Francis, Michelle A., Oral Interview: James G. and Mrs. James G. Teague, May 18, 1983 CE


Interview of James G. Teague and Mrs. James G. Teague
Transcript of Interview of James G. Teague and Mrs. James G. Teague
Interviewee: James G. Teague
Interviewee: Mrs. James G. Teague
Interviewer: Michelle A. Francis
Date of Interview: May 18, 1983
(Begin Side 1)

Michelle A. Francis:

Today is May 18, 1983 and I'm talking with Mr. Teague. Mr. Teague would you please tell me your full name? What's your name Mr. Teague?

James G. Teague:

James G. Teague.

Michelle A. Francis:

James G. When was your birthday?

James G. Teague:

March the 17th.

Michelle A. Francis:

What year?

James G. Teague:

Nineteen hundred and six.

Michelle A. Francis:

Thank you. (Tape stops, then starts)

Michelle A. Francis:

Mr. Teague, did you come from a family of potters?

James G. Teague:

Yes I did.

Michelle A. Francis:

Was your dad a potter?

James G. Teague:

Yes.

Michelle A. Francis:

What was his name?

James G. Teague:

J.W. Teague.

Michelle A. Francis:

And where did he live, where abouts?

James G. Teague:

Right here.

Michelle A. Francis:

On this land right here?

James G. Teague:

On this land here.

Michelle A. Francis:

And was he a potter all his life?

James G. Teague:

Yes. Most, just about all he done was make pottery.

Michelle A. Francis:

When did you start turning?




James G. Teague:

I don't know. I reckon I learned something when I was little. I don't remember ever turning anything when I first turned, I don't remember about it.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you used to hang around the pottery a lot?

James G. Teague:

Just about all the time.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you dad put you to work doing chores?

James G. Teague:

Just small turns like I did then.

Michelle A. Francis:

Like what?

James G. Teague:

Like carrying water or moving pottery or something like that.

Michelle A. Francis:

Uh-huh. Did you ever work up the clay for him?

James G. Teague:

How's that?

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you ever work up the clay?

James G. Teague:

I wasn't large enough whenever they needed it. He died when I was nine years old.

Michelle A. Francis:

Oh. Who worked the pottery after then?

James G. Teague:

Well, my mother and brother.

Michelle A. Francis:

Which brother was this?

James G. Teague:

Well, they's, I got six brothers and some of them was, well, most of them older than me. And the older ones went ahead and done the important things.

Michelle A. Francis:

Mm-hum. What was your mother's name?

James G. Teague:

Lula L. Teague.

Michelle A. Francis:

What was her maiden name?

James G. Teague:

Spinks.

Michelle A. Francis:

Was she a potter family, too?

James G. Teague:

No, not that I know of.

Michelle A. Francis:

When you were growing up around the pottery, were there any little games that you used to play as a kid that were connected with, you know, that was connected with the pottery?




James G. Teague:

Well, back them days it's all work and no play.

Michelle A. Francis:

No play at all! (Laughter)

James G. Teague:

It was just all right.

Michelle A. Francis:

What about in the evening time, you know, like in the summer? Did you ever play games outside?

James G. Teague:

Well, we probably played some games, but nothing much. It was mostly work.

Michelle A. Francis:

You never made, like, marbles out of clay?

James G. Teague:

Yes, I made one.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you make anything else out of clay that you used to play?

James G. Teague:

Not too much. I did some messing around on the potter's wheel, I called it, just like children will. And of course, I don't remember whenever I made anything that's any good on it. I knowed I could do it, but, I couldn't remember anything much. You didn't think much about it back then, 'cause it was so common.

Michelle A. Francis:

Your brothers, who was your older brother? What was his name?

James G. Teague:

Well, there's J.W. Teague, that's my oldest brother. B.D. Teague, is the next oldest brother. And then there's Charlie and Walter.

Michelle A. Francis:

Charlie and Walter?

James G. Teague:

Charlie and Walter, they's twins.

Michelle A. Francis:

They're twins.

James G. Teague:

Then there was Mary, my sister. And then me and then there's two more younger than me.

Michelle A. Francis:

Who were they? What were their names?

James G. Teague:

Buck, that's the nickname for one of them. Carol and Edgar.

Michelle A. Francis:

Carol and Edgar.

James G. Teague:

Carol and Edgar.

Michelle A. Francis:

Were they twins, too?

James G. Teague:

No, no, they's just. . .




Michelle A. Francis:

Just younger than you? Was everybody in the pottery?

James G. Teague:

Well, most of them did something about it, especially when they changed pottery in the kiln, when we put in raw pottery and took out the finished pottery.

Michelle A. Francis:

So somebody, you did different jobs?

James G. Teague:

Yeah. They did what they could to. . .

Michelle A. Francis:

Were you mainly just turning, when you got older? Or did you do the dipping and the glazing and firing, too?

James G. Teague:

Well, we done mostly salt glazing. Made some pie dishes and things like that, glazed with red lead. But it's mostly salt glaze.

Michelle A. Francis:

Mm-hum. When do you remember the earliest, what's the year you remember really getting into pottery?

James G. Teague:

Well, I couldn't tell. Been so many years ago until it's sunk from memory.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you used to have to work after school at the pottery?

James G. Teague:

Well back then to tell you the truth about it, there was but little school. They wasn't but just a few months out of each year that they had school. And it's country schools. You had to walk a pretty good ways to get there and a lot of children never went to school at all. Sad thing, but that's the way it was. I didn't go too much.

Michelle A. Francis:

So you started working as soon as you were old enough to do it?

James G. Teague:

Oh yes. There's wood to cut and haul and things like that. I could help them with some of that.

Michelle A. Francis:

Mm-hum. Did you ever go out and help them get the clay?

James G. Teague:

Yes.

Michelle A. Francis:

Dig the clay? Where would you all go for that? Where did you go get your clay?

James G. Teague:

Well, we got a good portion of it right here, right down here on the [unintelligible].

Michelle A. Francis:

Was that stoneware?

James G. Teague:

Stoneware clay, yeah.

Michelle A. Francis:

When did they stop making stoneware?




James G. Teague:

Oh, stoneware's been made in this country, in fact, that's, people had to depend on stoneware as much for as they do the other kind of ware and stuff today.

Michelle A. Francis:

Mm-hum. How did your dad, how did he sell his pottery?

James G. Teague:

Well, back in those days, they was people scattered around over the country that had, most all of them had a team of horses or mules, and they'd haul it in wagons. In fact, I never remember seeing a truck hauling any pottery away from here, until, oh, I guess 25 or 30 years ago. And, those people that bought the pottery, they'd come here and pack 'em on a load of pottery. And they'd go down the country with it mostly. And they'd drive--it'd take 'em a week, sometimes to go there and make the rounds they made to sell pottery. And they just drove their mules, their horses, and covered wagons.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you ever go with them?

James G. Teague:

No, I never did.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did they take orders?

James G. Teague:

Well, not necessarily then of course. They'd go around two, three times a year you know, different places, go all down in South Carolina, on pretty long trips.

Michelle A. Francis:

Mm-hum. What kind of kiln did you have, did your dad have?

James G. Teague:

Groundhog kiln you called them. They just dig out and lined up with brick. And you called them groundhog kilns.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did he just have one ground hog kiln?

James G. Teague:

One kiln was usually run pretty well. It burned a pretty good bunch of pottery.

Michelle A. Francis:

How often did you fire a kiln? Your dad?

James G. Teague:

Oh, I don't remember. It's a long time. . .

Michelle A. Francis:

That's right. You were young. How often did you fire a kiln?

James G. Teague:

After I went to making. . .?

Michelle A. Francis:

Mm-hum.

James G. Teague:

I used to try to get out a kiln or two a week.

Michelle A. Francis:

Who did you have? Did you just have your brothers helping you?




James G. Teague:

No.

Michelle A. Francis:

Was it still a family business?

James G. Teague:

Whenever I built my own shop there, why. . .

Michelle A. Francis:

How old--when did you have your own shop?

James G. Teague:

Well, whenever we lived over here.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

About 1929 or '30 or something like that. No, it was later than that, wasn't it? About '35, he went to work for hisself.

Michelle A. Francis:

In 1935? Who did you have helping you?

James G. Teague:

Oh, I hired different hands. Fred Bean helped me some and several different other people's helped me. Just, I let them do jobs that wasn't too hard to do.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you do all your own turning?

James G. Teague:

Yeah.

Michelle A. Francis:

When your, back when you were working with the family pottery, did Rance Steed ever turn for your dad?

James G. Teague:

Not that I ever knew of. I heard of him. I never did know him, but I heard of him.

Michelle A. Francis:

Mm-hum. I've just been talking to some, I, some people tell me that he turned a lot around here.

James G. Teague:

I hear that he was a good turner.

Michelle A. Francis:

Mm-hum. Who else did you have over the years working for you?

James G. Teague:

Well, just some people would work a while, you know, and during the winter time, and whenever summer got here, a lot of them wanted to do their farms. In other words, pottery was essential, but they had to have the other stuff, too. And there wasn't much money if you didn't raise stuff, it's hard for persons buying things for money. If you could trade grain or something like that for it. Back whenever I was a little feller, I remember the pottery, the people that hauled the pottery that my dad had made, they'd go down the country, and there's a scarcity of money, and they'd trade pottery for cider, beans, peas, corn, anything that they could, that my daddy could use, and bring back the things that he needed and they'd get the things they needed.

Michelle A. Francis:

Was that during the Depression era?




James G. Teague:

Well, it wasn't really, they didn't call it Depression. I believe that was back about, they called it a "panic", I believe.

Michelle A. Francis:

Yeah. How was it, during the Depression, for potters?

James G. Teague:

Well potters sold better than, you can't imagine it selling as good as it did as hard as times was. It sold up real good.

Michelle A. Francis:

Why do you suppose that was so? Why was that?

James G. Teague:

I don't never have been able to figure it out.

Michelle A. Francis:

Were you still doing stoneware then?

James G. Teague:

Yeah. Stoneware's mostly what I've done. I done a little bit of the other, but mostly stoneware.

Michelle A. Francis:

Mm-hum. Then you didn't really do much of the art ware, the art pottery?

James G. Teague:

Well, that's what they called it, but I turned all kinds of shapes. Little bitty ones, big 'uns, all kinds.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you have a shape that was one of your favorites?

James G. Teague:

No, I didn't. There's no end to shapes in pottery.

Michelle A. Francis:

I know.

James G. Teague:

And, you turn something or other and you get a idea where you can make it a little different. So I have no favorites. I just sold, I made what I thought would sell best.

Michelle A. Francis:

Mm-hum. Did you make very big pieces?

James G. Teague:

Yes, I made some pretty big ones.

Michelle A. Francis:

What was the biggest piece you ever made? Do you remember?

James G. Teague:

Well, I really don't know, to tell you the truth about it.

Michelle A. Francis:

What about the glazes? What kind of glazes did you use besides salt glaze?

James G. Teague:

Well, that's about all the glaze that I used. I burned some in flower pots and had a dish pottery and salt glazes. Now high fire salt glazes is mostly what I made.

Michelle A. Francis:

Mm-hum. Did you ever have a kiln blow up?




James G. Teague:

Never did.

Michelle A. Francis:

Never did.

James G. Teague:

My son in law just had one to blow up here a few days ago.

Michelle A. Francis:

I know. I heard about that! He was very lucky. He didn't get hurt.

James G. Teague:

Well, he's lucky that he didn't let it go any longer than they did. If there'd been more gas in the kiln, they would of done a lot more damage.

Michelle A. Francis:

Yeah. Sure would have. How long did, have you been running the pottery, your own pottery since the 1930s?

James G. Teague:

Oh yes. I run it up till I got to where I had so much work to do on the farm, and I just didn't fool with it too much. That is, I didn't stay with it steady. I done my farming and pottery, too.

Michelle A. Francis:

How did you market your pottery?

James G. Teague:

I usually hauled it on a pick up-truck. I, I knowed, I had places that I could sell it continuously, you see, because people had to come and buy churns and crocks and pickle jars and one thing and another. And I had hardwares all around. I'd go to them and they'd buy it and sell it to the farmers.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you sell in hardwares that were only in North Carolina?

James G. Teague:

Mostly in 50 miles of here.

Michelle A. Francis:

Within 50 miles of here?

James G. Teague:

I could sell about all I made within 50 miles.

Michelle A. Francis:

What about on down, years later? How did you sell your pottery? Did you ever ship it out to tourist places?

James G. Teague:

No. Some people come up here and bought pottery here. I didn't have to move it. They come here from a long ways off. Lot of stuff that I made, though, went to Florida, New York state, and went to a lot of places.

Michelle A. Francis:

Mm-hum. Did I understand that you went up to, what was it, New Jersey?

James G. Teague:

Yes. I stayed, I worked in New Jersey with the Carlton [note] Pottery Company for two years.




Michelle A. Francis:

What was the name of the company?

James G. Teague:

Carlton [note] Pottery.

Michelle A. Francis:

How, what years were those? When did you do that?

James G. Teague:

I believe that was 1939. I went up and stayed two years.

Michelle A. Francis:

How did you come about going up there?

James G. Teague:

The president of the pottery company, he was down here looking potters over, and he was looking for somebody I reckon to go up there and work for them. And that's the way, that's how come I got up there.

Michelle A. Francis:

What kind of pottery did he make?

James G. Teague:

Just about everything. They molded it and they had people that turned, a few people that turned pottery for them on potter's wheels. But they didn't have nobody that could make salt glaze. So, that's what I made up there mostly.

Michelle A. Francis:

So you turned and did salt glazing for him? What kind of shapes did you make for him?

James G. Teague:

Just about anything you could think of. Had shapes I made for myself. Isn't that right. Worked for myself.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you like living in New Jersey?

James G. Teague:

Did what?

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you like living in New Jersey?

James G. Teague:

Yes. It's a beautiful place. But they have a little more cold weather than we have. Course I didn't mind that too much, didn't seem to bother. . .

Michelle A. Francis:

Were you married then? Did you go with him? You took your wife with you?

James G. Teague:

Yes.

Michelle A. Francis:

What made you come back to North Carolina?

James G. Teague:

Well, I, it's a lot of fightin' goin' over, goin' on over in the old country, called a war. And it looked like the United States was preparin' for it, too. And, uh, I [unintelligible] for sure it would be that way. And if we got into a war she couldn't get, you couldn't built nothin' 'cause the government takes, usin' so much of the stuff. And I come back and started buildin' this home here. And before I got it done, they's already in the war. So I,




that's what brought me back, mostly was to try to get my family back to North Carolina. I knowed they could live cheaper here than they could in New Jersey. The economy's better. So that's what brought me back. But I was sure that there a war a'comin' up 'cause they's makin' too much preparation. And the newspapers was playin' it up too much, too.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you serve? Did you have to go in the Army?

James G. Teague:

I had been in the service. Stayed nine years in the service before the war. I got a little too old for 'em. They reclassified me and I didn't have to go.

Michelle A. Francis:

How was the pottery business during World War II?

James G. Teague:

It's pretty good. Pottery was, always sold pretty good, if you made the right stuff. Now, if I could make, if I had the stoneware that I used to have, I could really make some money. The churn, that you churn milk and make butter, one of them that brought 50 cents, they'd probably bring $100 now.

Michelle A. Francis:

Didn't they sell things, price things by the gallon?

James G. Teague:

Yes. Most of 'em was marked with a gallon.

Michelle A. Francis:

When you first started, in the '30s, how much were you selling you pots for?

James G. Teague:

Oh, about 10 or 15 cents a gallon. That is retail. Wholesale was cheaper.

Michelle A. Francis:

You didn't have much margin for profit.

James G. Teague:

Well, it didn't look like, but, your margin then was a little less than it is now. But, it wasn't too, too good.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you ever have to go out lookin' for a new clay pond or new clay vein?

James G. Teague:

Oh yes. You're always lookin' for that.

Michelle A. Francis:

Tell me a little bit about what you look for when you do that.

James G. Teague:

Well, first you look and you can tell a little something by the color sometimes. But then, you take some of the clay and work it up in your hands like, with your hands, till you see how it's gonna work. And sometimes you have to mix two or three different kinds of clay to get a good, what you want.

Michelle A. Francis:

You would mix the stoneware clay, too?




James G. Teague:

Yeah. Some clay has different characters to the others. Some of it will, what you call more "plastic" and some of it's what you call "shorter", which is, won't stand by itself. But mix it with other clays and let it turn good.

Michelle A. Francis:

When did you retire?

James G. Teague:

It's been 12 years ago. Semi-retired.

Michelle A. Francis:

Semi-retired.

James G. Teague:

I haven't really retired yet. I still work a little every day. Take care of my cows is the biggest thing I do.

Michelle A. Francis:

Do you still have a lot of your pots?

James G. Teague:

No, I don't. Don't have a very few of 'em.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you have anything special about your pots that would help me identify them if I saw one in a flea market or an antique store?

James G. Teague:

I'm afraid as many different turners as it is, I'm afraid you couldn't. 'Cause you'd have to see a lot of the pottery that I turned before you could tell.

Michelle A. Francis:

Is there, were your glazes any different?

James G. Teague:

No, not with your salt glaze. One's the same as the other.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you have a stamp?

James G. Teague:

No, I never put my name on nothin'. (Tape stops, then starts)

Michelle A. Francis:

Never did get to go to Hawaii. When did you go in the service?

James G. Teague:

I forget when that was. I was 18 when I went in.

Michelle A. Francis:

18?

James G. Teague:

Six and eight is fourteen. I don't know how to figure that. Do you? I believe I left there in 1933, wasn't it? '32 or '33. I was over there somewhere in the '30s.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you spend the whole time in Hawaii?

James G. Teague:

Spent six years there.

Michelle A. Francis:

Six years.




Mrs. James G. Teague:

Three years at Fort Bragg.

Michelle A. Francis:

Three years at Fort Bragg. So you were in the service for nine years.

James G. Teague:

Yeah.

Michelle A. Francis:

That would have, '33, would have put you, 1925, '25.

James G. Teague:

Now this here, is, this book turned wrong.

Michelle A. Francis:

Is it upside down?

James G. Teague:

See this here, is a lava bed. That's where the lava's from. That's just rock.

Michelle A. Francis:

That's a long distance we're looking at, too, isn't it?

James G. Teague:

Well, pretty good. You see, here, the steam coming out of the ground?

Michelle A. Francis:

Mm-hum.

James G. Teague:

There's cracks in there with, you could fall in 'em. I don't know whether anybody ever fell in one or not. You didn't see anybody fall in or you'd never get 'em out. 'Cause the steam comin' up out of there, well, you can't stand to hold your hand down there.

Michelle A. Francis:

That hot, huh?

James G. Teague:

It's plenty hot. And there ain't no tellin' how deep those cracks are. There're earth quakes and volcanic eruptions causing earthquakes.

Michelle A. Francis:

I can see there's some more steam coming up in this photograph.

James G. Teague:

Now is a long lava bed here. Wide. There's one of it where you cross, it's four miles across. This may be it, I'm not sure.

Michelle A. Francis:

Four miles across! Hm.

James G. Teague:

And here's some more of them lava beds. Do you see that?

Michelle A. Francis:

Yeah, I do!

James G. Teague:

See, that's the steam coming up. Now, here's the sulphur beds. I taken a picture of that sulphur coming out, of there. Now let's see. . .

Michelle A. Francis:

Do you remember what island this was?




James G. Teague:

Yeah. Hilo.

Michelle A. Francis:

Hilo?

James G. Teague:

Big island. One of the biggest island. The government had a rest camp on there and I took two weeks vacation over there.

Michelle A. Francis:

What's this here? Who's this good-lookin' man? Is that you?

James G. Teague:

I don't know what that is. That's his hat, and--that's me. Yeah.

Michelle A. Francis:

That's what I thought. That was you.

James G. Teague:

There's a feller just seein' how good he could look! And this is another feller there, too. I know all them fellers.

Michelle A. Francis:

Were these taken in Hawaii or Fort Bragg?

James G. Teague:

Taken in Hawaii. All three of them. All of them. Here's the mascot. He used to stay right around me, dog.

Michelle A. Francis:

I see your shadow, taken in this photograph. Some more pictures. Let's turn it around here. Who's that?

James G. Teague:

That's my brother's baby. Billy Dobbs. I reckon that's Esther's picture.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

Yeah. I think you said it was.

James G. Teague:

I'm gonna show that to Esther sometime. She may have forgot how she looked when she's a baby. (Laughter) Right here's where we was in guard, in camp here, we're guardin' the docks in Honolulu, the government docks. And we's on duty here about seven weeks. We, each outfit would take a turn at it, you see, just rotate. So this is when we was on guard duty there. I took them pictures.

Michelle A. Francis:

You liked to take pictures, didn't you?

James G. Teague:

Yeah. I liked it pretty good.

Michelle A. Francis:

Were these some of the pretty girls from Hawaii?

James G. Teague:

No, these are from North Carolina. (Laughter) They look better than that in Hawaii! (Laughter) That's just one of them fellas in the outfit.

Michelle A. Francis:

This looks like it was in a jungle.

James G. Teague:

That's in a fern forest.




Michelle A. Francis:

In the fern forest?

James G. Teague:

In Hawaii. This right here is the mascot. One of them, I believe, is me. Let's see. I think that's me, I'm not sure.

Michelle A. Francis:

Who's that lady in the hat?

James G. Teague:

That's just some gal up in Washington. Not Washington state.

Michelle A. Francis:

Washington, D.C.?

James G. Teague:

No, the state.

Michelle A. Francis:

In the state. Those guys look like sailors.

James G. Teague:

Now that's what they call "Little Beggar". That's in the lava fields. See where that there, oh, the lava'd cool down around it, just rubbin' up there and rubbin' over and made that, just made it right on around. And them fellers were settin' on there and I took their picture.

Michelle A. Francis:

Why is it called Little Beggar, do you know?

James G. Teague:

Well, that's what they call them places like that, Little Beggar. Now right here's the fern forest. That's one of the fellers in the fern forest and I taken his picture. Right here's some more of that lava.

Michelle A. Francis:

That looks like some water there.

James G. Teague:

No, it's not water, I don't believe. There's some in here that's got water, I think. Here's the rock I's tellin' you about growed out of that big volcano. You see there's 14 tons?

Michelle A. Francis:

Yeah.

James G. Teague:

Here's another lava field. And here's, that's just sulphur comin' out of the ground. That's a shadow of me and the other feller. The sun kind of made that shadow, I reckon.

Michelle A. Francis:

Yep. That's what it is. What's this?

James G. Teague:

That's just somethin' that somebody fixed up to look like a wooden horse.

Michelle A. Francis:

It does.

James G. Teague:

You just, I don't know whether that's me on that horse or the other feller that was with me. And here's Long Horn Cave. I'd never been in no darker place than that is. Whenever you get down in there and get back. You can't see,




didn't go very far in it. Me and another feller went together, went on down there. We saw this sign, "Long Horn Cave" and. . .

Michelle A. Francis:

You decided to investigate it?

James G. Teague:

Yeah, we just wanted to look things over, that's what we were doing. I don't know if there's any more in there or not.

Michelle A. Francis:

I don't think so, not in this one. These some more Hawaii pictures?

Mrs. James G. Teague:

Mostly. Here's the old home that got tore up with the tornado. We had just left to go to New Jersey in August and that happened in September. Course we wasn't livin' here. We was livin' down a little ways at another place.

James G. Teague:

Tore the house up.

Michelle A. Francis:

So New Jersey was, what, 19--

James G. Teague:

'39.

Michelle A. Francis:

'39. And this is not, this was where you were living?

James G. Teague:

No, we wasn't living here then. We's living back over there where the Cole Pottery is, Dorothy Cole?

Michelle A. Francis:

Mm-hum.

James G. Teague:

I sold that place to them before I went to New Jersey.

Michelle A. Francis:

Goodness. What else have we got here? What's that?

James G. Teague:

That's a corn field there. That's an old picture. That's me there. Looked taller then than I do now. I was a little taller. You draw up some after you pass 50 years old. You start drawin' up. You might lose a inch or two.

Michelle A. Francis:

My dad's lost an inch or two.

James G. Teague:

The three of us there.

Michelle A. Francis:

And your mascot?

James G. Teague:

That's me in the middle. You saw one just like it a while ago.

Michelle A. Francis:

This is the, is this the ocean in Hawaii?

James G. Teague:

I don't know if that's Waikiki Beach or not. You've heard of Waikiki Beach, haven't you?

Michelle A. Francis:

Mm-hum. I sure have.




Michelle A. Francis:

Mm-hum. I sure have.

James G. Teague:

It's a very popular place.

Michelle A. Francis:

Who's that?

James G. Teague:

I don't remember. It may have something on the back of it.

Michelle A. Francis:

It does. "The May Queen".

James G. Teague:

Yeah. The May Queen. Here's a Hawaiian gal.

Michelle A. Francis:

Mm-hum. Playing a little ukulele it looks like.

James G. Teague:

Here's, mixed up, something or the other.

Michelle A. Francis:

Mm-hum.

James G. Teague:

You meet every kind of people in the world on the street.

Michelle A. Francis:

I bet. What kind of duty did you have in Hawaii.

James G. Teague:

I was in the artillery.

Michelle A. Francis:

In the artillery?

James G. Teague:

Mm-hum.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you have anything happen while you were over there?

James G. Teague:

Nothin' too much out of the ordinary. No. That's a well showing behind me. That used to be. Tornado got that, too. I don't know what you've seen. And you saw that one first. Here's a picture of this barn out here that I was buildin'. It's posts.

Michelle A. Francis:

The one in the back here?

James G. Teague:

The big barn out here. That's creosote poles sunk four foot in the ground, and built, too. It makes a real good barn. It's been standing there 30 some years. Now that's an old-timey picture. That's goin', I believe, I can find one more. That's my sister's children, and them two is ours. And I believe that, well I can't see good enough to see who t is.

Michelle A. Francis:

It's hard. These are real tiny pictures.

James G. Teague:

There's a old-timey car there, too. That's what my brother-in-law had.

Michelle A. Francis:

That car'd be worth some money today.




James G. Teague:

That's just a picture of the cord field. Here I am again. That's my sister, Mary. That's her, too.

Michelle A. Francis:

She put on your uniform, didn't she?

James G. Teague:

Yeah. She said she wanted to see what she'd look in uniform. Here's a Winston-Salem gal.

Michelle A. Francis:

All dressed up.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

And here's our children. That's when the last one got married. It's not a very good picture.

James G. Teague:

That one in the middle the one that got married. She's the last apple on the tree. (Laughter) She's the baby.

Michelle A. Francis:

She's the baby.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

And she's been gone for 11 years.

James G. Teague:

She's got one little girl, how old is she?

Mrs. James G. Teague:

Six, and she's expectin' again in September.

Michelle A. Francis:

It's a nice, nice photograph.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

And that's our son and our daughter.

Michelle A. Francis:

That's a good photograph, too.

James G. Teague:

That's the only boy we got. That's his wife.

Michelle A. Francis:

That's him right there.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

And I got gobs of pictures of the grandchildren, but we won't go into all that today. (Laughter)

James G. Teague:

And you can see them any time you want to.

Michelle A. Francis:

What's this here?

Mrs. James G. Teague:

That's Archie when he was in college.

James G. Teague:

And you can see him any time you want to, if you just go to Asheboro and turn on a fire and watch.

Michelle A. Francis:

That's right. He works for the fire company, doesn't he. That's your brother. I mean, that's your son, isn't it?

James G. Teague:

That's Archie.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

And I guess he was about 12.

Michelle A. Francis:

That's a cute picture.




James G. Teague:

Yeah. That's Archie.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

I think that's a real good picture of him right there.

Michelle A. Francis:

It is. Was that just a picture they had taken.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

Well, they give us that one time for Christmas.

Michelle A. Francis:

I been thinking about doing that for my mom.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

Well, the children's been wantin' us to do that for them some time. But we never get around to it.

Michelle A. Francis:

Well, these are good. Thank you for showing them to me. I think we saw a lot of these.

James G. Teague:

I read about Hawaii in the papers once in a while.

Michelle A. Francis:

Do you ever wish you could go back?

James G. Teague:

No. Never have.

Michelle A. Francis:

Really?

James G. Teague:

I don't, wouldn't even care to make a trip over there.

Michelle A. Francis:

Really. It's so beautiful!

James G. Teague:

It is beautiful. But after you've looked at anything for six years you get tired of it. (Laughter)

Michelle A. Francis:

I bet you would enjoy a trip.

James G. Teague:

Huh?

Michelle A. Francis:

I bet you would enjoy going back.

James G. Teague:

I probably would. But just to think of it right now, I'd rather be here than anywhere else.

Michelle A. Francis:

Well, if you got back from Hawaii in 19--, say, what'd we say. . .?

Mrs. James G. Teague:

'33, I think.

Michelle A. Francis:

. . .'33. And you went to New Jersey in 1939?

James G. Teague:

And stayed two years.

Michelle A. Francis:

Yeah. What did you do in between. I forget what you told me.

James G. Teague:

I owned this place here when, when we was livin' here.




Michelle A. Francis:

You were livin' right here?

Mrs. James G. Teague:

No, we was livin' down at the other place that we sold to Dorothy's people.

James G. Teague:

When we went to Hawaii, we sold that, you see. We had this place here and that one over there, and I didn't need 'em both. Charlie was a pottery-maker and I had the kiln and I had the shop and everything for him.

Michelle A. Francis:

Mm-hum. Who was?

James G. Teague:

I just sold it to him.

Michelle A. Francis:

Who did you sell it to?

James G. Teague:

Dorothy's daddy.

Michelle A. Francis:

Oh yeah. Charlie Cole.

James G. Teague:

What?

Michelle A. Francis:

You sold it to Mr. Cole?

James G. Teague:

Yeah.

Michelle A. Francis:

Mm-hum. That would have been when?

Mrs. James G. Teague:

His mother lived here and we, we had a little house on down the, it's right out in front of the school down there on that road that comes out when you're right out there to go to school. It's right out on that. Built a little pottery shop there and had a little house and: . .

James G. Teague:

Now the boy that took that picture lives right cross from the pottery there.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did he?

James G. Teague:

And he got a prize on it.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did he?

James G. Teague:

Yeah. He got first prize.

Michelle A. Francis:

It's a good photograph. Did you know that, you know this land that they're clearing down the road here for a new fish house, they found a kiln site on it.

James G. Teague:

Done what?

Michelle A. Francis:

Found a kiln site, where an old kiln was.

James G. Teague:

I cain't hear you. they're building the new fish house.




Michelle A. Francis:

Where the new, you know where they're building that new fish house?

James G. Teague:

Yeah.

Michelle A. Francis:

They found an old kiln site.

James G. Teague:

Well, it's close to the old kiln site. Now the old kilns used to be right across the road where there's an old house sittin' out there. Looks like it's fallin' down. On the left of the road just before you get. Now let's see, yeah, that was Henry Corn used to live there.

Michelle A. Francis:

Who did?

James G. Teague:

Henry Corn. And they's right across the road is where the old pottery was. The pottery that was here was across the road and a house was here on this side.

Michelle A. Francis:

Well, who had that other pottery? The one across from Henry Corn?

Mrs. James G. Teague:

That must have been Chrisco.

James G. Teague:

Where?

Mrs. James G. Teague:

Back there where they're building the fish house. That would have been the Henry Crisco place, wouldn't it?

James G. Teague:

No, it's a pretty good ways back to Henry Crisco's place.

Michelle A. Francis:

Somebody said "Brown".

James G. Teague:

It's the old Brown--there's a Brown that grown that place, that's right. I don't know. My daddy used to live up there somewhere or another for a short while, I think it was. And, I don't know whether you [unintelligible]. I don't think he owned it. I guess he's making pottery.

Michelle A. Francis:

Was there a Brown who made pottery?

James G. Teague:

Yeah. Old Hardy Brown's place. Back then a lot of people made pottery. And there's a Hardy Brown's the one that owned it, I guess. Joe Brown is one of Hardy's sons. There used to be several pottery makings. See, there wasn't nothin' much around the country for people to do. And they just made the jobs for themselves and they could sell what they made. People needed the pottery, in fact, they had to have something.

Michelle A. Francis:

When was, when did Hardy Brown have a pottery?




James G. Teague:

Well, he was the old man. I don't remember him. I think he owned it now, I'm not sure.

Michelle A. Francis:

Was it his sons that made pottery?

James G. Teague:

I don't know whether they did or not. That's too far back. There's no record of it.

Michelle A. Francis:

Yeah. You were gonna tell me last time I was here, about some of the people that you worked for, that you turned for.

James G. Teague:

Oh, I turned a little for most everybody around here.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you ever turn for Jugtown?

James G. Teague:

I don't believe I ever did. But I turned some for Owens, this side of Jugtown.

Michelle A. Francis:

Mm-hum. For Mr., for Melvin Owens?

James G. Teague:

Yeah.

Michelle A. Francis:

When did you work for him?

James G. Teague:

Oh, that's been a long time ago--30 years or more--30 some years. He wanted some big stuff turned. I just went down there and turned it for him.

Michelle A. Francis:

Mm-hum. Was he doin' salt glaze?

James G. Teague:

Well, they burned salt glaze. I believe they did. But I didn't burn it. I just, he, Melvin couldn't handle that big stuff. He wanted me to turn some and I went down there to turn him what he wanted.

Michelle A. Francis:

Who else did you work for? Turn for?

James G. Teague:

Charlie Cole, I turned some for him. And I've turned a little bit for a lot of people. Not enough to amount to much.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you still have your own pottery when you were doin' that?

James G. Teague:

Yeah. I had my own. I used the basement for my pottery making and burned the kilns right there in the back there.

Michelle A. Francis:

Then, would you just kind a'go when people just needed somebody to turn a big, big thing for them?

James G. Teague:

Most of the people that I turned anything for, it'd be certain shapes that they'd want and I could make. Been so




certain shapes that they'd want and I could make. Been so long ago, it's hard to remember just what I did do. I could turn most anything that they wanted turned. And I could get the size as large as they wanted. I turned for my brother down here below Robbins. I turned more for him than anybody else.

Michelle A. Francis:

Which brother is that?

James G. Teague:

B.D. Teague, Duck Teague.

Michelle A. Francis:

That was Duck? He had a pottery in Robbins?

James G. Teague:

He's still got a pottery down there. His grandson's working down there. You ain't been down there yet?

Michelle A. Francis:

I haven't been down there yet.

James G. Teague:

Are you goin'?

Michelle A. Francis:

I'd like to.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

He gave the pottery over to his youngest daughter. And she died, about eight years ago. And she was goin' along with the pottery real good. And now her husband and one of her sons runs the pottery. They still keep customers.

Michelle A. Francis:

Well, that's good. They're carrying on a family tradition there, aren't they?

Mrs. James G. Teague:

You hadn't been down there yet?

Michelle A. Francis:

I hadn't been down there yet. I wanted to, I want to go down though. Is, is your brother in pretty good health?

James G. Teague:

He's 85 years old, I believe--85, and he still gets around. Course he's not in real good health. He's got arthritis. But other than that he says there's not much wrong with him.

Michelle A. Francis:

Well, I'd like to go talk with him.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

Oh, he's a good talker. Get him talkin' about pottery, he'll talk!

Michelle A. Francis:

Really.

James G. Teague:

He can tell you a lot. He's older'n me.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

Did you happen to see that poem in a magazine about Old Man Teague?

Michelle A. Francis:

I sure didn't.




(Begin Side 2)

Michelle A. Francis:

. . .one of the old Biblical quotes, about turning?

James G. Teague:

Something or 'nother. I don't remember just how it goes. Anyhow,. . .

Mrs. James G. Teague:

I think "We're like the clay in a potter's hand", or something.

James G. Teague:

"We are as the clay in the potter's hand," I believe is how it went. And, the same, the [unintelligible].

Michelle A. Francis:

Mm-hum. Yeah. It's one of the oldest professions.

James G. Teague:

And it's true. That part is true. We are as clay in the potter's hands. In other words, that gives you an idea that probably most of us was created for some purpose and when we find that purpose, we should [unintelligible].

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you feel that pottery was your purpose?

James G. Teague:

I don't know what my purpose was. I've done so many things. I had a farm and raised cattle, trading cattle, buying hogs. I done a lot of things like that, so, I couldn't tell say. I liked it all right. Wish I was able to turn some more. But I'm done with that, I guess. Unless I turn real little-bitty stuff.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

He was always the happiest when he was working with the pottery.

Michelle A. Francis:

Yeah. Dorothy calls that "the pure pleasure".

Mrs. James G. Teague:

Must be.

James G. Teague:

Who is that?

Michelle A. Francis:

Dorothy, Dorothy Auman. She calls turnin' "the pure pleasure."

James G. Teague:

Well, it is a great satisfaction. Just take a chunk of clay and make something beautiful out of it. And then know what you's gonna make, and you know what it's gonna look like before you make it. I looked at a lot of pottery that I've done. I looked at it and if I didn't know just how much clay to put in it, I'd weigh a piece of pottery. And then I'd usually, if you add, if you'd burn a piece of pottery, if you'd add about a fifth to what it weighed, you'd have the right amount of clay, the right pound. And that helps a lot, if you can get to weigh your clay and know how much you need to make a certain piece of pottery. And then you set up your gauge, high, however high you want it, and how wide you want it, and you get that, why, you've got a big portion of it. Course you've got to smooth out the rest of it.




Michelle A. Francis:

Oh yeah.

James G. Teague:

There's a lot more to do than that, but that's the main thing.

Michelle A. Francis:

Is it hard to turn it so thin?

James G. Teague:

No. Not after you get used to it. Just, that's just the same as the other.

Michelle A. Francis:

Does your clay have to be a certain kind of clay, consistency to be able to turn it that thin?

James G. Teague:

No, it's, you couldn't turn just anything. But you can turn smaller things out of clay that's not very plastic. And there's not that much standing quality. You got to be able for it to stand and not break. When you stand it up if it breaks, why then you're in trouble.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you have to let the clay age any?

James G. Teague:

No.

Michelle A. Francis:

After you dug it?

James G. Teague:

No. You can dig it up and work it right away. General rule, if you can keep it and not let it dry out too much, and like Laura does up here, she wraps' hers in plastic. You see, it holds it, holds the moisture. If you can let it age a little and cool off, if you drummed it on one of these machines that you grind it on. Like she's got a pug machine up there, and I used grind mine in a brick mill.

Michelle A. Francis:

On a brick. . .?

James G. Teague:

A brick mill. Like you make brick with. And I'd put a screen on there to catch gravel and trash and stuff. And you'd have to change that screen every once in a while, it'd get filled up and it'd be hard to push the clay through it. And the clay would get a little warm grinding on that, see, it push through pretty fast. And you'd wrap it up and let it cool for about three or four days, and it starts to turning good. Then the longer it lays, if you wouldn't let it lose too much moisture, the better it'd turn. But, uh, whenever you are grinding it with a mule, like I showed you there, that is, with a homemade pug mill, and mules hooked to it, you can take the clay right out of there, right out of the mill, work it up and turn a piece of pottery right then just as good as you can anytime.

Michelle A. Francis:

Really?

James G. Teague:

You see, it don't heat up. It heats up on these pug




mills. See, you push it through there with a lot of pressure on it and course pressure causes things to get warm.

Michelle A. Francis:

And the heat causes it to break down so that it doesn't, it loses it's elasticity?

James G. Teague:

That's right. It does something to it. I reckon that's it.

Michelle A. Francis:

Dorothy was telling me that the clay sort of has to knit together. It's got, sort of like fibers in it, and that when you work it, when you grind it and everything, you break that down and that's why it won't, you know, stay together, it won't turn good. And you have to kind of work it back in and let it kind of sit a while.

James G. Teague:

You don't have to let clay that is ground on a brick mill or a pug, but you, it does help it to let it lay a few days.

Michelle A. Francis:

I guess it does. Did you ever make up any of your own shapes? You know, like see something in a magazine, pictures?

James G. Teague:

Oh yeah. I made a lot of things. I don't know what, I have no idea how many shapes I've turned. I could usually look at something and then copy it.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you have a favorite shape?

James G. Teague:

Not necessary. Any piece of pottery that I set off, if I got exactly what I wanted, that was satisfaction to me.

Michelle A. Francis:

Mm-hum. You said you worked for Dorothy's father a while? Mr. Cole, you worked for Mr. Cole?

James G. Teague:

I turned some pottery for him. I turned his here in my basement.

Michelle A. Francis:

What was Mr. Cole like?

James G. Teague:

What was he like?

Michelle A. Francis:

Yeah. What kind of, you know, tell me a little bit about him.

James G. Teague:

Well, he was a man who stayed right on his own business. He didn't, in other words, he didn't look around for anything. He just, he had his way and he let everybody else have theirs. He's a fine feller.

Michelle A. Francis:

What did he look like?

Mrs. James G. Teague:

They were good neighbors.




Michelle A. Francis:

Were they?

Mrs. James G. Teague:

I don't think I could describe how he looked.

James G. Teague:

I don't know nobody to compare him with. Course he, he's a nice lookin' man.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

Small man.

James G. Teague:

He wasn't a big man, just kind of slender. He wasn't too small. Used to people didn't grow as big as they do now. Didn't get as much to eat. I think that's it. I don't know.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

Well no, they's small people now and they's plenty to eat.

Michelle A. Francis:

Yeah, look at me! (Laughter)

James G. Teague:

Ain't many, ain't many people as small as they used to be, though. Used to you didn't hardly ever see anybody over six foot. Now, no trouble to see a lot of people over six foot.

Michelle A. Francis:

Was he a good person to work for?

James G. Teague:

Oh yes. He was a fast worker. Worked fast. And, what he wanted was, to be a turner for him, to turn a piece I turned for him, I just tell him to bring me, if he had one like he wanted made, just bring me one of them and I'd copy it. And after I'd turn one, I don't need it any more.

Michelle A. Francis:

Would you get paid by the gallon on that, or by the piece?

James G. Teague:

By the piece. So much. I don't remember what he paid me. It's all gone by. So many things like that, you, it's not necessary to remember and you just put 'em behind you.

Michelle A. Francis:

What kind of social things did they have in the community back then? You know, like some people, they have barn raisin's.

James G. Teague:

Well, they'd have barn raisin's and something like that. We'd call it "make a workin"'. And people wasn't sick or tied up too much, so you'd go and help your neighbors build or do what they had to do.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did the potters ever get together?

James G. Teague:

They's never organized that I ever knew. I guess everybody done his own thing.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you ever get together to socialize?




James G. Teague:

Not the potters. You just, no matter how good a friends you was, why you, people back then just didn't have time. We're retired, and still we ain't got time.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

People used to visit each other a lot. We'd visit the sick and we don't even do that around here any more.

James G. Teague:

Well there was less people and people was more precious then than they, seem to be than they are now. You had a lot of good people back then, people that you could trust. There's a lot of people you can trust now, but they're so few and far apart, it's kind of hard to have any idea who to trust.

Michelle A. Francis:

That's a sad situation, isn't it?

James G. Teague:

You can pick up the paper and read. . .

Mrs. James G. Teague:

It is for the elderly.

James G. Teague:

You can pick up the paper and read and you can see there where so-and-so done so-and-so and he'll deny it. And then you'll have a trial about it and he's guilty. And lot of times he's not guilty, but most of the time he's guilty. So, I don't know, people's people and everybody's lookin' out for theirselves, more so than they used to be, seems like.

Michelle A. Francis:

Wonder why all that changed? Used to be we'd look after each other.

James G. Teague:

There's less people, people who live around in our community, of course we're related. Used to hardly any, well not but a very few of 'em that would ever leave out from where they was raised. Still around. That's my trouble. Came right back to the homing place.

Michelle A. Francis:

It must have been better to you.

James G. Teague:

I don't know. It's something, as you grow up, why you get used to certain things, and there's a lot of satisfaction in seeing what you grew up with.

Michelle A. Francis:

Yeah. I can imagine. How long did you say you worked for Duck?

James G. Teague:

I don't know how many years. I used to turn all of his big pieces of pottery. He could turn big stuff, too. But I don't think he liked it too good. He's really, he had plenty of work to do at home and he was burnin' and glazin', one thing and another, and he just didn't have time to make what people wanted unless he got some help.

Michelle A. Francis:

So you'd go and help him some.




James G. Teague:

I worked right here and helped him here. He hauled a'many a load of big jars out of the basement that I had made down there. Charlie Cole hauled his away from here, too, that I'd made for him. Then I worked at the Glenn Art Pottery up here. I don't know how long I worked there, but I worked there. Up here at the Joe Owens!

Michelle A. Francis:

Yeah. At Glenn Art?

James G. Teague:

Glenn Art Pottery. I worked there.

Michelle A. Francis:

That was back, that was in the late '40s. That was after World War II, wasn't it?

James G. Teague:

I reckon it was.

Michelle A. Francis:

They didn't stay in business very long.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

I wondered what happened.

James G. Teague:

I don't know how long they stayed in business.

Michelle A. Francis:

I don't know. I never have heard. I heard, I was talking to Melvin Owens and he said that those kilns up at the Glenn Art Pottery wouldn't fire right. They weren't built right for firing pottery. Do you remember 'em?

James G. Teague:

Well, I don't think they did work as good as they should. I think they made some good pottery, or some pretty pottery. And the shapin's I know was good because me and Ferrell Craven and Charlie Owens--there's three of us turned there. Charlie turned most all of the other stuff and Ferrell helped me, he turned some of the big stuff and I did, too.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did they do any press pieces? Or hand-built pieces?

James G. Teague:

You mean. . .?

Michelle A. Francis:

The Glenn Art. Was it all turned pottery?

James G. Teague:

All the pottery they put out was turned on a potter's wheel.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did Harwood Graves ever help them do anything?

James G. Teague:

I don't believe he did. I believe he turned, Harwood was, I know who you're talking about. He lived back over here in this section of the country. I know where he lives. Have you seen him lately?

Michelle A. Francis:

Last week.

James G. Teague:

How is he?




Michelle A. Francis:

He's doin' pretty good. He's not feelin' real well. He's kind of, he's ill, you know. But he's gettin' around. He's still workin' a little bit up in his shop.

James G. Teague:

What is he making? (Tape stops, then starts)

Michelle A. Francis:

Mr. Teague, what is the thing that you think you like best about being a potter?

James G. Teague:

I really don't know. It's all work. I enjoy most of it. So I don't really know.

Michelle A. Francis:

Do you like being able to create something from a piece of clay the best?

James G. Teague:

Oh yes, it's interesting. You get ideas and put them into reality.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you get excited every time you would unload a new kiln? To see how they turned out?

James G. Teague:

It was interesting. Course after you've seen so many taken out, you can just about tell what you've got anyway.

Michelle A. Francis:

Mm-hum. Yeah. (Tape stops, then starts)

Michelle A. Francis:

Now who was this that was goin' on a trip?

James G. Teague:

My mother.

Michelle A. Francis:

Your mother?

James G. Teague:

And her father.

Michelle A. Francis:

What was his name?

James G. Teague:

Led Spinks.

Michelle A. Francis:

Led Spinks?

James G. Teague:

Mm-hum. He would rent these stores, you know, hardwares and one place and another, where back then they tried to keep everything so [unintelligible] and hardware and a lot of stores carried a lot of different items. And, she's tellin' about her daddy sometimes suffered chronic appendicitis. They didn't know what--that's what we think it is, but they didn't have no idea what it was then. Cause they didn't know about appendicitis much. And he was right sick that night whenever bed time come, and, he told her, he said he was mighty sick and if anything happened to him, if there at a certain time the next day.




Michelle A. Francis:

They were camping out?

James G. Teague:

Yeah, they camped out. And he said, "You can tell him, if anything happens, tell him what happened." And she said that she didn't go to sleep for a while that night. Said the next morning about daylight he shot off his muzzleloader, his gun. He shot that and there's some cotton catched fire, you know, so he could cook his breakfast. So, I said that sounded pretty scary to me.

Michelle A. Francis:

Yes indeed. I bet it scared her.

James G. Teague:

She's just a young kid, about 8 or 10 years old.

Michelle A. Francis:

What was her name?

James G. Teague:

Luella Teague.

Michelle A. Francis:

Luella?

James G. Teague:

Luella. I reckon, E-L-L-A. That was her maiden name.

Michelle A. Francis:

And they went down all the way to South Carolina?

James G. Teague:

Oh yeah. They was way on down in South Carolina then. And they used to most of the pottery my daddy made, they'd haul it off to South Carolina and down the country.

Michelle A. Francis:

Why was that?

James G. Teague:

Well, they needed it. And then, they. . .

Michelle A. Francis:

Didn't they have potters in South Carolina?

James G. Teague:

It seemed like the potters were mostly in North Carolina. (Tape stops, then starts)

Michelle A. Francis:

I didn't know that your dad, Mrs. Teague, hauled pottery for some of the potters around here.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

Well, people did anything to make a little money back then. And then when he wasn't tied up with farmin' he would pick up work around. He'd haul lumber and cross ties to Seagrove and Robbins with his wagon and mules.

Michelle A. Francis:

They made a lot of cross ties in this area, didn't they?

Mrs. James G. Teague:

Oh yes. There was a big demand for cross ties to build railroads.

Michelle A. Francis:

Somebody was tellin' me that they still make a lot of




Michelle A. Francis:

Somebody was tellin' me that they still make a lot of them in Robbins. Railroad ties.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

Well, they buy them from the saw mill men around over the community. And, yes, so it's a big business over there in Robbins for John L. Frye and Company.

Michelle A. Francis:

And so sometimes your dad would haul pottery?

Mrs. James G. Teague:

Yes, whenever he got time and wanted to get out and try to make a little money, he'd go around to the pottery shops, down to Melvin Owens' father's. He's bought right much from there and hauled it off. And, so, one time me and m y mother, we thought we'd go with him to Asheboro with a load. And we stopped somewhere on the way to, a spring, he knew where, to get some water to water his horses and to get us something to drink. And a game rooster jumped on him and tore his pants.

Michelle A. Francis:

Really!

Mrs. James G. Teague:

Yeah.

Michelle A. Francis:

Just a wild one?

Mrs. James G. Teague:

No, it belonged there at the farm where we stopped at.

Michelle A. Francis:

Oh my!

Mrs. James G. Teague:

And then we went on to Asheboro and we camped and slept in the wagon on top of the pottery. Had it packed good with wheat straw and the next morning we cooked our breakfast and he sold the pottery. Said, it's similar to a hardware, I think. Must have been a hardware. I can't remember much about that. (Laughter) And then it took us all the day to get back home.

Michelle A. Francis:

Had that been, was that one of the first times you'd been to Asheboro?

Mrs. James G. Teague:

That's the first time I can remember goin'.

Michelle A. Francis:

How old were you?

Mrs. James G. Teague:

Oh, I'd say about 8 or 10.

Michelle A. Francis:

Eight or 10. I get that was some trip for you!

Mrs. James G. Teague:

Well, I just didn't know what to think about it, I guess.

Michelle A. Francis:

What was your dad's name?

Mrs. James G. Teague:

Jim Brown.




Mrs. James G. Teague:

No.

Michelle A. Francis:

Where this land is, you know, where the fish house is goin'?

Mrs. James G. Teague:

No. And, uh, I grew up right in back of Jugtown. Back over there.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did ya? There were a lot of potters over in that area, weren't there?

Mrs. James G. Teague:

And we would have to go out to by Melvin Owens' daddy's pottery shop. And we'd go out to a little store to buy a little stuff what we needed. And I remember standing in the door and a'watchin'.Mr. Owens turn pottery and just thought that was really somethin'. I could a'watched him all day.

Michelle A. Francis:

He died when, he died as a young man, didn't he? Mr. Owens? Or fairly young.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

Well, yes. I remember when he died. I was in school and the school was right there at the church where the funeral was. And they let us out of school to go up to the church for the funeral. He died there in his shop a'workin' I think.

Michelle A. Francis:

He did? Oh my.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

And so, Melvin, he was very small at that time. And Alvin--they were the two youngest ones. They had a bunch of children. The older ones were married and, uh. . .

Michelle A. Francis:

Off doin' things. Yeah.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

But there was several of them still at home when he died. You never knew Melvin's brother, Alvin?

Michelle A. Francis:

Hm-um.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

He runs a pottery place between Lexington and Winston-Salem.

Michelle A. Francis:

Does he? Alvin is his name?

Mrs. James G. Teague:

Alvin Owens. He's got a beautiful place over there.

Michelle A. Francis:

Does he? I'll have to go visit him.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

He's younger than Melvin.

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you ever, did you stop by the shop often and watch Mr. Owens?

Mrs. James G. Teague:

Oh, yes I did!




Mrs. James G. Teague:

Oh, yes I did!

Michelle A. Francis:

Did ya?

Mrs. James G. Teague:

Yes. (Laughter)

Michelle A. Francis:

Did you ever get you a little piece of clay and play with it?

Mrs. James G. Teague:

No.

Michelle A. Francis:

No?

Mrs. James G. Teague:

No, I didn't. (Laughter)

Michelle A. Francis:

Just watched him turn.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

That's all I need to do about the pottery. Just watch him make it. (Laughter) Boy he could really pull it out.

Michelle A. Francis:

Could he?

Mrs. James G. Teague:

He was a little man and he didn't talk much. I don't know what he thought me watching him so much.

Michelle A. Francis:

Oh, he probably didn't mind. Melvin has a few pieces that belonged to his dad--that his dad turned.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

Well, I bet so.

Michelle A. Francis:

Not as many as he'd like. He has several in a shed, I think they must have been in a box, and somebody just threw somethin' in on top of the box and broke 'em. And I think that made him kind of sad--losin' those pieces like that.

Mrs. James G. Teague:

Well, some of them then tried to carry on the pottery after Mr. Owens died.

(End Tape)

Title
Francis, Michelle A., Oral Interview: James G. and Mrs. James G. Teague, May 18, 1983 CE
Description
First part of Michelle A. Francis' interview with Mr. and Mrs. James G. Teague. The second part is from July 30, 1983. Mr. Teague is a retired North Carolina potter who came from a family of potters. They discuss the process of creating pottery, some aspects of salt glazes, and the pottery trade in the first half of the 20th century. They talk about other potters working in the area, including J.B. Cole. Mr. Teague also discusses his deployment to Fort Bragg and Hawaii during the Second World War.
Date
May 18, 1983
Original Format
oral histories
Extent
Local Identifier
OHSOAD
Creator(s)
Contributor(s)
Subject(s)
Spatial
Location of Original
Jenkins Fine Arts Center
Rights
This item has been made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. Researchers are responsible for using these materials in accordance with Title 17 of the United States Code and any other applicable statutes. If you are the creator or copyright holder of this item and would like it removed, please contact us at als_digitalcollections@ecu.edu.
http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-EDU/1.0/

Know Something About This Item?


*
*
*
Comment Policy