This interview was conducted by Kelly Feltault with Thomas Burton in Nasawadox, VA. In this interview, he speaks about his upbringing and life as a farmer. He speaks about his life during world war II, and his joining the Navy after the war. He also speaks about chicken raising, speaking of the differences between chicken raising then and now, how they sell chickens and eggs, and his grandparent's involvement in the farming business. He also speaks about some of the manufacturing or processing plants that existed in the area, including Jim Douglas' Canning company in Nassawadox, Northampton Lumber Co. He also talks about recreation on his rowboat back then, and other social activities such as cookouts and dances. He speaks some recreational boats that people had and were building and how people were able to build those boats.
In part 2, he continues his description of life around the Nassawadox area. He speaks about driving in the area, noting some of the road changes and driving practices that he saw over the years. He also speaks about his interest in painting, speaking of some of the pieces he made and his progression over time and the influence of tourism on his duck decoy making trade. He describes some of the difficulties in the decoy-making trade with mail-order and issues with labor as well. He also speaks about woodcarving shows from the Woodcarvers Association, mentioning some of the other local artists and their works in the shows. He also speaks about some of the big changes in the area, including the farming changes and increase in tourism.
In part 3, he continues his discussion of folk tales and work in Nasawadox, VA. He speaks of watermen from the past and going fishing in larger fishing boats to deal with rough waters, speaking about fishing back in the 1950s. He speaks further about life in those days, mentioning ice and fish trucks and life before refrigeration. He also mentions the influence of pound-netting on the fish populations on the shore, noting some of the more prized fish during that time and the beginning of the flounder, trout, and crab-potting industry. He also speaks about life on the farm when he was younger, noting women's work, the lives and professions of his family members, and changes his family had seen in the early 20th c.
In part 4, Thomas speaks about the changes coming to the shore from the outside, comparing the changes in other areas to those on the shore including accent and ethnic changes. He also speaks about the economic hardships on the shore and the reliance and necessity of tourism, noting the importance of computers in allowing tourism to flourish so people know what there is to see.
This interview is part of the Delmarva Folklife Project. For more information, see the Edward H. Nabb Center finding aid: