Mark Elliot

Center for Cultural Preservation


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00:00:00 - The birth of Mark Elliot.

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Partial Transcript: Mark introduces himself and gives some family background. He talks about when he was born. He was born early there was no one to help his mother but the next-door neighbor and her 15-year-old daughter. The doctor came out a week later and filled out the birth certificate, there was no name on the birth certificate.

Keywords: birth certificate; next door neighbor

Subjects: he birth

00:01:50 - The House in Black Mountain.

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Partial Transcript: Mark talks about where he lived and describes the area. There was no road to get to the house. In 1939 his family had a chance to buy a house and 18 acres in Black Mountain for the back taxes and $600. It took from ’39 until after the war to pay off that $600 and back taxes. Everything was done by hand. They had a milk cow and chickens. There is a Bi-Lo store on there now. They sold what they grew on the farm for years.

Keywords: Bi-Lo; back taxes; Black Mountain

Subjects: Where Mark grew up

00:03:21 - Mark’s dad.

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Partial Transcript: Mark talks about his dad. He worked construction work until his mother caught him at the bootlegger’s house. He changed jobs and work making blankets until he retired.

Keywords: bootlegger’s

Subjects: Mark’s dad

00:03:39 - Mark’s life on the farm.

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Partial Transcript: Mark talks about his life on the farm. He learned to plow a mule and a horse. The old house they lived in had an old stove in it. It was a coal and wood range. In the summer it used wood. It was Mark’s job to keep the wood box full. There was a big frying pan left behind. Mark’s mother would make cornbread and feed all the neighbor kids.

Keywords: coal; corn bread; horse; mule; plow; wood; Farm

Subjects: jobs around the house

00:04:44 - Earliest memories.

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Partial Transcript: Mark talks about some of his earliest memories. He went to school for three years and didn’t learn a thing. He went to his grandmother’s, on Stone Mountain, and he told her he didn’t have any sense. She told him he had a whole lot more on the ball than most people. His grandmother taught him to read out of the bible. He went back to school in the third grade and he was in the middle of his class.

Keywords: Stone Mountain

Subjects: Early school days

00:06:07 - Early years on the farm.

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Partial Transcript: Mark describes his Early years on the farm. They grew corn and beans for the livestock, vegetables, and strawberries. Everyone worked. He ate well but they had no money. In school his favorite subject was agriculture. He tried basketball but his feet were too heavy. He did not play football because he took a job in the store bagging groceries. He worked in the ice plant. He went to Gaston Tech. there was no money to send him to school so he worked at Beacon at the cotton tables. After one year at Gaston Tech, he went into the service. He worked as a microwave technician for 3 years. After the service, he went to St Joseph’s Hospital to repair medical equipment. He was fired from there and went on to AB Tech and the electrical department.

Keywords: AB Tech; Beacon; St. Joseph’s Hospital; Gaston Tech

Subjects: middle years

00:08:34 - Fondest memory.

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Partial Transcript: Mark recalls his Fondest memory. It was on Stone Mountain at his grandmother’s. The property now belongs to him and it will pass on to his nephew. In Black Mountain, there were pastures and fields to play in. In the summer he would stay with his grandparents on Stone Mountain. They would log, and cut timber. His grandmother was a very learned person she wrote for the Black Mountain News for years. He played in the creek and went fishing.

Keywords: Black Mountain; Black Mountain News.; Stone Mountain

Subjects: fondest memories

00:09:58 - Mark’s dad.

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Partial Transcript: Mark talks about his father. He was older than his mother and a WWI veteran. He mustered out of the Army in Texas where he stayed for a while. When his parents met he was 27 and she was 19. He was raised on the farm on Stone Mountain and so was his grandmother. The ownership goes back a long way.

Keywords: Army; Stone Mountain; WWI veteran

Subjects: Mark’s dad

00:11:16 - The changes in farming over the generations.

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Partial Transcript: Mark discusses The changes in farming over the generations. Mark says the mechanization, chemicals, chemical fertilizer, and sprays are the biggest changes. They are also growing much more corn per acre, the more corn per acre, 200 bushels, the fewer weeds. The crop is fertilized with liquid fertilizer. Today they also rotate the crop, corn then soy beans. His parents could grow 60 bushels if they had good corn. The average was 40 bushels per acre. They had livestock and used the manure for fertilizer and if they put enough on and kept it limed they could grow 60 bushels. The corn tasted good. People had a lot of cornbread and milk. There were 2 milk cows.

Keywords: chemical fertilizer; chemicals; mechanization

Subjects: farming over the generations

00:13:01 - The house on Stone Mountain.

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Partial Transcript: Mark talks about the house he grew up in. W.A.B. Murphy built the first house they lived in which caught fire and burnt. He built the second one. The one after that was built by Mark Elliot, his grandfather, and the log cabin that is up there now. Murphy had slaves and he believed one of them, who had been sold, came back and burned the cabin down. Mark talks about a baby that was taken in by Murphy, his wife and his daughter to raise and that is why the mother came back and burnt the house down.

Keywords: slaves; W.A.B. Murphy

Subjects: W.A.B. Murphy

00:14:15 - Mark’s mother.

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Partial Transcript: Mark talks about his mother. His mother was a Gillum raised on the lower end of the Broad River, Rock Creek. Her people were farmers, timber cutters, sawmills. Her mother died when she was 12 and she raised her brothers and sisters. She did everything in the house and helped in the field hoeing corn. She was a good cook and seamstress, and when the kids were all out of the house she went out and got a job. His favorite dish that his mother cooked was Granny Smith apples with dough and sugar. His mom taught him to cook.

Keywords: Rock Creek; lower Broad River; Gillum

Subjects: mother

00:17:55 - How they preserved the vegetables, fruit and meat.

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Partial Transcript: Mark explains How they preserved the vegetables, fruit, and meat. The meat was salted and put in the smoke house and in the spring the salt was washed off and then the meat was covered with wood ash. His mother canned everything, they gave away milk. Mark was born at the end of the Depression and the end of WWII he remembers rationing.

Keywords: WWII; canned; depression; rationing.; salted; wood ash; Preserve food

Subjects: preserved food

00:19:46 - Mark plays the 12 string guitar.

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Partial Transcript: Mark plays the 12-string guitar. He has given his 12 string away and what he has left is a mandolin. When he gets the mandolin out his little border collie howls and carries on. He likes to play mountain music, bluegrass mountain music, and stuff from his grandmother, she played the organ.

Keywords: blue grass mountain music; mandolin; mountain music; organ; 12 string guitar

Subjects: music

00:20:51 - The role the church played.

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Partial Transcript: Mark talks about The role the church played in his life while he was growing up. When he was with his granny they went to Stone Mountain Church. His grandfather was not very devout he went when someone died or during Homecoming. If anyone lost a home everyone chipped in, they brought them something and helped them build back. People don’t look after one another like they did.

Keywords: Homecoming; Stone Mountain Church

Subjects: the church

00:22:40 - The community.

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Partial Transcript: Mark talks more about The community. They would get together for corn shucking. Mark talks about Sugar Man coming to the corn shucking. They had music and shucked corn. The women also got together to quilt. They would quilt, crochet, and knit. The community gathered in the churches until the community center was built. The community built the community center. Later there was a fire department built on the side of the community center. One event was, all the single girls would make cakes and the single boys would come and buy them. Mark talks about all the events that where held at the community center.

Keywords: Sugar Man; community center; crochet; fire department; knit; quilt; corn shucking

Subjects: gatherings

00:25:49 - What he misses.

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Partial Transcript: Mark discusses What he misses about how things are today and how things were then. What he doesn’t like about today is everything is mass-produced and everyone is in a hurry. He talks about when he was a kid everyone had rocking chairs on the porch. People need to slow down.

Keywords: porch; rocking chairs

Subjects: misses the most

00:27:17 - A magic wand.

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Partial Transcript: If Mark had A magic wand he would like to go back to when he got up, milked the cow, had a good breakfast, and went to school. He liked to hang around the barn.

Keywords: milked the cow

Subjects: would go back to

00:28:17 - What kids are missing out on today.

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Partial Transcript: Mark talks about What kids are missing out on today. He thinks the worst thing invented is the cell phone. Mark talks about what it was like when he was a kid, no power, no TV, and no telephone. There were only 2 telephones in the area down by the Broad River. Mothers don’t sit and read to the kids anymore. Life was a learning experience for Mark. He could identify grasses in the field and trees. People can’t do that now if they want to learn they can use a computer. Computers are the ruination of the country. As a kid, they had a set of encyclopedias and they would sit and look through them and learn something each time.

Keywords: encyclopedias; learning experience; Broad River

Subjects: kids are missing out

00:31:33 - The knowledge people had back in the day.

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Partial Transcript: Mark talks about the knowledge people had back in the day, the knowledge they needed. They knew how to preserve food and deliver a baby. His grandmother delivered babies and it cost $15.00. We are living too fast; do not take time for the kids. As a kid they would get whippings.

Keywords: deliver babies; preserve food; Knowledge

Subjects: knowledge

00:33:44 - The different things uses for medicinal remedies.

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Partial Transcript: Mark described the different things used for medicinal remedies. Mark talks about Balm of Gilead, which is mentioned in the Bible. The tree buds were used to cure lots of things. It was used on livestock. They used all kinds of home remedies. Baking soda was used in place of antacids. There were a few granny doctors and there was an Indian doctor, his name was Doctor Two Trees. There is lots of stuff out in the woods.

Keywords: Doctor Two Tree; Balm of Gilead

Subjects: home remedies

00:35:54 - W.A.B. Murphy.

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Partial Transcript: Mark shares a story about W.A.B. Murphy. He was a character and pretty much ran the county. At one time it was said he had 40 slaves. He went to fight the Yankees his oldest son would not go but his 16-year-old son went with him. They became separated the son winding up, up north and Murphy in Louisiana. Murphy found a black man in the swamp whose tongue had been cut out. Murphy doctored him up. He stayed with Murphy and returned to Black Mountain with him after the war. He stayed there in a small cabin until he died. He was from the West Indies and educated. Murphy put him in charge when they got back. He could figure and write. Rumor was the 16-year-old son was hung by Yankee sympathizers but what really happened was he shot a man in Chattanooga and he was jailed. He was broken out of jail and hung.

Keywords: Black Mountain; Chattanooga.; West Indies; educated, Yankee sympathizers; Yankees

Subjects: a story

00:40:04 - What kids need to learn today to be resilient.

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Partial Transcript: If kids want to be more resilient they need to learn about life, life in general. They need learn how to cook, sew, some blacksmithing. With those skills they could probably make it. That was all they had when Mark was growing up, things people made. Everything is too convenient and needed in a hurry. Hogs are killed too fast; they need a year to mature. Mark talks about the difference between a pig and a mature hog. Chickens are killed too soon. Mark explains how they handled chickens when he was a boy. By the time his sister was 12 she knew how the slaughter a chicken.

Keywords: blacksmithing; sew; cook

Subjects: be resilient

00:42:51 - What kids lose by not having the skills he had as a child.

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Partial Transcript: Mark talks about What kids lose by not having the skills he had as a child. They farmed with horses and mules. His grandfather had an ox. Nowadays it is hard to find anyone who knows how to put a harness on. People used mules instead of horses because they were cheaper, more sure-footed, and in some respects smarter than horses. Mark explains the difference between mules and horses. His dad did not like mules. A mule is man’s creation he said.

Keywords: mules

Subjects: Skills

00:44:42 - Living in Black Mountain and Billy Graham.

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Partial Transcript: Mark talks more about Living in Black Mountain and Billy Graham. Billy Graham had a little black and white Pinto horse. They had trouble putting shoes on it so they brought it up to Mark’s daddy. He got 3 shoes on but had trouble with the third. Mark explains how his daddy got that third shoe on. This was when Billy Graham first came to Black Mountain.

Keywords: Billy Graham; Pinto; Black Mountain

Subjects: Billy Graham

00:46:49 - Why it is important for kids to remember family history.

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Partial Transcript: Mark explains Why it is important for kids to remember family history. Mark has gathered together all his history and he hopes someone down the line will look at it. He has family heirlooms from his generation on back. He has his grandmother’s bean pot she brought from Missouri. Important to remember where you came from so you can figure out where you’re going. History is where you learn. No one seems to realize where they came from or where their mommy and daddy came from. Mark is drinking water out of the same spring W.A.B. Murphy drank from. Mark says his granny kept big tubs of water on the porch in case of fire.

Keywords: heirlooms; family history

Subjects: family history

00:49:47 - Mark reminisces about different things.

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Partial Transcript: Mark reminisces about different things. He talks about making a maul out of dogwood. They were not rich enough to buy 2 iron mauls. They bought one and made another out of dogwood. They also had one made out of a white oak tree. They always made molasses. There were moonshiners in the family history. They started in Black Mountain and tried all kinds of different places. A group headed up to Beckler W. Virginia and dug coal. His grandpa worked in the sawmill, working on timber for the railroad and the mines. Most went up to W. Virginia to work and make a little money then come back. Mark talks about the relatives who went to Virginia what they brought back and what they did when they got back. His grandpa went to Oklahoma and bought 320 acres. It was before the Dust Bowl. They couldn’t drink the water and they came back. They lost a baby on the way back. His grandpa went through some hard times. Mark talks about what happened to the 320 acres.

Keywords: Oklahoma; W. Virginia; coal mines; molasses; moonshiners; railroad; sawmill; Maul

Subjects: Mark reminisces

00:56:22 - How they made the best liquor in the area.

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Partial Transcript: Mark explains how they made the best liquor in the area. One thing is you’re clean you have to be clean and make it in copper. Mark talks about how to make the malt. Don’t get in no hurry. Uncle Jules could make the best of the mountain. It wouldn’t bust your head or kill ya. They tried a little bit of everything to make the moonshine. Uncle Jules didn’t like to sell the stuff to the local boys. Uncle Jules had a crow he carried around on his shoulder. When he was making moonshine he would get that crow drunk

Keywords: clean; copper; malt; Best liquor

Subjects: moonshine

01:00:31 - Max Woody and why he left Old Fort Music.

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Partial Transcript: Mark talks about Max Woody and why he left Old Fort Music and went to create something in Marion. Women! They got to squabbling amongst themselves. Max took ½ the musicians away. This was during the recession; there wasn’t a whole lot of money to spend. Old Fort lost everything when they lost Old Fort music. Used to be on Friday night you couldn’t find a parking place. It was there for 27 years and didn’t miss a night. Some people wanted it to be like a music hall, no talking. That wasn’t possible.

Keywords: Old Fort; Old Fort Music; Max Woody

Subjects: Max Woody and Old Fort Music