Hillcress Stokes


There wasn't nothing down here, nothing but woods. All that was woods clean to Fort Hunt Road. Nothing but a dirt road all the way through here. That was about 40 or 50 years ago.

I built a couple of houses over here. The state built a house there at the road and we put electricity in it, but it didn't have no water or nothing like that. It had all outside toilets.

QUESTION: What are the biggest changes in this area since you've been living here?

The gas lines, sewer lines, water lines. You got a big nice school. We didn't have but a one room school. There wasn't much work or money, of course, things were cheap. You didn't need too much money. What little bit you had you made out with.

My daddy, he worked on the railroad. Some of them worked on farms. This whole area wasn't nothing but a farm, just very few houses on it. I did a lot of work around home, but I started out working when I was 13. I used to work for this guy; he had a farm, it was James Quander and Robert Quander.

QUESTION: Can you tell us about the Springbank Inn?

Springbank was a beer garden on the other side of the road, but little kids weren't allowed in there unless they stole in there to get a beer.

When I was a little boy, I was scared of water. They used to take me out and throw me in the boat and go off near the bridge, drop a net halfway out in the river. I used to help to pull it in. They used to give us all the little fish that we could catch. The big ones they used to take and sell.

I was scared of snakes. One day I seen a little snake and I guess I walked almost a half a mile going all the way around to keep from coming back (the same way). I seen a snake last summer over at Mason Hill. I had been working and I seen this black snake laying across. I was getting ready to get a stick and kill him and I happend to tell the lady and she went there talking to him and I haven't seen him since!

I didn't play too much of anything but a little checkers because when you was coming up during that time you had a whole lot of work to do. You didn't have a lot of time. When I was out of school we had to can and take care of the hogs. We had to cut wood and stuff like that. We had a well. We had a hand pump to pump it out of there. Each individual house had a pump. They used to have a big tank up in the attic. They used to pump the water from the basement up in the attic and the water would come down through the pipes. You had to heat it on the stove.

QUESTION: How many people were in your family?

My family? Ten. We used to fight. They used to whip me one day and I tell my momma that night and they would kill me the next day.

Volume Two, Table of Contents
Snake Hill to Spring Bank Homepage

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