Helen Butler was born in Raleigh, Mississippi in the early 1920s. In this episode, she describes living in the Cohay logging camps when her father worked for the Eastman Gardiner lumber company. Butler grew up on her family’s farm in Smith County during the Great Depression. She recounts riding to school on dirt roads in the primitive school buses known as tally-hoes.
Growing up on a small farm in rural Mississippi during the 1930s meant learning to do without. Butler remembers cooking on a wood-fired stove and patching her school shoes with pasteboard.
According to Butler, even though money was scarce during the Depression, they were never hungry. She explains the advantages of growing your own food and how they would roast and grind coffee beans.
PHOTO: Primitive Model T school bus known as a “Tally-Ho.” Photo and bus restoration by Kirk Hill.
Mr. F.L. Mills of New Augusta, grew up during the Great Depression of the 1930s. In this episode, he recalls how his father made sure their friends and neighbors had enough food to eat. As the son of a yeoman farmer, Mills learned to make do with hand-me-down shoes and homemade toys, but even through the worst of times, he remembers the family always got new clothes for Easter.
During the 1930s, farmers depended on credit provided by furnish merchants until their crops could be sold. Mills recalls a humorous story about one shopkeeper in New Augusta who apparently had selective hearing.
When Mills’ father died from a stroke in 1935, the family learned that he had mortgaged the farm to help out his relatives. The family ended up losing the farm and suffered great financial hardship. Mills discusses his decision to run away from home at the age of 16 and join the Civilian Conservation Corps.
PHOTO: Life Magazine