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Theophilus Edward Ricks is a farmer and amateur local historian, having served as President of the Nash County Historical Association, the Nash County Bicentennial Committee, and co-author of the first published history of Nash County. He opens his interview with a vivid and entertaining anecdote about how his father and friends discovered the dead body of their moonshiner, and proceeded (while drunk, all of them) to prepare the man for burial. Ricks himself went to Griffin School, a four-teacher school (first/second, third/fourth, fifth/sixth, and seventh grades). He spent on year at Braswell School and then went to Rocky Mount High School, where he and his sister paid approximately $75 a year in tuition. They boarded with an aunt and uncle in Rocky Mount till they got their driver's licenses, then commuted to school from home. Their home farm was large, growing cotton, tobacco, and peanuts. They had 125 acres in tobacco and 55 in peanuts, with 20 - 25 tenant farmers and up to 45 mules. While he was in school Ricks did farm work on Saturdays. His father's people had been farming in Nash County since about 1750, and had also established a grist mill on the Tar River. Ricks went to North Carolina State College, majoring in animal husbandry. He says that neither his grandfather nor his father had wanted to be a farmer, but circumstances dictated it. He himself was not very interested in farming, but when his father died of cancer a week after he graduated he realized that farming was what he would do too. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army and sent to Germany, where he met his wife (who coincidentally grew up in Nash County). The Rickses had four children, one of whom died in infancy.

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