Interviewed by Donald L. McDonald
November 15, 2013
McDONALD: My name is Donald L. McDonald. Today is November 15, 2013. I’m interviewing Mrs. Mozelle Waters Carey in her home in Groesbeck, Texas. This interview is sponsored by the Limestone County Historical Commission and is part of the Footprints of the Past project in conjunction with Baylor University. I would like to thank you, Mrs. Carey, for contributing to this project. The next voice you hear will be that of Mrs. Carey. You just start talking.
CAREY: (laughs) Hello.
McDONALD: You don’t have to look at it or anything. Just start talking.
CAREY: (laughs) Oh boy. (unintelligible)
McDONALD: No, you’re all right.
CAREY: My name is Mozelle Carey. I’m from Groesbeck, Texas. I was born and raised down at Webb Chapel. I am eighty-seven years old. My parents was Rosie Waters and Joe Lee Waters. She was born on—is this all right?
McDONALD: Yes ma’am.
CAREY: November 22, 1922. At the age of fifteen, Rosie Waters married Joe Waters. When my mother was young, she lived in a small community in Groesbeck called Webb Chapel. My mother came from a very large family. She was the oldest of eight children.
The house in which they lived had four large rooms and a very wide front porch. Sometimes during the summer months, Mother would sleep on the front porch. The furniture in the house was handmade by Rosie Waters’s father. The bed was made of iron and had straw and a cotton mattress. The children, they slept on the straw mattress and the grown-ups slept on the cotton one. We had—she had homemade quilts and was used for covers and bedspreads. The house had no bathroom. A small outhouse was used and the bathtub was kept on—a big tub on the back porch.
The food Mother ate, when she was young, she would obtain from their own land through farming. There was many chickens, which was used to produce eggs and some meat.
Hogs was also used to provide meat and lard. There was only one cow and it was used for milking. The milk it produced was used for cooking and drinking and making butter in a churn. The source used to prepare all the food was a woodstove to help—was a woodstove. To help keep certain food cool, they were put down into the well on a rope in the water.
Doctors was rarely called up when Mother was young. Home remedies was mostly used when someone was ill. Hog-hoof tea was used to help cure colds. The tea was used along with Vicks VapoRub. For cuts, kerosene was poured over the wound.
Grandmother quit school when she got married. Not Grandmother. I don’t mean Grandmother. I mean my mother. (laughs) Uh-oh, kind of messed up there.
McDONALD: That’s fine. That’s fine.
CAREY: (laughs) But before she quit, she only had to attend school for six months out of every year. School would last for only six months because crops had to be harvested. Lunches were not served at school, so Mother and many other young childrens had to carry their lunches to school in a syrup bucket. [Mother] had only two dresses and a pair of shoes for school.
Mother said holidays was all celebration differently from the way they are celebrated now. On every Halloween night, instead of receiving candy, children would dress up like haints (laughs; shuffles paper) and go around scaring peoples. At Christmas, there was no Christmas trees. Mother and her brothers and sisters would only have stockings for Christmas. They would hang their stockings over the chimney. Everyone would receive some candy and a small toy in his or her stockings.
There was only one source of transportation in Mother’s family. They used an old wagon drawn by two mules. About once a month, the whole family would take a ride into town to buy farm supplies and fabrics and food. Interviewed my mother and learning all about her past was something. I thoroughly enjoyed. If I could have had a choice of which era I could have lived in, I would have chosen the time Mother was a little girl. Life was hard then but everyone was very happy. (laughs) I don’t know about that.
McDONALD: Oh, that’s fine. You’re doing fine.
CAREY: What else could I say?
McDONALD: Well, do you remember as a kid how many—how big the community was? How big was Webb Chapel? About how many people lived there?
CAREY: Oh, it was about—I don’t know—I would say about five hundred peoples there.
McDONALD: Five hundred families in Webb Chapel?
CAREY: About five hundred, yeah. Yeah, down there then. Maybe even more than that.
McDONALD: Did they have a store or anything? Or did they have to come into Groesbeck to—
CAREY: They had to come into Groesbeck. Wasn’t no stores down there, unh-uh.
McDONALD: And the school?
CAREY: The school was there, uh-huh, yeah.
McDONALD: Webb Chapel had a school?
CAREY: Yeah, they had a school. The name of the school was Beulah.
CAREY: Yeah, I think, if I’m not mistaken.
McDONALD: Is that where you went to school?
CAREY: Yeah, that’s where I went to school. My mother went there, too.
McDONALD: Was it a twelve-year school or—
CAREY: No, it went to eighth grade.
McDONALD: Eighth grade?
CAREY: Eighth grade, uh-huh.
McDONALD: And then was that—
CAREY: We just had one teacher.
McDONALD: Was that the eighth grade, then you graduated? Or did you come to Groesbeck?
CAREY: No, I came to Groesbeck to graduate.
McDONALD: Came to Groesbeck?
CAREY: Uh-huh, yeah.
McDONALD: Was there any kind of business there?
CAREY: No, wasn’t no kind of business there. It was just the churches.
McDONALD: Just the churches. How many churches were there at the time?
CAREY: There wasn’t but one, Webb Chapel.
McDONALD: Webb Chapel, the one that’s still there?
CAREY: Uh-huh, the one that’s still there. That’s the only one I ever remember.
McDONALD: Is it still the same building?
CAREY: Yeah, same building.
McDONALD: Black(??) building?
CAREY: Not all of it. It’s been added to. It was just a little lone shotgun church because they add—they fix it bigger. Uh-huh, yeah.
McDONALD: And then did they have, like, socials at the church and is that where everybody kind of met?
CAREY: Oh, yeah, uh-huh.
McDONALD: And everybody in the community pretty much went to the same church?
CAREY: Same church, uh-huh, yeah. And we used to have watch-night meetings there at night. In January, we used to have it for New Year’s.
McDONALD: Uh-huh. And was everybody pretty much kin to each other? Were they all cousins, aunts, uncles?
CAREY: Yeah, just about, uh-huh. There, we all about was kin peoples that lived there. It was an all-black community right around in there. We had some white people who lived way up—you know, up there on the hill. We called—Kickapoo, I believe, is what they called it.
McDONALD: Kickapoo? Yes ma’am. The Plummers and those families. The Plummers?
CAREY: Yeah, uh-huh.
McDONALD: Now, was there electricity out there?
CAREY: No, we didn’t have no electricity.
McDONALD: So, you lived kind of by lantern and candle?
CAREY: Lantern and lamps. We had lantern and lamps.
McDONALD: Wash your clothes by hand and dry them.
CAREY: Yeah, uh-huh. We got our water out of the well. We had wells down there, yeah.
McDONALD: Now, during World War II, did that affect—and the Depression, did that affect the community? Did y’all, you know—
CAREY: I think it did, as far as I can remember, yeah.
McDONALD: Do you remember any of the young men having to go off during World War II?
CAREY: Um-hm. My dad had to go.
CAREY: My daddy went. I think he was in World War—I think that picture of him is from World War—what was it?—II(??).
McDONALD: Yes ma’am.
CAREY: Yeah, he had to go, uh-huh.
McDONALD: And most of it—was it farming? Y’all raised cows and hogs?
CAREY: Yeah, cows and hogs and corn and all that stuff, uh-huh.
McDONALD: And that’s pretty much—did that provide y’all’s food for you?
CAREY: Uh-huh, we had gardens. Had beautiful gardens and things to raise—food, you know.
McDONALD: Now, I know some of the community, especially back in the thirties and forties, we hear that they had—like, the hogs and everything, they’d have kind of a community hog-killing.
McDONALD: Was that the same situation out there?
CAREY: Yeah, yeah. The same thing, same—
McDONALD: Everybody’d get together and—
CAREY: Kill hogs. Yeah, uh-huh.
McDONALD: —kill a hog and then share the meat? Yes ma’am. Basically, you were pretty self-reliant.
McDONALD: You made—you got your food out of the garden and probably canned it and—yes ma’am.
CAREY: And we rode to church in a wagon, everybody on Sunday. We had to go in the wagon. (laughs)
McDONALD: Well, when you—you said y’all left school at the eighth grade there and came to Groesbeck. Did they run a bus or did y’all have to ride the wagon to school?
CAREY: Yeah, we had to ride a wagon to school. Uh-huh, yeah. Let me see now, yeah.
McDONALD: Now there’s—
CAREY: We just had one teacher was teaching us. Her name was Mrs. I. C. Orum.
McDONALD: I. C. Olla?
CAREY: She used to own this house I bought.
McDONALD: Is that right?
CAREY: Uh-huh. (laughs)
McDONALD: Do you know how to spell her name?
CAREY: Just put I. C. Orum.
McDONALD: I. C. Olla?
McDONALD: And she taught all the grades?
CAREY: She taught all the grades, uh-huh.
McDONALD: Now, were y’all all in one room? Or did you have—
CAREY: We just had one room, one stove there.
McDONALD: One big room. Kind of divided the kids up in—per age.
CAREY: Uh-huh. She take them by, you know, age.
McDONALD: Yes ma’am. I imagine that was a full-time job for her.
CAREY: Oh, it was, uh-huh. (laughs)
McDONALD: Was there a lot of cutting up in class?
CAREY: Oh boy. She’d get that ruler and she’d tear your hands up, (laughs) be sure you learned that.(??)
McDONALD: Now, the roads out there, were they all just like dirt roads?
CAREY: Oh yeah, dirt roads. Sandy and dusty. Wasn’t nothing on—you know, just— you’d get stuck if you have a car. Sometimes the wagon wheel would get stuck sometimes. Yeah.
McDONALD: So during the wet season, it sure did get rough then, I imagine.
CAREY: Um-hm. Yeah, and then—oh, I didn’t put that in about we had to walk to school.
McDONALD: Oh, is that right?
CAREY: Sometimes. And sometimes, you know, the wagon would carry us, uh-huh. But most the time, we walked to school.
McDONALD: Walk to school at Webb Chapel or up there in Groesbeck?
CAREY: No, not Groesbeck. Webb Chapel.
McDONALD: To Webb Chapel?
CAREY: Uh-huh, yeah.
McDONALD: And how far a walk was that for you? In your—
CAREY: Oh, it was about two or three—(laughs) about two. At least two.
McDONALD: Two miles?
McDONALD: That’s a pretty good haul every day. Got plenty of exercise.
McDONALD: Do you feel like—Webb Chapel, did it have—did it contribute to the history of the county?
CAREY: Yeah, I feel like it because it’s real old. It’s over a hundred some-odd years old.
McDONALD: Yes ma’am. I noticed the cemetery there at the church—I walked through it one day and I noticed that they still, you know, have burials there.
CAREY: Yeah, we do. Uh-huh, yeah. Well, we do have another cemetery, long time ago. It was kind of out—I can’t tell you where it is, though. It’s down in the country down that way but it’s out, way out.
McDONALD: Out around Webb Chapel?
CAREY: Yeah, but it’s down that road, way down in there. So, that was the first cemetery that we had. So, this is our new cemetery.
McDONALD: Oh, really? Now, it was not Bethel, is it? Not old Bethel Cemetery.
CAREY: No, I don’t think.
McDONALD: Do you remember the name of it?
CAREY: (laughs) No, I can’t remember the name of that cemetery. I used to know but I can’t remember the name of it.
McDONALD: Is it right there by the church?
CAREY: No, that one by the church is Webb Chapel Cemetery. But we used to have a old—before the elders(??) got this new cemetery right there, well, we had another cemetery where they used to bury the people there. It’s kind of up on that hill. I forget— the Kick[apoo].
McDONALD: Over there at Kickapoo?
CAREY: Yeah, kind of up that way but I can’t, you know, remember where—exactly where it was.
McDONALD: Yes ma’am. Was it there close to the road?
CAREY: Yeah, it was kind of close to the road, uh-huh.
McDONALD: Okay. Well, I’ll have to do some investigating, see if I can find that cemetery, because that’s another thing we’re doing, is finding old cemeteries and try to document them and make sure people know where they’re at and try to find out who’s buried there.
McDONALD: Well, Mrs. Carey, I do appreciate your time. I do have one more question for you. Nowadays, with everything going on in the country and everything, if you could give our young people today one piece of advice, what would that be?
CAREY: I would give them advice: go get education, and always serve the—go to church and serve the Lord.
McDONALD: Yes ma’am. To get educated and serve the Lord.
CAREY: Yeah, uh-huh. (laughs)
McDONALD: That’s very good advice. Most of the time, that’s the advice we hear: getting an education and leading a good life.
CAREY: That’s right.
McDONALD: Well, is there anything else you’d like to add, Mrs. Waters? I mean—I’m sorry, Mrs. Carey?
CAREY: No, I guess not. I imagine I’ll think of a jillion things when you leave. (laughs) I’m sorry. That’s all I could think.
McDONALD: (speaking at same time) Well, I—no, that’s no problem. If you think of other things that you’d like to add on there, I’ll leave you my number and you can call me and say you’ve thought of some more things, and I can come back by here and get some more of the interview.
CAREY: I’m sorry I can’t think of that name of that cemetery. Was it—oh, I can’t think of it. (laughs)
McDONALD: Oh, that’s all right. I do appreciate it and we sure do thank you.
end of interview