Source: WV History Film Project
BEVERLY FLUTY INTERVIEW, TAKE 1, CAMERA ROLL 101, SOUND ROLL 18
Q: Beverly, we have been talking Wheeling for a
long time. What's important about Wheeling? How
have you spent so much time thinking about this
BF: It has so much to offer, so much history, so much background; so many things that happened here reflect what happened to the United States of America. Almost anything that happened in Wheeling happened nationally, so we can relate.
BF: Almost anything. You name it, anyone would name a topic and we can find something in Wheeling that connects to it, whether it be labor-related, or shipping, or culture, or architecture, or manufacturing. Anything, we can relate in Wheeling.
Q: When you go through all this stuff, what
keeps you going. What do you find in these histories
that you dredge up and these people that you dredge
up, what stories are they telling you?
BF: I can research Wheeling probably for the next 50 years and not do it all. There is so much here, there is so many stories to be told that have never been told before about people who lived here and hat they accomplished and what was going in Wheeling, it is just remarkable.
Q: That's a quantity. You could research plants
for the rest of your life too. What is the quality, what
is the story that's reaching out of the history of this
BF: Because it brings Wheeling -- Wheeling comes alive.
Q: Don't talk about your research; I want you to
talk about Wheeling. What in the story in this town
continues to interest you?
BF: When you research Wheeling --
Q: Not your research. In what you find. What
in the story, why is it --
BF: It is so interesting in Wheeling to know what people were doing, what they were thinking, the cause and effect of things, and that brings history to life so that we can help school children, so we can have them interested in what's going on in the United States.
Q: I know it's a worthwhile endeavor. What I'm
saying is when you sit back and some say to you
'What's the big deal about Wheeling. What have you
BF: I have found that Wheeling is a very special place. It has it's place in the United States that's of national importance and we have a story to tell and it needs to be told to everyone.
Q: And what is the story?
BF: The story is of men and women who made this community what it is today and the struggles of what they went through and things that they did and they are unappreciated today. We need to talk about this for today and tomorrow.
... BEVERLY FLUTY INTERVIEW, TAKE 2, CAMERA ROLL 101, SOUND ROLL 18
Q: Beverly, tell me why it is important for us to
understand leadership in the 1820's to 50's and what a
difference that can make? Tell me about who these
people were and what they did?
BF: People of Wheeling worked together to bring the national road to Wheeling, to bring the B & O, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, to Wheeling. They had the courage, the initiative and the money to build the longest bridge in the world across the Ohio river and the very first bridge across the Ohio river. They didn't even know what a suspension bridge looked like at that time. It's just incredible when you think about it -- that these people worked together and had the leadership and put on the political pressure to do absolutely astounding things in a relatively small community.
BF: How did these people do these wonderful things? By taking chances, ... The people who lived in Wheeling were doers; they were not afraid to take chances; many of them went bankrupt, but they really felt they could make a difference to make their community grow and be wonderful. And they succeeded.
Q: Is that what it took during that time period to
rise above -- risk taking?
BF: People here had advantages; they had the Ohio river; they had the coal to start industries. With the people behind this, resources and the location, they had the beginnings of doing something and they recognized what they had and worked with it.
Q: Before they had that, they had nothing. In
1818 there were 120 houses in Wheeling.
BF: But by 1818, they had already built a steamboat in Wheeling, which was capable of going up and down the Ohio river and very early for that time period. And so, the seeds had been planted; Wheeling was beginning to grow, and that --
BEVERLY FLUTY INTERVIEW, TAKE 3, CAMERA ROLL 101, SOUND ROLL 19
Q: Beverly, tell me who were these people who
came and decided to pitch their tents on the banks of
the Ohio and stayed here?
BF: People who first founded Wheeling were Irish, Scotch, English people who really wanted to start something on the frontier and were not afraid to put up with Indians, all the nasty things that happen when you're really on the edge of civilization. They had very strong backbones and really wanted to do something for themselves and to create something, a town, something that would grow.
Q: What was the first big event in the attempt to
make that town?
BF: I think the thing that impressed Wheelingites was when the steam boat, 'Washington,' was built. They were just enamored with steam boats because it changed the whole navigational system on the Ohio river, which was their lifeline, because all of a sudden you could up and down the Ohio river, and this meant prosperity for the community. We started our ship building industry in Wheeling at that time.
Q: When was that? Tell me about when that
steamboat set sail?
BF: I don't remember the date. It's before 1820. What is incredible about the 'Washington' was it went off with great fanfare, went down the Ohio river, and then the boilers blew up. Men were killed, and they repaired it, and it went on and served a useful career. One of those funny stories that happened to Wheeling.
Q: Tell me about the building of a railroad out
from the marsh of Washington was such a big
BF: People in Wheeling, particularly the leaders at that time, recognized the fact that it would be a real coupe to have the very first federal highway terminate the Ohio river at Wheeling. People here fought tooth and nail to bring political pressure in Washington for that to happen. Indeed, we attribute it to one woman, Lydia Shepherd, who was very friendly with Henry Clay, a prominent member of Congress. He was very instrumental in bringing the national road to Wheeling.
Q: That's kind of a 'sanitized' version. Tell me
the dirt about how Lydia strong armed the road out
this way. Tell me.
BF: We do not know if Lydia really strong-armed the politicians and Henry Clay in particular into bringing the national road here. We do know that she talked her husband into building two additional roads, bridges. ... Lydia somehow or other persuaded her husband to build two extra bridges across Wheeling Creek, so that the national road would go right by her front door. Her husband, Moses, had the contract for building the national road from the Pennsylvania border into Wheeling.
Q: How did she manage to accomplish this? Just
by talking her husband into it? How did -- how did
he have the power then?
BF: Moses Shepherd was a contractor and he built the bridges, and then they spent years going to Congress trying to receive the funds to pay for the two extra bridges that he built because they were not in the original contract. Benjamin Latrobe came through Wheeling in 1820, two years after the national road was completed, and recognized as did the people of Wheeling just what this road would do. It meant that goods from Baltimore, from Washington, from Philadelphia, could come into Wheeling. Then because the national road did progress west across the Ohio river, Wheeling became a revolving door, in that goods from the east would come to Wheeling, things that were made here in Wheeling went on covered wagons and stages and things and went west and helped to build the west. Then goods went the other way. We would make goods, and they would go to the eastern seaports, so Wheeling really recognized that not only goods, but people and commerce and all those wonder things were going to happen. And it did.
Q: What did Lydia want from the road?
BF: Lydia was the grand dame of Wheeling. She ... Lydia Shepherd was the grand dame of Wheeling. She lived in what was then considered a grand mansion, beautifully furnished. She wanted the prestige of having the national road go right by her front door so she could entertain people in her ball room on the second story. She was a power player. Everyone recognizes her in that mode.
Q: So she was perhaps one of the first of those
who were above the industrial ? Tell me about the
upper crust in Wheeling. How did it get started; who
BF: They were ... There were those who came to Wheeling that came as wealthy people. So they had the where with all to do things and live in a manner that they were accustomed to. They brought with them fine furniture; they built very nice homes; they lived far apart from the laboring class of Wheeling. They built homes away from the river or on the road near the river that was outside of the flood area.
Q: But most of the people that came out of
Wheeling in the early part of the 19th century worked
in the mills, worked in the new nail industry. Tell me
about that, how that grew?
BF: The first laborers who came to Wheeling were probably the Irish, who came with building the national road. And then we had Scotch people and German influx and a good cosmopolitan mix. They were laborers, and they worked very hard and did not live nearly as well as some of the people who were upper crust.
Q: Describe Wheeling in the 1840's and '50's
when the industry is just exploding? What kind of
town was it like?
BF: Wheeling was a river town. Wheeling was a community of brick houses with some stone buildings that were grand, but it was a somber city because of the pollution. ... Wheeling was a river town; it was a town that had a dichotomy of society; there were those people who worked in the mills, who worked everywhere doing laborer's positions. And then there was a very high society who lived in grand homes, had fine furniture, had servants. Some had slaves as house servants. They went to the theater; they had carriages. They lived a fine life. And then there was the other side, the laborers and the wagoneers who drank a lot, who fought a lot. There was a great deal of prostitution because of it being a river town and the people who worked on the river. There was disease, incredibly bad disease because of the river. In 1833 the worst cholera epidemic ever happened in Wheeling, and it was from someone who was traveling on a boat and came ashore and brought the disease to Wheeling. It was something that Wheelingites feared every spring was floods and cholera.
Q: Physically, what was the town like,
physically? Not in terms of how ??? tell me about the
air and tell me about the look?
BF: Wheeling was noisy; you could hear the steamboats; you could hear the factory whistles; steam whistles; you could hear the bells from the factories. There were drays on the streets and wagons and all kinds of vehicles that made a lot of noise, plus all the noise from the factories, if you were in that section of the community. It smelled too. There was mud on the streets that they sometimes raked up. There were flies; there were markets with food in them. It was a bustling, a busy, an active, and an imaginative place to live and to breathe and to do wonderful things.
Q: We'll pick that up some more; you told me
how it smelled; you told me how it sounded. How did
BF: Wheeling looked dirty; it had a somber appearance. It had coal soot all over it, that black, greasy coal because coal was used for a fuel for all the industries in Wheeling. Coal was king. There were people who even painted their houses black because it was so dirty. If a man wanted to look clean, we'd wear two shirts a day. Ladies, when they were crossing the streets, picked up their skirts because of the mud. There were animals that were running around in the streets. If you crossed the suspension bridge, there might be a herd of sheep going across it. So, -- ...
BEVERLY FLUTY INTERVIEW, TAKE 4, ROLL 103, SOUND 20
Q: Tell be about this Wheeling house in the
1850's. Tell me about why it was incredible.
BF: Some of the homes in Wheeling were absolutely magnificent. There were not too many of them, but were really special because there was imported wallpaper used in the homes, magnificent swinging glass used in some of the side lights and besides that so many fine things were made in Wheeling from the furniture to the table settings, to every aspect of living. There was even a man who made absolutely silk. He had the largest silk factory in the United States right here in Wheeling, so the ladies had access to the fashions of Paris, which they knew about from the newspaper. And they could have them made with very nice silk made right here in Wheeling.
Q: What difference did being a port of entry
make? Tell me about that.
BF: Wheeling was declared a U.S. port of entry in 1831, which meant that any boat coming from any where in the entire world could come up the Ohio river and not pay duty until they arrived in duty, so it was an economic asset to Wheeling to have things like railroad iron brought up the rivers and paid duty in Wheeling.
Q: What did it mean to the average person to
BF: It probably did not mean much to the man on the --
Q: Tell me about the oyster --
BF: That has nothing to do with the port of entry tough. That's to do with the fact those things were available.
Q: Go ahead and describe that. What -- I'm
surprised to find out that smoked oysters were a big
thing in West Virginia.
BF: When we talk about houses and clothes and the find furniture, we also have to describe the foods, the spices, the oysters that were shipped into Wheeling and the find foods that normally are not on a table, in a relatively obscure location, Wheeling, Virginia. People were living very well, going to theater, going to concerts, going to scholarly lectures. They were enjoying the finer things of life, but that was only a select group in the community. Then there was the other side of the coin. The side of the people that are so aptly described by Rebecca Harding Davis in both her novel --
Q: You're getting formal on me; don't do that;
we'll talk about Rebecca. ... What's the point you
want to make about those other people?
BF: There was the other side of the coin: The people who lived near the river, the people who did not have much money and worked so hard, had very little leisure time, went to church yes, but that was about it. They lived on meager rations, potatoes, were ill, overworked, stooped over from their work in the factories, led what we would consider miserable lives.
Q: Tell me about the woman who told the rest of
the country about that. ... Tell me about what
Rebecca Harding Davis did and why it was
BF: There was a woman who lived in Wheeling by the name of Rebecca Harding Davis ... Rebecca Harding Davis was brought up in Wheeling, Virginia and she loved her city. There's no question about it; it shows up in all the works she wrote. She understood it. Being a very sensitive woman, she wanted to write about people who had never been written about before ...
Q: Tell me about what class she came from, tell
me, give me the whole sequence of events, who she
was and how she came to do this.
BF: Rebecca Harding Davis grew up in Wheeling, although she did go away to school, so she was well educated. Her parents were also well educated, and her early schooling was tutoring or with her mother. Then her brother went to our equivalent of college and she read his books and his lessons, so she was extremely well educated and she was a very sensitive person, very much aware of her surroundings in the community and wanted to write about them.
Q: Where did she go to write about them.
BF: She wrote about her town, her city, Wheeling.
Q: Why are you going to cry?
BF: Because she felt so strongly about it and she describes it so well. ... Rebecca Harding Davis had the ability to describe Wheeling the way it really was. She talked about a class of which she was not a member, but she had done settlement work. She had lived in the area where the big factories were located, so she knew how these people looked, worked, how they felt; and she empathized with them. She wanted to tell that story, and she did and very effectively, at a time of literature in the U.S. when it was very romantic. So when this first story of hers, "Life in the Iron Mills" was published in the Atlantic Monthly, it was like a bolt of lightning. People were just amazed. They thought a man had written the article. Interestingly enough as she went on and wrote more, the editor of the Wheeling newspaper, Archibald Campbell, kept to referring to articles that she was writing and saying that the author was from Wheeling, but never mentioned her by name.
Q: He did not like the picture that she was
painting of his town or didn't want to acknowledge
her because she was a woman?
BF: I don't know.
Q: What was the reaction to her reports out from
the grimy, soot-filed city?
BF: Because of Rebecca's articles and stories, she was lauded by the other authors of the day, and made a trip to Boston to meet such luminaries in the literary field. That was one of -- ... Let me tell you in events because I think this is so interesting.
BEVERLY FLUTY INTERVIEW, SOUND ROLL 20, TAKE 6, CAMERA ROLL 103
Q: Beverly, tell me the story about Rebecca
Harding Davis' brother. It gets better.
BF: Rebecca Harding Davis had a brother whose sympathies were with the south. I am sure it was a great embarrassment to the family because her father was city treasurer, and he slipped out of Wheeling by boat and was arrested in Cincinnati when the surveyor of customs had sent this telegram, and he refused to take an oath of allegiance to the United States of America. So he was sent back to Wheeling to be tried for treason.
Q: And Campbell made a big deal about
Q: Tell me why -- was Wheeling a union town?
Tell me where Wheeling sympathies lay prior to the
BF: Wheeling was very divided on this consideration, whether it wanted to be north or south. Because so many of the businessmen had contracts with southern suppliers, with wagons going down the Ohio river, the Mississippi river, all the way to New Orleans. The early settlers were very strong in their loyalties to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Then there were the German people and the other people who felt it was very important to stay with the Union and were very strong Unionists. So we had a very divided society in Wheeling.
Q: What was it like in the early days of the Civil
War in Wheeling? Was it a secret town? Was it a
town where secrets were passed from alley to
BF: During the beginning of the Civil War it would have been a nightmare living here. If you had any inkling or thought of to be in any way sympathetic to the southern cause, you were definitely persecuted. As a matter of fact, many people in May and June of 1861 fled south -- doctors, lawyers, even a newspaper owner, all left Wheeling. There was a group of men who joined a company called the Shriver Grays and fought with Confederacy, but these people were underground.
Their wives and mothers were making uniforms for them and were terribly afraid that any moment someone was going to bang on the door and enter and find out what they were doing because all these people who were suspected of being Confederates were watched. And there was no question about it. They also knew who some of these people were because in the vote in 1861 when Virginia was voting whether to succeed it was a voice vote, so those who did not want to succeed from the U.S. of America, were named. ...
BEVERLY FLUTY INTERVIEW, TAKE 7, CAMERA ROLL 104, SOUND ROLL 21
Q: Archibald Campbell ? ?
BF: Archibald Campbell in many ways was the father of West Virginia; there's no question about it. He came into Wheeling and bought into a newspaper in 1856 and was a liberal. Because of this, his newspaper was very unpopular in the eastern area of Virginia. Influential people did not like what he was doing, but he was fair; he was honest; he wrote well, and because of that his paper prospered. For awhile it looked as if it might not. He was a very strong Republican, and that comes through again and again how devoted he was to the Union cause, how devoted he was to a new state of West Virginia. He did everything in his power through the power of press to promote Abraham Lincoln, to support him every way, and in so doing create a new state of West Virginia. ...
BF: Archibald Campbell was a man of principle, and he truly believed in what he was doing. He was in this way able to influence the people of Wheeling, that it was the right road to take, even though some of them didn't want to believe it. At the very end when Abraham Lincoln had not made up his mind whether to sign the bill for West Virginia statehood, both he and Governor Pierpont sent telegrams. They were both personal friends of Abraham Lincoln. At that time Archibald Campbell was also the postmaster in the custom house and so he was there all the time; he knew what was going on, and he had been appointed by Abraham Lincoln.
Q: Why? Why was Campbell such a unionist?
Why was he so much of a secessionist from Virginia?
What was he after?
BF: It is difficult to understand what motivated Archibald Campbell, but he certainly was convinced that this was the right thing to do for the people of Wheeling and for the western counties of Virginia, to make a new state. He recognized the differences between eastern and western Virginia and was sure that the future would be much brighter if there was a new state. There had been difficulties for so many years, and this seemed to be the answer. With the war, with Abraham Lincoln, he could do it and push and he did.
Q: Was he also part of the group that was fed up
with the raw deal that they were getting from
BF: Mr. Campbell in his editorials constantly criticized the things that were going on in Richmond, the taxation and the lack of representation. He felt very keenly we were not getting a fair shake in the city, and he was the first one to point it out in spades.
Q: What did he say in his editorials? What did
he accuse Richmond of doing, what did he point out
that they were doing?
BF: It is difficult for me to be specific on what he did. My remembrance is that it's general --
Q: What was the tone of his editorials?
BF: His editorials were always very factual, very fair, but definitely taking the point of view that Wheeling was not getting its fair share of what it should be.
Q: Tell me how he ended up bringing the power
brokers from the west to Wheeling to talk about a
BF: When Archibald Campbell came to Wheeling he was a Republican, and I believe as a Republican he was instrumental in having the state republican convention in Wheeling, and they supported Abraham Lincoln. ...
Q: I'm talking about building the state, the first
Wheeling convention, the second Wheeling
convention. Let's talk about the custom house. How
did it come to be?
BF: Let's go back to that. It's very clear that Archibald Campbell in the newspaper used that to best ability that he had, he quoted other newspapers that followed his line of thinking. Again, it always pro-union, pro a new state. He was very upset that the Constitution that was proposed did not include a clause to abolish slavery and was very vocal again through the newspaper.
Q: What do you think the average person
reading that newspaper in Wheeling thought about the
idea of a new state while war was going on?
BF: If I had been living in Wheeling during that time period, I would have been very frightened. These people were looking at something that was really very dangerous. At one point it certainly looked as if the south was going to win the Civil War. If it had, all these people that were working for a new state would have been traitors. Business would have been poor. Besides this, their families were going to war; it was a perfectly dreadful time.
Q: Tell me what it must have been like to be part
of state formation discussions and meetings and
shouting matches and speeches and the custom?
BF: The custom house was chosen I think as the symbol because it was it was owned by the federal government. Here were these men meeting to do something very radical. They met in the courtroom for the most part, which was hot, incredibly hot and it was cold in the winter. They lit the fireplaces and the gas furnace wasn't working very well, so it was cold in the winter and hot in the summer and noisy.
There were wagons going by all the time, so they were trapped in the summer. If they opened the windows, they couldn't hear. If they closed the windows, they were incredibly hot. They were kind of sloppy, there was a flag draped above what was the judge's desk and the clock on it. They lounged around. Then there were impassioned speeches, which were all recorded. It was a difficult time, but also tedious.
Q: Sounds like a circus?
BF: I think it was a circus, yes. But a very serious circus.
Q: What went on behind the scenes the landlord
of the custom house?
BF: On the second story of the custom house was Thomas Hornbrooke who was quite a character. Worked tirelessly. Was appointed by Abraham Lincoln to be surveyor for the port of Wheeling and was also in charge of the whole building. It was he who gave permission for the convention to move into the custom house, and he didn't bother the secretary, the treasurer, his superior of what he had done until several weeks later. He also had invited Colonel Kelly to use the custom, but by that time he had written to the federal government and apparently they said no. ...
FLUTY INTERVIEW, TAKE 8, CAMERA
ROLL 104, SOUND ROLL 21
BF: There is an island in the middle of the Ohio river, and that was where the soldiers were first stationed during the Civil War. They used old agricultural buildings to stay in, and the townspeople helped them with blankets and food, etc. The very first troops were organized by Colonel Kelly, B.F. Kelly, and he went off with his men and fought at Philippi, where he was wounded. As a matter of fact, first a physician was sent from Wheeling to Philippi or the surrounding area. I don't know where they sent him. ...
When Kelly was wounded in Philippi a physician was sent from Wheeling to make sure that he was all right, and he came back and reported that 'yes, Colonel Kelly would survive his wounds and would be fine.' When Kelly was brought back to Wheeling he was taken out in the country to rest. When he did fully recuperate they gave him a horse. His whole recovery was very ..
Q: Start again, when Kelley was wounded -- the
interesting thing is that the whole town is wrapped up
BF: When Kelly was wounded the whole city of Wheeling was aghast and very, very upset. He was their hero; he was known in Wheeling for his military company years ago. The city ...
FLUTY INTERVIEW, TAPE 22,
FLUTY INTERVIEW, TAKE 9, CAMERA ROLL 105, SOUND ROLL 22
Q: Beverly, tell me about this sad story that ? ?
When Kelly was wounded ...
BF: When Kelly was wounded, the news hit Wheeling and everyone was terribly upset. Here was their local hero, the very first engagement and he was wounded. A physician was sent from Wheeling to make sure he was all right. He came back and reported that he would recover, Colonel Kelly would recover from his wounds. Later Kelly actually was brought to Wheeling for his recuperation. He was sent to the country and there he did become well. Before he returned to active duty, they presented him with a horse.
Q: Sounds more like the story of a high school
football team today. Was it really small a town back
then that they'd have a local hero in the war? Why
did Kelly capture the imagination?
BF: Kelly was known in Wheeling. He had been in Wheeling years before with a military company, and he was with boys from Wheeling in this engagement and because of this he was terrible important and he was a local hero. There's no question about it. They brought him home to recover, and he did.
Q: But the town wasn't just a union town?
BF: Wheeling was not just a union town; it is very difficult to talk about it but so many people left Wheeling at the beginning of the war and those that stayed were always uncomfortable. There were prisoners taken from Wheeling and shipped to Camp Chase in Ohio. All these activities were documented beautifully in the Wheeling newspaper so that everyone knew who the Confederates and what they were doing. It was very uncomfortable for them. ...
FLUTY INTERVIEW, TAKE 10, CAMERA
ROLL 105 SOUND ROLL 22....
FLUTY INTERVIEW, TAKE 11, CAMERA ROLL 105, SOUND ROLL 22
Q: Beverly tell me a little bit about the impact of
the war on people's lives and tell me a specific story?
BF: War changed people's lives. A good example is Lydia Holiday, who is known as 'Mother' Holiday. Her husband first worked in Wheeling as a glass packer and then ran a store, so they were not affluent people. She was really dedicated to helping others, a humanitarian I think we can call her. At the age of 60 she started to working in hospitals in Wheeling. A hotel had been turned into a hospital and she was helping those soldiers. She was out on the island and helped those soldiers. Then in 1862 at the request of Governor Pierpont she became an army nurse and she volunteered her services. She never received a red cent for it. She was at the Battle of Bull Run, Winchester. She was out on the battlefields. She was dangerously close to the front lines. Then she was in field hospitals. She was known by everyone and called 'Mother' Holiday.
Q: What was it like for women in Wheeling
during the war? Women in West Virginia? We
know what it was like for the men who went off to
fight in the battles.
BF: I think to have lived in Wheeling as a woman during the Civil War would have been either very good or very bad. If you were married to someone whose husband had government contracts, who all of a sudden was making lots of money, you could deal with the inflation. You could deal with paying for things, and you were living a comfortable life. You were not afraid because obviously you supported the union. If you were from a middle class family, you had to deal with high prices. You were not getting support money. Rents were extraordinary. It was just have been difficult in all ways, to say nothing of the fact you were uncertain of the political situation, and probably some member of your family had gone to war.
Q: And you also had to make do without your
BF: Yes, the birth rate in Wheeling was very low during the Civil War because there were no men.
Q: One last question. Why are you in West
BF: Now? You really want to know why Beverly Fluty is in West Virginia?
Q: I don't want to know the gory details about
happen stance. I want to know what you think of this
BF: West Virginia can offer people ... no ... You cannot anywhere I don't believe duplicate what we have in West Virginia. We have beautiful surroundings in Wheeling. We have culture. We're not too far from the airport so we can travel. We enjoy living here. We could not find another place in the U.S. to move to and have what we have right here in West Virginia.
Q: Why does it have such a bad image. Why
does it have so many problems and why did you
decide to live here in spite of all that?
BF: We almost moved last year, and we decided not to because we can't replace what there is in West Virginia. It's very definitely a black mark to go somewhere and when you say you're from West Virginia, they look down their noses at you. I think we have a decide? image problem in our state. Some of it I think is called here. We do things very sloppily. Case in point right now the three convicts who are out of the penitentiary. Some of the statements that are made on the floor of City Council, some of the remarks conversely that goes on in the legislature, we need to work on these things. We need to promote ourselves better, and we have the ability to do it. We just do not.
Q: Some of it is deserved, but some is not
deserved. How did that come about?
BF: ... over the years we have been categorized as being hillbillies. I think they're really surprised we can speak the English language, that we can dress nicely, that we appreciate fine things and that we are proud of our heritage. It's going to be difficult to correct this.
Q: What about you? Haven't you experienced
people saying, 'you're from West Virginia? I had no
idea that such a person as you could be from West
Virginia.' Haven't you encountered that?
BF: I encounter all the time that I'm from West Virginia and it's not a good thing. Furthermore, people don't want to hear you say good things abut the state. They cut you off, and to me that is very upsetting and somewhat of an embarrassment.
Q: Are you proud to be a West Virginian?
BF: Yes, I'm proud to be a West Virginian.
Q: Why? Tell me why ...
BF: I don't really know why I'm proud to be a West Virginian. ...
Q: Come up with something. Maybe you
BF: Yes, I am. I am proud to be a West Virginian because I think we have so many things and we need to stay here and fight and make it better. And we have to do that.
Q: CUT. ...
ROOM TONE FOR FLUTY INTERVIEW
JJBC 1937 & 1975