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Voices of Chatham


An Oral History of a Changing Chatham 

Welcome to the Voices of Chatham, an oral history project documenting the rich cultural heritage of Chatham County, NC. Learn more about the people, places, and traditions that make Chatham special by exploring residents' stories or contribute your own stories so that future generations can listen and enjoy. This project is a collaboration between the Language & Life Project and the Chatham County Historical Association. Learn more about this ongoing initiative    HERE  

Hear the Stories

On this website, you'll find audio clips from the over 90 interviews (and counting!) we have conducted in Chatham County since the project was started in 2019.


These audio clips are organized thematically. You can explore participant's stories by clicking on a theme you're interested in below or by navigating to The Recordings tab above and clicking on the By Theme subpage

You can also search our collection by clicking on The Recordings tab and navigating to the By Search subpage. Just type in the name of an interviewee, press the search button, and start exploring.

Click any theme to start exploring 

This project is still ongoing and with over 90 interviews, we are still processing the wonderful stories people have shared with us. If you don't see your stories/recordings above, fear not - we will be updating this site weekly with new interviews and materials!

"An abundance of... really great-tasting rabbits"

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"Yes, At one time, Chatham County was famous for an abundance of really big rabbits, and really great tasting rabbits, according to most people. And the story my dad said was, all the kids around here, in the 30s and 40s, that’s how they could make some money. And I’ve actually still got some of my dad’s original rabbit boxes at home, that he built out of wood, scrap wood, and you know the rabbits gonna get trapped. And at one time, he said you could actually hang your rabbits on the mailbox and the mailman would pick 'em up for you, carry them to town, and drop them off in town to the guy who bought rabbits." 

- Mark Ellington

Explore the County

Chatham County is located in the heart of the North Carolina Piedmont and just south of The Research 

Triangle. Learn more about the people and places that make Chatham Chatham! 

Click on the map to take a virtual tour!


What's with all of the rabbits?

Click on the icon to find out

What You Need to Know:

  • Interviews typically last around an hour 

  • Our team can meet you wherever is most convenient for you

  • We also have access to the old Pittsboro Courthouse


Get Involved

Are you a long-time Chatham county resident interested in participating in our project?

We'd love to interview you!

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Brody McCurdy

Brody received his M.A. in Linguistics from NC State's English Department in 2022. He works for the Language and Life Project as the coordinator for the Voices of Chatham project. He loves studying the dialects of North Carolina and recording the culture, stories, and traditions of the state.

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Lydia Elrod

Lydia graduated with a M.A. in English Rhetoric and Composition from NC State’s English Department in 2022. She works as a documentarian for the Language and Life Project. She is a writer, researcher, and filmmaker who is passionate about storytelling.

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Walt Wolfram

Walt Wolfram is William C. Friday Distinguished University Professor at NC State, where he also directs the Language and Life Project. He has pioneered research on social and ethnic dialects since the 1960s and published 23 books, 8 edited collections, and more than 300 articles. 

Meet the Team

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