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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

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Tommy Ward

Thirteen Mile Oyster Company

Born in 1961, Tommy Ward grew up with an appreciation for the place he still calls home. His parents, Buddy and Martha Pearl Ward, raised Tommy in the business out at their seafood house, 13 Mile. The remote location, thirteen miles west of Apalachicola, gave Tommy a hands-on education in his natural surroundings and life on the bay. As a teenager, Tommy left home and spent some time away at college. He also paid his dues working at some other seafood houses in Apalachicola. Eventually, he returned to the family business. But 13 Mile is not just his business. It’s his heritage. Hurricane Dennis practically destroyed the place in 2005. But with the help of his friends and family, he rebuilt. Today, the freshly painted building that stands along the water’s edge is a monument of sorts. It’s a monument to a place, its past, and to a man. Buddy Ward passed away in April of 2006.

Date of interview:
2005-12-02 00:00

Amy Evans

Amy Evans

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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