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Interview with Elvera Dowling Lee, June 26, 1997

 File — Bag: \folklife\prj1014\, Folder: 090_lee-elvera
Collection number: PRJ1014-090

Scope and Contents

Oral history interview with Elvera Dowling Lee, June 26, 1997. Waycross (Ga.). Fieldworker: Laurie K. Sommers. Audio file digitized from DAT and cassette tape. Part of the Sacred Harp Series, South Georgia Folklife Project at Valdosta State University Archives and Special Collections.


  • June 26, 1997

Conditions Governing Access


747 Megabytes (1 electronic record(s) and derivatives. 1 audio file(s) (wav, mp3) 570 MB (598,475,204 bytes). 00:52:54. 1 PDF documents (3 scans, jp2). Bag approx. 747 MB (783,513,738 bytes).) : Made available in DSpace on 2022-07-12T14:03:43Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 2 cas-1004-12_complete.mp3: 76193969 bytes, checksum: a99003cb8218367d1f0d78484d68ff65 (MD5) ads-1004-06.pdf: 1938238 bytes, checksum: 8a0f208de3f0f8c148c37a651b79168f (MD5) Previous issue date: 1997-06-26


From the Collection: English

Artist Data Sheet and Tape Logs

id: DAT-1004.12.1

item_title: Elvera Lee Interview 1 of 2

call_number: PRJ-1004

project_title: Sacred Harp

informant_name: Elvera Lee

fieldworker: Laurie Sommers

date: 26-Jun-97

recording_location: Waycross (Ga.)

id: DAT-1004.12.2

item_title: Elvera Lee Interview 2 of 2

call_number: PRJ-1004

project_title: Sacred Harp

informant_name: Elvera Lee

fieldworker: Laurie Sommers

date: 26-Jun-97

recording_location: Waycross

id_number: ADS-1004-06

last_name: Lee

first_name: Elvera

middle_name: Dowling

Call number: PRJ-1004

address: "Rt. 2, Box 273"

artist_city: Waycross

state: GA

zip: 31501

artist_county: Brantley

home_phone: (912) 283-2590

birthdate: 09/28/13

birthplace: Pierce Co. (now Brantley Co.)

ethnicity_1: Irish

religion: Primitive Baptist

genre: "personal experience narratives, oral history, Sacred Harp, shape note music, Primitive Baptist"

occupation: housewife

date_of_contact: 06/26/97

contact_made_by: Laurie K. Sommers

notes: "Deceased Elvira Lee is the widowed wife of Silas Lee. Silas had been the singing school leader in the Hoboken region before passing on the mantle to David and Clarke Lee. Elvira is the daughter of Martin E. Dowling and the granddaughter of Lazarus Dowling, both singing school leaders in the area. Martin Dowling passed on the tradition to his son-in-law (Elvira's husband), Silas Lee. Tollie Lee, the Primitive Baptist elder, is her son; David Lee is some kind of nephew on her husband's side. The publication Snow White Sands', by Mrs. Howard Powell (South Georgia College, Douglas, 1975), given to me by both Tollie and David Lee, has a much more detailed description of the singing school and sings held by Martin Dowling than Elvira could provide. Elvira didn't know that her grandfather Lazarus, who died when she was 6, was a song leader until she read it in the Dowling genealogy (Tollie also sent me a copy of the relevant pages here). Like many couples associated with the sacred harp that I have met, Elvira and Silas met at a sing. They were married in 1934. She gave me copies of the obituary and an article done on Silas and sacred harp in the local paper not long before his death (this is the article based on the video interview that David Lee and his father Johnny did with Uncle Silas and which David lent me a copy). Elvira Lee has been a quilter and says all her daughters know how, although they are too busy to do it. She likes to make sour cream cake (I didn't get recipes) and fig preserves. Other leads: Adam Lee, Silas' cousin, a fiddler now in the nursing home. Blueberry Restaurant, off the beaten track in Hoboken, run by her nephew and evidently the local eatery. She was using an interesting carved walking stick, which was made by her son, Ronnie Dale Lee (Central Avenue, Hoboken, 912-283-8931). The stick is made out of maple (perhaps a root?) and carved with various geometric designs. Ronnie is a 'whittler' she told me. She showed me several other pieces he had made her, these out of tupelo: a bread board, bowl, and wood holder. They all look hand-made. I took photos and she called Ronnie Dale's wife to find out the kind of wood for me.


Repository Details

Part of the Valdosta State University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Valdosta State University Archives, Odum Library
1500 N. Patterson St.
Valdosta GA 30601 United States
229-259-5055 (Fax)