University of North Carolina at Asheville
D. Hiden Ramsey Library
Special Collections/University Archives

Oral History Register

Daintry Allison 

Rural One-Room School
P. R. Young and pupils, Transylvania Co. 1903
Charlotte Young Manuscript Collection, p80.


Daintry Allison Oral History
Creator Daintry Allison

Alt. Creator

Interviewer: Dr. Louis D. Silveri


Scots-Irish -- Western North Carolina-- History
Agriculture -- Western North Carolina -- History
Occupational training -- United States
Appalachian Region, Southern -- Social life and customs
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina  


NC Governor Ehringhaus ; NC Governor Aycock ; Depression ; Farming ; School Consolidation ; Scots-Irish Settlement ; Slavery ; Civil War ; Religion ; Cherokee Indians ; Politics ; McBrayer family ; Graham family ; Women’s Suffrage ; Reynolds High School ; Depression ; Homemaking ; Illiteracy ; Adult education ; Cooking schools ; Occupational education ; gingerbread ; telegraph ; tannery ; chestnut tannin  ; chestnuts ;


The interview is rich with Daintry Allison's stories of experiences in primitive mountain settings. Her memories include stories of ancestors who came to America at the time of the Revolutionary War, as well as vivid stories of family experiences during the War Between the States. She coped with the Depression in various ways, preparing food at home to nourish children in her class at school, thus making them more receptive to learning. Her personal battle with reduced salaries during the Depression led her to conduct cooking schools, sell advertising, and write stories for magazines to obtain funds to make it possible to continue teaching.

Interview I
Allison begins the interview by tracing the settlement of her ancestors, the Grahams, from Scotland to North Carolina and Virginia, and the Allisons from England to Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia. She also notes the Cherokee descent of her grandmother and her family's participation in the Civil War.  Mrs. Allison's husband's family, the McBrayers, came from Pennsylvania to North Carolina and Missouri. She continues with recollections of her grandmother Graham's stories about events after the Civil War concerning freed slaves, Northerners, Southerners, and the Ku Klux Klan. She also notes the religion, education, and professions of the Grahams and her father's politics. She recounts stories about Old Fort, NC and her family's life there. She highlights her teaching years in Old Fort, and the influence she had on the school system and the people in it. She concludes the interview with accounts of the actions she took towards women's rights, converting school rules, bringing progress to her community, and her assignments as a trouble shooter to other schools. She also recounts working to secure the passage of the school consolidation act in 1929.

Interview II
Allison elaborates on her assignments to the rural schools of Western North Carolina as a troubleshooter to educate and tame unruly students.  She started occupational teaching in a school eight miles from Bethlehem, NC in order to teach the boys math through reading blueprints, laying brick, etc.  Involved in the grass roots politics of obtaining better schools in North Carolina, she initiated adult education. She wrote a course of study for homemaking for adult illiterates, which was later used as a model for home economics instruction in high schools.


D. H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville, NC, 28804


Daintry Allison


Electronic Record Issued: 2001-07-11


Sound ; Text


Two interviews conducted by Dr. Louis Silveri: TRANSCRIPT-1  of the first (1975-07-24) is 84 double-spaced pages in length; the TRANSCRIPT-2 of the second (1975-07-31) is 86 double-spaced pages   4 reel to reel tapes ; 2 90-minute audio cassettes 



Louis D. Silveri Oral History Collection, D. H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville




SHRC Lucy S. Herring Oral History


c1800's-1995 ; Western North Carolina
Rights Motion picture rights reserved by Mrs. Allison; Any display, publication, or public use must credit the D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville. Copyright retained by the authors of certain items in the collection, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law.


Donor number: 23 ;  Date of acquisition: August, 1977

Processed By

Southern Highlands Research Center staff , 1978 ; Special Collections staff, 2001

Interview Dates

1975-07-24 and 1975-07-31


Daintry L. Allison, a life-long resident of Western North Carolina, began teaching in the North Carolina public schools in 1914, at age 18. She retired after forty-seven years as a contract teacher but continued to tutor special children. Literally a woman who was born to teach, her interests and activities in the field of education began in her childhood when she managed to discuss education with Governor Aycock during a visit he made to her parents' home.

In 1916, she married and moved to Selma, NC, a cotton-mill town where her husband was working. She started a school in Cottondale, NC to educate adults. Her homemaking course was the first course of study for adult illiterates in North Carolina. For Governor Ehringhaus, she authored a program for farm needs.

During the Depression, she continued teaching, supplementing her income by writing and selling advertisements. She also held cooking schools throughout the region.

After retirement to Fairview, NC, she substituted for 10 years at Reynolds High School, tutored, and attended National Educational Conventions.

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