- Goldmine: Root
- Oral History Collections
- Charlotte Regional Oral History
- Eugene Payne oral history interview 1, 2005 February 24
Eugene Payne oral history interview 1, 2005 February 24
In this interview, Eugene Payne, former editorial cartoonist for the Charlotte Observer, recounts his family's long history in Charlotte and his military service during World War II. He discusses his educational background, including his time at military school, Syracuse University, and in the United States Naval Reserve Midshipmen's School. Mr. Payne describes the program and school, which was housed in the Prairie State, a converted battleship, and why he ultimately dropped out and returned to Charlotte. He enlisted in the Army Air Force after the United States entered World War II, and he describes his wartime experience as a pilot for navigator cadets at the Army Air Force Navigation School in Louisiana. Mr. Payne also discusses the last few months of the war, when he was transferred to a very heavy bombardment group and trained to fly B-24s and B-29s in the Pacific until the atomic bombs ended the war and his military career. Mr. Payne then discusses his mother's family history in Charlotte, including his great-grandfather Miles Wriston, a prominent local businessman during the mid-nineteenth century. He also discusses the Wristons' long connection to Blowing Rock, North Carolina, which was a favored vacation destination for several generations of the family. Mr. Payne ends by discussing his memories of growing up on South Tryon Street, and of Charlotte, during the 1920s.