Interview with Mrs. Maude Flint.
When you moved to McRoberts to Tom Biggs, were people living in the houses on Band Mill Hill?
Yes. The upper houses, they never built them until 1927.
When you moved back the second time, did you move back to the house you lived in before?
No, when we moved back we moved to the head of Chopping Branch. We lived there from October until June; then we moved down to nearly the mouth of Chopping Branch, in a little four-room single house. Then we moved back in Chopping Branch to a two-story house. We stayed there about two years. Then the mines closed down. We moved to Smoky Row and lived there five years. When they started McRoberts back up, they transferred my husband back to McRoberts. We swapped houses with a man and moved up on the hill there what they call Band Mill Hill in a single house.
When you came here in 1918, was there a saw mill here?
Yes, the saw mill was sawing the lumber that built the lower row of houses in Band Mill Bottom. It was located the third house from where you lived there in the lower houses. They built them in 1918.
How long did you live on Band Mill Hill?
We lived in that one house ten years. Then we moved down in the bottom there. Bill Toth used to live there. They went to Ohio and he wasn’t gone out there very long until his wife died. I don’t know if he is living or not.
Those recreational buildings were a big thing back then, weren’t they?
Oh, yes! We had one right in front of the monument. That’s the only pastime the young people had. They had a show house, they had a restaurant that sold cold drinks, ice cream and candy. They had a barber shop in it.
Were any of your children born at McRoberts?
No, they were all born in Magoffin County.
Do you remember any of the doctors over at McRoberts when you came here?
Dr. Perry come and stayed a long time, before they brought him to Jenkins. There was a Dr. Fielden and Dr. McReynolds.
Where was Dr. Perry’s office located over there?
In that big building where the union hall was, downstairs.
How did you pay for the doctor’s services?
They cut it through the office. They took so much a month for doctor bills.
Do you remember any peddlers in McRoberts?
Oh, yes, we had lots of peddlers come in from Long Fork, Beefhide and from Virginia. They peddled just about anything. That’s the only way we could get any milk would be off peddlers. I believe it was Mrs. Yonts that said they was a company farm at the head of McRoberts.
Did you ever know this Dawahare man that came through here peddling?
Yes, but I never knew him when he peddled. I knew him when he had a store.
What all did they have?
Oh, they had bedspreads, table linens, curtains, just different things to sell. I have traded with them. Frank Brown that lived there below Yonts — somebody was telling me yesterday that he was the first baby that was born in McRoberts.
You said you moved in Band Mill Bottom. Did they have any walkways, wooden walkways or board walks?
They didn’t have any concrete then. They just had boards on each side. You walked in the middle on the dirt. The roads were just mud and dirt. The train came up in front and the road was behind, across the street.
When you came, were there a lot of people in McRoberts?
Oh yes, every house was full and the boarding houses were full. Private houses were keeping boarders. They had a big hotel down there that burned down. It was right in front of the big store.
Do you remember anyone who ran that hotel?
Yes, Mrs. Stump. They took her to Jenkins from here and then I think she went to Van Lear.
Do you remember the script?
Oh, I have drawed script. I wish I had all the script in money that I have drawed out of that office down there. The office that you draw script was in the store. Then they moved it to the building when I was telling you the doctor’s office and everything was. The company wrote the script out. They first got books of script paper. That was the first they got. Then they quit that and went to giving us dollars and had change just like silver; quarters, nickels, dimes, pennies. Roy Mullins, I wish I had all the script he had handed to me out that window. He was the script writer.
Do you remember any of the policemen that were on the force?
Well, Doc Blevins, Pat Blevins and Old Man Skines. He was a policeman there — Jim Skines.
You were talking about Cannel City Row. Can you tell me how it got its name?
Yes, Wallace Gibson and his family moved from Cannel City and Jimmy Harlow and his family moved from Cannel City and there was another family that moved, but I can’t think of the man’s name. There were three families that I know came from Cannel City and they all settled down there and that’s why they named it Cannel City Row.
Do you know how any of these other places got their names?
Yes, a man named Tom Biggs that give Tom Biggs its name — Band Mill Hill and Band Mill Bottom got their names by that old band saw setting down there.
You were talking about the train that went right through the front street. Was it pretty dirty?
Yes, it sure was. That was the steam engine. Sometimes when it came up, it would just cover you with soot. People ran and grabbed their clothes off the line. A lot of times they would try to wash clothes before the train came.
Do you know what the population of McRoberts was?
No, I don’t know. They would bring in transporters away from here. They would bring them in to load coal. Then you had to load coal by hand with a shovel. They would give the people a little house; a bed, a table, a stove and a chair and a couple of dollars if it was just a man and his wife. Them houses there that was built where I lived was built for two families and they wouldn’t be but four little rooms in them.
We were talking about entertainment. They had a baseball team over in McRoberts, didn’t they?
Yes, they had baseball teams. Course I didn’t go, but Lester would go, he and his dad. Minnie’s daddy played ball over there, I think, Joe Davis.
Did they have 4th of July Celebrations over there?
Sometimes they did in the ball park. They would have fireworks that night. They would have stands with things to eat.
Did you go back over to the reunion over at McRoberts?
The first one I did. I saw several people that I had known. There was a lot of people there. That first superintendent that Warnie worked for was Lum Ervin.
Who were the other superintendents at McRoberts?
John Daniels was one. The superintendent’s home is where Carl Mercer lives now. E. P. Wolf, he was superintendent. He lived there. That was C. B.’s father.
How long was C. B.’s father superintendent over there?
He was there for several years. There was one morning, I never will forget — I noticed the light flicker and kept flickering and they was a man got electrocuted and that was what was wrong with the lights. They was lots killed. They didn’t have no first aid. I reckon Junior when he was 8 years old, he started with first aid and he has been with it every year, only the three years he was in the navy. Now Warnie and Lester both have worked for the company here since they got up in age. Lester worked in Virginia a while and then he came back. Lester, he lives up at Dunham.
How many boys did you have, Mrs. Flint?
Three boys — Warnie and Lester and we lost one in the war in 1942. I didn’t get out too much. I went to church and Sunday school. That was about the most places I went. Course I went to the store some time, then they got until they sent a clerk around to take your order. Didn’t have to go to the store. They delivered it too. Long was one of the clerks that came around. He’s dead now, Jess is. He took orders for a long time. He would come in on the porch and sit down and you would give him your order and then they would bring it the next day. It was really convenient. Frank Amburgy drove the truck that delivered the groceries. Each name would be on the boxes that they would deliver. And the company just took care of everything. They had dentists, doctors, groceries and anything you needed.
Did they have any drugstores or anything like that?
No, the doctors kept the medicine.
You went to the Missionary Baptist Church in McRoberts. Was it there when you moved to McRoberts?
Yes, in 1918 and it hadn’t been organized too long when we went there. It’s the same building that it is now. They have done a little work to it in the basement, and they are going to build two new classrooms and two new bathrooms on to it.
When you first moved there and started going to church, do you know who the minister was?
Brother Roach. He was from Tennessee. He stayed there a right smart bit. He had three boys and one of them worked in the store. The other two went to school. They turned it into a community church a while, but it didn’t last very long until they put it back to the Baptist Church.
Do you remember any of the other ministers along the years that have been there?
Yes, Brother Craft. He left there. He was the last one before the one we have now. The present minister is Brother Griffith. He is from North or South Carolina one, and I couldn’t say which. Bill Shade was the pastor over there for eight years. I believe we have around 200 members. We had about 137 in Sunday School the other Sunday.
How young are you, Mrs. Flint?
I’m 75 years old.
This article first appeared in “History of Jenkins Kentucky” Compiled In Honor Of The Sixtieth Anniversary Homecoming Celebration 1912‑1973 by the Jenkins Area Jaycees.
The authors and publishers of the 1973 printing failed to include a copyright notice and according to our understanding of copyright law it is now in the public domain.
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I have attended the University of Kentucky. I have an Associates Degree from Hazard Community College and Technical School. I have also attended the University of Pikeville. I have taken several classes in Journalism as well as in the Appalachian History, Literature, and Sociology during my time at those schools.
I was born in Florida and grew up in Burdine, Kentucky. I have been married to David W. Sergent since May 4, 2013. I have two children and four grandchildren from a previous marriage. I currently live in Tennessee but my hope is to one day come back home to live in the beautiful mountains once more.