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William W. Harrison was born on May 2, 1910. He first went to Charleston, Missouri, in 1933, where he worked as a agriculture extension agent. As an agriculture extension agent or supervisor of such agents, Mr. Harrison served for the following forty years and more. His territory always included the delta lands of far southeast Missouri and, as such, this interview pertains to the subset of transcripts in the broader Politics in Missouri Oral History Project dealing with southeast Missouri. The majority of the information, however, actually deals with topics only indirectly involving politics, such as agriculture and social work.I first heard of Mr. Harrison through my interview with Don Littrell, who also worked in southeast Missouri during the 1960s. After an introductory letter and a telephone call to arrange our meeting, I met Mr. Harrison on fairly short notice during one of his visits to his historic Cape Girardeau home (one of fifteen such local landmarks) from his summertime residence in Dent County. We did a good deal of socializing before and particularly after the recorded session. During the latter period Mr. Harrison gave me a tour of part of his home with its fine wood furnishings. We conducted the session in the relaxed and comfortable atmosphere of his den.
Oral History ProgramThe State Historical Society of Missouri 1997Collection C3929 Politics in Missouri a.c. 149, 150An Interview withWilliam W. Harrisonat his home inCape Girardeau, Missouri02 June 1997interviewed by Will SarvisNOTICE1) This material is protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). It may not be cited without acknowledgment to The Oral History Program of the State Historical Society of Missouri and the Western Historical Manuscript Collection, a Joint Collection of the University of Missouri and the State Historical Society of Missouri.Citations should include: [name of interviewee], [name of the interviewer], [date and place of interview], [audio recording or transcript], and [where it can be found, for example, The Oral History Program of the State Historical Society of Missouri, Politics in Missouri Oral History Project].2) Reproductions of this transcript are available for reference use only and cannot be reproduced or published in any form (including digital formats) without written permission from the Western Historical Manuscript Collection.3) Use of information or quotations from any Politics in Missouri Oral History Project transcript indicates agreement to indemnify and hold harmless the University of Missouri, the State Historical Society of Missouri, their officers, employees, and agents, and the interviewee from and against all claims and actions arising out of the use of this material.For further information, contact:Western Historical Manuscript Collection23 Ellis LibraryUniversity of MissouriColumbia, MO 65201-5149 PREFACEWilliam W. Harrison was born on May 2, 1910. He first went to Charleston, Missouri, in 1933, where he worked as a agriculture extension agent. As an agriculture extension agent or supervisor of such agents, Mr. Harrison served for the following forty years and more. His territory always included the delta lands of far southeast Missouri and, as such, this interview pertains to the subset of transcripts in the broader Politics in Missouri Oral History Project dealing with southeast Missouri. The majority of the information, however, actually deals with topics only indirectly involving politics, such as agriculture and social work.I first heard of Mr. Harrison through my interview with Don Littrell, who also worked in southeast Missouri during the 1960s. After an introductory letter and a telephone call to arrange our meeting, I met Mr. Harrison on fairly short notice during one of his visits to his historic Cape Girardeau home (one of fifteen such local landmarks) from his summertime residence in Dent County. We did a good deal of socializing before and particularly after the recorded session. During the latter period Mr. Harrison gave me a tour of part of his home with its fine wood furnishings. We conducted the session in the relaxed and comfortable atmosphere of his den.The interview was recorded on 3M AVX60 audio cassettes (normal bias), using a Marantz PMD-222 manual recorder (set on automatic recording level) and a Shure VP64 omnidirectional microphone attached to a floor stand. No interfering sounds compromise the good audio quality.The following transcript represents a faithful rendering of the entire oral history interview. The interviewer and interviewee have made minor stylistic alterations as part of a general transcription policy and for greater clarity. Any use of brackets [ ] indicates editorial insertions not found on the original audio recordings. Parentheses () are used to indicate laughter or a spoken aside evident from the speaker's intonation. Quotation marks [ ] indicate speech depicting dialogue, words highlighted for the usual special purposes (such as indicating irony). Double dashes [--] and ellipses [ . . . ] are also used as a stylistic method in an attempt to capture nuances of dialogue or speech patterns. Words are italicized when emphasized in speech. Exclamation points [ ! ] are also used to designate emphasized or enthusiastic speech. In an effort to avoid cluttering the transcript with brackets, details surrounding complete proper names are not always found in the transcript itself, though the index contains, when possible, their fullest spelling. And although substantial care has been taken to render this transcript as accurately as possible, any remaining errors are the responsibility of the editor, Will Sarvis. BH = William Bill W. Harrison; WS = Will Sarvis 1Will Sarvis (WS): Im in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Im in the home of Mr. B.W. Harrison. You just mentioned that you had come down to the Bootheel for the first time in 1933, to Charleston? Is that right?Bill Harrison: (BH): Yes.WS: And starting in 1933, how many years did you have interaction with the Bootheel? Up through the 60s, at least, right? When you trained Mr. Littrell.BH: My relationship with the Bootheel continued until 1973, either stationed there or I had it in my supervisory district. So, a lot of things going on there for . . .WS: Forty years.BH: Forty-plus years. From 33 to 73.WS: Now, when you first went down there you were with University of Missouri agricultural extension service? Is that right?BH: Well, it was a joint appointment. Actually, the first appointment, I think, the entire money was coming from the USDA [United States Department of Agriculture], triple-A [Agriculture Adjustment Act] allocations. But that was for the agricultural adjustments; the cotton, then the corn, hogs, then the wheat, and so on. That was what I was focusing on when I was there the first eighteen months.WS: Eventually which counties were under your supervision?BH: All of the Bootheel. And it varied some, but at one time I had twenty-three counties from St. Louis south, including some of the Ozarks, the river hills, and the Bootheel, and this German settlement up and down the Mississippi. So it was a varied group. I had problems in the leadership to deal with, of varied interests, Id say. And incidently, staff; 2 BH = William Bill W. Harrison; WS = Will Sarviswe tried to place them according to their background and their likelihood of working with a particular audience or their interests.For just general information, at one time I had the program for extension trainees (or that hoped to go into extension). I was advising them on their curriculum. And, it was my experience or good luck or whatever you want to call it, having started twenty-five to thirty men in extension just out of college on their first job, that stayed with extension until they retired. Thats, as far as I was concerned, one of the great satisfactions in having to help--not only the people that they were working with--but the staff itself. I had the overall responsibility of the staff, and having, then, to see that they were getting the programs adjusted to the peoples needs.So, thats a little off.WS: Youre the first person Ive talked to who might remember first-hand that famous highway strike of 1939. Were you down in the Bootheel when that happened?BH: I sure was.WS: What do you remember about that?BH: Well, that was 37, I believe, wasnt it?WS: I might have the date wrong, thats right.BH: I believe that was 37. It could have been 39. But I was there at the time. That was what was supposed to have been the sharecroppers strike.[tape meter, 50]I kind of avoided getting out where it was actually going on. I saw no need for it. But there was a lot of publicity. One of their contentions--and there was some of that going BH = William Bill W. Harrison; WS = Will Sarvis 3on--that the landowners were not sharing their government payments with the sharecroppers. They were not sharing it [the government relief allocations], and that was supposedly the basis for the strike. And, of course, when the acreage was cut down [as per government requirements] there were fewer people needed to produce the reduced amount of acreage. So that was also a factor. We had a few people that got the credit for helping to promote it [the strike], and that was a man from Charleston. His name was Thad Snow.WS: Did you ever happen to meet Mr. Snow?BH: Oh, Ive had (laughs) wine with him in his home. (Laughs)WS: Ill be darned. Well what do you remember about him? Youre the first and the only person Ive met who knew Mr. Snow personally.BH: Well, he was quite a character. He was on the state highway commission at one time. The concrete roads that were built in Mississippi County, one of them ended right at his front door. (Laughs) He had a good farm. Dont misunderstand me. And was well loved. But another good story, he was on the board of directors of the extension council in Mississippi County. I happened to be working there at the time they changed agents. Mr. R.Q. Brown, who worked there previously and quit to take a job, and then when they had an opening he applied to come back as agent. I happened to sit in on the meeting; probably I wasnt supposed to, but I was; I didnt know any better. (Laughs) I was working there, of course. When they voted on Mr. Brown, he [Snow] was the only one that voted against him. They said, Mr. Snow, why did you vote against Mr. Brown? Well, if it doesnt work out, I wanted to be able to tell you I told you so. (Laughs) 4 BH = William Bill W. Harrison; WS = Will SarvisBut the tragedy--one of his daughters and son-in-law had a home just across the road [from him]. They were looking after the farm. Apparently this son-in-law--I dont know what possessed [him]--but he went on a rampage with a gun. He killed his wife and her sister and himself. That left Mr. Snow with one daughter that was not married. He was never the same afterwards, of course. He spent considerable time over in the Ozarks at the Rose Cliff Hotel at Van Buren. I used to see him and visit with him some over there. My wife would travel with me some. We stayed at the Rose Cliff when we were working at Van Buren, Carter County. Mr. Snow was there. I was working with the agent. My wife was there at the hotel. She and Mr. Snow were visiting. They both liked to talk a bit. (Laughs)[tape meter, 100]And Mr. Snow liked to go to Mexico and he made several trips. I think he even went with his surviving daughter. And Mr. Snow liked his wine. He brought some of the Mexican wine back.My wife told this story. The two of them were visiting. He was bragging on this wine. He finally said, Would you like to taste it? Well, she decided that shed try it, taste his wine from Mexico. She did. He said, Well, what do you think of it? She looked at him. Mr. Snow, I think it was terrible. (Laughs) She was being honest with him. So thats another story.Bill Shotwell was agent at Charleston when I went there, and had been in extension once before when they had to cut back. He was working in Reynolds County at that time. He had an opportunity to go to the Soil Conversation Service, and that was BH = William Bill W. Harrison; WS = Will Sarvis 5his main interest. Thats when Mr. Brown came back to Charleston and stayed until his retirement. There were just 600 of us there for his retirement party, out at the country club. So he stayed with it til he retired. That was his one love. Everybody had lots and lots of people, including Thad Snows son-in-law, who took over the farming operations. He was a graduate from over at Tennessee University. I think he met his wife when they were students, after World War I. But he was on the board. And I think he was on the conservation commission in Missouri; I think was chairman of it a while. I did a little goose and duck hunting with him. (Chuckles) He had a good place to duck hunt. Big lake. (Chuckles)WS: Mr. Harrison, one thing I forgot to ask you prior to you going to the Bootheel, where did you grow up?BH: I grew up at Salem, in Dent County, on the upper reaches of the Meramec River, only about six or seven miles from the headwaters. To the south, five or six miles of water drains into the Current River. So its pretty well up on the summit. I have the land there now (or part of the land) that was purchased by my great grandfather in 1852. Its been in the family since. So I have a little personal interest there. Historys connected, too. I refer to it as my retreat. I have--in addition to the open land, which is all in grass, pasture--I have 800 acres of trees. Its also designated as a tree farm.[tape meter, 150]So it makes an excellent retreat. It was close to Montauk Park where trout fishing is unexcelled (chuckles) in Missouri.WS: Well, I guess going down to Charleston was quite a shift. 6 BH = William Bill W. Harrison; WS = Will SarvisBH: Contrast.WS: Quite a contrast.BH: But Mr. Brown was a good fisherman. Mr. [M.D.] Amburgey, who was county agent in Pemiscot County for almost thirty years, was a good fisherman. And fishing was good in the drainage ditches. Joe Elman, who was a banker with the Bank of Kennett, and was later president of the American Bankers Association--we spent several Sunday afternoons floating those drainage ditches for bass. (Laughs)WS: What was your first exposure to politics in the Bootheel?BH: Knowing them personally, and relating to them. Not that I was trying to pressure [them], but just personal relationship. Judge Billings was one of the key leaders of politics at Kennett, but he was not as successful running for office as some of the others. But he continued to have an influence, as well as his wife, who was from up in Boone County, originally. He graduated, of course, from the University of Missouri. I had a room next door to them at one time. Their family was growing up. Bill Billings, one of the sons, after high school, went into the service, World War II. He was shot down in the Pacific and was rescued. When he came back he was not sure what he wanted to do yet. I taught him to fish while he was waiting, trying to decide what he wanted to do. He ended up going to law school at Missouri. He was later chief of the Missouri State Supreme Court. He was one of my boys.Judge Stanley Grimm was sworn in here as federal judge for this area. You know who gave him that oath of office? And I was there to witness it. Bill Billings. So (chuckles) there was a bunch of folks that came out of that Kennett area. BH = William Bill W. Harrison; WS = Will Sarvis 7WS: Do you remember the first time you met Mr. J.V. Conran?BH: Really, no. Theres no particular [time]. It was just that we were there in the courthouse. He was just one of the office holders, as well as the others.[tape meter, 200]Pretty close relationship with the office holders. In fact, the Robins were quite active in politics there in New Madrid County. One was county surveyor. One was county collector. They had families. In fact, one of the Robins girls worked in the office for us as secretary. Kind of a close knit group.And Uncle Bud Dawson, at New Madrid. Thats the Hunter-Dawson historic home in New Madrid. Uncle Bud was a single man. He was up in his forties or more. During the Depression, usually the folks that didnt have anything, they always could get a little handout from Uncle Bud. And hed take care of them. He was always very supportive, and on the board, of the extension there when I was there. In fact, in the summer of 1936 we had a room in the old hotel that was up on the third floor and no air conditioning. Uncle Bud said, Come out to the house. Ill put you up. (Laughs) So, we took him up [on it]. My roommate and I went out there and slept in his old antique four-poster bed in the Hunter-Dawson house. (Laughs) Those are little personal things. I dont know whether youre interested.WS: One thing I wanted to ask you--when it came to politics in the Bootheel, was it more of a county-based sort of situation?BH: It was referred to as a Democratic area. There were no Republicans elected in any of the counties, to my knowledge, when I first went down in the Bootheel. And it was just 8 BH = William Bill W. Harrison; WS = Will Sarvisaccepted as a Democratic area. After Conran stepped out or deceased, [Hal E.] Hunter took over (I guess youve heard that) and did pretty well; controlled it for a while, but it gradually faded out. And really, I dont think they have any more leadership there now. Of course, they dont elect by county lines, and they change those lines now as far as representatives in the Legislature and Senate. So, its not as much a county [-based operation] and thats affected it, in my opinion, quite a bit. They dont stick to county lines like they used to.[tape meter, 250]I remember one night, probably our best known politician, no one other than Harry Truman. He made it a point to have a very close relationship to the people in the Bootheel, particularly in the Caruthersville area. I guess youve heard (laughing) about that.WS: No, I havent.BH: (laughing) You havent.WS: No.BH: Even after he was elected president he came back to their [Pemiscot County] fair the first year, to be seen.WS: I wonder why.BH: (chuckling) Wonder why? He had his real support. But, I remember when he was campaigning for senator he had a stop at Kennett. He had a meeting up in the second floor of the courthouse at Kennett. It so happened I went up to listen to part of it. The audience was pretty small. But, he still had his main interest at Caruthersville. As a BH = William Bill W. Harrison; WS = Will Sarvis 9matter of fact, I happened to be over there one evening with a date eating dinner at the hotel. Harry and his politician friends were at the table next to us. (Laughs)WS: Who were his allies in Caruthersville?BH: Those are names--I never did work very close with them. There was a ginner, and a farmer, between Portageville and Hayti. There was a lawyer there in Caruthersville that he relied on pretty much.WS: Would that be one of the Ward or Reeves people? Of the Ward and Reeves law firm?BH: Ward and Reeves. Yes, I think so. I think so.WS: Well, you were talking about the Bootheel being dominated by the Democratic Party. I wonder if you detected any factions within the Democratic Party in the Bootheel?[pause]BH: Really, I cant recall any. Im not saying that there wasnt, but nothing that . . . affected the actions of the way people voted and that sort of thing. But, the university, I would say, didnt overlook the effect or the influence that that area had in some of their dealings, particularly in later years. They did not at first.[tape meter, 300]I always kind of wanted to be critical, and I guess I am, that I always disliked the word Bootheel. To me, it was not complimentary. It was derogatory, especially to folks who werent familiar with the area. And practically all of the rest of Missouri referred to it as the Bootheel, the Bootheel. Well, (chuckles), the only thing that resembles a boot heel is the shape of the boundaries of a couple of counties; a little bit. They got it from Arkansas on a trade out for some land, with a large landowner, at the time. 10 BH = William Bill W. Harrison; WS = Will SarvisIt so happened that when we had the Delta [Research and Extension] Center finished and dedicated; well, the president of the university was there, and also John Dalton, the governor, was there and had an address. They brought him back. But anyhow, it came to the time of selecting a name for the center. Everybody assumed it would be Bootheel. A friend of mine and a fraternity brother who worked in the area (he was not from this area originally), we got appointed to recommend a name. It wasnt the Bootheel. It was the Delta Center, describing the area, the land in the area as flat and the most productive land in Missouri. To me it was more of a recognition of what it was and [not] what the shape of the geographic boundaries [were]. What good that might be, it still disturbs me to hear this Bootheel, Bootheel, Bootheel. (Laughs)WS: You prefer the term Southeast Missouri, I guess. Or delta area?BH: Yes. But Southeast is much bigger than the delta, and the Delta Center confirmed research for agriculture that pertained to the level area and the crops that were produced down there, which is rice, cotton (which is not produced in other areas), particularly on soybeans; and, to some extent, vegetable production and the potential for vegetable production.That [the name] is one of my little pet peeves. (Chuckles)[end of side 1, tape I; tape meter, 359]WS: Based on politics, I wonder if you ever got a sense of these various southeast Missouri counties having, sort of, distinct personalities; maybe based on the people that were in political control. For instance, Ive heard people sometimes say that people in Dunklin County looked down their noses at people in Pemiscot County, for various reasons. BH = William Bill W. Harrison; WS = Will Sarvis 11BH: [shakes his head, No.]WS: You didnt see that at all.BH: No. No, I dont think so. No, I think, as far as I was concerned, each county had leadership, and they looked to the counties for that. Id say no particular rivalry. There was no reason to be, really. I wasnt aware of it. Now, we got into a little bit of a different situation in Butler County because you had two distinct types of farming and topography, with Butler being only about half of the area in the delta. Some wanted to go with the hills, and others wanted to go the other way. And Stoddard County and Scott County a little bit, but not to the extent [of Butler County]. The delta was the main factor. Of course, in Scott County you had the German [influence]. They settled the hill part. But, of course, at that time it was not drained and they couldnt [settle the delta area]. When they came in it was still referred to as swamp. It hadnt been drained. It didnt develop. In fact, there was some of it in New Madrid County in particular that was still being cleared and put in [to agricultural production] when I went [down there, in 1933]. And Dunklin County, and Pemiscot, still being cleared in the 30s and 40s, to be put in production. The hills, of course; the German settlers. Just like at Cape [Girardeau, here,] is German, originally; or French.WS: Talking about drainage, I wonder how the politics of that Little River Drainage District worked? Did you ever see much of the inner workings of that organization?BH: Well, the Little River Drainage District, I think, is a very successful operation. Mr. [J.W.] Reynolds, from Caruthersville, was the chief engineer that had, I would say, the main responsibility for, not only having the vision to do it, but the technical know-how 12 BH = William Bill W. Harrison; WS = Will Sarvisand the engineering know-how. Mr. Reynolds was from Caruthersville, or at least since Ive known about him he lived in Caruthersville, and so does his son, Crews. But, Mr. Reynolds engineered it, and I think was able to keep the Little River overhead [under control] and also giving it vision and promotion and whatever it needed to keep the thing going, and to get the taxes necessary not only to build but to maintain and spread it out over a number of years. Mr. Reynolds was, I would say, one of the outstanding leaders that was in Missouri, in addition to [Louis] Houck and a few others with the railroads, into the Bootheel. (See, I used the Bootheel.)It was my privilege to attend his birthday party in Caruthersville when he reached his hundredth birthday. Governor Dalton was there and was the main speaker. Quite a few of the folks from Columbia were there to attend that affair, too.[tape meter, 50]Of course, there is a park inside the river wall there, J.W. Reynolds Park, dedicated to Mr. Reynolds for his contribution. And he lived to be 104. But I think he was fairly active up until the last two years. He was in the hospital or nursing care at the hospital in Hayti. (You can turn this off if you want to.) (Laughs) Crews (that was his son) was astir one day. I dont remember the occasion. I said, Crews, hows your dad getting along? I think that was a couple of years after the party. [Crews replied:] Oh, I think okay. We were out to Sunday dinner here a couple of weeks ago. Some young, good looking lady came by. He turned around and said, Whos that? Whos that? (laughs) But he made a real contribution. BH = William Bill W. Harrison; WS = Will Sarvis 13WS: Did you ever witness this practice Ive heard so much about, the hauling of voters around election time?BH: I expect there was little bit more done in the area. Two reasons, they wanted them to vote, and also they did not have transportation to the extent that they did in some other places, particularly in the small towns and around. As far as I was concerned, I never heard any local criticism of it, the practice. Just like they organized here to haul the voters. I think maybe there might have been a little misuse of it. Of course, I think theyre trying to make a big deal out of this last election over around Charleston. Its been going on and going on. They may give them a little something. But I dont think it influenced their vote; unless they just wanted to vote that way. I think theyve got a little investigation going on, and it stems from up here in Cape. Im not sure that he was aware of whats been going on down there. Hes never lived down there with it.WS: Who hasnt lived down there?BH: The fellow thats pushing it [the investigation]. He lives here in Cape.WS: Oh.BH: He was on the city council here, and I think the youngest member of the city council, and he was still a student, I think, when he got elected. He still wants to be a politician, but (chuckles) I dont know that he knows for sure how to go about it, to make friends and influence people. So, as far as locally, I dont think he has too good a reputation. Hes seen to it that hes got into some business ventures . . .WS: Did you yourself vote in southeast Missouri, or did your registration stay up in Boone County? 14 BH = William Bill W. Harrison; WS = Will SarvisBH: I voted where we were living at that the time.WS: When you were in Charleston, did you vote there?BH: I dont remember. If we had an election, we did. Or Kennett. Im sure I did there. I was at Kennett eight years. But I worked in Mississippi [County], of course, and New Madrid. And (chuckles) they sent me down to Pemiscot County. First of the year, they were going to just have a varied experience. All of these [agriculture extension] assistants were single and they could move. Id been there two weeks and they told me that Mr. [C.R.] Talbert was going to take sick leave over at Kennett. We want you to go over there in two weeks.[tape meter, 100]I stayed eight years. But Mr. Talbert had bee there, I think, about fifteen or twenty years. And he had acquired some of the land. He had pretty good land holdings. He had little salary and got a little credit and he picked up a bunch of that land that was selling for [delinquent back property] taxes, and came out real good with it.WS: I just wondered what kind of people worked the polls in a place like Kennett, and how they were chosen to work at the polls.BH: No idea; no idea.WS: Well, how did the cotton ginners figure into the political spectrum, back before they started switching to soybeans?BH: The cotton ginners as such, they had their own organization. We worked with them pretty closely. Wed usually have a dinner meeting with them once or twice a year. Also, wed provide an opportunity and arrange for them to go to Stoneville, Mississippi, BH = William Bill W. Harrison; WS = Will Sarvis 15where the cotton gin research laboratory is situated. And wed go down there for a couple of days, and also see some of the research that was going on there with improved cotton varieties with Stoneville varieties and delta pine. So, it was a two-way thing. It was information. Ive got photographs of the ginners that were down there on some of these trips. Ive got quite a collection of photographs and what not; letters from Congressman Paul Jones, Governor Dalton (chuckles), and some others, that I treasure.WS: Did you see a change in southeast Missouri after Mr. Dalton became governor? And then, of course, Governor Hearnes. Theyre both from that area. I wonder if they were able to influence that part of the state more than previously or following.BH: Oh, possibly so. I think Senator [J.F.] Patterson from Caruthersville was chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee for a number of years. And I think he probably gets credit for getting the bridge at Caruthersville across [the Mississippi River] into Tennessee instead of getting here at Cape, which theyre now in the process of building. But there was no bridge between Cape and Memphis until that one was built at Caruthersville. It does connect some of the land from across the river in Tennessee; Dyersburg and on down. But it handles quite a bit of traffic. Patterson gets the credit for getting it located there.WS: When you think back on all the various politicians you knew at the state level--whether it would be in the Senate, the House, or in the governorship--I just wondered if any of them strike you, in your memory, as [having been] particularly effective? Or something that maybe is outstanding in your memory about them, and what they might have done 16 BH = William Bill W. Harrison; WS = Will Sarvisfor southeast Missouri. [pause] Weve already mentioned a few. Pat Patterson. I guess you knew Nelson Tinnin.BH: I went to school with him.WS: Is that right?BH: He used to hand me some of his short courses. (Laughs) His sister Roby worked for the Farmers Home Administration on the same floor of the courthouse with me in Kennett, and so forth. I knew the family pretty well. They were pretty good farmers.[tape meter, 150]Nelson, he turned out to be a pretty good politician.WS: Did you ever see religion, church organizations get involved with politics?BH: Not to my knowledge. I never observed it.WS: You just mentioned the Farmers Home Administration. I wonder if you had any interaction with the Delmo housing project or that development?BH: Yes. I was in it when those housing projects were built, scattered over southeast Missouri. And one was at Kennett, or north of Kennett a little ways. But it did not help the labor situation. They had to be transported. They were not where the labor was preformed or needed. But it did furnish housing without work, and that sort of thing; but they had to transport them. It wasnt satisfactory as far as farmers were concerned. And I think the Farmers Home Administration decided that it was a mistake, and they wanted to get rid of them. And did.But I had this experience. Following World War I, I think they had a directive from Washington to dispose of them, get rid of them, turn them over to somebody else. BH = William Bill W. Harrison; WS = Will Sarvis 17One of the proposals was to turn them over to extension. I got the job of making that extension contact, to whether or not we would be interested. They sent a fellow from Washington down by train, and I met him at Cairo, Illinois, where he got off. So, we made a tour of those camps. He was unaware of what they were like or anything else. The question was put to extension, Do you want to take them over? You know what the answer was. NO! We have no use for them. Were not in that business.Then they sold them to this church group in St. Louis. They raised money and helped some of those families have a long time payment plan, or give it to them, and I dont know what all. But Alex Cooper is still with that organization, directly or indirectly. I dont know whether you know about Alex

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