EVERETT LYONS' STORY
Retyped July 2001 by Morgan (M. T.) Davidson and Beth Davidson Syler
Indexed by Beth Davidson Syler
First sentence and notes in double brackets are those of Morgan or Beth
[[This is a story written by Dorothy (Dot) LYONS JOHNSON, around 1954, about her father, Everett LYONS. ‹Morgan Davidson]] [[Morgan died about 6 months after retyping this.‹Beth]]
"These are stories pop has told me within the last two years. They are verbatim, and are told in natural, conversational style, rather then in a formal, literary manner.
The amazing thing about these stories to me was the keenness of Pop's memory at 85 years of age. You will notice that even in trivial incidents he often remembers the day of the week the event occurred; other times he quotes the direct words of a speaker. And the poems he committed to memory years ago are still fresh in his mind.
These episodes will show how life was lived in the rugged Tennessee mountains three quarters of a century ago, [[Way over a Century and one quarter now. --Morgan Davidson]] and will record a little of the human drama of laughter and tears that is seen in every life.
At 85 Pop is still working every day at home and in the garden; the neighbors enjoy his ready Irish wit, and his alert mind can tell you that James A. Garfield was assassinated on the second day of July 1881 by Charles G. Giuiteau, and that he lived until Sept. 19. Facts once learned stick in Pop's mind.
Read the story for yourself, and see if you can't hear Pat telling it."
[["Pat" is a typo? Was it meant to be "hear Pop telling it"?]]
MY LIFE AS I REMEMBER IT
My grandfather and grandmother on my father's side, Nicholas LYONS, were raised in Ireland. My father was born in Ireland and brought here when a little baby. My grandparents came to Pennsylvania - Pottsville, I think. My grandfather had always followed public works so he got a job at a furnace in Pennsylvania. More children were born - among them were twin boys.
My grandmother had a brother in Morgan County, Tennessee - Chris DILLON. He kept writing what a fine country it was and urged her to come down. He mentioned better opportunities, etc. but better opportunities were in Pennsylvania and not in Morgan County.
My grandparents decided to move to Morgan County, but there were no railroads; so they got on the Ohio River, got a boat and rode to the Cumberland River and came by water all the way to Nashville. There they had to hire a wagon to drive them clear across the country to Morgan County - 100 miles or more and it was in winter time - the roads were very muddy.
The twins were little babies and they took cold and died just after they got in their new home. The twins started the graveyard on past BATES on the same side of the road.
My grandfather built a 2 room house, each room 24' x 16', with a hall between. It was built of logs. He planted a nice orchard and looked after it. That's the orchard where I got scared. Joe Ryan scared me, you know. The house was just beyond BATES, across from Grandma RITTER's log house. My grandfather DAVIDSON lived on Clear Creek. Both my grandfathers lived on the Turnpike and a dickens of a turnpike it was! The mud was two or three feet deep and not a dry spot in winter.
During the time of the Civil War, my grandfather DAVIDSON was the recruiting officer in the South for the men who wanted to join the Union and go North. The men would come to Tennessee and find my grandfather. He would take and pilot them to Sunbright. There, old man STAPLES would take them on to Kentucky.
The Rebels were Southern sympathizers, and they thought best to kill my grandfather. They had been watching for him all along. One rainy day my grandfather was in the mill grinding corn by the creek when he looked up on the bluff and saw the Rebels on the road coming toward him.
About the time he saw them, three or four men came in the door. "Yes you've got me this time," said my grandfather. "Let me go see my wife." (He recognized some of his cousins who lived in Georgia somewhere).
My grandmother knew what was up. My grandfather came in the kitchen and walked to the sitting room. The soldiers followed but he slammed the door and ran into the bedroom. There was a big old pistol lying on the shelf and as he ran out he tried to get hold of it, but couldn't.
He ran around the house, through the garden, over the fence and up the creek, with the Rebels right after him. By this time, the whole army was on the road. They took after him too.
Mammy knew that my grandfather had tried to get the pistol, so she grabbed the gun and ran after the men. She was Scotch Irish and wasn't afraid of anything. The highway which the Rebels were on went under a big bluff; the top of the bluff was flat. Mammy stood on the top of that bluff and emptied that revolver at the men as they drove by. She hit the Captain, they said.
My grandfather got to the creek where he had a hideout under the bluff but before he could reach the hideout, he turned around and saw a gun being leveled at him. He fell and rolled down to the creek, wounded in his hip. He saw a big pine log at the edge of the creek, so he rolled under it. Someone yelled: "if you see him, just kill him." The Rebels walked all around and right on that log with him under it. Soon they gave up hunting my grandfather and left. Several of their men had been killed recently by the Union sympathizers, and they were afraid they would be bushwhacked. People would hide in the bushes and shoot the rebels as they came by, you know.
After the men left, my mother went out to find my grandfather. She called and called but she couldn't make him hear. After awhile he whistled, real low. He always had a certain whistle that he and my mother used. Mother found him, got the horses, fixed him up, packed some clothes for him, and he left at once, because he was afraid they would return to look for him. He went to Sunbright where STAPLES piloted him to the Union army. He joined the army and helped with the cooking and things like that. He was too old to fight.
In 1867 January 8, my father, Martin LYONS and my mother, Malinda DAVIDSON were united as man and wife. They fixed up the log cabin which was located in "the field" as they called it. My sister, Emma Isabella, and I were born in this cabin which consisted of one room with a front and back door, A large fireplace and one small window by the fireplace. The house was about 24' x 18'. We cooked and ate and slept in this large room.
On the night I was born, March 17 [[1869 ]], father was coming home from Wartburg riding his horse; the horse was a big bay mare; she was kinda shy too. A drizzling rain was falling. He had reached the FOSTER place beyond WADDELL's when a fellow stepped out from a hollow tree intent on killing him. There was a big black oak tree as high as a man's head which had burned out and just the shell was left standing. In it the man was hiding waiting for my father who was a trustee of the county and supposed to be carrying some money.
When my father got opposite the tree which was right by the side of the road, the man shot, and hit my father in the breast. But the bullet hit some papers and money he was carrying in his breast pocket so it just grazed the skin and went down his pant's leg into his shoe.
The horse threw him off to the far side of the road and took to the woods, dragging my father along. But he kept hold of the bridle and soon managed to pull himself up onto the horse. The horse went through lots of rough places and my father lost his hat. But he finally got home to the log cabin where I was already born. The next morning my father went back and saw the man's footprints in the mud where he had been walking around. They thought they knew who it might have been, but in those days there was not much one could do to track down a man.
I was born Tuesday, March 17, 1869 in a log cabin on Little Clear Creek, below John STONE's about one and one half miles. My grandfather had a sawmill and got the lumber there. I can see the old rafters yet in the roof. There was a big fireplace in the middle pretty near as wide as this porch is. We would put on a big fire at night and go to sleep. We were comfortable and happy.
My great grandfather owned all the bottom land at Annadel. His name was Watty [[Walter]] DAVIS. He gave my grandmother about 500 acres of land including the old grist mill and the house where all her family were born and reared. My grandmother in turn gave my mother 100 acres.
So, after living in the cabin about 4 or 6 years, my father built a house on the 100 acres. We moved into the new house about 1872. It was the locust year, at any rate. The house was right in the woods where John STONE lives, and the house stands there yet. It was a frame house, of weatherboard, and scaled inside with great big boards, 12 inches wide. The lumber came from grandpa's saw mill and a carpenter built the house. I don't know how big the house was, 20' x 40' maybe. A partition cut off the back bedroom. It was bad luck to cut a hole for a door after a house was built; so we had to go outside to go to the bedroom. The superstition was that someone in the family would die.
My father went ahead and cleared up the land. We raised good crops and stock and did pretty well. An old fellow named SIMPSON didn't have a home so my father told him to stay with us, and he would provide home, food, clothes. He died there. He looked after the cattle and he'd get the wood and work the crops.
After he died, a fellow at Wartburg, an Irishman, lived with us. He was a brickmason who was boarding at the hotel but he had been drinking and he stepped off the high porch, which had no bannisters, and fell to the ground. He hurt himself pretty bad. His name was Mike O'BRIAN. He didn't work much and he wasn't getting any better, maybe worse, so my father told him to come out in the country and he could live with him. He came out there and stayed. He spit up blood all the time. He couldn't do anything. My father thought he'd get better and work for us.
We had an old accordion which he got out and fixed up and every evening he would sing, such as "Little Jack HORNER Sat in the Corner" and "Hello Stranger, Hello Yourself." He liked to play that! We were all little and we'd stand around and look at him.
I don't know how long O'BRIAN stayed with us but he was getting worse and after awhile he didn't get out of bed. So one day my father told me and Belle to go down to grandpa's. My father sent for Morg, my mother's brother, but he died that night. My father wrote to his brother in St. Louis and asked what to do with him. So we took him up to LYONS place - my grandfather's home above BATES and buried him.
That's what whiskey did to him. He got drunk and killed himself jumping off the porch of the hotel. He evidently broke some blood vessels, because he kept having hemorrhages.
After that, Chris DILLON, my father's uncle, who lived up on Greasy Creek, married one of the red-haired girls up there, and had seven children. Chris died, and after a while his wife took pneumonia and died too. Sam DILLON, the oldest, didn't know what to do, so he sent for my father.
My father made arrangements to get someone in their house and he brought all seven children home with him! Mammy saw Pappy coming up the lane with them that evening. My, what an army! Pappy was in front, with all seven kids strolling behind.
When Mammy saw them she said, "what are we going to do with them?" I remember I was sitting on the fence post when I saw them coming. There were Sam, Tom, John, Mart, Annie and Katie, the oldest.
We had 5 or 6 beds. We had a trundle bed when Mary and Eph were little. Some slept on it and we pushed it out of the way in the daytime. We put them in the back room. Mammy had lots of food cooked. They were poorly clad but we had a big fire and plenty to eat and knew they'd be taken care of.
Mammy and Pappy talked things over. Eugene LYNCH would take one. Katie went to Chattanooga. She knew someone there. She was a boss in a restaurant. She stayed there a long time. Some doctor near Rockwood took Annie and gave her a good education. Annie was just a young girl. The family was wealthy and gave her everything.
My father kept Sam who was 15 or 16 years old. He had a good home. He was a pretty good worker - red headed. Uncle Eugene LYNCH came over and got Tom. Uncle Pat took Mart, the youngest boy, and Dr. MCALLISTER took John and gave him a good home and sent him to school. John became postmaster at Lancing for a long time. Tom got killed in Knoxville by an automobile which hit him. So it wasn't long before all the DILLON children were distributed.
Mary was born March 22, 1878. I guess Nicky was born on January 6, 1871 but died of diphtheria. He died in the little wooden cradle that grandfather had made for us. All of us were rocked in it but me. I remember Nicky lying in that little cradle. He was just a baby fleshy, red faced. I remember mammy went down into the field one afternoon. She was ahead and I was
walking behind. Nicky had his face on her shoulder. I looked at him. His little face was so red. We walked around in the meadow and mammy showed him the calves and the lambs to make him feel better. But we put him in his cradle and the next morning, or that evening, he got worse. We couldn't do anything. Mammy and Pappy were crying and I asked what was the matter and Mammy said "Nicky is dying."
He died and we had some of grandma's folks make a coffin. Grandfather DAVIDSON [[ W.L.E. (Bunc) Davidson]] always had some nice poplar lumber up in the mill just for the purpose of making coffins. So he made the coffin and brought it up in the wagon. We had no undertaker - the neighbors came in and dressed him. We took him to the graveyard and buried him.
Years later we all took diphtheria. That's an awful thing. I took it; Belle took it, and Mammy took it. That was the worst thing! She had a bad case. I remember one cold winter day, snow was on the ground; and an old fellow named LEE, who lived across Clear Creek, came up to see what he could do for us. He hitched his grey mule and came in. I told him we all had diphtheria.
"Send one of the children out and get some pine tops" he said "and break them up and put them in a pot to boil. Boil them enough to get the juice out, then strain it and cool it. Gargle with it and it will cure diphtheria." Mammy gargled with it all the time and, by George, it sure did cure her.
I was the oldest and had to do all the work until Jim got big enough. I had to feed the cattle and put them up at night and sometimes I'd cut the hair of their tails out. They'd switch their tails over their back and get their backs dirty. So I'd grab one and cut the hair in their tails, not their flesh. But once Pappy saw me. "Why are you cutting on the cattles' tails? They need those tails to keep the flies off" Pappy said.
Snow didn't mean anything to me. Mammy would tell me to take some corn in the basket and go up on the bluff and feed the hogs. I'd get the corn in the basket and away I'd go and feed the hogs. I'd throw the ears down and they'd come out and eat. If the day turned out nice they'd come home. They'd root for acorns in the woods.
Nearly every year we'd have a "mast." No timber was cut and the acorns, hickory nuts, chestnuts and chinkapins were piled up a foot deep. People lived well. The white oak acorns were real big. The animals would eat and eat and sometimes it would kill them eating so many acorns because they ate the hulls too. We'd have to give the animals plenty of salt. The deer died that year from eating too much.
There were plenty of hogs too. The woods were full of hogs. The MARLINS, our neighbors, had a world of hogs. It didn't cost anything to raise them.
Two families lived on the road where I lived. Across the road about a mile down was a hut - 1 room - where Williamson BROWN lived. And down the road toward Lancing lived the Jim BROWNs. They'd steal hogs and kill them. They didn't raise much themselves and after awhile Jim BROWN sold out to WADDELL. WADDELL came here from Ohio.
Mammy got along fine with the BROWNs and would visit them. Mrs. BROWN would make our straw hats in the summer time. Mammy would save the nice straw and Mrs. BROWN would make nice ones and Mammy would give her all our old clothes. One day Mammy gave her lots of my clothes. She had to go to mill then. She put the sack on top of the horse and went to the mill. After Mammy left, we knew the BROWNs had to pass in front of our house; so Belle, Jim and I got out there on the fence and when they passed called them everything we could think of. "Hog thief" "You got all my breeches for Sonny."
Mammy came home that night and everything was all right. But, after a week, Mammy went to get our straw hats and Mrs. BROWN told her all we'd said. Mammy came home and we saw her get a switch. She came and whipped us all. "Don't you know better than that!" I got mad. "She got my flax breeches," I cried. The breeches were white and you couldn't wear them out.
It was a good thing for us that Mrs. BROWN made our straw hats. Of course, at times we'd miss some good hogs and we accused the BROWNs. Some days Pappy would hire the BROWN boys to
come to work. Then we could go play. Once I had a new pocket knife and we were playing in the field about dinner time. Reuben, one of the BROWN boys, had been playing with it and I asked him for it. But he said he didn't have it. "Oh, yes you did, a while ago" I told him. I told Henry, the oldest, and he looked around and found it. They had it, all right! I told Mammy when I got home and she said, "you quit putting your stuff out there for them to handle."
Finally BROWN sold out. I don't know where they went. I think one family went to Crossville. No one would associate with them in Lancing. Some of them did pretty well, however. Albert married one of John BIRD's girls. [[BYRD?‹Morgan DAVIDSON]] We used to go to John BIRD's on Saturday night and play. They had a whole string of children; Laurie, Vesta and Millie were some of them.
We raised our own flax. We beat the flax and made the material. The flax grew about three feet high in the flax patch. The little top of the flax was full of seed. The seed was valuable; we got linseed oil from it. Everybody used to have flax; now there's no more flax.
We'd cut the flax down, dry it out, shock it up and bring it to the barn. I don't know what they did with the head containing the seed. We'd thrash them out to get the seed.
We had a flax breaker. We'd take those bundles of flax and put them in and let the handle come down and it would break the flax all up. We'd go through this process several times; then it was woven into cloth and Mammy made me a pair of breeches. And scratch! I'd put those breeches on and how they'd scratch! I had no drawers on. I'd sleep in my shirt tail. They'd wear forever! My old flax breeches!
Mammy would weave the cloth herself. She'd have me to help her. She'd put a certain number of threads in the sley and have a certain number of treadles. She would mash the treadles down and weave. It took a whole lot of work to get ready for winter. Linsey is heavy, like wool. You made underskirts for women out of it, but the cloth was so heavy it was like putting on a big pair of overalls.
Eph and Jim wore dresses until they were big boys. We didn't have overalls. When they got older my mother made jeans. She would buy the cloth and make them by hand. Then a man came and sold her a Singer sewing machine for some sixty odd dollars.
We always had plenty to eat. We usually had a nice cane patch. We would plant that in cane and my! what cane we did have! My uncle, Eph DAVIDSON, my mother's youngest brother, had a cane mill. It was an old wooden mill with rollers of hard wood and with a big lever going around with a horse hitched to it. Now they have steel rollers. That old mill would go "Whack! Whack!" and I'd yell "Better oil that mill up!" We knew old Sam DILLON was grinding sorghum when we heard that noise.
We raised lots of turkeys and just before Christmas we'd catch them and take them to Wartburg to sell them. Pappy would tell people the turkeys were so fat that, when they were nesting in a tree, one fell out and he was so fat he burst plumb open. I guess my father must have had a dream. We sold the turkeys for about $1.50.
We could tell when Christmas was coming. Mammy was cooking all the time; baking lots of cakes, getting chickens ready to kill and getting out a jug of liquor. In the mornings just before Christmas she would give us just a little toddy. This was the only time we had any kind of picnic. Mammy would bake cakes and we would slip in and find out where she hid them and steal them - Belle and me.
She'd say, "Better hang your stockings up. Santa Claus will be here tonight." We believed it and hung up the longest stocking we could find and hung it over the back of a chair. But after awhile we got to thinking, "Mammy does that (fills our stockings). I'm going to stay awake and see."
Next morning we'd get our stockings stuffed full of cake and candy and maybe an orange. We'd have fun opening those stockings! Naw, we didn't have a Christmas tree! We had little flat sticks of striped peppermint candy.
On Christmas we'd have a big dinner and have cake. Grandpa, Aunt Betts - mother's youngest sister, Melinda, Betty and Rhoda would come. We'd go to Grandpa's on my mother's side [[Bunk Davidson]], never to Grandpa LYONS! (Explan. Nicholas LYONS died early. He always wore a cap.)
Everybody had whiskey. That was Christmas! To get a jug of liquor. It was pretty good then. Mammy would take some, put it in a cup and set it on fire to burn out the alcohol. Then she'd put it in a glass and sweeten it and give us all some. We'd have sweet cakes - cut out with a jar lid, and we'd always have a bushel of apples. We'd keep them in the cellar and we'd eat them for Christmas.
Once I got a Jews Harp - three little strings that you could hit with your fingers, and the next year I got a French Harp. A fellow used to come there and sometimes stay all night and he had a big
French Harp. He'd take a can and stick it on the end of his harp to make different sounds, or he'd play! My! How he could make music.
Belle and I were the first to go to school. Belle was two years older then I. We had to walk through the wet bushes for two and a half miles, on cold winter days. And now a days people can't even walk to school on the sidewalks. They have to ride. We had a little old school house called Mt. Hoary. I called it Mt. Horror. There was only one door to the dern old school building at one end and a fireplace at the other. The building was made of logs. And right by the front door stood a great white oak tree and right behind that tree all the boys would _ (censored by the publisher) and all the dirt was washed out between the roots of that tree.
We had a little baseball field where we played town ball and cat ball. The pitcher would throw the ball to the batter. If he failed to hit the ball and the hind catcher was able to catch the ball, then the hind catcher got the next chance to hit. Or, if the batter hit the ball and the opposite hind catcher caught the ball, then he was the one to hit next. Some of the ones I played with were; Lum MELTON, Rube BYRD, Vester BYRD, Augusta HOWARD, Perry, Andrew and Mary HOWARD, Armilda MELTON, Minerva and Lell (boy) WILLIAMS and George GAUDEN. George's mother and father were from France. They just had this one boy; they had a little store and they would travel around selling.
Jenny DAVIS WILLIAMS was our teacher at the old Mt. Hoary school. Jenny married John WILLIAMS who got to be sheriff. One time when I was grown they came to our house to spend the night. She asked me if I remembered her and I did. Jenny at that time ran the hotel in Wartburg.
I never liked Jenny until I was grown, because she made me learn my ABC's. I never could learn them! I took my old Blue Back Speller to school and tried to learn then but she would say: "Everett, I've got to put you on the dunce block." I thought that was awful! She didn't do it and it was a good thing or I wouldn't have come back anymore. It was the hardest thing in the world for me to learn those ABC's!
We had only about two and a half months of school, sometimes three months in the fall. School would start about the first day of August and go two months and then dismiss for fodder pulling time. After that we would go back for a little while and then school would be out.
After Jenny WILLIAMS taught one term, our next teacher was a man named Maynard BRYANT. He was a pretty good scholar. He had a cancer in his nose and his nose was flat. BRYANT was a good mechanic too, the best this side of Wartburg. He stayed one term and got a better school. He was a pretty good teacher. When school was out he married one of the Jett girls. JETT and his wife lived in a great big house and had lots of daughters. BRYANT got to go seeing one of these girls and married her.
The next to last day of school about dark we boys would slip into the school house and build up a good fire and all of us boys would stay all night. The next day we wouldn't let anyone in unless they would promise to treat. The teacher would usually bring a big sack of apples, candy and cake. He would set the apples down by the benches and say "All you fellows get in there now and get two or three apples."
We thought we had made him treat by shutting him out. We'd stay up all night and talk and tell tall tales. Lum MELTON, Rube BYRD and I were buddies. We had a pretty full school when all
would come. Belle and I always stayed until school was ended. Some of the children had no shoes; they were too dern poor to buy them.
The next year two young fellows from Overton County came. We thought Overton County was in the backwoods. Cal SMITH got our school, Mt. Hoary. He thought the school term wasn't long enough, so we got five months, two terms. He was an up to date teacher. The people liked him and he stayed two years. Porter HANCOCK was his partner at Oak Hill.
After Cal SMITH left, Miss Louisa WILLIAMS became our teacher. I liked her. The last day of school we were going to have a spelling match against Porter HANCOCK's school. We got ready and had to walk three or four miles to Oak Hill. We spelled in the forenoon and were ahead.
We had dinner and after dinner we played Base. If you got off the base and someone touched you, they caught you. I was running and stepped on something and sprained my ankle. I couldn't get up but I finally managed to hobble around. Miss Louisa told me to be still and see if I couldn't spell in the after session. We had the rest of the spelling match and Oak Hill won; they had the best spellers.
I couldn't walk home after school so Louisa WILLIAMS said; "don't be worried about that. Get on that step and get on my back." So she took me home with her. I was about ten years old. I never had been away from home before. Supper time came and we had duck for supper. Her father was a teacher too and on the way to school he passed a pond and saw a duck and threw a stick at it and killed it.
They had a big fireplace and a big fire; so after supper they all set around there and laughed and talked. Lell and Newton and Minerva were all there too. Minerva always liked me. When it came time for bed Miss WILLIAMS wanted to doctor my ankle. She got some clay and worked it up good and soft and tied it around my ankle. She then put me in a little bed to sleep but I didn't sleep much, it hurt to bad. The next day the folks sent Sam DILLON over on the horse to get me. Belle had gone home from school and told them that I was crippled. I'll always remember Louisa WILLIAMS because she gave me lots of nice pictures for prizes.
Louisa later married Ben SUMMERS and raised a great big family. He was a baptist preacher and used to come out to Oak Hill to preach. Their two boys used to go with Mary and Maggie LYNCH.
Old Mt. Hoary school played out. No more school was to be held there. So Mammy and Pappy said we'd go to Oak Hill School. But we didn't want to. We were to live in one end of an old house that belonged to Miss Sarah COX. There was a big orchard there too. We went to school one term. The room had a big old fireplace and 2 small beds. Every day we had to go after water. The spring was under a hill. That was the steepest blame hill I ever did see. We carried the water in a "piggin", a vessel made out of cedar with a handle sticking up. I'd carry it on my hip. Every day I'd have to get the bucket full of water and bring it up.
Uncle Joe was our teacher, my mother's brother. His boys were Gilbert, Sherman, Houston and Erastus JETT. JETT was a weak minded fellow and Gilbert was full of the old devil.
Jett was reciting his lesson to the teacher one day and Gilbert and I were sitting there near him. The teacher asked JETT what "odd" meant. Gilbert and I whispered to him that it spelled "c-o-d." Oh, the teacher was mad. JETT said "well, Ev and Gilbert told me to say it." The teacher whipped us good right there before the whole school! That was the only whipping I ever got.
We had more fun with Erastus JETT! At one end of the school room was an old chimney in the fireplace and there was a crack where some bricks had broken out. One day Erastus asked to go out. Pretty soon we saw Erastus JETT leaking through that crack. Everyone saw him and laughed!
We had only one door in the school and that was on the east side. The sun would shine in that door; we had no timepiece. We didn't know what timepieces were, so we used the sun to tell time. Someone would come along with a match and make a line. When the sun hit that line we knew it would be 12:00 noon.
And how we watched that shadow! We'd jump up when the shadow hit the line and grab our lunch baskets and rush out into the woods to eat our dinner. We were dismissed for dinner then.
While we were going to school at Oak Hill, two brothers from Kentucky, by the name of COOLEDGE, came down and bought lots of land at Deer Lodge. In the tract was my grandfather's old place, the FOX place. They bought the land but there was no water so they decided to drill a
well. They got George CALDWELL and Jim RUDDER to dig it, They dug 15 or 20 feet one Saturday afternoon. (I remember there was to be a big shooting match that afternoon) Then they got some holes drilled and filled with powder. They had to tamp the powder down; they tamp it with a drill. No one knows just what happened. COOLEDGE heard a loud noise. He waited for them to come in and when they didn't, he went to look for them. He lit a piece of old newspaper and threw it down into the well; the well was filled with smoke and he saw that both of the men were killed. Evidently while they were drilling sparks had ignited the powder and caused the explosion!
Well, all the pupils in Oak Hill grew up, died and are scattered here and there. None went to the penitentiary; Rube fought in the First World War.
We had to memorize lots of poetry. That was my favorite subject and I can still remember lots of those old poems.
Life, I Know Not What Thou Art
Life! I know not what thou art,
but I know that thou and I must part.
And when, or how, or where we met
I own to me's a secret yet.
Life! We've been good friends together,
Through pleasant and through cloudy weather.
It's hard to part when friends are dear,
Perhaps it may cause a sigh, a tear;-
Then steal away, give little warning,
Choose thine own time - say not goodnight -
But in some brighter clime
Bid me good morning!
He Never Sailed Again
(From old Cobb Sequel Reader - 5th grade, Pennsylvania)
(Don't know what happened to this book, it might have
gotten burned up.)
The bark that held the prince went down.
The sweeping waves rolled on.
And what was England's glorious crown
To him who wept his son?
He lived for life
May long be borne
Ere sorrow breaks its chain
Why comes not death to those who mourn?
He never smiled again.
There stood proud forms around his throne
The stately and the brave
But who could fill the place of one
That one beneath the wave?
Before him passed the young and fair
In pleasure's reckless train,
But rough seas dashed over his son's
He never smiled again.
Little by little, sure and slow
We fashion our future of this our woe,
As the present passes away,
Our feet are climbing the pathway bright
Or they are gliding downward into the night,
Little by little, day by day -
We had a lady teacher, Miss Belle HODGE, who was good and who made us all stand up and we'd say it over with her. She'd say, "I'm going to call on some of you tomorrow and see if you can say it." Sure enough, she collared me. I knew it too! Pat LYNCH, Phil, Nick were all there. She was a good teacher.
After going to Oak Hill school we went to Deer Lodge school several years later. I boarded with Uncle Pat Lyons. The school was about a mile down the road from Mart LYONS and off the highway. Uncle Pat had a house on a big farm; Mart owns it now. Mart was the youngest of all the cousins; he was a good trader, worker and manager.
One of the poems I learned at the Deer Lodge School was this:
Hearts Like Doors
Hearts like doors
Ope with ease
To very, very little keys.
And don't forget that
They are these,
"I thank you, Sir,"
"If you please."
It's been a long time since I learned that, about seventy years or more.
"I doubt if he who lolls his head
Where idleness and plenty meet,
Enjoys his pillow, or his bread,
as those that earn the meals they eat."
Occasionally on Sundays we would go to the Clear Creek Meeting House for preaching. It was down on Clear Creek below MELTONs Mill. Lum went too. I think it was a Baptist Meeting house, because I remember seeing a big baptizing once. In the springtime everyone would be dressed in their nice clothes, and I wore mine too. One of the favorite songs we sung was:
When the Mists Have Cleared Away
When we are in human blindness
And forget that we are dust,
We should show our loving kindness
To the fallen and the just.
Snowy wings of peace shall cover
All the radiant of the spray
When the weary watch is over,
And the mist is cleared away.
Oh! Then we know as we are known,
Nevermore to walk alone.
In the dawning of the morning,
When the mist, oh, when the mist has cleared away!
My, how the girls would sing that!
When I was older they had some kind of high school at Sunbright and I went there about six weeks. Sam STONECYPHER, just a country boy, went there too and we got to be big buddies. He came home with me on weekends sometimes and we'd go back to school on Sunday, to Sunbright, that is. He was pretty good in mathematics and he helped me out. I'd help him in history.
I quit school in the spring of the year and went home and went to work. Sam stayed at school until it was over. Then he quit and went North. He had a brother-in-law in Toledo, Ohio and he went there and got work. Years later Sam got me a job up North too.
That was the extent of my education, except for the Normal School I attended when I started to teach.
We all liked to hunt; that was the chief pasttime. "Ev, come down Saturday night and we'll go hunting Sunday" uncle Morg DAVIDSON would say. So I'd go down to the old log cabin near Henry COOPER's. Sometimes it was a rainy day but that would make no difference, even if we had to walk seven or eight miles. He had a good dog and once we killed 15 squirrels and a turkey and took them to the creek to dress them. I was standing around watching Morg dress them when I looked and saw the waves of the water going back and forth. "Morg," I said, "there's something up there in that hole of water. He's smelled those squirrels we were dressing."
Morg was a good marksman with his gun; he had a narrow gauge gun. We watched and the animal swam under water ten or fifteen times. Finally he stuck his head up so Morg shot him. It was an otter! I got him by his hind legs and pulled him out, He was four or five feet long, not a full grown one but over a year old. He had nice fur and a pretty (thing) head. He was a brown looking thing and would go under the water and stay there a long time. We found his den up the creek. Otters would find a place where a big bank would run down into the creek and they would slide down this into the water.
Morg got six or seven dollars for his hide. "I'll skin him and give you half," Morg said. That was a good day's hunt. I took half the Squirrels and got $3.50 out of the otter.
Once I caught a mink! Father would take a steel trap and set it under water. Then he would put bait over it on a long stick and sure enough, the mink would get caught. We'd get a good price for mink. Beaver fur wasn't so good. I used to trap a lot! My goodness! How many things I've caught. I'd cut a little stick about three feet long, cut the limbs off - but he left a few sticking up three or four inches to make it rough so the animal couldn't drag it off and fastened the trap to the stick.
I went one morning and the trap was gone. I could see where the trap went down the hill. I had a young dog. He smelled around and, at the foot of the hill, he found a great big fox. He had gotten in a briar thicket and couldn't get out. I got that old fox out of the briar thicket and hit him across the head. The dog wanted to jump on him but I wouldn't let him. I put him on my shoulder,
brought him home and laid him on the wood pile. Pappy said, "This fox ain't dead yet!" I thought it was!
We skinned it, made a board and shoved it onto the board. We had to get all the bones out of the tail, otherwise it would spoil. When you got a good hold on him and pulled, it would slip right out. This board arrangement was called "casing a hide."
With possums we'd split them down the belly.
The main thing we caught was pole cats. I used to have traps set near the path where I went to school. One day a trap was gone. I looked and saw it under a shelf of rock. There was no dog around. I saw the stick so I pulled him out but he "let go" and what a stink! He had a white spot on his forehead and was worth $2. I killed him and went on to the school house. I took him home that night when I left school. They smelled me before I got in the house. In fact, at that morning in school, old Lum MELTON and Rube BYRD, my schoolmates, had told me I smelled like a pole cat.
We used to catch coons a lot too. They were very particular animals and wash everything they eat. For this reason, we had to have a certain kind of food for them. We bought a special kind of cheese for them. But take an old 'possum, he had no sense at all. He comes along and goes right into the trap for he will eat anything. But for a fox you'd have to dig a hole and cover it with leaves and set several traps!
I was fond of trapping! One day I went down to Laurel Branch (I called it "The Lord's Branch.") and Colly was with me. I had a coon in the trap; Colly jumped on the coon and jerked him out of the water. The coon was at home in the water and got Colly by his big nose. Colly hollered and turned him loose, so he got under the rocks and got away. We never got him out. I let the dog in too quick that time.
There were lots of gray foxes up there. Sometimes a red fox would come through. One winter a big snow had been on the ground for a week and my father noticed some strange tracks. He tracked the animal until he came to a big hollow tree. Both tracks went in but none came out. So he stopped up the hole and went to get someone to help "twist him out." To do this he took a hickory stick, split it and put it in the hole. By twisting the stick the hair of the animal would get twisted in that split stick and he'd come out. By George! one red fox came out and the dog got it; and then another came down and got away. We got a good price for his hide.
Morg and I were out hunting coons one night and Morg said: "I see it. I think it is a coon. You hold the torch." He could see two eyes. I held the light right over the bead of the gun. He shot and out came a big brindle cat instead of the coon. The dogs jumped upon it. I already had one or two 'possums I was carrying so we weren't too disappointed.
A bear came into the neighborhood one winter. Old John MELTON saw where one had been in his field, eating his corn; so he came and got my father. They went and looked and sure enough, a young bear had been there. So we organized a posse of my father, Johnny, Morg and his dogs. I was just going to school then. (John MELTON lived on a big bluff on the creek below WADDELL's.) The bear had also been up to HAMBY's at Annadel, eating their corn, so HAMBY went too. They found the bear in the laurel on the creek. Some got on one side of the creek, some on the other, and the dogs were racing through the bushes and they found him. The dogs were baying him. It was a small bear, about as big as a dog. They shot and killed him, skinned him and I don't know who got the hide. We got two or three messes of meat out of him. He'd been eating our corn all summer. All got some of him. Wish we'd gotten the hide.
Pappy used to kill lots of deer. One day coming home, a big buck jumped up at him. He shot but he didn't know whether he had hit it or not. It turned out that he had hit it in the hind leg but it wasn't killed and it ran away. It was a big buck, too. And the poor animal lived around on that range until New Years Day! A dog found him and ran him into the creek. I was out rabbit hunting and the dog was barking right on the creek and I was wondering what he was barking at. I slipped up and the first thing I saw was a deer's head. The horns on the head scared me!
I tore out for home to get Pappy. I ran just as hard as I could. Pappy was in the house fixing shoes. I said: "Pappy, there's a whole lot of deer over here in the creek." I showed him right where I went. The deer jumped out of the water and ran up on the bank and stopped. We couldn't cross the creek there, so we went to the foot log. By this time the deer was so sick that he lay down on
the bank of the creek. We found him and when he saw us he tried to get in the water but when he stuck his head in, he got it hung in the laurel branches and drowned.
We pulled him up and Pappy said "sure enough, this is the very buck I shot a month or so ago!" He skinned him and took the horns off. He left the carcass there because his leg was decaying where he had been shot. In fact, his whole hind leg was ruined and he was skin and bones. We took the horns and hide home; that's all we got out of it. If Pappy had taken the dog and tracked him when he was first shot, he would have gotten a nice young buck.
My father liked to get out early and go deer hunting when a new snow had fallen. Where the house stands now was a big thicket and he saw where the deer had crossed the road. He put on mother's nightgown and some kind of white head gear so that the deer couldn't see him. He tracked the deer and came to a place where the deer had stopped to thaw out in a sunny spot. There was a fence between him and the deer and he could see it through the fence. He didn't know how to shoot because he had to guess at the height of the deer. He fired, but off went the deer. The bullet went in the rail. The snow was two or three inches deep and this made him misjudge the height of the deer. We were out tracking one day and he showed me the rail where the bullet went in.
At other times my father had better luck. He'd say: "Now Everett, you go to John Melton's old place and you'll see some old limbs broken off where I want you to turn. Follow the bushes I've broken off and look up in the side of a tree, and you'll see a deer hanging in the tree. A big pole is sticking in the deer where the entrails are out. Put the deer on the horse behind the saddle and bring him home." Sometimes I'd have to take the cart if the deer were a big one, and sometimes he'd have two deer. That's all the deer tale, for tonight.
In wintertime a big snow would come and father would get ready to go hunting. He would start out just about daylight, and Mammy threw her old shoes at him as he went out the door for good luck. We wouldn't see him until dark, and then we were all anxious to see what he got. First, we saw him feeling in his pockets; then he took out a piece of a newspaper with the [[melt?]] and gave it to Mammy and we knew he'd killed a deer. I'd say: "You got one, Did you?"
We'd take the best part of the deer and give the rest to the neighbors. Wilsonn Marlin lived over on the hill from Bob's on the creek, and had a boy named Pinkey who would come over and play with me on Sunday. We always gave them some too. (We'd hear Pink coming down the road whistling, and we'd say to Belle: "There comes your sweetheart". That would make her mad!)
Marlin had a little country store and a big yoke of oxen; so my father would save the hams from the deer and he and MARLIN would take them to Knoxville and sell them for a good price. They would load these oxen with hides, furs and hams, sell them, and bring back sugar, 200 pounds of [[green?]] coffee in a sack and sell it ten cents a pound. It took them two days to get to Knoxville because the roads were so muddy. We'd be listening for them coming back. We'd hear them turn off the highway; it was dark as a dungeon. Old Buck and Berry, the steers, were great big fellows; it took a good team like them to get over those roads. They were strong; we would plow them lots of times. People used to depend on oxen more than anything else, after a while, on mules.
We never had any mules until I was grown. Then my Father bought a team of mules from KINCAID of Ohio. The little mule, Rock, was as mean as the dickens. Once my father told me to get old Rock and go to Marlin's place to plow. I started plowing, but about then the mule quit. He wouldn't go at all. I said, "Get up there, Rock." And he kicked the single tree all to pieces. I got him out of there and started home. I was afraid to whip him. I told my father I wasn't going to fool with that mule and more. "We'll sell him then," my father said. Dave LANGLEY, who lived in the woods, wanted to buy a team. He bought our team of mules for $200, or something. He took that mule and never had a better one in his life!
Sam Dillon and I went coon hunting one night. We hunted around in the white oak flats but we didn't get anything and it was getting late. It had been raining and was getting late; so Sam said we'd better get back home. "We'll have to swim the creek; I'll carry you on my back; the foot log is too slippery," said Sam. We had crossed on the footlog some distance up the creek. But I guessed he didn't want to walk back there. So I took off my clothes and tied them on my head. I got on his
back, and across the creek we went. The water was up pretty high and I couldn't swim. I was just about eight or ten. What a foolish thing that was. He just wanted to see if I'd do it. I guess.
There was always lots of game to hunt in East Tennessee. Uncle Wilbur, who was a good hunter, went to Washington State where he killed buffalo, bears, and other big game, but he said that in East Tennessee there was the most game and the biggest variety of game anywhere. Uncle Wilbur married my mother's sister-in-law, Mary, he had a store in Lancing, but sold out, and went to Washington. He had one boy, Fred, who was no account. Uncle Wilbur was not afraid of anything; he didn't have much education, but he had a good head. When he died, he left $415,000. His wife Mary had cancer and he had taken her to California and had spent lots on her.
I once saw more pigeons in one hour in East Tennessee than you will ever see in your whole life. Now all the pigeons are gone. There was a wild pigeon roost in a little group of pine trees. The pine trees were so thick with pigeons you couldn't see the sun. I was going to school at old Mt. "Horror", and Belle, Eph, Jim, and I were going home one afternoon, and the pigeons came down so thick I couldn't see the sun. They'd swoop down and pick up post oak acorns; then go to the big roost. There were millions of them. We lived four or five miles from there, but we could hear those pigeons that distance away!
We thought we would go there one evening: so we took some toe sacks and got there a little after dark. People were there from miles around shooting them. The limbs would break because they were so heavily loaded, the pigeons would fall, and the hogs would grab and eat them. It didn't take us long to get some. We got a long stick, we didn't use a gun, and just hit them on the head. I never will [[forget]] all those pigeons! They came in great big flocks, 1000 in a flock. They would swoop down close to you. No one had ever heard of so many pigeons before. At night they would all come to roost in that one pine thicket. People were there from Rockwood and Harriman, and it was the talk of the whole country. It was published in all the newspapers and magazines. Everybody came to watch those pigeons.
It was funny how they selected that one roosting place. It was the only time they came, and they stayed about a month. After that, the pigeons left and nobody knows what happened to them. Now they are almost extinct, wild pigeons, like those. Those pigeons looked like the hen pigeons here, rather blue. The pigeon just lays two eggs and has [[one?/no?]] nest. Not so long ago I read in the paper that someplace in South America those pigeons had turned up, again.
That was the only time we saw so many pigeons, but we frequently saw lots of turkeys. One Sunday when we returned from Rome Church in October, I think, I was putting some horses in the barn when I looked over across the field of shocked corn, and there were about a hundred turkeys feeding on the corn. I ran to the house and got the old [[army?]] musket, and went over where the turkeys were. There were three or four old hens and their young, now about full grown. I got over where they were and I saw one in the edge of the field. I took aim and fired and killed the one I shot at. I picked it up and started toward the house when I heard a fuss down in the woods. I looked and saw another turkey hopping up. I ran down there and, sure enough, I saw I had killed another turkey! A [[shot?]] had gone through his head. So we had turkey to give all the neighbors. Now I only saw one when I shot, and killed two! No one would believe my story, but it is true.
The first squirrel I killed was one that old Coly treed up on the hill one morning. I went up there and I could see the squirrel right in the fork of the tree. I laid my old rifle up beside a tree and shot, and out came the squirrel. I picked it up, and no place could I see where I had hit it, but the bullet had cut the hair near his heart and knocked him out of the tree. I guess the fall helped kill him too.
Another time two of us were hunting and the dog ran a fox squirrel up a pine tree. Neither of us could see where it was. So the fellow with me said, "Shoot up in the tree and scare him". I did, and out came the squirrel. "You saw that squirrel", the fellow said, but I didn't. It surprised me more than him. He always believed that I did.
Once I killed a wild cat. We were living on the RYAN place. We hadn't built our new house yet. Something had been catching the young lambs, and I told Mammy I'd go and see if I could find something. We had two dogs, old Coly and Drum. Drum was a blue [[__king]] dog, fuzzy haired. I took them and my gun. And went to Rock Creek. I let the dogs go down the creek, first thing I knew they were running something, way up in the laurel bushes on the creek. Then I heard them coming towards me. I went and got up on a big rock as high as this house so I could see the dog coming
back on my side. I picked out a place where I could see if anything passed, and kept my eye on it. I heard the dogs coming closer and closer. Soon a great big thing came into view. I whistled, because usually an animal will stop to see where the whistle comes from. Sure enough, the doggone thing stopped, and I shot him right behind the shoulder. It was a wild cat, and it had awful claws. In a minute here came the dogs, and the cat struck one of the dogs with those sharp claws. The dog was pretty badly hurt, but the wildcat soon stretched out and died. He was called a catamount. He was a rough looking animal with a short tail. He was vicious enough to kill a dog.
I got him and put him on my shoulder and carried him home. Bob, Jim, and all of them came out to look at what I had. The fur wasn't very good. Jim skinned him, and got about a dollar for his hide. He wasn't like that beaver Morg and I killed! All these tales conclude my hunting experiences.
My grandfather lived in the next house above BATES. When he died and left his old place there, my father had to look after it and keep the fences up. There was a good orchard there, and there was an apple tree with three kinds of apples on it, but it's all played out now. We had some early apples that would get ripe and Mammy would say, go get your flour sack and get some of those early apples, and we'll have some apple sauce. At that time we lived in the house where John Stone now lives.
I started down the road, and at the DAVIS Place, that's where Jim lived, I saw Albert. Albert was about eight or nine years old, and I asked his mother if he could go too. He had just sprained his ankle, but she said, "All right, he can go". We had about one and a half miles to go.
There was a big apple tree close to the old house so I said, "I'll climb up there and shake the tree, Albert, and you pick them up and put them in the sack". First thing I knew I heard, "Plunk, plunk, plunk!" Albert, what was that?"
I was shaking away-- they were nice apples-- when all of a sudden the loudest noise came from that old house! I thought the roof was falling in. I didn't say a dern word. I hopped off that tree. I left my hat on the ground and left my apples and my sack. It was about 20 steps to the fence and I went over. I heard poor Albert, who was crippled, calling, "Wait for me", but I wouldn't even look back. I was afraid I'd see the Devil.
A deer couldn't have outrun me. I could run like a deer anyway. I looked back once and poor Albert was not even over the fence yet, so I waited for him on the rise of the road. I thought that house was haunted sure enough.
I went home and told the folks. I swore there was a ghost. Aunt Betts laughed. That made me mad. I had left my sack and hat and Mammy said, "Go back and get them". I said, "Make Belle go with me". My old felt hat was like the one I wear here now. But when we went back, the hogs had gotten in and eaten our apples up.
A week later Joe RYAN told someone he had scared us. It hurt me. It hurt me all over. And mad! I don't know what I'd have done to him if I'd known he was in that old house. He had a ladder and he threw it all the way down the stairs. We didn't get any apples for apple sauce that time, but some days we'd bring apples home and make cider.
We used to have 2 or 3 trees of small cider apples my grandfather had set out long before I was born. They made some of the best cider! We had along trough about 30 feet long; it was a big poplar log hollowed out, and at the head in a box we put the apples. A big press with a lever would mash the apples and the juice would run down the trough into a vessel.
One night we had another scare. It had been raining and Sam DILLON was bringing the cows up to milk. He looked up in the field and saw a light coming down the field. The light went right through the fence. (The light was an ignition in swamps where [[___ing]] decays from gas, gets in the air and the wind draws it. If you run it'll run after you because it gets in the draft). The light made a turn and took after the cattle. Sam ran clear home. Mother told him it was a Jack 'o Lantern. It's a [[storm?]] warning.
Another time I was going home one night about 11:30-- walking. It was a nice night and was quiet and cool. People had been talking about seeing ghosts, but I never believed that, but when I got
close to the graveyard there sat a white ghost! There must be truth in ghosts, I thought. I didn't know what to do! I stooped down real easy and picked up a rock, but when I looked up the ghost was gone. About that time an old dog said, "Whoo- - -", and there sitting on his hind end was a big dog. My hair raised up and pushed my hat off. I had to catch it. You wait til you get scared sometime--you'll see. I told the folks about it and they said, "I told you so". But Pappy said, "There's no such thing as ghosts--dead people can't come up there knocking around".
Jim and I came home one Sunday evening about 9 or 10 o'clock. The dogs had been killing our sheep. Right across on the creek was a female dog and all the dogs in the neighborhood followed her. I told Jim, "Let's go kill those dogs", so we got our ammunition and we located them near Aunt Margaret's house. Her house was on a hill, so I said, "You stand here and I'll get here and we'll have a chance to get one". "Kill the first dog you see".
Aunt Margaret was in the house. First thing, a dog came trotting out and we shot him in the shoulder. Everyone in the house said, "Someone's shooting a dog". I didn't know which dog it was we had killed. "We'd better leave", I said, "they might find out who it was".
Our dog, Old Coly, didn't come home for a week or 10 days. Then someone told us our dog was shot. He was in the creek on a rock. The creek was low. His head was down, his hind legs up. It was Coly. He lived several days, but I never did see him.
He was a smart dog. He could go up a ladder. We had a ladder in the barn so we could go up and get the hay. He'd go up, jump on one rung, stick his nose on the next rung and pull himself up.
Another of our pets besides Old Coly was Old Dollar, our colt. We had a big barn and we turned the two horses in together, but we put the colt in a stall by himself. We called the colt "Dollar" and raised him. Mother called him "Old Puss". We liked Dollar and petted him, but someone stole him.
Belle and I came home one Friday evening and Mother was crying. I asked her what was the matter. "Someone stole Dollar", she said. I thought that was just awful! Belle and Jim cried. Eph was a baby then.
(We had him out on the range across Rock Creek. We put a new bell on him and turned him loose. We could hear that bell at the house.)
But one day we didn't hear the bell and my father went to look for him. He was rough shod and had some new shoes. My father couldn't find the horses anywhere. It had been raining and he saw where the horses had made big tracks in the ground. Someone drove Old Dollar in a pen (a big storm had come and some limbs had fallen and made a pen. So they drove the horses in and caught Old Dollar). They didn't even unbuckle the collar--just cut it off and threw it in the brush.
My father tracked him up the hill. Old Dollar had a young mare with him. She tried to follow him, but 2 or 3 days later she came home. Her leg was almost broken-- someone had thrown rocks at her.
Father went to Wartburg and put out a reward of $25-- he was worth $50. The sheriff tried to locate him but couldn't. The horse tracks went through Sunbright and on to Kentucky.
We had 2 families-- Jim BROWN and a fellow living with him who didn't work and we think he stole him. We think he got him because he knew all about him.
So, after we lost Dollar; we just had the young mare to make a crop with, so we hired a horse.
We sure did worry about losing Dollar. He was a gentle horse. You could slap him on one side and he'd go one way; slap him on the other side and he'd go the other way. He was a nice roan horse and his red and white hair was thick. He had a nice mane too. It was all on one side and a nice tail. Father kept it trimmed off nice. After he was grown we broke him to the plow. He was a regular farm horse. He put him in a one horse wagon. He was stout and fat.
One day I was riding Old Dollar. We were going to the Davis place to get some June apples-- There were the best apples up there! Old Dollar wouldn't go so I said, "Make him go faster. Just give him a cut with that switch". Old Dollar was walking with his head down half asleep. He liked to have jumped out of his hide. He jumped and I went off behind in the middle of the big road. Old Dollar stopped and looked back. Aunt Bets just laughed.
Father got a pension of $8 per month and we made a living on the farm and used the pension to pay the taxes. After a while he got $24 and then, at last, $72. Mother drew it too. Our neighbors
were mad because we got a pension. Father got a job riding the mail from Kingston to Jimtown. In
winter time they couldn't keep anyone on. He kept it a year-- it was an awful job. He had to ride at night-- a cold rainy ride. He would ride so far and then get a new horse. There was no railroad at Lancing then.
I remember when the railroad first went through-- about 1880. There used to be a tunnel and I stood on the tunnel and watched the engineer whistle, "Toot, Toot". It was an old work train, but every Monday morning there was a passenger train to Cincinnati and that was the train Uncle Joe and all the kids took. (TRIPLET had a big store and I can see myself now standing there waiting to see a train).
Uncle Joe was going west to Dallas, Texas. The station agent took them to Cincinnati and put them on the train to St. Louis. All of Uncle Joe's children were along too. Sherman was the oldest; Joe; Gilbert, who later came back; Wade, who was a blacksmith, Houston, who was the smart one; and Cindy. I used to have fun with that gang of kids. I'd stay all night with them on Saturday night and come home about noon on Sunday.
We used to have shooting matches regularly and the winners got part of a beef. At the shooting match, which met at Anadel [[sic ]], we'd put up a good fat beef steer in the stable. Father would want $20 for him., so they'd all chip in. If a person put $1.00 in, he'd get 6 shots, or 3 shots for 50¢. When the money for the steer was made up, they'd start shooting for it. Morg, my mother's brother, was such a good shot that they wanted to rule him out, but the other fellows wouldn't listen to it.
We put the target up and stepped off 40 steps, and we'd shoot off-hand. Or we'd give you a choice of 60 steps (180 feet) with a rest. Every fellow had his own target. They'd shoot and have judges to look at the target and measure. Most of the time judges would say, "First choice goes to Morg-- 1 hind leg".
After a while they would shoot again and someone else would get the other hind leg. Maybe Morg would get first choice on the fore quarter, etc. After the shooting match was over, they would shoot for the hide and the tallow, and then shoot for the lead in the tree. Lead was a scarcity. You'd have to mold the balls. Whoever got the lead would chop out the tree and get it. These shooting matches were always held way up on the other side of Anadel.
When the beef was gone and Morg got 1st and 2nd choice, he'd kill the beef, skin him, cut him up, put his beef in a little one horse wagon that we had and come on home.
I was too little to shoot. Father had bad eyes so he couldn't shoot. Two or three times, I remember, he took big steers over there, set a price and they'd make it up. Next Saturday there'd be another shooting match. Someone would say, "Martin, will you bring a beef over?" "Yes". So that was all settled. A big crowd would come just to see the match. One day a fellow got mad at Morg over the shooting and they liked to have had a fight. It scared me.
Sometimes, too, we'd have a sheep shoot. And then, at times, Uncle Bob Jack would put up a big beef. They'd put the price on it; and someone with paper would write down the names and how much money each put in-- entitling them to so many shots.
Mr. Agee came from Missouri and married one of Everett MAXY's daughters; she was a great, big, tall woman. I was named for Everett Maxy. Mr. Maxy left Morgan County, but he owned lots of land up there, 2,000 or 3,000 acres, so he turned it over to my father to look after and sell. All that timber-- we never thought it'd be worth anything, but they came down in that hollow and took it out as tho it were a little swatch.
Since Mr AGEE was to be married, he came to our house and stayed 2 or 3 weeks. He had to have some furniture and some groceries, etc., to set up housekeeping. He went to work to build a house at what was later the CLOUD place. Dad told me to get Buck and Bright, the oxen-- great big fellows, fat ones--and hitch up and take them to Wartburg. We went up that road rippity rop, and got to Wartburg which was about 8 1/2 miles away. There was a pretty good store there--a
man named STEPHENS ran it, I remember that well. It was a kinda new store and I took Mr & Mrs
AGEE in there and introduced them. They went to work buying everything and filled that wagon bed! Dinner time came and they took me to the hotel and gave me my dinner.
About 2 o'clock we started for home. We loaded up and had to come down Wartburg Mountain and cross Emory River in the water as there was no bridge. I got home safely and drove the wagon under a shed and left it all there. Mr AGEE had some carpenters working on the house the next day, so I hitched Buck and Bright and took them up there.
Mr AGEE liked to sing. He had a whole lot of songs and lots of the neighbors would come over and listen to him sing. He was a banjo picker.
One of his songs went like this:
It was at the railroad station in pursuit of my vocation
When I took a tall and handsome girl who stood behind the bar.
I heard someone call her Jessie, but perhaps it was Miss Pondalessie
And her diamond eyes were twinkling, just like the evening star.
She had lovers half a score, always someone to adore (methinks she was a whore)
From the first train left at morn til the last train out at night
I found this pretty dame with eyes so soft and bright
Made love to all who came in a quiet sort of way.
Yes, and her lovers were a tinker, a tailor, a soldier, a sailor,
A swell who used to talk about his ma and his pa,
A butcher, a baker and a quiet looking Quaker all courted little Jessie
At the railroad bar.
Mr AGEE had come down to look after the property, but he didn't know anything. He had a pretty big moustache; he was a little fellow. He made a fizzle of everything. He cleared up some land, but the first thing we knew Agee had sold out and gone back. He sold out to Mr CLOUD who put up a big store across from the hotel. Mr Cloud was an old bachelor, a hard worker from Ohio and he and his brother were well off. The store was closer than Lancing so we'd go and trade with him.
He cleared up the land and put in a peach orchard. He was going to town one day in his wagon and he fell off. The wagon ran over him and killed him. People liked him. Cloud planted peaches but couldn't get much for them.
Then MILLER came down. He had 2 or 3 girls. We'd have dances and Mart LYNCH and [[___]] and I we'd all go.
In 1882 we sold our house (where John STONE lived) to Miss WOLLENBARGER and moved to the RYAN house (now owned by mrs BATE). She was a school teacher and she and her sister were from Indiana. They lived there about a year, then they sold out to JOHNSONs from Jamestown. They had a boy about 15 who tried to do the plowing, but couldn't. They soon left and my father decided to rent it from them. Weeds had grown up all over the place, and they had left lots of chickens. An old hen had hatched out a nest of eggs so there were lots of baby chickens running around.
One day father was plowing there, and I was hoeing. Suddenly he yelled for me to come quick. I came running up and there hanging to the leg of his pants was a great big snake. I was scared to death! His fangs were in his pants, and it was a great big copperhead, bigger than my arm. My, what a snake that was! I took my hoe and cut him in two. It's a wonder he hadn't bitten the horse, Old Prince. The snake was in an empty box, and when father turned it over, out popped the snake. I can see father now running around and that snake swinging to his pants! The snake had been feeding on those baby chickens. A horse can smell a rattlesnake, and a deer will jump up and put its feet on the snake and cut it to pieces. My father saw a deer kill a snake once. They just stick their feet in him.
Saturday night, October 31, was a nice bright, moonlight night so Morg, and I and Henry COOPER went a coon hunting. We went down by Grandmother's place, and Grandfather came out on the step and talked a minute, but we didn't happen to see Aunt Betts. We went on up the hill and caught a possum, and came back home and everything was all right, apparently. Sunday I didn't leave the house. Monday I went to school, at that time I was going to Oak Hill school, and boarding with Mrs. COX. When I reached school, everyone was talking about the barns burning up! On Saturday night someone had set William HOWARD's barn on fire, and had burned it up and the cow, and fine horse, and lots of feed. And five or six miles away the same night the RYAN barn was set afire and burned up. The following night, Sunday, my Grandfather's barn burned up! I heard all this news at school, and I made sure that that night they'd be at our house to set our barn afire. After school was out at four o'clock I took out for home as fast as I could. Before I got home it was getting dusk and I remember something scared me. It turned out to be a big old white dog lying right there in the road that someone had shot. I got home and told Mammy and said "Guess they'll burn our barn tonight". Pappy was in Chattanooga so I got down my Father's old Army rifle and Mother got the pistol. I stayed in the house that night, while Mammy went to the barn. I had the door partly open and I sat in a chair with the gun in my lap. After a while old Coly started barking and running around the house, and I said By George! That's them come in our yard now! But Coly soon stopped barking and Mammy came over to see what scared old Coly so. She went back to the barn, and I stayed up a while and then went to bed. I was so scared that if anything had happened I would have run.
The terrible thing was that everyone began accusing Aunt Betts, my mother's sister, of setting those barns on fire. Jake RYAN used to come to see her all the time, but turned around and married Elizabeth HOWARD, so everyone thought she did it for revenge. If I had just gone into the house Saturday night when I was out 'possum hunting, I would have been able to prove that she was at home, but I didn't. The RYAN and the HOWARDs were five or six miles apart, and Betts couldn't have made such a trip like that at night.
A week after the fire they swore out a warrant for Aunt Betts. Pappy went on her bond. Old Mrs. RYAN who was in the house testified that she knew it was Betts because she heard her dress go over the fence. (They had a rich pile of splinters under the house and they tried to set fire to the house too, but the splinters didn't burn.) They had the trial, but Betts was declared NOT GUILTY. This took place when we were in the RYAN Place.
About 1888 we started building a new home on the 150 acre tract we now owned. It was the old DAVIS tract, a gift to my mother from her Aunt Melinda. We called her Aunt; my Mother was her Namesake. We were building the house on the top of the hill just past Edgar's house. Most of the lumber had to be planed by hand; Mr. BOTTOM was doing the work for us. It was in February and the house was just about finished. We expected to move in the next week.
On that warm February day we were all working when Mother called us to dinner. We lived about a fourth of a mile away and she rang the big dinner bell. We ate, and when I had finished I walked out on the porch, and saw our whole house in flames. I hollered and ran as fast as I could, and started throwing the tools as far as I could towards the road.
The folks got there in the next few minutes and they were all crying and hollering. The fire was just roaring! We had lots of rich pine and all of our haystacks, and our fodder all stacked over there and the whole thing just burned up. We had all the shavings from the lumber in a pile out in the field not far from the house. And there were lots of bits of string and trash that made a path to the house. We think the fire started in the pile of shavings and traveled the path of trash to the house. I thought the world was coming to an end sure enough now that our new house was all gone! We were all so downhearted, not knowing what to do.
Well, Joe ELY lived above us on Grandpa's old place. He was kinda of an agent to get Northern men to come there to live. He'd say; "All you have to do is just tickle the ground and you can raise big crops." So about 1889 a Mr. CRIPE came to Tennessee, was looking for a mill site and at the insistence of Mr. Ely he purchased about 1000 acres of land on Buck Ridge.
He went back to Indiana and brought his sawmill to Tennessee, and placed it down on the creek and went to cutting lumber. So we cut some of our nice fine trees and Mr. CRIPE hauled them to his mill and cut them into lumber. Then we built another house which now stands where the ZATORSKI's live. We thought the saw mill was a blessing because the first lumber we had had to haul 15 miles in the deep mud. He had a good mill and he gave people work and soon he had piles of lumber all stacked up.
I remember the day Mr. ELY brought CRIPE over to see us for the first time. I was out chopping wood; Mr. ELY wanted me to take CRIPE over to Buck Ridge to see the timber. The next day I took him, and he liked it and bought it. He was from Delphi, Indiana, on the Wabash. Years later when I was working there I stopped to look him up, but I didn't get to see him because I found out that he lived out from Delphi on a farm. About 1950 Perry CRIPE stopped in to see me, while on a trip South. We have continued the friendship through the years.
Perry, Ike and Jake and Mr. CRIPE came to Tennessee first and boarded with ELY. Later the girls and Mrs. Cripe came. When they got some lumber cut they built a good house, Cripe was a fine fellow, a Quaker. Several times I ate dinner with them. They would sit down to the table and talk to each other in German.
The Cripes had a new buckboard, that's kind of a buggy with just one seat fitted in the middle and no top. Ike would say, "Everett, if you'll furnish the horse, we'll go riding Sunday." I would get old Jim and we would all go to Deer Lodge, Ike, Jake, and me. At other times we would ride in it to a party.
So it was with the help of Cripe and his sawmill that we got our new house built. Cripe told us that if we would cut some big pine trees and furnish the team, he would furnish the wagon and cut up our logs for us. After the logs got dried, Cripe planed them for us, charging us a small amount.
The house got built, but we really didn't build it large enough. Lumber was cheap then, and we should have built it larger. Cripe stayed there four or five years and got the best of the timber cut; then he sold out to an old fellow from Kentucky, named HUTCHINSON. Cripe traded for a big farm in Kentucky, and Hutchinson paid cash for the saw mill, and bought all the land and the timber.
We moved into our new house and about the second year one nice clear October night, we had a fire! About once a year some Jews who were peddlers and had a nice team and wagon would stop with us and spend the night., Their names were Jake and Ike, and they would buy up all our wool, and we would in turn buy things from them.
On this particular night in October they had spent the night with us, and had left their budgets on the front porch. Bob and I were sleeping together upstairs and Jim and Eph. Suddenly in the middle of the night Jim yelled out: "Oh, the house is on fire!" I jumped out of bed and started to jump out the window. I put my leg out, and hesitated when I saw the fire just raging. But it was only the smokehouse! Jake and Ike were scared stiff! They grabbed their budgets and started running with nothing on but their red woolen underwear! It was dark, they didn't know where they were; one started running in one direction, and the other struck out across the cornfield in the other direction. After they realized they were safe, they came back, and Jake said, "Get some blankets and wet them and put them over the corner of the house to keep it from catching. The house was only a few feet from the smokehouse and it was already smoking. Mammy brought out some wool blankets, new ones and homemade and we wet them and put them where it was the hottest. I had to go to the spring to get water. To get to the spring I had to go through the cornfield. I would stumble over the stalks and spill the water all the time the folks were yelling, "hurry, hurry". What a time that was!
It was lucky that there wasn't a bit of wind that night. With the least wind the house would have burned up! The blaze was going up just as easy. What caused it? Carelessness. The smokehouse was about 15 feet from the house with an adjoining shed. Mother had a barrel sitting next to the wall of the smokehouse where she would dump her ashes. She had put the ashes there and they had probably been smoldering a long time, then burst into flame and caught the smokehouse.
We had all our lard and meat there, our old spinning wheel and loom and it was full of things that we had put there when we had moved and hadn't gotten straightened out yet. It burned
completely down, but we were all glad it didn't catch the house. The new woolen blankets were burned full of holes, that shows how hot it was. Mammy had to make baby blankets out of them. It was about 1 or 2 in the morning, and the Jews went back to bed, and finally the excitement quieted down.
When I was about 18 or 19, I started teaching school in Morgan County. To make any money that was about all there was to do up there. To be able to teach everyone had to attend a Normal School at Wartburg for two weeks. Prof. ALBERSON was the County Supt. And he was a good one too. We had instructors, and the last three days we would have examinations. If you passed they would give you a certificate. A First Grade Certificate or a Second Grade Certificate. We studied arithmetic, orthography, grammar, geography, and history. We had lectures on teaching methods, and I remember one fellow tried to sell me "The Normal Instructor".
Barton POTERS and I were seat mates, and he wanted me to help him out on the exam, but I told him he'd better help me out. I passed and got a First Grade license, and poor old Barton failed. He told me about it but I said maybe they'd give him another chance. So he posted up, and they gave him the exam over. I got a little school out there between Wartburg and Lancing named Pine Log. It was a new school house that they had just built. It had one big room and I taught all grades. It was located right above where my Mother's brother lived, Uncle Eph Davidson. So I boarded there about one half mile from the school. I would go home on Friday evening. Sometimes the folks would meet me at Lancing and take me home, otherwise I would walk. Oh! My! It's awful to walk now.
There was George BUXTON and his brother and the ELY children, Everett, Grace, Eureka, and I forget the baby's name. The STRITMATTERs and the TOLLES came, the COOPERs and the STONEs, Bruce, Albert, and Edna. John didn't come; he had to work on the farm. We had a pretty good school there for about three and a half months. Lucy and Katie JACKS were there too, and I think Mary came some. I had a class in physiology and orthography. You don't know what that is, I don't suppose. I didn't teach them philosophy. I had one wall of the school house painted black for a black board, and it was a good one too.
At the closing of school, which lasted three to five months, we had some kind of exhibition. I got up some nice poems and pieces and Joe ELY read a piece about a coal peddler selling coal in the street, and you ought to have heard him read that! It was good! I told Old Negro Dave to come over that I could use him too. He had a mouth about a foot wide. So I announced that the first thing on the program was the "Opening Scene" I pulled back the curtain and there was old Negro Dave standing there with that big mouth of his wide "open". I heard Nick JACKS just laughing to beat the band! Negro Dave didn't mind; he liked it. For our curtains we used some domestic, and some of the boys pulled them open.
We had some nice recitations, readings, poems and one or two girls sang. It was a variety of things. Most of those people up there were from the North then, and they were pretty good. The COLWELLs came to school for a while but it was too hard for them.
They wanted me to come back the next year and they raised my salary a little bit. The second year I boarded at Mrs. TODD's. Her husband had been Co. School Supt. But he was dead. Mrs. TODD owned a big farm close to the school, and Albert MORGAN was her [[word left out]] he lived there too, and he and I slept together. Mrs. TODD had one little girl, Cora. She was quite spoiled; she went to me too. I paid $1.25 a week for board, and I made $35 a month the second year teaching.
The third year I taught at Rome, right there at home. Alva and Stella WADDELL were some of my pupils. The STRITMATTER children, Tommie and Winnie came too. The Stritmatters were from Ohio and emigrated down there in winter.. They had a big old horse named Doll. My! What a big horse that was. I went to Sunbright to meet them the day they arrived from Ohio. It was a cold day. We sold them 150 acres of land right there on Bald Hill, and they put up a temporary house and settled right there in the woods.
Besides the Stritmatter children there were three or four of the TOLLE children who came to school too. They too were from the North. And the SCHUBERTS, a brotherinlaw of Stritmatter. I taught there two years, after that they wanted me to come to Oakdale and take a school.
About this time my folks sold the house we had built and moved to Dayton, Tenn. An old man and woman bought the place. This was about 1894. So I decided to take the job at Oakdale which was a little closer to Dayton; however, I was sick; I had something the matter with my lungs. I taught about five weeks and I got so bad I could hardly go. I gave up my job, and got on the train and went to Dayton where the folks were. Mammy and Pappy were living in the dormitory of the Catholic Church. I walked in and Pappy was sitting there smoking. He didn't know me, and told me to take a seat. I told him who I was and presently Mammy came in. She said, "How do you do?" And Pappy asked her, "Don't you know who this is?" "No, I don't", she replied. "That's Everett", said my Father to her.
The next morning they called Dr. GILLESPIE. He came and examined me and told me what was the matter. I had pleurisy, water on the lung. He gave me seven tablets to take, 7 tablets of calomel. I was to take one of them each hour. I took five of them and threw the rest of them in the fire.
The next day he came again and looked at me and said, "I've got to draw the water off your lungs".
"How are you going to do it, cut me open?" I asked.
"No, I'm going to draw it off with a needle", he replied.
He filled a bottle half full with green water from my lungs, and he came back twice and filled it each time. I commenced to get better right away and went back home. My wife's folks met me at the train, and took me home. I was weak and pale and had to be careful with myself. I took it easy and just looked after the stock around the barn. I got better, though, and got over it. I believe my illness was caused by some water I drank. In the summer just before school started I had been working as foreman of a road gang. Our drinking water was very scarce and I took a drink of some water that was not clean, and it tasted awful. I believe the germs were in it. The next year I went back and taught at Rome again.
This illness occured shortly after I was married. The GREENS had come to Morgan Co. from Ohio. They had three children, Hattie, May, and Frank. They lived for a while at the Summit Hotel. Mr. Green had come down from Cincinnatti on account of his health. He was a photographer, and all of them were well educated. Later they bought Bob's place from Williamson BROWN. Mr. GREEN thought they would farm, and that Frank would like it, but the work was too hard and Frank didn't like it.
In 1892 Hattie and I were married. We were married at the Summit Hotel. A preacher from Deer Lodge, a nice fellow, performed the ceremony. After a while I bought Bob's place from Mr. GREEN and we lived there. Nettie was born in 1893, and Ralph about two years later. I was teaching school then to earn my living.
The night Nettie was born, May 11, was a cold night. My wife had been grunting around there and when I got in I asked if I should go for the doctor, but Mrs. GREEN said no, and By George! The baby was already born. She was a pretty baby; I didn't think she was mine. Mrs. Green was a good nurse.
The baby, Ralph, died when he was about nine months old with some kind of a fever. And Hattie died not too long after. She wasn't sick very long, about a week. Dr. COOPER from Wartburg came, but she died anyway.
One Hallow'een while I was teaching school at Rome and was living with the Greens, I said to Frank GREEN. "Let's go out and do some devilment tonight. "We had had a clear, frosty morning, and everything was white with frost. So we went down to Henry COOPER's first. We were going to take his horse out of the stable, and put him in another barn. I slipped into the barn to get the young mule, and just as I was trying to get the bridle on him he said, "Wheeeee!" and nearly kicked me down! I said to that old mule, "You can stay here tonight." I wasn't going in there to get him.
We went on to old man STONE's; he had old Jim so we got the bridle on him and by that time it was about 11 o'clock at night. We took him up to STRITMATTER's barn, and left him and took old
Doll and carried him to WADDELL's. We then put our horse in [[Stritmatter's?]] barn, and Waddell's horse in our stable.
The next morning Frank and I didn't know a thing about what had happened. We had to get up early the next morning to teach school so we didn't get much sleep that night. Everyone at school accused me.
"What time did you come up to my house last night," someone asked.
"How come Stritmatter's mare is in my barn?"
"What's all this about everybody swapping horses?"
I explained that I was in bed asleep all night long and that everything was quiet. But MY! How that young mule at COOPER's kicked that door! The most fun I ever had was on Hallow'een because we always played some pranks on people in the neighborhood. Belle used to play pranks on us too. She would get up early and take our pants or shoes, and tie up the bottoms of our pant's legs so we couldn't get our feet in them. She would do this at Christmas sometimes too, when we were in a hurry to dress.
I remember the weather we had about this time, 1895. On the 16 of March it rained all day, kind of a hard rain. That afternoon and night it commenced to snow. It snowed all night, and the next morning how cold it was! The snow was about 15 inches deep; there was an awful big snow, and it must have snowed hard for it to have remained on that very wet ground.
A few weeks before we had had nice weather. The apple trees were out in leaf, the corn was planted and up, then the big freeze came. It froze the wild turkeys and the quail in the woods. That was the coldest time in my lifetime. I had lots of stock that I had to feed and tend to and shelter. There were the sheep, and cattle, hogs, and the chickens. Fortunately we had a big woodshed and kept it filled with dry wood. That freeze in 1895 came way down here into Florida and killed all the young trees they had put out. It damaged the oranges and grapefruit like everything! About the 15 of March we generally have a cold spell, and you can still look for it.
I was driving home from Sunday School one day, and Mr. And Mrs. Green were in the buggy. I happened to be beating the bushes a little as I rode by with my whip. Suddenly I hit a hornet's nest, and out came a thousand hornets and one stung me right between the eyes. There was always lots of yellow jackets in the Fall of the year while we were making syrup.
The year following my illness at Oakdale with pleurisy I decided to go back to Rome and teach. Then I was asked to take the Lavender School close to Deer Lodge. I boarded at Uncle Pat's and taught there two years. I was married and my wife was still living. Tom DILLON lived nearby and had three or four children; the SCOTT's had one or two, and so did Austin LAVENDER. There were about 60 children in all, and at this time I was making $60.
My school teaching was soon to come to an end, because of a letter I received from my old friend, Sam STONECYPHER. Sam and I had gone to school at Sunbright together, but at the close of school, Sam had left and gone to Ohio to work. After a while he got to be a drummer for Columbus Pure Food Co., a big wholesale house. They hired lots of young men to work for them. They supplied them with sample cases of their foods and let them go out and take orders. So Sam wrote me: "Come up here, Everett, you can make more money up here."
"I believe I will," I wrote back. He told me exactly how to come.
I went by train to Cincinnati. This was the second time I had ever been on the train. The first trip I ever took was an excursion from Lancing to Cincinnati. Eph was there working as a news butch selling papers. So I went up there and he met me. It had taken me all night to get there. I stayed all day, and we took in all the sights and went to the Zoo. Then about 8 or 9 o'clock the train left for Lancing. I was tired to death, so when I got on I went right to sleep.
On this second trip to Ohio I went all the way across Ohio to Wheeling West Virginia. I didn't know where in the dusce that was. We got to Columbus, Ohio, the capital, about two or three o'clock in the afternoon, with two old suitcases, one in each hand. I got a cab, and went to the hotel and went to sleep. I slept well and got up early and got something to eat. There was a train that left for Littleton about 8:30, so I got my ticket and got on the train. Littleton was some distance from Wheeling, and as I watched the country through the window, I thought it was the roughest old country I had ever seen. It was a big coal country; there was lots of smoke because the blast furnaces were going.
I finally reached Wheeling, and then Littleton, and when I stepped off the train, I saw old Sam coming to meet me. He had a big, great big, mouth, and the first thing he said was: "You did get
here, didn't you? This is really God's country." I told him I didn't think God had ever even been around such country! Sam carried my suitcases, and we went to his room, which was over a saloon. And my! How we did talk and talk.
Soon he got out his suitcase and laid it on the table and showed me his samples and the orders he had to take. Everything was packed in pretty neatly, except the sugar and rice which were carried separately, but the outfit was too blamed heavy. After he had explained how he took orders he said, "You can do that just as well as I can". Well, this was on Friday and we didn't work Saturday.
We talked all day Saturday, and Sam said, "This is oil country and tonight all will get drunk and cut up." A rough class of people worked there. They all came to the saloon on Saturday night to get drunk, and at midnight they were cutting up, and shooting and fussing. I never heard such a racket! "Be right still", said Sam, "maybe they won't kill each other." I told him I wasn't going to stay there another night: "Let's get another place." He took my advise and got another place with some friends.
Monday came and we started out to sell. Sam had an extra sample case for me. I was to go with him one or two days to see how the work was done. He would knock on a door and tell the lady who came to the door that he was selling groceries. One lady took a pail of coffee. The coffee came in pails, ten pounds in a pail for 27 1/2¢ a pound. This was $2.75 for a hundred pounds. She also wanted some sugar, but he only sold it by the barrel.
Another woman took a barrel of sugar, 350 pounds at 5¢ a pound. She took a pretty nice order, some rice that came in nice cans, and he gave her a copy of the order, and he kept a copy too. Sam told her she would be notified by card when to go to the station to get the groceries. She took two buckets of coffee too. She was a big, old fat woman and she ran a boarding house. With all those boarders she was keeping she needed that barrel of sugar. Sam sold about $100 that day, and he got a pretty good percent.
Some days we hired a horse and buggy for $150 a day. Sam did the driving and was fun to work with. He was a Dutchman and always laughing. At night I would listen as he picked the banjo. After watching him sell for one or two days, I went to selling alone. At night Sam would look over my bills.
I went in one house and looked around, and I knew the woman was as poor as Job's turkey, but she took a big order. I told Sam I didn't think she would ever pay for it. We bought the groceries from Kroger in Cincinnati, and when they arrived by freight most of the customers came to get them. A few like this poor woman didn't have the money, so Sam sold their order to others who were glad to get extra rice, apricots, dried fruits, pepper, etc.
One house I entered looked poverty strickened, but they were drilling for oil and struck oil behind his house and he was rich!. He had one well on a hill and one in the hollow.
I didn't like this business of going into people's houses. One time I started up to a woman's house, and she saw me coming and thought I was a book peddler, so she shut the door in my face. But I told her I was selling groceries and everybody had to eat, so she gave me a right nice order, prunes, dried peaches, rice.
One night Sam and I went to Morgantown, W. Virginia to see Uncle Tom's Cabin. We only had to pay 15¢. Every night the show was full of people. Some nights there were really good plays on, like Uncle Tom's Cabin.
I stayed with Sam from June until November. I made $65 a month, and I thought that was good. I had been getting $35 or $45 teaching school. But I didn't like going into people's houses. Sam and I were working in different places now, and I had had several letters from Lee JACKS who wrote me: "Come up here and I will get you a good job on the R.R." So one day I just decided to quit. I tagged my sample case back to Sam and caught the train that night for Joliet, Illinois where Lee was.
I travelled all night and arrived in Chicago the next morning. I had to wait there for a train for Joliet. While I was waiting a young man in the waiting room said, "Let's go across the bridge and see the show that's going on over there." So we set our suitcases on the corner and went off.
About noon the show broke up, but we met an old fellow who said he was from Arizona. He told us he had learned a trick last night and he wanted to show it to me. The trick was betting on
pictures on some cards. "If you'll bet $50 I'll bet $50," he said. I told him I didn't like to bet. I finally bet $100 that a certain card was the one. He put his money up, and I won. Before we left we gave him back his money, however. He then suggested, "Let's go out to get a drink. "And we started, and he urged us not to tell anyone about this.
We had just started down the street when a policeman motioned us to come to him. "Are you two trying to rob this old man?" he asked us. "Where are you going? "We tried to explain what had happened but he said, "You go back to the depot and get those suit cases and get out of here and don't come back."
We went back to the C. & A. depot and found our suitcases. There was a great big old conductor and I told him I wanted to go to Joliet, Illinois. It was 30 miles away. We got there about noon. Lee was foreman in the signal dept. He told me to come to dinner.
Thus began my railroading days. We worked in Joliet for about a week, then got orders to go to Blue Springs, Mo. That was where the notorious JAMES boys used to be. Our cars were coupled on to another train and we rode one day and night. It was a fine farming country around Blue Springs. It was November and the men were hauling hay in big wagons. Lee's cook didn't come with us. He got off at Blooming [[sic]], Illinois. I agreed to cook but I didn't want the job. We had lots of navy beans, I remember.
In the morning I would go out with Lee and he would show me where to put the signals. I told him I couldn't climb one of those telegraph poles, but he said I would have to put the climbers on. I told him I couldn't even put them on. I got them on and went up. He showed me how to tie a wire in the insulator.
We stayed in Blue Springs until just before Christmas. We put in all the switch boxes and then went to Springfield, Mo. We were there a short while when we looked out the window one morning and the snow was 5 or 6 inches deep and pouring down. After a while a message came; "Seal up the car; fix everything in camp and come to Bloomington.
We got ready and went down to Bloomington where Phil LYNCH was a maintainer. We talked to him as to what to do. Finally someone suggested, "Let's go down to the fair grounds in St Louis. Maybe we can get a job there! The World's Fair was to be held there the next year. We got to the Fair grounds in St Louis and found that we were in mud up to our ankles! They had just started laying the foundation. "Let's go home", said Lee. "It suits me," I replied. We went straight to the depot and Lee bought a ticket for Annadel, and I bought mine for Lancing. Ain't that a dickens of a town to get into! The folks didn't know we were coming, and when I got home they didn't know me.
I spent Christmas at home, and some time in January, 1904 Lee got a message to come to Capitol, Mo. to put in signals there for two or three miles, 200 or 300 miles. We went way out there in Mo. to the roughest doggone country and had to hunt around to find a boarding house. We stayed two or three nights at one place where there was an old man and a young kite woman. The man did all the cooking and it was pretty good, but we left and went to a hotel.
Lee took some of the men and went on the road. He told me to get the stakes, 4x4 to drive down into the ground and put the trunking in. There was a big snow on the ground, 15 to 20 inches deep. So Lee said, "build up a fire, keep warm, and creosote all the stakes." I did about a hundred that day. There was a groove down the middle of the trunking where the wires were put in.
The next day the sun was shining and we went on the handcars and put up two signal foundations. We worked all day. Lee hired all the men he could to help us. One day he told me to take 5 or 6 men and go to Washington, Mo. and put in all the switch boxes. I took some men to Washington, and we soon found a boarding house where the man, a German, made corn cob pipes.
I worked for about a week with another fellow, putting in the switches. The one day an accident happened. I had my supply car on the sidetrack, when I saw a train coming. This fellow had the switches open. I thought he knew to close them. I yelled "Shut the switches!" but it was too late.
The local hit the supply car and broke all the jars with the batteries and did lots of damage. I called Lee to come that I was quitting. He told me not to quit, but I did.
Pat LYNCH was at Godfrey, Ill. not far from St Louis. He was putting in signals too and had been after me to come and work with him. I stayed there a while and met a man who boarded at the place I did whose brother, Mr. FOALE was the signal engineer on the Wabash. Foale needed a man to maintain the signals at the World's Fair grounds in St. Louis, so I decided to go look the situation over. On the way I noticed another boarder, SAMS, who was headed for St. Louis too. Sams was evidently going to see about the same job. When he saw me he hid from me in the closet. I got to St. Louis and interviewed Mr. Bills, the foreman, before Sams did. Mr. Bills had just finished saying; "Glad to have you; you can have the job," when in walked Sams and wanted the job too. However he promised him one too. There were four tracks to the fair grounds from St. Louis, about five or six miles. Old box cars had been fixed up and those were used as shuttle trains to bring the passengers to the fair. My job was to maintain the track and the signals.
From St. Louis I was sent to Decatur, Ill.. Foles gave me passes on all the railroads in the country. I had a pocket full of passes. From Decatur I had to go to various places and work. Here and there, Detroit, Michigan, places I had heard of but never expected to see.
I went to Delphi once and I wanted to look up the CRIPES, but they lived out in the country and I couldn't get out there. The next place was Andrews, just a little old depot where the bell wasn't working and I had to fix it. The wiring was all ragged and I soon got it to working.
Another time I was sent to Huntington, W. Virginia, a nice big town. I looked the signals over and told FOLE what had to be done. He told me to order the material I needed and have it shipped there. He also sent a man to help me, and we put a crossing bell in, and did the rest of the work. I was allowed 65¢ expenses for my dinner.
One day it was just about time for the Cannonball to be coming down the track. I had heard it blow, in fact. About this time I noticed an old man who had been standing around start to walk down the tracks. I heard that Cannonball whistling and I got scared, I hollered at the old man but he just kept on walking. I ran and got hold of him and showed him the train coming. He was deaf! This scared me so badly that it took me three hours to get over it.
While I was working around Hunington [[sic]], I saw the first train from Chicago to N.Y. I went to the depot to watch it come in. It was due and everyone was watching, about 100 people on each side of the tracks. Pretty soon here it came, I saw the snake [[coming?]]. This train was trying to beat the record of another train. As soon as it stopped, some men uncoupled the engine, and another engine backed in there and they changed engines and away it went. That engine had come about 200 miles or more from Chicago. It succeeded in beating the other train too.
I was to take a train back to Decatur, Ill. my headquarters, a fast mail train. And I tell you it went almost as fast as the train trying to set the record. The first stop was 100 miles away where it took on mail. The next stop was 150 miles. I was on the rear coach and My! How he did fly. Being on the rear coach, I was afraid another train might run into us, but I kept watching. This was on the Wabash, and they had no signals on this road. A woman was president of the Wabash and she would pay you off in gold. Just go to the pay car and get your pay in gold, in envelopes.
I went to various places to work. I went to Andrews one day to fix a bell. It just had a little old depot, and the bell had not been working. I found that the wires were all ragged.
I attended a show one time at Decatur, Ill. with Charley ROMANUS where they tried to hypnotize people. I volunteered and went up on the stage. A little black headed woman with a sharp nose came around and tested us. She would say to some, "You can go back to your seat. To others she would say, "You stay here." She felt of my head and talked to me and told me to take my seat.
Well, Sir. she hypnotized one fellow and he started to take off all his clothes. Another fellow she told to make a speech; he started making a speech and kept on and on. Finally she went up to him and touched him and said, "You can quit now," and he jumped and there was a wild look in his eyes.
Speaking of shows, I saw lots of other good ones in Kansas City, while I was at Blue Springs, And also in St. Louis. I saw the play, "Ben Hur" in Chicago, and at the same theatre they had a
magician, a kind of juggler. I laughed at all his tricks and he put his hand at the back of my neck and pulled out a long cow's tail.
The usual admission to the shows was only 15¢, and every night the house was crowded. I saw lots of good shows; I particularly liked "Uncle Tom's Cabin"; I saw that when I was in Morgantown, W. Va. with Sam Stonecypher.
Another unusual thing I saw at the World's Fair in St. Louis was the first automobile that had been invented. I noticed a big crowd of people standing around; they all were looking at something, I didn't know what it was. Pretty soon here came a fellow driving a horseless carriage, a buggy with a stick to guide it!
I also remember the first train I ever saw. It was a work train at Lancing. The track went through a tunnel cut through a hill. I stood on top of the tunnel and watched it pass right under me, and it came out the tunnel and went over the bridge at Rock creek. The first passenger train I saw was when Uncle Joe took all his family and went to Texas.
Now the first train ride I ever had was from Lancing to Sunbright. Uncle Wilbur had a store there so one morning Aunt Mary and Fred and Belle and I went to Sunbright to see him. We spent the day and that evening we came back. The store was across the railroad tracks from where Vivian lives now. Old Man MOSER, a captain in the army, had a hotel nearby too.
I forgot to mention an incident about Blue Springs, Mo. where I worked for a while. About three miles from there, was a little freight station depot where the doors were shot full of holes by Jesse JAMES and his gang.
Since Blue Springs was near Kansas City on Sundays we would frequently get on our motor cars and go there for the day. We passed right by Independence, Mo. where Truman lives. We would go to church, and once a lady school teacher invited us to come to a program given on the last day of school. We went and she had a nice program. We were a pretty tough looking gang--no, we weren't -- we were pretty good. We always dressed up and put on our good clothes, and we were nice young men. I don't know how we came to meet her.
For two years I worked on the Wabash. Decatur, Ill. was my headquarters; it was a young Chicago with 60,000 people. But I would leave Decatur and work in Fort Wayne, Chicago, St. Louis, etc. (During the Fair I kept the signals up on the tracks to the Fair grounds where the four shuttle trains ran.)
However, I decided it was too cold in Decatur, and I wanted to go South. I went to talk to H. J. FOLO, the engineer. He was a fine fellow and wanted to keep me. I would have had a big job in the years to come if I had stayed with him. But I had a better job offered to me on the Southern Pacific in La Fayette, La., and I made up my mind to leave.
Mr. FOLO gave me a pass on the 'Frisco to Dallas, Texas. When I arrived in Dallas, I saw acres and acres of sweet potatoes. I remarked "My, you surely plant lots of sweet potatoes." "That's not potatoes," replied a bystander, "that's cotton."
On the trip we passed through the oil well country, and also through Hannibal, Mo., Mark Twain's old home on the Mississippi. I travelled all night on the Sunset Limited to La Fayette, La. But I was asleep in the early morning when we arrived and the conductor forgot to wake me. He put me off at New Iberia at 4 o'clock in the morning. I stayed with the station agent until I could go get my breakfast. The first eating place I found I went in and ordered some ham and eggs, but the plate was full of ants. I got up and left and went to another place.
After eating breakfast, I wired HEMPHILL to send me a pass back to La Fayette. He sent me one for the Southern Pacific, and met me at LaFayette at the station and took me to the train, the camp cars, I mean. He wanted me to do clerical work for a month. They had a commissary for the camp cars, and it was my job to keep account of what was sold and paid for and who owed what. Hemphill paid me $4.00 a day and that was good money then.
Soon I started installing automatic block signals from New Orleans to San Antonio, Texas. While I was doing this Frank Hemphill sent for Bob to give him a job. Bob arrived at midnight and Frank met him. The first job he gave Bob was sharping bits. Then a few days later he put him to painting signals, but Bob got more paint on himself than on the signals. So Bob got discouraged and
said, "I'm going back home if that's all you have for me to do." I said to him, "Youv'e [[sic]] got to learn it all, Bob", but he insisted on quitting.
I worked on the Southern Pacific for about two years. For a while this took me to Houston, Texas, but there was lots of yellow fever throughout Louisiana, and I did not like the location too well. I had gotten acquainted with Mr. PFLASTER's brother who told me that Pflaster wanted a man to help put in three interlocking plants in Nashville, Tenn. Pflaster was the Signal Engineer there.
I went to Nashville on Oct. 5, and Pflaster met me, but he sent me on to Atlanta to look over the job. I thought I would like living in Atlanta, so I took the job. A week later I got passes to go home to get married. Ruth and I were married on Oct. 17, 1907. Clark PETERS, a Methodist minister from Burville [[sic]] married us. (Bob at this time was still in Louisiana; he had been made foreman of the gang and had not left yet.)
After the wedding we came to Chattanooga and on to Atlanta. We boarded for a week or two, but Ruth thought we ought to get a house of our own. She found a small new house and rented it, and we bought some furniture and stayed there until Spring.
In the spring Pflaster wanted to move me to Cartersville to maintain the signals and an interlocking plant at Junta where the L. & N. makes connection with the N.C. & St. L. I came and looked the place over, but Cartersville was a shabby little town, and I didn't like it much, But Ruth said she thought it would be alright.
When we got to Cartersville, we couldn't get a house to live in., and had to board for two or three days. Pat WOFFORD was moving out of his house on Howard Street to the big house on the corner, so Mrs. Stephens told me I could have my things taken up to the house. Pat had not gotten all of his things out when the drayman brought mine. Annie Wofford saw my things arriving, and she came out and asked me,"What are you doing here?" I explained that Mrs Stephens had given me permission to haul my things up from the depot, because they had been there several days. She understood.
When we moved to Cartersville it was a shabby little town with only a few stores down on Bull neck, and I didn't like it much. I guess it was a good thing we moved, however, because of an accident shortly after I left Atlanta. I worked with Louis MISSEMHEIMMER. He was courting his wife in Chattanooga, and he would go up there two or three times a week and leave me with all the work I didn't know beans about. Well, after I was sent to Cartersville, another man had to take my place and do my jobs. One night he went into one of the buildings with a lantern to get some supplies, and gas had been leaking and the whole building blew up and killed him. I might have been the one with the lantern if I had remained in Atlanta.
Once I started to quit the N.C.&.St.L. and go to Montana where Phil Lynch was. They paid better wages out there, but Ruth insisted we would stay in the South, and not go to a cold country. It would cost more to live, and it was too far from home for folks. So I gave up the notion of going to Montana.
In 1920 the government sold all the buildings in Chickamauga Park near Chattanooga, Tenn. I went up there and bought lumber and brick and plumbing materials. With these I built a house on the lot we had bought, where we are now located. I paid $400 or $500 for all of it, including the pipe, doors, and windows, beaver board, and a towere of brick I was told I could have if I tore it down. I tore it down, and got two negroes to haul it and pile it under the trees. Ruth and Mr HORRING built the house, Ruth did the planning. It was finished in the fall of 1920, in October. The lot cost $1,175.00 I thought that was too much, but the owner saw that we wanted it and kept the price up. At first she had insisted on $1200, and when we complained, she knocked off $25.
My father died a short while after he had come to see us in our new house. He visited us in the fall of 1921. He liked to sit on the porch and talk. One day some old soldiers came to see him, and he enjoyed talking to them about the war. After he went home he took pneumonia and died. He wasn't sick long. He is buried there in the cemetery past Robert COOPER's.
My father was a good man, smart too, but he had the habit of drinking. One night my father did not come home and my mother got up at midnight and walked alone over the lonely country road eight miles to Wartburg to find out what the trouble was. John CHRIST would take him to his house
to drink, and his poor horse would stand out side without anything to eat in the cold for long periods at a time.
One night Father came home, and he had some liquor in a big bottle. Mammy found it and put it in the kitchen, but Jim slipped in, he was just walking, and drank it. Soon Jim looked as though he were dead. I ran and called Aunt Rhoda and Henry Cooper. They worked with him and soon he came to. They knew what to do.
My Mother lived a couple of years after my Father. She died in April 1923. She had been to see us the first of that year. I was made the administrator of the estate. I had to sign a bond, and I made a list of everything they had in the bank, and gave a full account of it all. I had to go the Wartburg courthouse to post bond. I saw in the Wartburg paper yesterday that now Ross WILLIAMS, one of my students is now County Judge up there now. Ross was Mark WILLIAM's youngest son. The oldest is in Chattanooga.
In March 1923 Ruth died in the Flu epidemic.
In March 1922, about, I had some trouble with the railroad. A lot of negro linemen had been sent here to work. One Friday night someone went down there and scared them. They were told theirs was a white man's job and they had better leave. Soon all the negroes were scared and left. They didn't have passes back to Nashville, so they paid their way.
One negro thought I was the man who had scared them. I didn't know anything about it until the next morning when I went to work. Old FITZPATRICK said, "We've got the proof on you." "You haven't got a blamed bit", I replied. Fitzpatrick told me they were going to have a trial. "When are you going to have the trial? I want it as quick as I can get it," I told him. Fitzpatrick said he would be back Monday, and the trial was to be in the Superintendent's office.
We had the trial, I didn't have a thing to do with the disturbance. In fact, I had been helping the gang and showing them how to do the work all the time. Their foreman was in with the whole thing, and had really caused the whole trouble. Someone had some whiskey and under it's influence had accused the negroes of being on the white man's job. They had fired me, and I was off 2 or 3 weeks until the trial. But after the trial I worked on, Old MCINTYRE knew who was to blame but he was afraid to say anything.
Another time in 1928 I had a little trouble at Hugo. I was coming home on my velocipede, and a section man was coming towards me. I was looking out for him, and saw him coming out of a side track. I tried to stop, but I had no brakes. I saw that I was going to hit him and just as we ran together I jumped off. My face hit the steering wheel and hurt my nose that's why it looks as if it had been broken. My tear duct was also cut and my lip. I lifted my car off the track, it wasn't hurt much, and the next [[day?]] I came back to get it. They called me down to the Atlanta office, and after hearing what had happened, they had brakes put on the car.
The first time I was in a train wreck was when I had first come to Cartersville. MINES and I always rode the Rome Express to work. We got on one morning to go to Emerson to do some work. We had all the tools and ropes etc. When we got there I threw out our tools as we passed the signal, and I noticed that the signal was against us. The Distant Signal, that is what it was called, was green. The engineer should have slowed down more than he did. Just then I saw number 32 right in front of us coming towards us, but trying to stop. I yelled "Look out everybody!" I was in the Baggage car at the time with GOOCH. Mines was scared to death; he ran like a doggone scared rabbit all the way to the coaches before the trains hit. He might have been caught between the cars.
We were going pretty fast, and I thought maybe we'd be killed. But because the other train had almost come to a stop, we were saved. It knocked the cow catcher off number 32, and knocked our pilot off. Everyone was thrown out of their seats. I grabbed hold of two steel pipes and held on for dear life. The engineer on number 32 had the right of way; the man at Junta had failed to give the orders to the Rome Express. It was a wonder no one was killed, not even the porter, whom I saw jumping out the door when I yelled, was very badly hurt.
Another slight mishap occurred once when I was with Collins. We and our boss Schubert, and the maintainer at Marrieta were going down the road on a motor car to do some inspection. At the first signal we had some tools and parts to leave so we left the car on the track and were inspecting the signal. Schubert had opened up the case of the signaling and was looking inside when we heard the Little L.&.N. Whistle, and around that curve she came just a flying. We ran as fast as we could
towards the train because we knew it would hit the car and we wanted to be as far away as possible. The train hit that car and the tools went flying in all directions.
The train stopped, but the damage was done. It was our fault, but not mine. COLLINS had orders in his pocket, and the signal was red but we just were not paying attention. Collins and SCHUBERT took all the blame. They went to the nearest telephone and reported it. The Supt. told them to come to the office, but of course, since Schubert was to blame nothing was done about it.
There was always some kind of dangerous situations. One time there was a bad wreck at Vinings. MARSH and I were repairing the wiring. He was on top of the pole and I was handing him the wires. The wires had 440 volts and could knock the stuffing out of you. I got the first wire and peeled it back and got it ready and handed it to him. He connected it, which meant that the next wire on the ground was connected too. I picked up the next wire and I was standing on the ground, of course, which made a good conductor. I peeled back the insulation, and when my knife struck the wire, everything turned black, my legs got numb, and I fell over. I heard Marsh yell "Get him, quick!" When I fell the wire dropped out of my hand, or I would have been dead. When I recovered I got the cushion out of my car and laid it over the ties, and then I could handle it alright. I peeled it back and handed it up to Marsh. This was another close shave.
Several times I might have fallen out the door of the Baggage car. Gooch and I and the rest of the boys used to like to wrestle in the car, but often the doors were open, and we could easily have been thrown out. Ruth used to worry that this would happen.
One time GOOCH, Roy LUMPKIN, and I were scuffling, and both of them jumped me. There was a big trunk by the wall of the Baggage car, so I got one of them and pitched him over behind that trunk. Then I got the other one and threw him behind it too. I made them beg, I tell you, before I ever let them out. Both of them were pretty stout too, and I was stout too, I tell you, when I was young.
Another fellow used to like to scuffle with me while I was working in Le Fayette. I had been working in the Commissary keeping a record of the Time Sheets until a fellow could come from N.Y. When he arrived he was a big tall fellow who liked to wrestle. I had to teach him how to keep the records before I went out on the signal work. As soon as I would bring the gang in from work, he would try to get hold of me and throw me down. He almost got me down once, but I grabbed hold of him and threw him down in a big mud hole. He left me alone after that for a long time.
I almost got myself in serious trouble one time by joking. I went to work one time to the depot (Cartersville), and someone said to me as I walked in the door, "Lyons what time did you hang that negro last night?" I thought they were just joking, so I replied, "About 11 o'clock." It sounded as though I knew all about it. "Well, he's stilll hanging there; look out behind the depot; there he is," they said. By George! There he was right back of the depot where there were lots of little trees, with a rope around his neck, and a bullet through his head.
He had been a delivery boy for Stanford's Grocery Store and he knew all the homes well. One night about 10 o'clock he knocked on a white woman's door on Erwin Street. The woman was there with her two little children, and the husband was away, because he traveled. She asked, "Who is it?" But the man did not reply, and after a few minutes, he knocked again. This time he knocked the door down and started for her bed. She yelled, "Stop, or I'll shoot," but he kept coming closer. She shot and hit him in the arm. He grabbed her, but then he got out.
Soon all the neighbors were out to find him. They could easily track him by his trail of blood, They found that he had gone to the negro who had bandaged his arm because he had told the doctor that he had been in a fight. The Doctor was soon made to tell who the man was, and the police knocked on his door and demanded that he get up and dress and come with them. They put him in jail, but soon a mob had him out and lynched. Old Aunt Rose passed by and saw him hanging there and she called up to him, Land's Sakes! What you doin' up dere, Henry?" I worked all that day on the railroad & when I got back, that poor old negro was still hanging there.
Florrie GARNER and I were married in November 1926. We took a train from Atlanta to Philadelphia to see the Centennial. We stayed there two or three days and I got lost. I left my wife at a rooming house while I went out for a walk. When I started home all the apartments looked just
alike. I didn't even have the house number, nor did I know the landlady's name. I had to go back to the depot and find the taxi driver who had taken us to the house and ask him to direct me. We
came home by the way of Washington, D.C. for two or three days, and then back to Atlanta and home. We visited in Morgan County the first time I got some time off from the railroad.
There was much hard work on the railroad. During sleet, and snow, rain and hail I would be called out to fix the signals. Many a night I would have to get up and work most of the night. I would generally get an old negro to go with me. Down at the river one night a wire was cut in two, and I had to get way up high on that high pole in the pitch black night with the sleet coming down and it cold as ice and fix that wire. One end of the wire was up high and the other end had fallen down, so it was a job to bring those two ends together again when they were such a distance apart and the work had to be done strapped to a slippery pole, at that. A negro was helping me and we finally got the wire together and the signal cleared, and we left the wire suspended until morning when we could raise it more easily.
During one ice storm I had to work 17 hours without stopping to get things cleared up. Once too, I slipped and fell off a pole, in the middle of the night. It's a wonder the fall didn't kill me.
In 1935 ANDERSON who was Division Engineer, thought the work was too heavy for me at my age. He asked me why I didn't quit and get a pension. "We'll give you another job until you are old enough to draw your pension. You can watch the crossings for a while. As a extra crossing watchman you can go to Dalton for two weeks, then be in Cartersville for a while, and then watch the crossing at the second crossing in Atlanta by the depot. Anderson finally persuaded me to give up the signal work, although I hated to.
After working in Dalton and for quite a while in Marietta, I was moved on to Atlanta. I got acquainted with the switches at the crossing and went to find a place to board. Mrs. FITZPATRICK lived not too far from my work and ran a boarding house so I roomed at her house.
Not long after I had started boarding with Mrs. Fitzpatrick I met a young man who wanted a place to board. Mrs Fitzpatrick agreed to take him too, but I learned that he drank. One day I saw an old fellow trying to persuade this young man to go with him to get a drink, so I went up to him and tried to talk him out of drinking. I explained that I had recommended him to Mrs. Fitzpatrick and had promised that he would pay his board regularly and instead he was drinking up his money. Well, that old fellow reared up and hit me on the side of the face as hard as he could. I hit him in the mouth. I was mad! The blood flew. I knocked him down; he grabbed my watch and broke it. He was going to kick me; he was half drunk. It was noon, but noone was around. It is a wonder someone had not seen us and called the police, as we were in Atlanta. Soon the old man's street car came and he got on and rode off.
There was lots of liquor around that section where I was watching the crossing. On another occasion I saw an old negro who was selling bootleg liquor hide a bottle under some R.R. ties, and then throw a pile of leaves on top. Soon I saw a man go to the same spot and get a drink of that liquor. I knew him; he was an engineer who lived at Altoona. He didn't see me. Well. He lost his job on account of that liquor. He had a good job too. What a fool! What a fool!
A different world of people lived around the R.R. Tracks. There was the little Jew girl who worked in an office nearby and spoke to me as she went to work. She told me her sister won $150 playing the "Bug". Each day a fellow who collected the "Bug" would come around and he would sell tickets, three cents for five dollars. He would give you a number and if it were lucky he would come back in a few days and pay you. You had to keep the number hid. Lots of people were playing this gambling game.
Finally I told HIBBITT I would quit and take the pension. I was nearly 70. Bob and I were going to Florida for a short vacation. He came with his car and got all my belongings at the boarding house and the next day we set out for Florida. I had been to Florida only once in 1912. Some fellows in Chattanooga who used to go with Mary Jacks had bought some property there in Florida and wanted me to come down.
We spent the first night in Perry where we got a room and a good supper. And the next morning we went on. We passed a creek and stopped to watch some little coons playing in the water. Bob ran and tried to catch one of those coons. We drove through some big orchards with nice fruit and we decided to get some of the grapefruit. I had just picked up a big grapefruit when, first thing I
knew, someone was standing beside me. He had been hired to watch the orchard. We ate some, however, and traveled on.
We visited Lakeland, and the Bok Singing Tower. We arrived there one day about noon and heard the chimes. It is a huge tower in a pretty wooded grove and at certain hours beautiful music is played. It is electrically operated. We stayed all night Sat. And Sunday at Arcadis. That's where Jim used to stay when he went down. I remember we had old liver to eat.
Monday we loaded up and drove to the Indian River, way down there in Florida. We ran across a place selling rattlesnake meat, and Bob said, "Let's get some of that snakemeat." "I'll be derned if I want any", I told him. They had a fellow preparing the meat and we watched him. It was nice white meat, and lots of the tourists were buying it. It was the rattlesnake farm and you could see all of the snakes in cages, but it was dangerous to put even your foot on the cage because their fangs could go through the shoe leather.
The Indian River is quite a large river and towards Jacksonville on the river we saw a huge number of ducks. I got some corn and they all came swing [[sic]] towards me. It was against the law to kill them, and they were not fit to eat. There were thousands and thousands of them.
Bob bought lots of oranges and cumquats and guaves etc. And we loaded up and came home. It was a nice trip. When I got back ANDERSON fixed up my retirement papers and thus ended my days of work on the railroad. This was 1937.
Just after I quit, PFLASTER lost his job. He came down to see me and Mines to borrow some money. He was worried to death. There's always a rainy day coming and it's always wise to save. In 1910 I took out 50 shares in the Building and Loan, and in ten years it paid me $5200. I bought 50 more shares and in 11 years I got 5300. All I got now is ten shares.
This is only an outline of my life. There are many incidents that happened through the years too numerous to record.
Lest some of Pop's favorite sayings go unpublished I should like to conclude with some familiar quotations of his:
"Spell prejudice, Dorothy."
"Who said this, "He who steals my [[purse?]] steals trash. But he who filcheth from me my good name, takes that which does not enrich him, but makes me poor indeed!"
"Now what does 'Filcheth' mean, Dorothy?"
"What's the difference between one square foot and one foot square?"
"What about the difference then between two square feet and two foot square?"
"Who was Fitzgreen HALLOCK, Dorothy? Haven't you ever read about him in school? He was a poet and a writer. He had been absent from home a long time and he came back to find his friend dead and buried So he went to the cemetery and found the mark on his grave and composed the following poem:
"Green be the turf above thee,
Friend of my better days.
None knew thee, but to love thee,
Nor named thee, but to praise."
A fitting conclusion; "None knew thee, but to love thee; nor named thee, but to praise."
Irishman played 3
Acorns 4, 13
Administrator of Mother's
Mr. Agee from MO 16
Prof. Alberson--Co. School Supt. 20
Altoona, Georgia 30
Anadel (Annadel) 3,11,16,24
Division Engineer 30
Retirement papers 31
Ankle sprained 7,14
Annadel, TN 4, 17, 25, 38
Shooting Match 16
June apples at Davis' 15
Arcadis, Florida 31
Atlanta, Georgia 27,28,29
Atlanta to Philadelphia
First (shown at World's Fair) 26
Horseless Carriage 26
Barrel of Sugar 23
Base (Game) 7
Beaver Board 27
Shooting Match 16
Dinner Bell 18
Belle LYONS 3,4,5,6,7,12,13,
Belle HODGES 9
Ben Hur 25
Wade Davidson 16
Bloomington, Illinois 24
Blue Back Speller 6
Blue Springs, Missouri 24,25,26
JAMES Boys 24,26
Boarded with Mrs. COX 18
LYONS 12,14,21,26, 30,31, (foreman in LA) 27
Bok Singing Tower
Lakeland, FL 31
Bootleg Liquor 30
BOTTOM , Mr. 18
Breeches, Flax 4,5
Albert md. Bird girl 5
Buck & Berry/
Buck & Bright
Oxen 12, 16
Buck Ridge 18,19
Washington State 13
Cartersville, Georgia 27
Bullet through head
C. & A. depot
California Uncle Wilbur there 13
Mary Davidson 13
Cartersville, GA 27,28,29,30
Bull neck 27
Erwin Street 29
Howard Street 27
Catholic Church 21
Past Robert Cooper's 27
Chattanooga, TN 3,18,27,28,30
Chickamauga Park 27
Mark Williams' oldest son there 28
Pappy in 18
Chicago, Illinois 23,25,26
1903--at home in Mgn Co. 24
Oak Hill 7
Cincinnati, OH 16,22.23
Eph Lyons, News Butch 22
Civil War 1
Clark PETERS (Methodist
Minister-md. Everett) 27
Clear Creek 1,2,4,9
CLOUD, Mr. 16,17
CLOUD'S Store 17
From Knoxville 12
COLLINS worked with
Everett on RR 28,29
Colly/Coly (Dog) 11,13,15,18
Columbus Pure Food Co.
Cook on Railroad--Everett 24
COOLEDGE Brothers 7
Hunting & Trapping 11
Playing in water on way to FL 30
Dr. Cooper from Wartburg 21 Everett taught Coopers 20
COOPER's Mule 22
County Judge [Morgan Co.]
WILLIAMS, Ross 28
Boarded w/Mrs. Cox 18
Miss Sarah 7
Big Clear Creek 4,9
Little Clear Creek 1.2
Rock Creek 13,15,26
ELY (Cripe boarded with Ely) 19
Quaker 19 Sawmill on Buck Ridge 25
Cumberland River 1
Domestic for School Play 20
Dallas, Texas 16,26
Dalton, Georgia 30
Dark as a dungeon 12
Dave LANGLEY 12
Aunt Betts 5,14,15,18
Betty (not Betts) 5
Fred (Uncle Wilbur's boy) 13
for Civil War 1
Made Coffins 4
Grandfather's Barn Burned 18
Grandmother's Place 18
Houston (Joseph Warren's son) 7,16
Joe (Joseph Warren's son) 16
Johnny (Morg's son) 11
Mary (Wilbur's wife) had Cancer 13
Sherman (Joe's son) 7,16
Uncle Joe (Joseph Warren) 7,16
Uncle Morg (Morgan Taylor-see Morg) 10
Uncle Wilbur 13
Uncle Wilbur's Store 26
Wade (Joe's son) 16
Davis Place [[G Grf Walter's place]] 14,15
Great Grandfather (Walter/Watty) 3
Jenny DAVIS WILLIAMS
(Mrs. John WILLIAMS) 6
deeded to Melinda 18
DAVIS, Walter (Watty) 1,2,3,4,
Dayton, Tenn. 21
Illinois (Everett's Hdqtrs) 25,26
Killed Snake 17
Deer Lodge 7,9,19,21,22
Cartersville, GA 29
Delphi, Indiana 19,25
Sam, Tom, John, Mart, Annie, Katie 3
Coly died 15
Doll (Horse) 20,22
Dorothy [Dot] LYONS 1,31
Dr. COOPER at Wartburg 33
Dr. GILLESPIE in Dayton 21
Drummer Columbus Pure Food Co. 22
Dunce Block 6
East TN Game 13
Cripe boarded with Ely 19
Emory River 17
Eph LYONS 3,5,13,14,15,19,22
Erastus JETT 7
Erwin Street Cartersville, Georgia 29
Clerical Work 26
Electrocuted (almost) 29
Signal Maintainer 28
Everett & Florrie
Everett & Hattie Married 21
Everett & Ruth
Telegraph Pole 24
Everett had Pleurisy 23
Everett Lost in Philadelphia 29,30
Everett worked 17 hours
in Ice storm 30
Everett worked at World's
Fair grounds in St. Louis 25
Everett worked with
Administrator of Mother's Estate 28
Explosion in well 8
World's Fair in St.
Louis--worked at 25,26
Father [[Martin LYONS]]1,
Army Rifle 18
Old Soldiers visited 27
Rents their old place from Johnsons 17
Riding the Mail to Jim Town
Snake attached to pants 17
Boarding House 30
Old Fitzpatrick 28
Flax Breeches 4,5
Flax Breaker 5
Florrie GARNER (Everett's wife) 29
RR Signal Engineer on Wabash 25,26
Fodder Pulling Time
School dismissed 6
FOSTER [[Forstner?]] Place 2
Old Place of Grandfather
[[Bunk]] Davidson 7
Hunting, Trapping 10,11
Fred (Aunt Mary & Fred) 26
Fred (Uncle Wilbur's boy)
Freeze of 1895 22
Frozen Quail in woods (1895) 22
French Harp 6
Frisco--to Dallas, TX 26
from Catamount 14
furs traded in Knoxville 12
Wild Game In East TN 13
Bug Game 30
Cat ball 6
Town ball 6
Rebel Cousins in GA 2
Vinings (train wreck)29
Dr. Gillespie, Dayton 21
GODFREY, Illinois 25
Barn Burned 27
Home above Bates' 5
Inherited Land, Grist mill, & House 3
Greasy Creek 3
Great Grandfather (see DAVIS, Walter)
Hattie 21 Mrs. Green 22
HAMBY's at Annadel 11
Hattie LYONS (Everett md.) 21
(Everett's wife dies) 21
Negro hanged 30
Everett told Hibbitt he would retire--nearly 70 yrs. old 30
Hickory nuts 4
Hides to Knoxville 12
Eating Pigeons 13
Mr. Horring & Ruth built Everett's home 27
Bay Mare 2
Old Doll 20,22
Old Dollar 15
Old Jim 19,21
Old Prince 17
Cloud's store--across from - 17
Moser's Hotel in Sunbright 26
Summit-at Deer Lodge 21
Wartburg (hotel there) 3,6
WILLIAMS, Jenny DAVIS
Hotel in Wartburg 6
Cartersville, Georgia 27
Log Cabin in The Field 2
Houston DAVIDSON 7,16
Cartersville, Georgia 27
Barn burned 18
Hugo, Georgia 28
Hunting & Trapping 10
with a Cat 11
with a Dog 10,11,12,14
Pole cat 11
Wild cat (Catamount) 14
Huntington, W. Virginia 25
sawmiller from Kentucky 19
Everett worked 17 hours in 30
Decatur--Everett's Hqtrs 25,26
Dayton Mammy & Pappy at
Catholic dormitory 21
Indian River 31
CRIPE from 19
Fort Wayne 26
on the Wabash 19
Teacher from Indiana 17
Jack 'o Lantern (moving light) 14
Jake & Ike
JAMES, Jesse 24,26
Blue Springs, MO 24,26
One of the Jett Girls 6
Jake & Ike 19,20
Jews' Harp 6
CHRIST (KREIS?) 43
John Melton lived below
John Williams 6
at Stone Place 27
Kentucky 2, 12, 24
HUTCHINSON in 29
KINCAID in Ohio 19
Kingston, TN 24
Knife (Pocket Knife stolen) 7
Roads muddy 12
Tom Dillon killed in Knoxville 3
Trading hides & furs 12
L. & N. Train 27
, Louisiana 26
Bok Singing Tower 31
Lancing 3-5,13,16,17,20,24, 26
Store in Lancing 13
Store closer than Lancing 17
1st train Everett ever saw 26
Lancing to Sunbright
(rode first train) 26
Gas Explosion 27
Laurel Branch 11
Old fellow across Clear Creek 4
Linseed oil 5
Linsey (Wool) 5
Little Clear Creek 1,2
Littleton, West Virginia 22,23
Locust year 3
near Henry Coopers 10
Louis MISSEMHEIMMER 27
Louisa WILLIAMS 7
La Fayette 26
New Orleans 26
30,31, (foreman in LA) 27
Dorothy (Dot) JOHNSON 1,31
Dunce (Everett) 6
Emma Isabella 2
Eph 3,5, 13,14,15,19,22
Ev (Everett) 7
Everett Born 2
Grandpa's Old Place 18
Florrie (Everett md.) 29
Hattie (Everett md.) 31
Hattie (Everett's wife dies) 33
Jim lived at Davis Place 14
(same as Henry Petrey's?)
Mart (cousin) 9
Nettie (Everett's dau. born) 21
Nicholas 1, 5
Ralph (Everett's son born) 21
Ralph (Everett's son dies) 21
Ruth (Everett md.) 27
Ruth (Died 1923--of Flu) 28
Uncle Pat 3,9,22
Uncle Pat --Everett boarded with 22
Father Riding the Mail 16
in Dayton-Catholic dormitory 21
Mammy Shot Revolver at Rebels 2
Mammy threw shoes 12
Aunt Margaret's House 15
Marietta, Georgia 30
Mark TWAIN 26
to plow 12
Everett & Florrie 29
Everett & Hattie 21
Everett & Ruth 27
Everett worked with 29
DAVIDSON (Wilbur's wife) 13
Took John Dillon 3
Bunc Davidson Discovered here by Rebels in Civil War 2
Cripe's Sawmill on Buck Ridge 25
MINES (man with whom Everett worked) 44
Miss Wollenbarger at Stone Place 17
Blue Springs 24,26
Kansas City 25,26
St. Louis 3,16,24,25,26
Morg DAVIDSON 3,10,11,14,16,18
West Virginia 23,26
Old Man Moser [[Mosier?]],
Army Capt. 26
walked 8 mi. at midnight 27
Mt. Hoary School 10,11, 20
[[Mt. Harr or Horr]]
N.C. & St. L.
Nashville, Tennessee 1,27,28
Bullet through head 30
Henry Hanged 46
"Old Negro Dave" in play 20
Nettie (Everett's dau. born)
New Iberia Station
New York 25,29
Trains--Chicago to New York Race 25
Cincinnati--Eph Lyons 22
Nick (see LYONS, LYNCH, &
Normal School for teachers 10,20
Northern men 18
Oak Hill 7,8,9,18
Teaching School 21
STONECYPHER--Ohio to work 22
Ohio River 1
Old Soldiers visited Father 27
Otters, Trapping 10
Overton County 7
Buck & Bright/Buck
& Berry 12,16
O'BRIAN, Mike 3
at Dayton 21
Passenger Train 16,26
(Uncle Joe took to TX) 26
Pat LYNCH 9,25
Peach Orchard 27
Peppermint Candy 5
PETERS, Clark (Methodist Minister-- Everett's Wedding) 27
Lost his job; borrowed from Everett 31
Phil LYNCH 27,24
Everett Lost in 29
Pilot (Bunk--Transporter of
troops in Civil War) 2
for Diphtheria 4
Pinkey MARLIN 12
Pistol 2, 18
with mules 12
Pole cat 11
Posse Hunting bear 11
Postmaster at Lancing 3
Preacher-from Deer Lodge
Everett's Wedding 21
Quaker CRIPE 19
Rail Fence 12
C. & A. depot 24
Cook (Everett) 24
Switch Boxes 24
(Everett's son born) 21
(Everett's son dies) 21
from Nashville 1
To Knoxville 12
Robert COOPER 27
Rock (Mule) 12
Rock Creek 13,15,26
Train Tunnel at 26
Rockwood, TN 3,13
Rome School 20,21,22
Everett Lyons attended 13
Rome Express 28
Aunt Rose 29
Ross WILLIAMS 28
Roy LUMPKIN 29
RR Signal Engineer on Wabash--FOALE 25,26
Jim [md Bets Davidson] 8
Everett md. 27
Died 1923--of Flu 28
Barn burned 18
RYAN place 13,18
raised teacher's salary 20
STONECYPHER 10, 22,26
Santa Claus 5
Blue Springs, MO 26
County Supt.-- ALBERSON 30
Deer Lodge 7,9,19,21,22
Mt. Hoary (Mt. Horror) 6,7,10,11,13,20
Normal School for teachers 10,20
Oak Hill 7,8,9,18
Wartburg & Lancing 2,20
TODD--County Supt. 20
SCHUBERT worked with
Everett on Railroad 28,29
bro-in-law of Stritmatter 21
SCOTTs had 1 or 2 children at Lavender school 22
Sheep shoot 16
John WILLIAMS 6
Mammy threw shoes for luck 12
No shoes 7
Shooting Match 8,16
Everett had Pleurisy 23
Yellow fever 27
Singer sewing machine 5
Single tree 12
On fire 19
15" snow 30
Spelling match 7
Spinning wheel 20
Sprained Ankle 7,14
Spring (Water) 11
St. Louis, Missouri 3,16,24-26
Stanford's Grocery--Cartersville, Georgia--Delivery boy 29
STAPLES, Old Man [[Toliver]] 1,2
Buck & Bright 12,16
Stella WADDELL 20
Mrs. Stephens 27
Store at Wartburg 16,17
Killing pigeons with 13
Old man [[John?]] 21
to Ohio to work 22
CLOUD'S (closer than
in Cartersville, GA 27
STEPHENS' at Wartburg 17
TRIPLET's at Lancing 16
Wilbur Davidson's store in Sunbright 26
Wilbur Davidson's store in
on Bald Hill 20
Everett taught 20
Sugar & Coffee from Knoxville 12
Ben (md. Louisa Williams) 7
Sun told time 7
Bald Hill 20
Sunset Limited to Lafayette. LA 26
Switch Boxes on Railroad 24
Everett climbed 24
Tennessee (see individual listings)
San Antonio 26
Timepiece was the sun 7
Plowing at MARLIN's Place 12
Boarded at Mrs. Todd's 20
County Supt. of Schools 20
from the North 20,21
Everett taught 21
Tommie STRITMATTER 20
Trading hides & furs--Knoxville 12
Trains (see also Railroads)
Atlanta to Philadelphia 29
Cannonball 25 Chicago to N. Y. Race 25
to Cincinnati 16,22
COLLINS wrk'd with Everett 28,29
Cow Catcher 28
Frisco--to Dallas, TX 26
Junta Station 27,28
L. & N. 27
Lancing (first train Everett saw) 26
Lancing to Sunbright (first train Everett rode) 26
Lancing to Cincinnati 16,22
N.C. & St. L. 27
New Iberia Station 26
Number "32"-- 28
Passenger Train 16,26
Rock Creek 13,15,26
Rome Express 28
SCHUBERT wk'd with Everett 28,29
Southern Pacific 26,27
Sunset Ltd to La Fayette. La. 26
Tunnel at Lancing 16, 26
Train wreck 28,29
Uncle Joe took to TX 26
Trip to the
TRIPLET's Store 16
TWAIN, Mark 26
Uncle Joe (Joseph Warren) DAVIDSON 7,16,26
Uncle Morg (Morgan Taylor)
Uncle Pat LYONS 3,9,22
Everett boarded with 34
Uncle Tom's Cabin 23,26
Uncle Wilbur 13,26
Uncle Wilbur's wife Mary 13
Union Sympathizers 1,2
Vinings (train wreck)
on the Wabash in IN (Cripe) 19
Carried Old Doll there 22
John Melton lived below 17
Walked 8 mi. at midnight-Mother 27
Warrant for Aunt Betts 18
Dr. COOPER 33
Father drinking 27,28
Wartburg Mountain 17
Washington State 13
Everett & Florrie 29
Everett & Hattie 21
Everett & Ruth 27
Well (explosion) 8
White Oak Flats 12
Jenny DAVIS WILLIAMS 9,
Mark (oldest son in Chattan.) 28
student; Co.Judge) 28
Sheriff John Williams 6
Williamson BROWN 4,21
Miss Wollenbarger at Stone Place 17
World War (First) 8
World's Fair in St. Louis 24,
Yellow fever 27