Handy Campbell

"My whole family was masons...that’s what we did that’s how I came up.

- Handy Campbell

Handy Campbell began working as a brick mason with his father at six years old. He started his own masonry business at fifteen years old, and had a long career mentoring other masons in Chapel Hill and working on many buildings, including the Stone Houses and churches in the Chapel Hill area. He eventually lost his eyesight due to so much cement dust getting in his eyes over the years, and speaks fondly of his relationships with his father and neighbors.

Handy Campbell, Debra Coleman, and Paul Simmons - On his family, learning masonry, and building projects

Handy Campbell, Debra Coleman, and Paul Simmons - On his family, learning masonry, and building projects

This interview focuses on Handy Campbell’s work and family history and how grew up and learned how to be a mason from his father. His father learned from Handy’s grandfather (Judge Campbell). He described learning how to be a bricklayer as a 6 year old and building a stone house with his father when he was 10 years old. He also built rock walls at UNC, some of the brick walls, and a brick bridge. He mentions being commissioned to build a house for the Nevilles, mentoring of Albert Washington, and his relationship with Earl Eversall who was a Chapel Hill builder who was “like a father” to Campbell. He discusses going out on his own, independent from his father’s business, at 15 years old. He talks about his siblings: George Bill, Jake, and Neal were his brothers, he talks about which ones were involved with stonework, some of his sisters were mentioned (Louise, Lee, Mary, Anne, Callie), there were 11- 12 children total in his family, but his discussion of them is inaudible at parts. He mentions his relationship with Joe and Lucy Fearrington, his former neighbors, and talks about working with William ‘Smitty' Smith.
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