(SNP003) Beulah Atkins interviewed by Dorothy Noble Smith, transcribed by Sharon G. Marston

Dublin Core


(SNP003) Beulah Atkins interviewed by Dorothy Noble Smith, transcribed by Sharon G. Marston


Beulah Atkins, Mountain people, Shenandoah National Park


Records the reminiscences of Beulah Atkins, who grew up in Beech Spring, Virginia prior to the establishment of Shenandoah National Park in 1934. Describes her home and family life, schooling, holidays and community events. Among the topics discussed are the growing, harvesting and preserving of food, soap making, collecting ginseng and wild game hunting. Includes references to the local Civilian Conservation Corps camp, wakes and funerals, and her work with her father and husband in the barrel making business.


Interviewer: Smith, Dorothy Noble.
Interviewee: Atkins, Beulah.


Shenandoah National Park oral history collection.


James Madison University.


January 31st, 1979.


National Park Service.


The copyright interests in this collection have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (library-special@jmu.edu).


Audio file.




Oral History.


Oral History with Beulah Atkins, from a mountain family in Shenandoah National Park.


1930s Shenandoah National Park.

Oral History Item Type Metadata


Smith, Dorothy Noble.


Atkins, Beulah.


Near Beech Spring, Virginia.


D.S.: Where was your nearest store?
B.A.: The Jim Estes store right over here above the road. You
know where Pete Estes
D.S.: Yea.
B.A.: Well, that was the old store, right there.
D.S.: Okey. And then you used his mill? That mill too, right. For grinding the corn meal.
B.A.: No. he Poppa never did grind no cornmeal for nothing. He would
always get it, you know somewhere else where it would be ground.
Um, buy flour by the barrel you know.
D.S.: Uhhum. When winter was coming on would he buy extra supplies
things in case it was snowing
B.A. : Well, I reckon he well he was always kinda get a good supply.
D.S.: How would he carry these barrels of flour home?
B.A.' Well, I reckon somebody would have to take him up to and haul them home
just like they do now.
D.S.: Uhhuh. Yea. Well he was lucky. A lot of people had to carry them.
B.A.: Oh yea.
D.S.: Uh, now how about your washing. Did you make the lye soap?
B.A.: Sometimes, yes mam. I made lye soap, but when I washed for that
CC camp, you used so much soap you couldn't keep in soap.
I just quit making soap.
D.S.: You washed for the CC camp?
B.A.: Sure did! Do you remember that?
D.S.: I sure do. Yea.
Which one was this. Theone that was at the
Pinnacles or where? Where was that CC camp?
B.A.: Well, it was at Big Spring Church. The first place, and then they
moved from there back on the mountain No. 12. Weren't that the
name of it?
D.S.: Yea. Yea. Uhhuh. So would you have to go up and get the wash?
B.A. : Yea, we I d have to go, and get them after they want back on the
D.S.: You walked it?
B.A.: oh, no mam. We had a car. You know you cou1dn l t walk
D.S.: Uhhuh. Yea. Well you know a lot of walking there?
B.A.: Dh sure yea. A lot of walking done these days, the way they say
they get out and walk.
D.S.: Yea. How far away was your nearest neighbor!
B.A.: Well, not no ways hardly. Where we lived where we talking about in
the park. closest neighbor was just a few steps
away from us.
D.S.: Dh really.
B.A.: We all lived kinda close together up there.
Lee Atkins where she lived.
D.S.: Dh, okay. Then you did a lot of visiting did you?
B.A.: Well you know when you had to work course I visited some. But I
had to work and had to go to school, you see. And we had to walk
to school.
D.S.: Yea.
B.A.: Hmm!
where was the school?
Clear up yonder you know where well you know
where Turn Bridge
is just down below the
bridge. You know where that's at don't you?
D.S.: Yea.
B.A.: Well.
D.S.: Yea. Now was that a one room schoolhouse?
B.A.: Yea, one room.
D.S.: How many months of the year was school?
B.A.: Well, I reckon it was nine months, just like it is today I have
an idea.
D.S.: Alright. And what did they teach.
B.&.: Well, they didn't teach this foolishness like they teaching now.
D.S.: You got reading and writing and 'rithmetic. Right. And Geography. ?
B.A.: Oh yea, sure.
D.S.: How far up did the school go. Seventh grade, or eighth grade?
B.A.: Well, now I just don't know. I just don't know how
D.S.: How long did you go?
B.A.: Well now I think, I don't know whether I went to the fifth I
didn't go to for. But anyways they still had school and
finally they built another schoolhouse another one over the
other way. But I never did go to that one.
D.S.: Okey. How far away was the school, Do you think? You say you
had to walk.
B.A.: Well, I told you around that lane aa8 we lived up there at the
church. We ha to walk clear up yonder just below the~n~
bridge up there where you come off the mountain. ~re's
w~ we had to walk.
D.S.: Oh boy. So all kinds of weather you would walk to school?
B.A.: Walk to school.
D.S.: Speaking of that. Did you wear shoes all year round? Or just in
the winter?
B.A.: Oh, just in the winter I have an idea.
D.S.: Because most of the people did. They were barefoot in the summer.
B.A.: That I s right.
D.S.: Weren't you afraid of snakes?
B.A.: No indeed.

Original Format

Audio file.


6 minutes and 12 seconds.

Time Summary

Section of the interview between 16:30-22:42.


Interviewer: Smith, Dorothy Noble. and Interviewee: Atkins, Beulah., “(SNP003) Beulah Atkins interviewed by Dorothy Noble Smith, transcribed by Sharon G. Marston,” "Map of The Stony Man Region in the Shenandoah National Park" Digital Map, accessed February 29, 2024, https://ashleypalazzo.org/SNPdigitalprojectcollection/items/show/32.

Output Formats