Childhood in Ether

Born and Raised on the Family Farm

"I started milking when I was six."

Editor's note: Louvinia Jordan was born in the house that her father, Cornelius Vanderbilt Kern, built with his brothers.

"My father and his brother built. They cut the timber off of the farm, and dressed it, and built the old house. And it is still standing, and I was married in that house. I was born in Ether, North Carolina, May 27, 1922. But the town has now been changed. The name of it is Star.

We worked from sun-up to sun-down. I started milking when I was six. [Laughter]

We had lots of pets. I'd like to tell you about our pets. We had a little pet squirrel. It got hurt, and so we nurtured it back to health. And my daddy wouldn't let us keep it, so we let it in the woods. And we would sit on the front porch and eat popcorn, and that little squirrel would come up and eat with us.

We had a pet lamb, and then we had a pet chicken, and a pet pig. When I was about maybe ten years old, one of the old sows rejected her baby, so I raised it with a bottle. When I was about, I guess, maybe eight or nine – I don't remember how old. Anyway, my daddy said we couldn't eat it, so he took it to the market and swapped it for a bicycle.

My daddy built us a swing, a see-saw, and a wagon. So we had plenty of toys."