Monday, August 25, 2014

How A Voice Paints A Picture Of A Time And Place




Wow last week was a complete blur! I've just returned to my quiet little corner of the world after a week in Vegas. My husband and I took the kids and had a working vacation. Husband worked and shopped MAGIC Market Week while the kids and I hung out poolside at the Rio All Suites Hotel and rode roller coasters in the Astrodome at Circus Circus. On my last post I showed a picture of me and my kids holding on for dear life while on EL LOCO. If you missed it, here's the link, Wordless Wednesday: Three Faces Of Fear.

At the end of each fun filled day, I would retreat to the comfort of my hotel bed with headphones in place and enjoyed listening to the wonderful voice of Mary Carter Stone. Now you may ask, who the heck is Mary Carter Stone? She's a woman who was born in Riverdale, NC, one of the places where some of my ancestors came from. Before leaving for our trip to Las Vegas, I was doing some random Google searches using the search term "Riverdale, NC" and "history" and I came across two new valuable resources. The first was the Southern Oral History Program Interview Database.  The Southern Oral History Program collects interviews from southerners of various backgrounds. The program also undertakes special projects that provide visibility to the voices of those who have been historically overlooked. This is such a gem of a resource because there are written tape logs that provide a wealth of information. In the case of Mary Carter Stone, there are two logs, one from an interview that took place on May 20, 1995 and another from July 10, 1999. From these logs, I have learned so many more details about what it was like to live in the areas of Harlowe and Riverdale, NC during the 1920's--1940's. I have found others listed in the database from these areas and I have to still go through that information.

Mary Carter Stone intrigued me because she's a descendant of the Pelham family of the Harlowe area. The Pelham name I am familiar with because my 2nd great grand aunt, Margeret "Maggie" Mitchell, was married for a short period of time to an Alonzo Pelham (born about 1870--died March 4, 1936.) From what I can tell so far is that Mary's maternal grandfather Polinke Pelham and Alonzo Pelham were possibly half-siblings, so it's kind of cool finding there's a connection into my family tree here.  

The Southern Oral History Program Interview Database has written logs that give summaries of what was said during the interviews, but what about listening to a full interview you may ask? As you already know from what I wrote earlier in this post, I have been listening to Mary Carter Stone's voice. Where did I find an actual voice recording of her? It was at Duke University Libraries Digital Collections on line.  Here's the link to an interview of Mary that was conducted by Chris Stewart on July 30, 1993: http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/behindtheveil_btvnc06021/.

How wonderful it is to be able to hear a voice that can so clearly paint a picture of a certain time place. This brings me one step closer to knowing what some of my ancestors went through, saw and felt.


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