their payroll will be three--three and a half million dollars according to the information that we have. And uh, it's--of course, uh, we're one of the few people in--places in the country where we got a new betting parlor. And uh, uh, uh, I've got people running against some of my people on the city commission 'cause they're against betting. 73:00(Birdwhistell laughs) And a fellow told me he was against betting the other day and his--when he told me about it, he was buying a lottery ticket. (Birdwhistell laughs) But--but here, Terry, Hazard is a medical center.


GORMAN: We have the UK Center for Rural Health here.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. Got the ARC--H, I mean.

GORMAN: The AR--uh, Appalachian Regional Hospital. We must have, affiliated and directly in the medical profession, thirty-five hundred people working in Hazard Kentucky.


GORMAN: The biggest payroll in Perry County is not the coal mines anymore; it's the medical payroll.


GORMAN: And uh, uh, we're getting ready to do quite a few expansions at the hospital. It's looking pretty good.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Wow. Um, we'll come back to uh--we'll come back to that economic development issue as we get into uh, the nuts and bolts 74:00of your--

GORMAN: Okay. Okay.

BIRDWHISTELL: --administration. We talked about education. We talked about colleges, when--what year did you graduate from high school?

GORMAN: Nineteen forty-three.

BIRDWHISTELL: Nineteen forty-three.

GORMAN: Went directly into the United States Army--

BIRDWHISTELL: Did you give any--

GORMAN: --Field Artillery.

BIRDWHISTELL: --did you give any uh, thought to leaving high school early to go to--to get in the Army? You weren't old enough I guess.

GORMAN: Well uh, I was eighteen. I had a lot of classmates that did and uh--but the only thing is this, is--most of them went into special programs in the--the military. Well, uh, I enjoyed the military, but I- -I wasn't enamored by it and uh, uh, of course, at that time I had other jobs and doing other things. And uh, um, I know one of my friends had left high school early, a boy here from Hazard, John--John Goodnet. He 75:00just retired as vice president of Mar--of Martin Marietta Aircraft--


GORMAN: -- and he left high school, uh, um, to go into the Air Force; and he came back, of course, and got his education and uh, um, and he was one of my classmates. And of course, we got a War Memorial out here--


GORMAN: --and uh, I don't know how many of my close friends killed--

BIRDWHISTELL: On that--on that memorial? When the uh--when war was building in Europe, you're just entering your teenage years at that point, uh, just as a teenager, uh, what did you make of the world situation in the late thirties, as you saw it developing? Were you paying attention to--through your--

GORMAN: Very much so. Um, the uh--we had a teacher, Ms. Rogers, 76:00and uh, she graduated from the University of Chicago, very able uh, history, government teacher. And uh, she made us aware and--of everything going on. And uh, she was a very, very fine teacher. And uh, the--the only thing is this of course, we--you know, just like the holocaust, Terry, uh, nobody had any idea what that was all about.


GORMAN: Uh, the main thing that we knew about was when uh, Poland and--

BIRDWHISTELL: The invasion.

GORMAN: --the--the invasions and then, of course, uh, we watched Hitler and uh, and of course, in this country at that time, there was a lot of confusion among the leaders as who were our friends--


GORMAN: --you know, just like uh, Lindberg--Lindberg liked the--the 77:00Germans--


GORMAN: --and of course, the--the English--uh, uh, I've talked to many people who fought side by side with the English; they hate their guts, you know. (both laugh) But--but the only thing is this, as my family's background is English and Scotch-Irish, and uh, uh--but I--I--I could hear this doctor who uh--he said--they put him in charge of a hospital that belonged--that was really an English hospital, and he said they're so dumb you couldn't get them to do anything, and--and he said they'd-- he'd tell them to operate on one thing, they operated on something else. (Birdwhistell laughs) But--but--and of course, you know, the--the--uh, you know, it was just--I don't know.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Uh, how--how did you react to it personally? Did 78:00you--did you know--did you have a sense that at some point this would affect you personally? That you would have to go over?

GORMAN: Oh, yeah. We--we--

BIRDWHISTELL: You and your brothers?

GORMAN: Yeah. My--had one brother serving in the Marine Corps, two in the Air Force--


GORMAN: --and I served in the artillery.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. So when you graduated from high school, did you uh--did you wait for the draft or did you go ahead and joined?

GORMAN: I volunteered.

BIRDWHISTELL: You volunteered?

GORMAN: I wanted to get it over with. I figured if I got over, I'd close it. (both laugh)

BIRDWHISTELL: Now, as you said you had--you had traveled, you'd gone to Washington and New York, uh, and I meant to ask you back then--let me--when you were traveling as a--as a young person would you travel by train out of Hazard? Uh, would you take the train out of Hazard, or would you drive to somewhere and--and catch a train?

GORMAN: Well, what we would usually do, we--we would uh, drive over to Abbington and go--uh, go up old, what was it? Eighty?



GORMAN: Not 80, 81? No, it wasn't 81--the--the Lee Highway, I think that's what it is, isn't it?

BIRDWHISTELL: I'm not sure what the number was.

GORMAN: But anyway, it's--it used to take uh, thirteen hours to fifteen hours to get from Hazard to Washington, D.C. Now we do it in eight hours.


GORMAN: And uh--but uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: So you'd drive up there?

GORMAN: We--we'd drive usually. Usually take four people with you, or five--you know, uh, usually it was a political trip to get some--uh, something for the region, you know.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm. Um, so where did you go to join the service? Did they have a place here in town where you could join?

GORMAN: Went to--joined here and uh, they shipped you off to Cincinnati. (both laugh)

BIRDWHISTELL: Hang on just a second. Let me turn it.

[Pause in recording.]

BIRDWHISTELL: So you--you enlisted here, and they sent you off to uh, 80:00Cincinnati?

GORMAN: It was Cincinnati, um-hm, to Fort Thomas, you know, it's across the river from Cincinnati.

BIRDWHISTELL: Were you worried?

GORMAN: No, I had a good time.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) You weren't worried.

GORMAN: Well, you know, you uh--at that age, you know, that's the reason they use young people to fight wars.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right.

GORMAN: They don't think about what's gonna happen to them.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right. You--you think you're invincible, right?

GORMAN: Well, you just--you just don't--I don't think it ever entered my mind that uh--that the reason I was learning to shoot a 105 howitzer was to kill somebody. I thought it was--I thought it was someth--a skill to learn to shoot to hit a target, and uh, you know, you just uh, um, at that age I--I--I think that's the best age to have soldiers.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) So you went to Fort Thomas. Then where'd you go from there?

GORMAN: Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

BIRDWHISTELL: And then more training?

GORMAN: More training. I was injured, uh, later on down there in--


GORMAN: Well, uh, we had a little problem with an explosion, and uh, so 81:00I got out early.

BIRDWHISTELL: One of the guns exploded?

GORMAN: Yeah. Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

GORMAN: Well, it was im--uh, im--impact from it, you know, and--but uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Were you hurt badly?

GORMAN: Oh, I--I've had three back operations because of it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

GORMAN: Yeah. And of course, my right foot is quite--I've still got a scar on it.



BIRDWHISTELL: But it probably saved your hearing though?

GORMAN: Well, yeah, the--the--(laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: Everybody I've interviewed who was in artillery can't hear very well. (laughs)

GORMAN: Well, you know, I--we always used cotton, you know. I never--I never thought too much about it.


GORMAN: But uh, my main job, I was one of the battery clerks and this kind of thing, and--'cause I grew up in a business office, you know, and--


GORMAN: --and uh--but you had to take so much training.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you were injured. You were--you joined in '43--

GORMAN: Forty-three.

BIRDWHISTELL: --when were you injured?

GORMAN: Oh, about six months later--

BIRDWHISTELL: Six months--

GORMAN: --something like that, seven months, something like that.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you were in the hospital for a while and then came home?

GORMAN: Yeah. Orthopedics Ward. I spent my whole lifetime in orpa-- 82:00orth--orthopedics wards.


GORMAN: Uh, in '97 I spent--I had two uh, major back surgeries and of course, the Orthopedics Ward. In '91 I was at Shands Hospital (laughs) University of Florida, Orthopedics Ward.


GORMAN: I asked them, I said, "Don't they have any other wards in the hospital?"


[Pause in recording.]

BIRDWHISTELL: You want to hang on, I'm gonna try the other one.

[Pause in recording.]

BIRDWHISTELL: All right now talk directly from--from your military--

GORMAN: Beg your pardon?

BIRDWHISTELL: It all comes from your military injury?


BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. So you got back early then?

GORMAN: Yeah. I went on back and went to sch--uh, came back here and went to school in Bowling Green.

BIRDWHISTELL: Why did you choose to go to Bowling Green?

GORMAN: Well, uh, my uncle and my family decided that--that if I went down there, I couldn't come home every weekend. You know, they called uh, Eastern the Suitcase College--

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right.

GORMAN: --and they knew it's just thirty minutes (laughs) further at uh, UK and uh--but one of my um, brothers' good friends was on the staff, 83:00or something at--at Western, and at the Business University.

BIRDWHISTELL: You know Louie Nunn went there.

GORMAN: Yeah. I knew--I've known Louie for fifty years.

BIRDWHISTELL: And Lee went there.

GORMAN: Yeah. Um-hm. I uh, I didn't know Lee went there--I knew Louie did.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Lee Nunn went there and Governor Nunn was there when the war broke out.

GORMAN: Hmm. Did--I--I don't remember when Louie was there. I was at--at the very end of the war.


GORMAN: Forty--forty-four, forty-five.

BIRDWHISTELL: Louie Nunn was there when--um, in '41 when the war broke out.

GORMAN: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: Uh, so uh, how long were you in Bowling Green?

GORMAN: I was there about two years, a little over two years.

BIRDWHISTELL: How did you like that?

GORMAN: Oh, I loved Bowling Green. In fact, if it wasn't for Hazard, I'd live in Bowling Green. (Birdwhistell laughs) When I went there, it was nine thousand people, Terry.


BIRDWHISTELL: Had that town square--

GORMAN: Yeah, and--

BIRDWHISTELL: --a nice southern town, wasn't it?

GORMAN: Oh, yeah. Well, you know, uh, while I was there this fellow by--uh, that uh, was working at a filling station down there, that you might have heard of--


GORMAN: Julian Goodman.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

GORMAN: You know who Ju--Julian Goodman is?


GORMAN: President of NBC. (Birdwhistell laughs) Uh, I hadn't seen Julian in years. I went to Washington--uh, I mean to New York--I went to Washington first. I had dinner with John Sherman Cooper, and uh, Bill uh, Paylin, and uh, Dr.--whatever his--Dr. Stanton, CBS--


GORMAN: --and uh, I'd just built a TV station--I was building it, and I wanted an affiliation network. John Cooper says don't--says, "Don't say anything. Don't say anything." And the next morning he sent me to see Julian Goodman in New York, uh, at NBC, and uh, I walked in this 85:00sumptuous office, fifth floor I believe, I forgot what floor, and--and uh, anyway, down these softly lighted hallways, and here's a lady here that uh, um, talked to you, you know, and tell you, "You go right on down here," and a lady here and, "Go on down here." (Birdwhistell laughs) Finally, I went in his office and this fellow sitting there by the desk with--with his back to me watching three television sets, ABC, NBC, and CBS, turned around--red headed fellow, turned around, and he said, "Hell, I know you." I said, "I know you from somewhere," and I couldn't figure it out.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

GORMAN: And--and (coughs) I know him from Bowling Green. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: Isn't that something.

GORMAN: And so on May the sixth--uh, I'd been through this TV station crap for about eight or nine months without an--affiliation, cost 86:00you about three or four hundred dollars an hour for programming, and uh, so, I--uh, Julian and I met, we didn't even discuss it. And uh, May the sixth, his office called me, or my secretary called me, I was in Lexington and said, "Well, you've--as of the first of the month, uh, you have an NBC affiliation." And so, uh then, I've operated the station till 1985, and I sold out to um, Kentucky Central Broadcasting and uh--the um--but I was NBC, and they're CBS.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. So you'd been--you operated as NBC news, then switched.

GORMAN: Yeah. I--I--I preferred--I prefer NBC.


GORMAN: I think they're easier people to get along with.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Yeah well, when WHAS switched to ABC, I think it's--nothing was sacred then.


GORMAN: They--well, WHAS is uh--of course, ABC is a good network. They're all good networks now, you know--

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, yeah, yeah.

GORMAN: But the only--

BIRDWHISTELL: It's interesting to watch their development--

GORMAN: Yeah. Well, you know, the--the thing that uh, is happening in television today is uh, there's so much junk.


GORMAN: Uh, you know, here--uh, we operate a cable system, we got thirty-five, forty channels, whatever and um--but I've got a satellite dish, and uh, I can pick up, uh, it's supposed to be a hundred channels, and when I tune it up, there's about ten you want to watch. (Birdwhistell laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) So there's quantity and then there's quality?

GORMAN: That's right. And the--there--there, you know, there's a lot of these--this stuff out here, it's freebies, you know, and uh--but uh, it's fun.

BIRDWHISTELL: So when you were at--at Bowling Green Business, did you work part time while you were down there or did you go to school full time?

GORMAN: No, I went to school full time. I was in a hurry.


BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Was your goal to uh, finish the--your--your work down there and come back to Hazard then and get involved in the family business?

GORMAN: Well, the--the--after I was in Bowling Green, um, I was offered a job with the Department of Insurance, State of Kentucky, and I went up there and spent a year.

BIRDWHISTELL: How did you--how--how come you were offered that?

GORMAN: By our family's insurance business and--


GORMAN: --and just through Uncle Dewey and--


GORMAN: --and insurance connections, and then I'd been there about a year and--and I--I was offered a job at Lloyd's of London.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you went and moved to Frankfort and worked--

GORMAN: Worked a year.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. And how did you like that?

GORMAN: Loved it. (coughs) It's a great place to--good people, friendly people. I--all this kind of thing, but--

BIRDWHISTELL: Are you still single?

GORMAN: Yeah. I--when I went to Bowling Green there was--I--I think 89:00twelve hundred girls and thirty-five boys. (coughs) So I did not--I say I didn't work. I worked somewhat, (Birdwhistell laughs) but we had a lot of fun.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, that's good, that's good. So you went to Frankfort, stayed there a year with the Department of Insurance and then worked for--you--how did you get this other offer?

GORMAN: Family.


GORMAN: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Now, what was the offer? What--what were you--what were you gonna be doing?

GORMAN: Well I (coughs) worked pretty much as a--in the claims department and I worked in the--with the safety people. You know, back in the old days a--a lot of this stuff, Terry, was not so specialized.


GORMAN: You more--you're either--you're public relations, you--you do the whole ball of wax, you know, and uh--and I thought it was great experience and I--so, I enjoyed doing it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Where--and you're headquartered here?

GORMAN: No, well, I was in Pikeville, and I was here, and I was (laughs) 90:00different places, you know--

BIRDWHISTELL: Did you live here?

GORMAN: Well no, just sort of suit--uh, suitcase kind of thing, different places and--

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

GORMAN: Yeah. It was very educational.

BIRDWHISTELL: And you said you traveled around the country--


BIRDWHISTELL: --around Mexico--

GORMAN: Everywhere, to Canada. (laughs) S--(coughs)--and traveling was a little more difficult then. (Birdwhistell laughs) If you got on a plane you--you might get to London, Kentucky or you might go to--uh, uh, from Lexington to Frankfort, you know--


GORMAN: --and uh--but it was a lot of fun.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. Um, and that was interesting time, that postwar period. I mean, things were really--things were really hopping.

GORMAN: Well, the--the--the thing that happened was um, I got tired of it, and I came back in the--I worked for the bank and the insurance agency and for a coal company and--


BIRDWHISTELL: What year did you come back to stay?

GORMAN: Oh, '49-50, probably. I've forgotten, '48 or something like that. Well, that wind is blowing in, excuse me.

BIRDWHISTELL: Somebody's pushing something. (Gorman laughs) So what was it like to be back in Hazard full time?

GORMAN: Like being in heaven.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) It felt good, huh? (both laugh)

GORMAN: That uh--but--but you know, the thing about it is this, with all your friends--not all your friends, but all your people, all your relatives, all these people, uh, that you've known all your life, and of course, the thing about it is this, that our family is never just, "Come here and sit down." We--we have always been taught to go out, and see, and seek, and learn, and then come back, you know. And uh, uh, 92:00so, you know, we--we're--Cousin Vernon--Vern--(coughs)--Vernon don't have uh, enough--enough to do, so he spent his life climbing mountains all over the world. (Birdwhistell laughs) And I told him, I said, "Vernon, climb Peter's Peak, it's right behind your house."

BIRDWHISTELL: And he don't even have to leave home to do it. (laughs) Whe--when you got back here then, what did you see as uh--did you have your--sort of your life and career planned out or were you were just trying to make your way and see how things worked out?

GORMAN: Well uh, I sort of envisioned myself being uh, in various businesses like our family. Uh, I had--I worked around the bank. I never liked the banking business. I never liked to say no to anybody.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) And there's some of that in banking--

GORMAN: Well--


BIRDWHISTELL: --if you're going to be a banker for a while.

GORMAN: --well, if uh--y--if you know how to say no, if somebody else has to say no and they--just like being mayor, they come in here. If they say no down stairs, they come up and get a yes up here. And you know, there's this kind of thing, but uh, the general insurance, and banking, and various uh, business interests, uh, you know, just uh always fascinated me.

BIRDWHISTELL: So how do you get it going? You got--you got a job working at the bank and with the insurance company, which is connected to the bank.

GORMAN: Well--well the insurance is family--

BIRDWHISTELL: Family. It's all in the family.

GORMAN: My--my son, for instance, is uh--um, my nephew is president of Citizens Bank, now. Of course, our family were in the People's Bank, and then when uh, uh, my aunt died, uh, they sol--our cousin bought the interest, and uh, our family went across the street and bought the other bank. So--but my son is the Hazard Insurance Agency and my nephew is 94:00president of the--of the Citizens Bank, and uh, we old timers just sort of sitting around uh, trying to clip cuc--coupons or whatever.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Um--but as you got into the family business, you were obviously good at what you were doing and you were successful?

GORMAN: Well, we were still eating. (Birdwhistell laughs) That uh--well, um, along with uh, being in the--fooling with the insurance business and working for Uncle Dewey in the bank, uh, I built a subdivision, I built commercial buildings, and--and I've--of course, was working on Buckhorn and getting it uh, built and--and uh, Carr's Fork, but you got to realize that a lot of this stuff, Terry, is people working together.



GORMAN: In other words, no single person ever built a mountain. He had to have the Lord or somebody helped him somewhere. And uh--but uh, all the projects that we've had and uh, down through the years and all-- whatever success we've had, is dependent on other people's contribution as well as our own, and uh, it's uh, very hard to spell out just exactly what's--it's--it's, you know, the philosophy of life is pretty much where you go from, you know, and--

BIRDWHISTELL: You know, when I was driving down there, I was listening to a--a segment on NPR, they were talking about the uh, um, the--the people in Seattle, with Microsoft?

GORMAN: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: --who've uh, made a lot of money--

GORMAN: Bill Gate's crowd?

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. And these um, uh, millionaires and multimillionaires in the Seattle area and uh, the uh, issue out there 96:00is that these people were uh, so very young when they acquired all this wealth, and that it's taken them some time to know what to do--wha-- what to do with it and how they've become involved. But see, you grew up in a family of uh, a tradition of uh, civic responsibility, I guess, so it--for you it wasn't that--

GORMAN: W--well--

BIRDWHISTELL: --difficult to be involved in community because that's where you started.

GORMAN: Well, I heard a TV program, Terry, in 1954 called the Hungry American on CBS (laughs)--


GORMAN: --and uh, that's when I decided that I wanted to build a TV station.

BIRDWHISTELL: How did you--how--how did you equate--how did you come to a TV station from that?

GORMAN: Well see, in nineteen--our family--uh, I went in the TV cable business in 1949.


GORMAN: We--we had cable in Hazard, Kentucky in '49 and when in 97:00Lexington? Seventy-five?

BIRDWHISTELL: Um, I didn't get it in '75. I got it later than that. (laughs)

GORMAN: Well, what I'm saying is this, this is probably the second oldest cable system in--system in America.

BIRDWHISTELL: And you started it?

GORMAN: Yeah. And uh--well, I--I was one of the ones.

BIRDWHISTELL: I understand.

GORMAN: Like I say--(coughs)--

BIRDWHISTELL: I understand. (laughs)

GORMAN: --nobody builds his own mountain, you know, and uh--but then, uh, so after we got the cable business, uh, we had--uh, the CBS people brought a news crew down here and they did this Hungry American, and if you don't think that I burnt Bill Payley's ears up--and Dr. Stanton, because what they did, they made fun of our people. And um, uh, here they stood in front of the new Miners Memorial Hospital out there, John L. Lewis had just built--


GORMAN: --what, ten million dollars or something like that, and the--the 98:00film crews took, uh, the people they wanted to interview over in front of a shed and they showed the shed instead of this magnificent new hospital at that time.


GORMAN: And did a--and they got a couple of boys on there bec--called the Waltrip boys. I went in the service with the Waltrip boys, and now they're preachers, but then they were devils. (both laugh)

BIRDWHISTELL: They had a conversion?

GORMAN: Yeah, they had a conversion. But um, anyway, they were talking about uh, the governments and all these uh, grapefruits in here and tell them--tell uh, the CBS--made a fool out of CBS--uh, uh, reporter and the cameraman because they were explaining to them just exactly how you cook grapefruits. And all you do is making a fool out of it, those boys have made millions of dollars, but they were as smart as they--as they could be but the only thing is this, is it ended up on national 99:00television, (Birdwhistell laughs) and that was not good.

BIRDWHISTELL: What about recently the Roary Kennedy uh, film did you see that?

GORMAN: Uh yeah I read where Roary is going to be in town tomorrow.


GORMAN: And--and the article I read where my friend D. Davis says that uh what uh, he's saying is typical. Well, D. needs to go back to school. D--D's uh, D's father is one of my business--old business partners.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

GORMAN: Yeah, but--and--but D--I--you know, is always--all right to be nice to everybody but, and uh, I--in uh, whatever year Bobby Kennedy was killed.

BIRDWHISTELL: Sixty-eight.

GORMAN: Sixty-eight. Bobby Kennedy came to Hazard in '68. I have a picture hanging on my wall with me and Bobby Kennedy, where I had 100:00interviewed him on television, um, just before that, and we were on Liberty Street and I--he was--uh, his--he was shivering. I gave Bobby Kennedy my coat and he wore it for a week and sent it back to me.


GORMAN: And uh--but I've got a great big picture up--at home, on the wall of Bobby Kennedy and myself, and I have a note from Bobby, um, just before he was assassinated thanking me for his visit to Hazard. But Roary--I uh--Roary, at that time, I--when I interviewed Bobby, uh, Roary was in the womb and Roary never saw Bobby, if--if I remember correctly. And uh--but I knew Jack. I knew Jack real well. He was a great friend of John Sherman Cooper's. And--


GORMAN: --Uh, I used to smoke a black cigar, and uh, Jack Kennedy smoked 101:00a green Havana cigar. So what I'd do is--Jack Kennedy would reach in my pocket and get four or five black cigars, cost a dime, I--Black I-Bo's. (Birdwhistell laughs) and he'd replace with--with four--four or five whatever, of his green cigars and I said, "Uh, senator, why you want to do that for?" I said, "Hell, I'd give you these," I said, "You can buy a--a box of these for what one of those costs." He says, "I can't get them." And so uh, anyway, what he'd do, he'd chew them; (Birdwhistell laughs) but uh, I liked Bobby, he was a real nice fellow. And of course, Ted came here later on and uh, Ted is all right but uh, he's--he didn't seem to have the uh, compassion I--that I felt Bobby did. And of course, Jack Kennedy was great.


BIRDWHISTELL: Why do you think uh, John Sherman Cooper and uh, John Kennedy were such great friends?

GORMAN: Uh, I think one time they were both single in the Senate, (both laugh) and I'm--I'm--or at least they were single in the Senate. I don't know whether they were married or not but they were single in the Senate, but uh--and I hadn't thought of that until you asked for that--


GORMAN: --Terry.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, yeah. They sure were tight though.

GORMAN: Well, we--uh, I used to go to some club up there, what--


GORMAN: My, I don't remember the name of it.

BIRDWHISTELL: I bet it was.

GORMAN: I never did look at the name. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: It was probably Cosmos.

GORMAN: Cosmos, probably.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's where Senator Cooper liked to hang out.

GORMAN: Yeah. But uh--but now you--you're going back in my youth--

BIRDWHISTELL: I know I am. (laughs)

GORMAN: I don't remember where I was last--(Birdwhistell laughs)--last Friday in Frankfort. But uh, anyway, it's uh--fun.


BIRDWHISTELL: Why do you think--what is it about your family, both the Gormans and the Coopers, uh, going back to your Uncle Dewey Daniel that uh, you all seem to be able to see things, to be able to plan and--and invest and make a go of enterprises, where other people might have an idea, or other people might have a thing they want to do but it doesn't- -why did--why is it you think that--and I'm sure you've had some--things that didn't succeed as well as you wandered along the way, but it seems like by and large your family has a knack for making things work.

GORMAN: Well, we--we've also got a brother who was--gone bankrupt.



BIRDWHISTELL: I didn't know that. Yeah.

GORMAN: Well, I just want to put the record straight.

BIRDWHISTELL: I understand. That's--

GORMAN: The uh--the uh--and of course, he came back and he's made a lot of money since that time.


GORMAN: But uh, I think what it is, is really the basic education you- 104:00-you don't get in a college; you get it at your Uncle Dewey's knee, uh, or your mother's knee or your father's knee. I think uh, we've all been taught to be conservative, and to uh, respect the other people, and respect ideas and uh--but I think probably the uh, thing that taught me the most; I worked for my family for 335 dollars a month for years, and uh, I--they were just about starving me to death. So I went out and I went into--to the real estate business, and--not as an agent but developing real estate and building houses and I was making forty- two hundred dollars a year working for my family eight hours a day, and after four o'clock in the afternoon I'd make a hundred thousand dollars 105:00a year. (both laugh) I could--I could've--but the only thing is this is, is that was the only way I could get by. And--

BIRDWHISTELL: That's a great story.

GORMAN: --when I built the TV station everybody said I was crazy and--

BIRDWHISTELL: Why did they think you were crazy?

GORMAN: Well, because this--the market would not support a TV station.


GORMAN: And uh, I went before the Federal Communications Commission, uh, and uh, these--these fellas sort of made it--made fun of me. And uh, I told them, I said, "You give me a chance." And uh, they said, "You don't have a market place." So I came back to Hazard and I got--in the area I got contracts signed for pr--potential advertisers in order to get the Federal Communications Commission to agree--to give me a license. And uh, so uh, I took the uh, contracts back, and sat down, 106:00and talked to them. Man, they wrote me out a license. They said, "You won't last six months, but go ahead." And the station has uh--has been on the air, what? Thirty years? Thirty-five years? Forty?

BIRDWHISTELL: But now you weren't in radio before that, right?


BIRDWHISTELL: I thought you were for some reason.

GORMAN: Well, my family owned uh--L.D. and some of them owned half the radio station.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. So it was in the family?

GORMAN: Oh, yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay, but it wasn't you necessarily.

GORMAN: And--but uh, uh--I--radio is fine, but it--I just uh--I don't know, uh, you know, I was never really turned on on radio. If you couldn't see it, don't buy it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. So the--the time you were developing your own enterprises, you were still working for the family businesses?

GORMAN: Oh, yeah.


GORMAN: Still--still involved in the family. In fact, most of my income comes from the family enterprises--

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

GORMAN: --right now. Um, and I have other income but uh, still my--uh- -uh, some of our family interests of--that are seventy-five, a hundred 107:00years old are still productive.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Now, there's been uh--it's fairly well known and been written about, about the entrepreneurs who came out of Hazard and Perry County, you know, the uh--who developed businesses and of course, who made money off the coal mines. You're quoted in a nin--early 1980's article by John Ed Pierce, saying if all the people who'd become wealthy off coal would just come back to Hazard, it'd be the wealthiest community in the--

GORMAN: In the world. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: --in the world. (both laugh) But uh, there has been a lot of money made.

GORMAN: Well the--of course, you know, we--we've been very fortunate. Um, we have a lot of people--well, of course, the Gormans have always stayed here. And uh, my--our family, you know, we've got a--Vernon's brother, Dick, lives in Lexington, but Vernon, uh, he's here and uh, um- -but we're--uh, I think we've done very well by the--the people who have 108:00made money. But we had a fellow moved to Lexington here about fifteen, twenty years ago, just gave his fortune to the churches in Hazard. And he--uh, he gave a lot of money to the churches, and then his wife died, and she gave the rest of it to the churches in Hazard. And uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: That's nice.

GORMAN: --but uh--a lot of it comes back.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. We're--we're about to run out of time. I'd said I wouldn't stay past noon today, and we'll set up another time if that's okay. But uh, uh, it seems to me that uh, the people who stay involved in local government whether it's uh--and especially the city government issue, are people who while they're out in their other careers, their entrepreneurial careers, are civic minded and involved in--in projects, and what you told me about today with Jaycees and with the uh, uh--working with the political leadership on roads and uh, you 109:00know, and the development--John Whisman and Ap--what would become the Appalachian Regional Commission that your involvement in civic affairs from the time you returned as a business person, it seems that you've been involved in--

GORMAN: I--I started the Boy Scouts--

BIRDWHISTELL: You did start, Um-hm?

GORMAN: And uh, I mean that's first involvement we had--


GORMAN: --you know, and uh, L. O. Davis, who's certainly one of the finest entrepreneurs that ever lived here, he helped develop Miami Beach, a Hazard man.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

GORMAN: And he just died here a few years ago.


GORMAN: His brother in law is still here and uh, the only problem we have with his brother-in-law: he's ninety-nine years old and be a hundred years old in August, and he is working every day. (Birdwhistell laughs) He just gave up the president--pres--presidency of First Federal Savings and Loan down here because he was a hun-- almost a hundred. (Birdwhistell laughs) But w--Hazard is--is probably 110:00the most fortunate town in Kentucky because of the diverse leadership, and the people uh, who have come here, gone away, come back and Hazard is a very co--cosmopolitan town--


GORMAN: --community. We've--I met this morning with the uh, Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. We had people from all over the country at that board of directors, all members all--all that are involved in the development of Hazard and Perry County.


GORMAN: The uh--I talked to one fellow, is from over in Minnesota and another one he's--I think he's from up East. Of course, Tony Whitaker's the president. He was--he was from Richmond, um, and just- -just people from all over the region. Hazard has always benefited by the coming of the railroad, by the hospital, uh, we must have twenty 111:00nationalities working at the hospital here. And all these people contribute--and that--that's the main thing, is having people that will contribute to the welfare and the development of the community.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm, um-hm; yep. Next time we'll, with your permission, we'll get into your uh, uh, term as mayor--

GORMAN: (laughs) Okay.

BIRDWHISTELL: --and we'll uh--we'll talk about how--how that came about, and I know it grows out of our civic involvement and--

GORMAN: No, I was single and--and divorced and living in Florida--not living in Florida--

BIRDWHISTELL: Spending most of your time--

GORMAN: -- but spending a lot of time in Florida on the beaches and a few of these idiots here in Hazard filed me for mayor. (Birdwhistell laughs) Terry, they didn't have any money so I never could take a salary and I've been here twenty-three years and never got--got a penny 112:00for it. (both laugh) And--

BIRDWHISTELL: Left you here just running the place. We'll--we'll look--we'll explore your--your--your journey into becoming mayor, and we'll spend--again with your permission--what I'd like to do is spend some time talking about the issues you faced when you became mayor, your plans, your goals, the hard work in terms of developing projects. We'll look at issues like--that are basic to running a city, police, fire, roads, annexation. I know you've had some annexation issues and relationship to the county government--

GORMAN: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: --relationship to the state government and the federal government with--highlighted by President Clinton's visit last summer, but look at some of those issues--

GORMAN: All r--

BIRDWHISTELL: --if that's s--if that sounds like a good plan to you?


GORMAN: That sounds great.

BIRDWHISTELL: All right. Well, thank you for your time today.

GORMAN: Well, can I buy you--

[End of interview.]

Search This Transcript