Interview with Charles E. Harris

Interview with my father’s first cousin, Charles E. Harris, January 22, 2007. 1:00PM.
KD: I was hoping you would be able to tell me a little bit about some family history. I am writing an article mainly about my father, and I know you lived with them for a while didn’t you?
CH: Oh, yes. We lived with them for a few months when we were children. My father was Charles Franklin Harris, and I’m Charles Edwin Harris. My father worked for the Corps of Engineers, and from about 1919 to 1923, we lived down in Alabama while he worked on the Wilson Dam in Muscle Shoals. When we came back to Nashville, an aunt donated a lot in Sylvan Park. While we were building the house, we lived with the Darden family on Murfreesboro Pike. My brother Melvin and I lived with the Darden children, Kay, Gilbert and of course, Allan.
KD: I have been looking through a book by Lillian Brown Johnson and there are some wonderful pictures of you all there.
CH: Yes, that book would by your best source of information about family history. Old Aunt Arizona Harris married Dan Brown who was a Confederate soldier. Lillian was the daughter of one of Old Aunt Arizona’s sons.
KD: Since your father was in the Corps, I wonder if he influenced my father to join the Corps of Engineers?
CH: Well, no, I don’t think so. My father influenced ME to join, but your father went to Vanderbilt for a year, and I believe they had an ROTC program which he joined and then he went on to Georgia Tech.
KD: Yes sir, he did join the ROTC at Vanderbilt before transferring to Georgia Tech.
CH: Then he went into active duty in WW II and I was deferred and stayed in the Nashville District. Anyway, he joined the Corps of Engineers in the Army. I don’t think my father influenced him.
KD: Did you and my father work on any projects together when he moved back to the Nashville district? I am particularly trying to track down some details about a project my father did the security for when a VIP came to the dedication. I remember it being when either Hubert Humphrey or President Johnson came to the dedication, but my brother’s memories don’t match mine.
CH: I was working in the hydroelectric branch and I was involved in all nine projects from the electrical design standpoint. I remember when he was Security Officer, but I don’t remember which project it was. We didn’t always have a Security Officer at those things, only when someone very important showed up.
KD: That’s why I think it was Vice President Hubert Humphrey or President Johnson. I remember it was a big deal to go to the dedication and I also remember it was a big deal my father was in charge of security.
CH: I’m sorry I can’t help you more on that one.
KD: That’s OK, I appreciate the info you have given me about the old farm on Murfreesboro Rd.
CH: I remember it had an outside bathroom, no inside plumbing at all if I remember correctly. There was an old sulfa well beside the house and an old horse outside. There was a barn. You know, Allen’s father was not a farmer. He worked downtown at the Post Office. I don’t know why they bought a farm. I guess they thought they wanted to live out in the country, and it WAS way out in the country back in those days. They called it “Tick Hill,” did you know that? I guess because there were a lot of ticks there!
KD: Yes, I remember that’s what they called it. Back then it was country. It wasn’t too far from the old Ransom farm.
CH: No, that’s right. I remember the Ransoms and their farm on Murfreesboro Pike. I suppose it has all built up now.
KD: Yes, although the last time Mike and I drove by, the Darden place was still standing. A few years before they died, Mom and Dad and Mike and I went out there and drove up the driveway. When we got close to the house, we could see cars, so we didn’t go all the way up. We took a picture of Dad on the property and you can barely see some of the white boards of the house in the background.
CH: I do remember that long driveway up to the house.
KD: Thank you for all the info and for sharing your memories with me. If you remember anything else or come across any old photos I can copy, please let me know.


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