Charles Scott Harkey
February 29, 2004
Conducted by Joe Liles
I was born in 1914 in Mecklenburg County just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. Back during the Depression, I left Charlotte and came to Durham to live in 1932. I had a job in the Landscape Department of Duke University. I was probably making 40 to 50 cents an hour at that particular time. We were working on the grounds of the new campus. I helped put in all those trees in the Quadrangle.
You know Duke owned a lot of land, and we would find a tree we liked and go out there and move that tree. We would dig all around that tree and cut the roots off and burlap it. That ball must have been six feet across. You would lace that root ball with rope on top of the burlap. This would keep the tree living.
Now we had a special built tree wagon. We pulled that wagon in there with mules. This wagon came in two pieces. You would dig a ramp down under the ball of the tree. You would take the two parts of the tree wagon apart. You would slip the back part down in the place you had dug down to the ball of the tree. A man would tie a rope to the top of the tree and you would take the team of mules and pull that tree back, and it would lay in a saddle on that part of the tree wagon. Then you would put on the front off the wagon under it, and you could pull that tree right out.
Now we would use a block and tackle a lot of times. I have used up to a 3 X 2 block and tackle to get strength and everything. That would give you three times the pulling strength. Sometimes we would use men, and sometimes we would use the mules. You’d be surprised how much more power you could get in lifting that tree up. It wasn’t any trouble at all. You would put the front of the tree wagon under the root ball, and you could pull that tree right on out of the hole. When you wanted to unload it, you done the same thing. You backed it in there and took the wagon apart and let the tree out.
Different people donated shrubbery with they built Duke Chapel. We went up to Winston-Salem and Dr. Hanes gave us several beautiful boxwoods. We went up there and moved ‘em and planted them around the Chapel.