Sidney Clarence Mills, an African American retired farmer, was born in 1933 in Halifax County. When he was twelve his family moved to Nash County and began farming at half-share with Willis Williams, growing tobacco, corn, and cotton. There were nine people in his family and they farmed four or five acres, for an annual income of between five hundred and eight hundred dollars a year. The whole family would go into Nashville on Saturdays, a two-hour ride by mule and wagon, and spend the day walking around, shopping, and eating ice cream. (Interviewer asks about location of Scuffletown, which is apparently near where the interview is taking place.) Mills and his six brothers worked on the farm growing up and never had time to go to school. They got paid for priming tobacco, and had to give their pay to their mother, who gave them a quarter back for candy and cokes at the store. (With his first real paycheck as an adult, he says, working for Roscoe Wood, he bought clothes.) For fun the boys went fishing and played ball. They hunted rabbits with sticks and rocks, while their father shot rabbits using his red dog called Big Dog. Mills remembers his mother’s fatal stroke while doing farm work. After her death his grandfather and aunt took him and his brothers in. He remembers Hurricane Hazel, and the devastation. He says he got work for two years afterwards cutting felled trees into boards for barn construction. He married at age nineteen or twenty and had two sons, though he says he raised six children through their high school years (relationship unspecified). He says that as an adult he would go with friends to Charlie Jones’s store every Saturday night to watch “Gunsmoke” on the TV in the shop, till the night Jones, who was drunk, tried to outdraw Matt Dillon and shot a hole in the TV screen. Mills has one anecdote about being cheated on a work project, but he names three farmers who were good men and always treated him and his family fairly: Lee Harris, Lee King, and Wilbur Hedgepeth. Mills is retired from heavy farm work but occasionally hauls junk. He himself is a dedicated junk collector and has a lot of antique tools and farm equipment (he mentions hand-setters for tobacco plants, stove keys, skillets, shovels, rakes, lanterns, “old-timey” clothes pins, and furniture) but he's reluctant to sell any of it because he says he would miss it too much. Mills gives a detailed description of how to prepare and cook a hog for barbecue. He says he was never personally bothered by segregation, and got along, and worked, equally well with both white people and Black people.





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