Interview with Eddie Cotten

Eddie was born on the farm called Cypress Bay near Sandy Bottom.  One of the trees measured 18.5 feet in circumference.  Full name Edwin Corbell Cotten.

Grandmother and Grandfather lived on the farm.  One of the significant things was that Mr. Cotten and        went together to build a cotton gin and it burned.

Cotton was a big crop until the boll weavil came along.  Then they went to truck farming, ie snap beans,

Capt. Matthews use to run the Annie P. Parks to pick up the goods.  He remembers loading 300 barrels of potatoes for movement to Norfolk, then North.

Eddie went to 1st grade in Crittenden and he remembers a lot of people there like Sparky Mason.  After that he went to Chuckatuck.

Lots of hunting going on and he remembers trapping for muskrats.  Skins were sold to Sam Chapman at his store.

Hated to chop peanuts and when he used a mule he would put a book on the cultivator to read as he was plowing.

Use to cut the tops off of corn for fodder with a butcher knife.

Mr. Chapman allowed Eddie to charge up to one dollar.

Pete Rountree, P.D. Howell, Josh Pretlow, Dickie Woodard, were all good friends.  Remember P.D. and Al Saunders going into the Merchant Marines.

Would gather up at Chuckatuck at the pool room in Mr. Moore’s store.  Also went up to Mr. Byrd’s for some picking and singing.

Eddie served an apprenticeship at the Navy Yard and then went into the Marines.  Due to the loss of so many officers they picked up a number of them to go to OCS.  This was in 1944; when enlisted got to go to OCS.

They were well trained.  Went to Okinawa and then into Japan for the occupation.  He was in the 4th regiment and they were the first to set foot on Japanese soil.  Due to three forts on a peninsular from Tokyo his regiment made an amphibious landing to ensure they were secure before the US Navy would enter the harbor.

Went to China as well.

When he got out of the Marines he went to William and Mary and studied in social work.  He was recalled during Korea.  He served at Fort Riley, Kansas in the social dept.

Mother and Dad moved up to the Moore house in Chuckatuck.

Could not smoke but they did smoke when they were walking out of the lane.  They burned some hay and stood close by to get the smoke into their sweater.

Capt. Upshur ran a boat before the Annie P. Parks.  He had a clubhouse and two daughters, Annie and Lucy.  Lucy was the first successful adaptation of women rights.  Annie took care of the house.  Lucy wore pants and farmed.  Annie is buried at St. John’s.  They were very poor but independent.  Remembers the Woodwards, Jean and Dickie.

Attended Sunday school at Wesley Chapel.  Mr. Kirk and Stokes and Arthur would go to Sunday school at Wesley Chapel and then to St. John’s for church every so often.  Just a few were there.

Swimming at the marl holes.

Met Mary Rees in Richmond.  First child was born in Lynchburg.  Sallie Rees Cotten was born in Lynchburg.  When Sallie died it was very traumatic.  Some kind of a virus.

They learned a lot by word of mouth.  Only in later years did he learn it.

Farm ran from Chuckatuck Creek to Nansemond River.  He sold part of the farm to George Frank Wilkerson which is on the Nansemond River side.

Sallie Corbell, his grandmother’s sister, married Gen. George Pickett.  They were destitute after the civil war and had to go to Canada.

Corbells might have been on Holiday Point early on.  Used warm bricks to keep your feet warm in the buggy.

Remembers when they were paving the road from Chuckatuck to Suffolk.  Had teams that pulled them out of the muck and mire as they would often get stuck.

Leroy Pope’s great, great grandfather and Dr. Phillips took Sallie through the union lines to Richmond to be married to Gen. Pickett.