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Early Songs and Ballads
Circumstances of Interview
Federal Writers' Project
Works Progress Administration
OREGON FOLKLORE STUDIES
Name of worker : Sara B. Wrenn Date December 2, 1938
Address : 505 Elks Bldg., Portland, Oregon
Subject: Early Songs and Ballads
Name and address of informant: Mrs. Cora Jamerson 1917 SW Third St, Portland, Oregon
Date and time of interview: December 2, 1938
Place of interview: 1917 SW Third Ave., Portland, Oregon
Name and address of person, if any, who put you in touch with informant : Encountered her while seeking for Mrs. McCrath, deceased
Name and address of person, if any, accompanying you : ---
Description of room, house, surroundings, etc. : Apartment living room of small apartment house, a wooden structure in a "rundown" neighborhood. Fairly comfortable though crowded room. A large kitchen adjoined. The living room appeared to be also the sleeping quarters, in the usual two-room apartment manner.
Personal History of Informant
Information obtained should supply the following facts:
1. Ancestry : Scotch.
2. Place and date of birth : Kelso, Washington, 1871.
3. Family : Daughter of John Ayers and Monterey Ann Havird Ayers.
4. Places lived in, with dates : Kelso, Washington, Forest Grove and Portland, Oregon.
5. Education, with dates : Public school of Forest Grave.
6. Occupations and accomplishments with dates : Taught country public school when young. Later learned and followed trade of dressmaking, a trade she still pursues. At present in charge of apartment house where she lives.
7. Special skills and interests : None other than above.
8. Community and religious activities : No particular religious affiliations. Sang in choir when young.
9. Description of informant : Small, alert, gray-haired woman.
10. Other points gained in interview : Mrs. Jamerson's father, John Ayers, was one of five brothers who originally spelled their name Airs. Because of family trouble in settlement of father's estate in Scotland the four brothers who came to America changed their name. John Ayers, so his daughter said, built the first railroad bridges between Portland and The Dalles, the first boat dock at Celilo, and the first bulkhead at Oregon City.
My father, John
Ayers, when he came from California to
Oregon in 1852, worked for some time
for Barlow of the Barlow Route. Mrs.
Barlow after settlement where they
lived so long, what is now Barlow
Station, was considered quite the lady
of the country roundabout. My mother
was with her a lot. After Abraham
Lincoln's inauguration Mrs. Barlow
pieced him a quilt of silk ribbon.
There was a wide border all around the
quilt, and this border was embroidered
in red roses. Mother helped her on it,
and was always very proud of her share
in the work.
Mother died last
year, She was 91 years old. She looked
young and felt young clear up to the
last. She was married to father when
she was 14 years old and he was
thirty. Father died at the age of 63.
Extra Comment :
Mrs. Jamerson was
very cooperative and helpful, and
called up a number of people over the
telephone, trying to secure interviews
for me. She promised to write her
sister, who lives somewhere in
Washington, for copies of the lullabys
and the close-to-a-hundred-year-old
popular ballad of the Drunkard's