Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

During the great depression

During that time Mother and Dad was sort of up against it they did live in a log cabin up on the hill side in Crossville Tenn. and they did have some things to eat but not much . Dad went hunting and always managed to bag a few squirrels. They kept them selves fed for two years with eating just the squirrel meat and some vegetables from the garden. His friend dropped by one day with a half of a hog he had taken from his Dad and they split it . but from that time on he could not hunt squirrels and would not shoot one at all . There are so many stories about that time I wish I had of taped but now we have to depend on my memory . Hard times I don’t think I remember any at all . What my Father relayed to me was all I remember. so if any one else has stories to tell this would be a good place to tell it .

My grandmother’s family were share croppers during the great depression. I once asked her how they were affected by it. She said it didn’t hurt them at all. They were already dirt poor and didn’t know what a stock market was. They grew their own food, made their own clothes out of old cotton produce bags, and traded for other stuff. It was one of those times in our history where being poor and a sharecropper was a blessing.

My grandfather (other side of the family) was an orphan child during the great depression. He said it was very tough. None of his family could afford to take on another mouth to feed, so he was always jumping from home to home, some very bad homes that could care less about him. He said he used to fake eat his biscuits from meals and hide them for when he was without food and very hungry. He also said he and other orphans would steal chickens and corn from farmers so they could feed themselves. They were too young to know much about life, but they knew they needed to eat. He said they would take the chickens they stole, gut them, and make a big clay mud ball out of them. They would throw the chicken surrounded by clay into the fire and let it sit for a while. The crack it open and eat the chicken. Pretty darn creative for a bunch of kids.

Like you said, I wish I had the technology to film him back when he was alive. He was an amazing man with some amazing stories. Only if I could have documented them.