During the Spring semester of 2000, the Economics Series oral history interviews explored the many ways, historical and current, of local economy and work traditions in Floyd County, Virginia. Dr. Mary LaLone’s Radford University, Anthropology 471, Economic Anthropology class interviewed five Floyd County families about their current livelihood strategies, as well as their knowledge of past work traditions. In a county with no highways or railroads, self-sufficiency figured prominently. We are grateful to all of the respondents for sharing their many stories and memories.
This series is part of the Floyd County Traditions Project directed by the Floyd Story Center at the Old Church Gallery, guided by Kathleen Ingoldsby and Catherine Pauley in a community-university partnership with Radford University anthropology professors Dr. Melinda Bollar Wagner and Dr. Mary LaLone and their students. The Project recorded many stories, traditions, family histories, and recollections of daily life in several different areas of Floyd County. The complete archives, including transcripts, recording media, digital files, and photographs are held by the Floyd Story Center at the Old Church Gallery.
Below is our list of interviewees from Radford University anthropology students under Dr. Mary LaLone. The interview questions centered on a study of economy and work. Floyd Story Center later developed comprehensive archive units on each interview. Click on any of the highlighted names to read more about that particular interview:
- Billy Brammer, Marvin Brammer (April 3, 2000)
- Stanley and Ruby Lorton (March 27, 2000)
- Earl Moles (March 27, 2000)
- George Shelor (March 28, 2000)
- Harless and Blanche Wood (March 26, 2000)
Radford University ANTH 471 students who conducted the economic series interviews: Julian Alleyne, James Bielo, Chris Farnum, Lauren LoCurto, Felisa Madrigal, Errin Nottingham, Heather Raines, David Rotenizer, and Emily Stewart
Teams of two students conducted the interviews, learning of multiple economic strategies, including careful use of land and a variety of means of subsistence, including intensive agriculture, animal husbandry, and wage labor. Large gardens were the norm, and wildlife hunting also figured into some food sources. Support among family members and trade among neighbors, helping each other without pay, were common. Residents used various strategies for reducing risks, such as growing more cattle feed than is needed for one year, to ensure against a poor crop season.