Story of the Family of
James Newton Bradshaw and Maude M. Tatum
|by Bernice and Cassie Bradshaw Goforth
Copyright January 1980 and January 2001 by Freda Goforth Garcia
Posted here with permission. Inquiries for further distribution contact
Photo to right: Maude Marie Tatum m. Bradshaw
This is the-story of Bernice Bradshaw Goforth and Cassie Bradshaw Goforth, the
daughters of James Newton Bradshaw and Maude M. Tatum who married in Cook Co. Texas
9-13-1899. We are telling what was told to us in some cases and what we can recall
Papa was born in Parker Co. Texas 1877. Mama was born Cook Co. Tx. 1881. George their first child was born there 1901 . Newton born 1902. Lonnie born 1904 both in Grayson, Co. Tx. Shortly after Lonnie was born they moved to Indian Territory, Okla. They joined with Mamas Aunt Mattie Hicks and Uncle Jim - when they crossed Red River they tied the wagon tongues to the back of the wagon in front and thus made a chain . Hooked several teams to the front wagon. The water came high in the wagons but the family rode across in them.
The Hicks had four sons and a girl - some of the boys were grown. Shortly after getting settled in there they were visiting the
Hicks one night. They were real toughs and began to taunt Papa about being a tender foot. He was raised in town most of his
life and knew nothing of farming. They said they didn't see how he thought he could make it in a rough enviroment like Indian
Territory. Mama began to wonder if she who was five feet two would have to take up for her over six foot husband. About that time Papa got slowly to his feet picked up a chair and took a swipe and all that failed to run he knocked down. Papa was
easy going and slow to anger but when he had enough, look out! The next day Papa was passing the Hicks place in a buggy'
taking the gun with him. Oscar was in the road and asked him what he planned to do with the gun. He said he might shoot a
Oscar said - a two legged one. He said it might be one legged. Oscar was born with only
one leg. But he could stand on that leg and take his crutch and fight off a room full of
men. He laughed when Papa said that and from them on he was friends
with all the Hicks.
They left the Hicks and moved to Vailient, 0kla. Living in a one room log cabin with a fire place. They were in Choctaw
Indian Nation and the only close neighbors were indians and Negroes . Papa was hauling lumber and would be away from home for a week at a time. Their closest white neighbor was working with Papa and his family lived five miles away.
One day his wife heard about a prisoner on the chain gang who was working in the river bottoms cutting logs had escaped
with a ball and chain on his leg. She sent her young son on horse back to warn Mama as it was thought he would try to get
food at one of the houses.
Some time before night she had the three boys in the house, fed them their supper and put them to bed. She placed her
shot gun on the chair beside her bed along with the shells. She laid down just knowing she would not sleep but she did
doze off - waking with a start. She heard something being dragged on the ground, sounding for all the world like a ball and
chain being dragged along the ground. She jumped up and shoved the chair to the door and climbed in the chair to be able to
see thru a large crack at the top of the door. She poked the gun thru and saw something that looked like a man on his all
fours coming around the edge of the house. She let loose with a blast of the gun and it ran off under the lilac bush.
The gun shot echoed and re-echoed thru the woods and then deadly silence. Then she recalled that a gun shot was the
signal that a boot legger used when he wanted to signal the Indians that he was in the woods with more whiskey.
So she slept no more that night in fear of them. But no one came.
Early next morning two negro girls came by and said "Mrs. Bradshaw have you seen anything of a dog with and an iron dragging? She knew then what she had shot at during the night. She said she had seen nothing of their dog.
That was a very unhealthy climate for them there and not good for farming so after a little over two years they decided to go to West Texas. Papa was to go to Stonewall Co. and after working enough to make money for her and the boys to join him he would send for them. Mama was sick with chills and fever the day he left. He was so worried about leaving her, he would start off only to come back and he tell her he had better not leave her while she was sick. But she put up a good front , as she knew this is what they must do. He finally did leave, and then she was so lonely and got to feeling worse too.
She started to plan how she could possibly get enough money so she could follow him. She let it be know among the Indians she had a tent for sale. They came and looked at it but only offered $10.00 but she was asking $20.00 knowing it would take that much to get them there. She said no she would keep it but then they decided to give what she asked.
She knew she was too sick to travel. Besides the chills she was pregnant too. But at the same time she was excited and happy.
Early next day she caught the mail hack to Durant, Okla.
When she got there it was too late to catch the train for that day so they got a hotel
room. During the night there was a gun fight in the hotel and she got the boys up, dressed
them and hurried off to the depot. It was closed untill train time next morning. She sat
down on the outside, leaning her back against the wall, letting the boys put their heads
on her and waited untill morning. After eating a bite next day the boarded the train,
bound for West Texas.
They arrived the next day in Sagerton about twenty miles from their destination. The rail road ended here. She took the last fifty cents she had and bought something for the boys to eat. She inquired of someone about the passenger and mail hack which went to Aspermont and was shown the hack but was also told the man had already gone to Aspermont that day and would not go again till next morning. She got the boys in the mail hack, climbed in and lay down as she felt as if she would faint. The boys ate and then she just rested and waited. Finally the man came out of the saloon he was in and upon seeing a woman and three small boys in his hack he asked what did he have there. Before she could say anything he climbed in and started off. Then she explained to him she needed a ride to Aspermont to join her husband. When he told her he would not go today she asked him what in the world then was she and the boys going to do. He said I will just take you home with me. At this point she didn't know what else to do but go with him.
She got scared when he met several men along the way and called out to them to come on over that night. She thought they looked rough and tough. But all was well when he drove up in his yard and called
out to his wife to come and see what he had brought home. She was one of the sweetest motherly looking women one could
imagine. He told her to put the little woman to bed and feed the boys. Oh - blessed relief. For the first time since Papa had left
she could give in and be sick since some one was caring for the boys. Early next morning they were on the last leg of their journey but not before telling the kind people how greatful she was for their kind hospitality. She never forgot that as long as she 1ived and was always ready to help others in need. When they drove into Aspermont in late afternoon the first person
she saw was Papa. She never sew such a look of surprise on any ones face.
Papa had a small house to live in while he picked cotton. Now he took his family home with him. Mama was still sick but was
beginning to feel better already. She was back with Papa again and they could make money and provide or their family. The
climate here was healthy - what more could one ask. She never let being sick keep her from working in the field. We have seen her work when a weaker woman might have been on her way to see a Doctor. She could do anything that had to he
done on a farm.
She and the boys would pick cotton and put it in Papas sack. They were furnished milk, butter and vegetables from a late
garden by the people they worked for. Soon all was well and their first girl was born Feb. 14 1907, named Gladys. They first lived in the house the man for whom they picked cotton furnished them and then the next year they got a bank loan and farmed for themselves. They lived in a half dug-out for a time.
It was on Emmet Tramell's place. In the spring when the snakes began to crawl about, Mama found a large one in the dug-out. She got her shot gun and got the kids outside and, fired back into the room . Papa was plowing too far away to hear her but Mr. Trammell came riding over on his horse after hearing the gun shot. She told him that there were some of the biggest copper head snakes she had ever seen in her house. He took a look and started to laugh. He told her they were bull snakes and harmless. But who cares, they look and even can make a noise like a rattler, and who needs them in their house. She had never seen bull snakes before. Mama always planted onions, potatoes and lettuce & radishes on Valentines day and that year in 1907 was no exception She helped papa get the garden started and worked most of the day - that night Gladys was born.
They made a good crop in 1907 but 1906 had been better. They bought horses, cows and plow tools, a wagon and so forth to farm with and continued this for ten more years there in Stonewall, Co. They were on their feet financially as much as a share cropper could be. They farmed on the third and fourth - which meant they gave the land owner one third of the cotton and one fourth of the feed. They raised an early garden even though it might turn hot and dry on the garden later. She canned wild plums and canned from the garden such as she raised.
On July 9th. 1908 a third girl Hazel Patrick was born. By this time they had made a second good crop. Mama did not go
into town for six years at one time. She would climb Double Mountain and look over into Aspermont. But she needed nothing that was in town she had her family and good neighbors and friends. She was happy and content.
In the summer of 1907 George and Newton told her they had a surprise
for her but she would have to come with them to the water tank that afternoon. She took
the baby, Gladys and went with them. There was a high bluff above the tank dam and they
took Lonnie up on it and one got his legs the other got his arms and they swung him back
and forth a few times and let him go - down, down he went out or sight. He was hardly
three years old and Mama yelled bloody murder. She just knew he would drown. The two
boys stood there grinning from ear to ear. In a little bit he came up swimming like a
duck. That was the surprise but it almost scared her to death. The three boys were
always up to something. They roamed those hills and pastures every day when not working,
On one such day they had a neighbor boy who was going with then and they did not want to be bothered by Lonnie - thinking he was too small for them. So they asked Mama to make him stay home. She made them take him along . After getting away from the house a short ways they told him to go over to Uncle Will Bradshaws house, reminding him they were away from home and he would have all day to prowl. They knew he liked to do just that. When Uncle Will and family came home they saw the place had been ransacked and cousin Grace saw his feet sticking from under the bed. She pulled him out asking him what he wanted. He told her Mama wanted to borrow some baking powder.
Late in the day the other two boys came home thinking Lonnie would already be there. When Mama made them tell her where he was she whipped them good and started after Lonnie who she met coming home with the baking powder. Needless to say he caught it also.
Later on George got mad at Papa about something and decided he would run away. When asked by Newton and a friend who was interested he said he guessed he would just go to New York city as he had
heard about those rich people there who would drive a new car for a while till they
tired of it and then drive it to the junk yard and also they would throw a suit away with
money in the pockets when the got the suit soiled. The more he told this the more he
believed it himself. He had also made Newton and the other boy believe it. They set
the day when they were to leave. Started out early. Walked fifteen miles to the Salt Fork
of the Brazos. It was running bank full and the friend was scared and said he could not
swim across. They told him to go back then but he was afraid he couldn't find his way
back. So they reluctantly turned back - New York City would have to wait. They were
really getting hungry by this time and began thinking about the good supper of mush and
milk the folks at home would be having. They though they would try slipping in the back
way and into bed without them knowing but they failed this time.
Another time after they had been out late from one of their jaunts they tried slipping in this way. They were crawling up to the house being real quiet when Lonnie who had torn the stride of his pants crawled across a nettle weed and came up yelling, then that blew their cover.
One time Newton and Lonnie were going into town one Saturday - Lonnie had to see the Dentist. They stopped by a neighbors house on the way and she was baking pies. As they went on to town Newton told Lonnie they would stop back by and Newton would stay hidden and if the woman offered them some pie Lonnie was to give Newton a signal. All went as planned except when Lonnie gave Newton the signal he went to the front door and yelled for him to come on the woman had given them some pie. Newton was embarrased but not too much to come in and eat.
They did enjoy life there. The game was plentiful. They could
go quail hunting most any time and get enough to fill a dish pan after they were dressed. And then they would have a feast. They gathered, wild greens and onions. They read a lot for past time and had many neighbors who visited them often. May 10-1910 a third girl was born Bernice Mae. Nov. 20 1912 Mildred Frances was born. Now they had four girls and three boys. Papa started to go after the Doctor the night she was born but Mama told him he didn't have time but would have to help her himself. She had no trouble and the next day he had the Doctor come out and he said he could have done no better himself.
Papa would hook up the horses to a wagon and go into Hamlin Texas twice a year. Each one in the family were asked what they wanted from town and he would get whatever they wanted in way of something to eat. Then he would say he knew what mama wanted - a large piece of cheese and bologna. These were very happy times which were to come to an end all too soon.
Aug. 20-1914 Cassandra Helen was born. That year they made a good crop and two of Papa's nephews were helping cultivate the cotton. When they started back to the field after dinner they discovered Newton and Lonnie were missing. Papa said he had an idea they were gone swimming and he would whip them when they did come home. They did go swimming all right at a large tank several miles away. On the way back afterwards Newton stepped on a rattle snake and it bit him on the foot. Mama held always cautioned them about what to do in case of snake bite and they usually kept heavy twine in their pockets to cord above the bite. They had changed into clean overcalls that morning and forgot to change the twine. Newton began to run slinging the snake loose and it ran into
a prairie dog hole. Another thing they had been taught was to never run. Keep calm and tie above the bite. Lonnie ran Newton down and reminded him of this. He was only nine years old at the time. He took off the suspenders from his overalls and tied Newton's leg as tight as he could and then they went on home slowly. His foot was beginning to swell when they got there. When Mama saw them she thought perhaps Papa had sent them in early to help her get supper so she told them to cut some wood. When Lonnie told her Newton was snake bit she grabbed the kerosene sent Gladys who was seven years old after Papa. She said she would leap as far as she could, and yell every time her feet hit the ground. Papa saw and heard her coming and ran to meet her. All of them quit and ran home as fast as they could go. When Mama rang the Doctor's number everyone on the party line listened in and when they heard that Newton was bit by a rattler they all came at once bringing their favorite snake bite remedies. Some cut up onions for a poultice, some made one of tobacco. One brought whisky and had him drunk long before the Doctor could get there. Cousin Earl Smith cut the bite with a knife - the blood had congealed already.
It was quite a long way from Aspermont and Dr. Jourdon did not get there till after dark. Everyone was watching for his car and saw it stop a short ways from the house where it died. He yelled out for two men to come with lanterns and a gun as he did not want to get bit.
The first thing he did was put another cord above the knee and remove the one Lonnie had put on his calf. Lonnie was upset when he saw the Doctor taking off the one he had put there as Mama had told him that had probably saved Newtons life. The Doctor said it had indeed saved his life but one above the knee would be better now.
He almost died - for several days it was touch and go, but at long
last he was up and about again as frisky as ever. That day was never forgotten.
Papa and Mama began to think about buying a farm of their own now as they were in better shape to do so and had been making good crops for several years.
But again it was not to be. There was a terrible drouth in 1916- crops were a complete failure. It continued on into 1917. A sixth girl was born Margaret Lovey Oct. 13, 1916. She died fifteen months later.
As the drouth got no better and they were facing another crop failure, Mama wanted to go to Durant, Okla. where she had a brother Uncle George Tatum and several of the Hicks cousins lived and all had made good crops. Papa wanted no part of kin folks nor Okla. either but at long last he gave in and borrowed some money at the bank so she could go- he was to follow thru in the wagons.
A few months earlier, Goerge and Newton had rode horse back to the Bar X. Ranch where mama's mother and two brothers were living. John was wrangling horses and Dick was the bronc buster known in rodeo circles as Cheyenne. He went over seas that year in World War One.
Mama thought if they could only ride this drouth out by picking cotton in Okla. they would have a nest egg to make a crop with the next year. But it was not to be.
Mama did take the train with the six girls - leaving Lonnie to come with Papa. She stopped off at the Bar X Ranch to see her mother - we called her grand mammy - and there she picked up Newton, leaving George to come on with Papa and Lonnie.
She went on to Durant, Okla. living among relatives until Papa and the other two boys could get there. Newton worked such as baling hay and other chores that he could get to do.
When Papa got to Wichita Falls, Texas on his way - after he had got George at the Bar X, and worked on Call Field, an air base that was being built to to train aviators in the war effort.
He and George used the horses and wagons in their work while Lonnie herded 30 head of cattle. They camped near Lake Wichita so they would have water.
But by this time the cotton would be ready to pick soon and Mama was anxious for them to come on to Okla.
When they got to Dennison, they were not allowed to take the cattle across for they were afraid of Texas tick fever. So they were sold at a great loss.
Just as soon as Papa and the other two boys got there he only stayed one night with kin and then he got a place of their own.
Now Mama had enough household goods to keep house again. After the best of the cotton was gathered there they begain to think about going back home. They had left a lot of their things there including their books.
They started towards Red River where there was still cotton to pick and then were going back home when that was done.
Papa got sick on the way, and by the time they got to Boggy Bottom and got a tent up with a bed for him to lie on Mama knew she had to have a Doctor with him. She had begged him all along the way to stop and see one but he would not. He was only 40 years of age and had always been in good health. By the time the Doctor did get there he knew there was very little he could do for him. Papa was real bad off for several days.
He had pneumonia and when he realized he was not going to live thru this he asked Mama to read to him from the Bible where it said one did not have to be baptized to be saved. He had been raised up with this belief. She read several passages to him and they prayed and then he asked her to sing the song Death is only a dream.
He said then he was ready to die - he didn't want to die but he was ready. The young Doctor was called back and stayed with them till the end came during the night of Nov. 27, 1917. The Doctor held his head in his hands and told Mama that some day there would be something that would cure pneumonia but he was so sad that he had nothing of help now.
Papa called the three boys in one at a time telling them to see after Mama and the girls. They left the tent to go back to the covered wagon where their bed was and were crying like their hearts would break. Later on during the night he called for them to come back but they refused and covered their ears with pillows, trying to drown out the sound of his voice. After all, Lonnie was only 13, Newton 15, George was 16. That was a trial for them to go through.
Gladys, Bernice, and Hazel woke up and went in the tent watching him die. The tent had never been wet before and it had began to pour down rain. It was leaking in a few places like canvas will do until it swells. Gladys who was only 10 years old helped hold a quilt over him to keep the water from dripping on him as he lay dying.
Bernice and Hazel looked on. He called out Maude, Maude till the last. Then Mama fell across his bed in a dead faint.
Some neighbors took the three older girls and Lovey home with them and left Mildred and Cassie alone in the wagon in which
the girls had been sleeping. They too woke up and went into the tent and still remember the sight they saw. Mama was on a pallet at the end of Papa's bed - on the floor and she would faint as soon as the Doctor would bring her around. Papa was lying on the bed with silver dollars on his eye lid. Some of the men had dressed him in his suit and washed him and composed him for burial.
He was still at that time on the bed and uncovered with his feet tied together so he could be put in a casket.
Mama roused enough to see the two little girls there and asked someone to take us out. A neighbor took us to her house to eat breakfast.
Mama heard some of the men talking about taking up money to bury Papa with but Mama told them she did not need charity and for them to look under the mattress on which he lay and get the money. They did and someone went to Bonham, Texas across Red River for the coffin. It was late in the afternoon when they returned with one. His body had been placed on boards between two chairs. The bed and everything was loaded in the two wagons ready to leave as soon as the coffin arrived. At last it came and was loaded on a buck board, covered with a wagon sheet which was tied down and we started out for Silo, Okla. which was about 40 miles away. That was near Uncle George Tatum's and Mama wanted to bury him near some of the folks.
It was still raining and lightening too. Between flashes of lightening we could see the wagon sheet fly up off the coffin and see it plain. Bernice has never forgotten that long night. It was late - almost sundown when we finally arrived. A few people were gathered there at the grave. Papa's brother Uncle John Bradshaw was there coming from Gainsville, Texas. A short ceremony
and then a song was sung - Shall we Gather at the River. We all walked slowly
around the coffin for one last look at the body and then we got in the wagons and went to
Uncle George Tatum's home. This was Thanksgiving Day 1917.
Uncle John Bradshaw brought a large sack of peanut butter stick candy for the children.
A few days later Mama had the boys go and buy cedar posts and enough picket fence to go around Papa's grave. When they were putting it up they realized they didn't have enough wire to tie the fence together so they twisted off a small piece from a fence next to the cemetary. The man who owned the land saw them and cussed them out. The piece was not holding his fence but was a loose piece. Newton said 60 years later that he had never forgotten that man and if he had been him he would have helped three boys putting a fence around their father's grave.
Mama stayed a while with her relatives and then decided to go near her Mother who was still at the Bar X. All the family rode in the wagons till we got to Dennison, Texas and she left the three boys to drive the wagons thru and she and the girls caught a train to the Bar X. She had to stay over in Wichita Falls, Texas.
She went to a hotel near the depot and told them she needed one room. They told her she would have to have two for that many but she insisted we would make do with one. We all slept sideways on the bed.
The next morning she went to the depot to see when her train would leave for the Bar X., got her tickets and left the girls in Glady's charge and went back to a store and got six dolls for the six girls.
She wouldn't let us have them untill Christmas which was
a few days off. We arrived at the water and cattle loading at Fulda which was
just across the road from Bar X.
Grand mammy was watching for us and she came running towards the train before we got off. The pins came out of her long hair and it was streaming out behind her. She came on and when she go to Mama they both broke down and begain to weep. The older girls could remember her from the time she lived in Stonewall County, but Mildren and Cassie were afraid of her. And too we were always afraid when we saw Mama cry.
We stayed on there with grand mammy and John. Dick was now overseas with the army. He had not been heard from in a long time and they didn't know if he was dead or alive.
On Christmas Eve, John said he supposed he had better go see if he could get word to Santa Claus about six little girls being at the old Bar X, that year rather than still at Stonewall, Co. He saddled up a horse and rode to Seymour and the next morning there were nuts, fruit and candy in the long stockings that had been hung up. And too we had the dolls.
The boys came on with the wagons and household goods and John helped Mama find a place to farm. It was eight miles from Bar X and four miles from Dundee. On the Wichita Valley Railroad and the Wichita Falls, Texas to Seymour, Texas highway.
Mama had tried to get a job at the Bar X ranch helping with the cooking but they said they didn't need anyone right then.
We moved in the little two room house. Soon Mildred took the measels. Mama thought she had contracted them on the train coming from Okla. Soon all the others had them except Cassie and she never did. George was real sick and not expected to live. Some of the others were hard hit too. Lovey seemed to be getting over them but she took a sudden turn for the worse. She seemed to have the croup. Late in the afternoon Mama realized she needed the Doctor and walked the quarter a mile or so to Frank Fields house. It was terribly cold, ice and snow on the ground and the north wind blowing hard. Mr. Fields would not allow his wife to come on our place as he was afraid his little girl would take measels. Mama asked him to go after the Doctor in Dundee. He rode that four miles facing that bitter wind and the Doctor did come out. He didn't stay long. He melted ice and snow to fill his radiator. He left a small syringe with Mama to try to keep Lovey's throat clear. She only got worse after he left. Lonnie was able to be up some and he helped her. He would hold down the baby's tongue with a spoon while Mama tried to clear it. Soon she saw Lovey wouldn't last much longer so she trudged back thru the ice and snow to ask Mr. Fields to go to a friend's house who lived between there and Dundee and tell her to come and stay with her as Lovey was dying. He said he had turned the horse loose and he doubted if he could catch him. His wife said if he didn't go she would walk there and get Grandma Griffith. She was no kin but Mama had always called her Grandma. Mrs. Fields would probably have frozen to death if she had tried walking as Mama was almost froze going that short distance. But she told her husband he had kept her from helping mama with all the children sick but he could not keep her from going to get someone to stay with her that night. He went after her but Lovey had been dead for some time before she came.
Mama had been many times with sick folks and knew they had to be washed, dressed and composed to be put in the casket before they got stiff. So she knew now what she had to do. George begged her not to do it. But she said brother I have to.
She had her prepared for the casket long before anyone got there. She got Newton out of his sick bed to ride over to the Bar X and tell Grand mammy and John who came right away. When Grandmammy learned what Mama had done she told her she shouldn't have and that she would never get over it.
A white casket was brought out from Dundee and her small body placed inside. Mama didn't go to the grave yard as it was bitter cold and she didn't know but what some of the others would die. Grandmammy insisted on going in spite of the men telling her it was too cold. But at the first house they came to in Dundee she was left there till after the funeral. The ground had to be thawed out with a fire before the grave could be dug.
When Mama was walking thru the snow and ice going and coming to Mr. Fields she was praying every step of the way for God to be with her in this hour. He did sustain her that night.
The Doctor came back next day to see about the ones who were still pretty sick. She was worried about Newton riding all that way in the cold but he seemed to get along all right.
Some men in the nearby community brought grocerys and Mama took them with thanks but she admonished Lonnie and the girls to say nothing to anyone about it. She was proud and it rankled deep to have to take charity. But this was a time when it meant she could feed her children so she gave in.
Mama gathered up little Lovey's clothes and her christmas doll as soon as she could get to town to mail them and sent it on to a friend of hers back in Stonewall who had also lost her husband.
Over a year later, some of the younger girls were playing with a small bell and when Mama saw it she burst out crying and took the bell saying it was the only thing she had kept of Lovey's.
Mr. George Bobbitt heard about her troubles and he came offering a job to George. He was too sick, but Newton came into the room and said he could do anything George could do and probably do it better. But Mr. Bobbitt was doubtful because he was only fifteen at the time. But when he saw how much this would mean to Mama he said he would give him a try. Five years later, Newton married his girl Addie. He hauled with his wagons and horses.
When George was able he too got a job working as a section hand on the rail road. He would ride by on a hand car and toss out his dirty laundry and the girls would pitch him a clean one. Then there would be a mad scramble for it as he nearly always had gum or candy inside.
Soon Mama got a hack and she and the girls and Lonnie were able to visit the Bar X and go to church in Dundee. One time we had been to a revival there and on the way back a storm came up. We stopped and spent the night with grandma Griffith and her bachelor son walter. We ate breakfast next morning abefore going home. We had hot biscuits, butter and syrup. When some of us poured out our syrup from a bucket, we saw sugar ants in it. Mama raked them out when it was drawn to her attention and you can bet it was. She told us to say nothing and go on and eat our breakfast as it was a sin to waste food. She also said if that was the worst thing to happen to us we would be all right. We never forgot that lesson in thrift.
Mama had never been able to part with the last thing she had which had been Papa's. She still had his shoes and there was very little room in it - no closet at all. She told Lonnie to take them and do something with them one day as he was going into town. As long as we lived there we could see those shoes by the side of the road slowly curling up in the weather.
We would say we would not look for them when we passed but would find ourselves hunting
the place where they were laying. They were still there when we left in November of
The drouth was as bad as it had been the last two years. Mama made one bale of cotton.
Mama had to haul water from the Little Wichita River the one that has Lake Arrowhead and Kickapoo built on it now. She never refused water to drink to anyone who asked. One day an entire family stopped asking for water. The children were crying. The man offered her money for water to give his horses. She told him she would not take pay but they were welcome to water for them selves but she had no water for the horses.
She would tell them she was giving this to them in the name of Jesus and tell them she would never refuse water to drink as long as she had a drop.
Lonnie and the three older girls started to school at Fulda eight miles away. They went in the hack. Some times a creek would get up in the early spring and they could not go at all. Mama told Lonnie now that the others were gone he was the man of the family. One day when he was putting a bridle on the horse to hitch to the hack he told the horse he had better not throw his head high so he could not be bridled. The way Mama had to bridle him was to stand in a chair. He said a man has got hold of you now. The horse reared his head up taking him high in the air, much to his embarrassment and the delight of the girls.
Later that summer Ligr Griffith a son of Grandma Griffith sent for Mama to come and help them nurse their little boy who was seriously ill. She went at once, leaving Lonnie in charge
(there was no page 21 in the original)
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of the girls. He wasnt quite 14 years old but he took his job seriously. He killed a fryer and Gladys who was now 11 years old cooked it making hot biscuits and gravy to go with it. A neighbor boy from Rice Ranch was there visiting Lonnie and of course he wanted to put his best foot forward. All the girls had a pet chicken, which were frying size. Lonnie had taken a dim view of pet chickens being able to come in the house at will. There were no screens on either the doors or windows to keep them out in hot weather. Just as all sat down to eat the good dinner one of the pets flew on to the table and made a perfect landing in the bowl of gravy. Then he decided it was time to get rid of the pets. He posted a for sale sign on the highway which read fryers for sale or trade. Or all the crying and taking on from the girls. But it mattered not to him. He had wanted Mama to get rid of them but she said the girls have very few things to make them happy and she would let them keep the pets.
He had gotten rid of all by night. Got a pocketknife for one. When anyone got one of the chickens the girl it belonged to would set up a howl. Adding insult to injury he sat on the porch and drew comical pictures of all the girls. We told him Mama would get him when she came home but to tell the truth we think she was relieved.
Nothing we said or did deterred Lonnie - after all hadnt he been left in charge?
The little Griffith boy died. His name was Tad. Mama came and got us all ready to go back for the funeral. When we got there Grandma Griffith and the wife of Lige asked Mama to talk to him as he was cursing God and saying He was not just or he would not have taken Tad. His wife and Mother were frantic because of
the way he was acting. Mama walked right up to him and said he should not curse God and say He was not just because she knew he was. He then turned on her asking how in the world could she of all people say that about God. - Hadnt He taken her husband leaving her with two small children to raise and then took one of them only two months later. She said yes you are right about that but the Doctor thought George would not live and indeed he almost died, but God spared him and all the others. But she made no impression on him.
A few years later Lige Griffith killed Hub Griffin a noted bully in Dundee, and he came clear when it was proven he had bullied Lige. In the summer of that year 1918 a woman who worked for Hub Griffin drove a car into Dundee from Griffins ranch north of Dundee and left the motor running while she went in the post office. The Constable told her that was against the law. She went back and told her boss about it. In the mean time Mama drove over to Dundee and about that time Hub Griffin drove up and jumped out and proceeded to curse the Constable out for every thing he could think of. The law man said nothing at all. Mr. Griffin told him Roxie Cunningham wanted to drive her car on the sidewalk he had better say nothing to her.
Mama knew Charlie Cavener from back in Cook Co. and she asked him how he could take a cussing like that and say nothing. He said Hub Griffin had just as soon shoot me as look at me. Mama said he will meet his match some day and if she was a man she would wipe up Dundee with him. Mama was high tempered and we cannot imagine her taking such a cussing. She had red hair but she got her hair from one side and the temper from her mother.
On the fifteen acres she made one bale of cotton so once again she was faced with the prospect of a long winter with nothing to fall back on. Georges railroad job played out and he was not breaking horses getting three dollars a day and board.
Newton was still working too. Mama took the girls and Lonnie and picked cotton on Rice Ranch where a better crop was made.
On Nov. 16 1918 Mama married Ed Davidson who was from East Texas. Then we all started out for there in two covered wagons. George did not go but all the others did. It took quite a while to get there and we had to lay over in a wagon yard at Decatur, Texas due to a snowstorm.
Everyone cooked on the same stove and one day while many were gathered around waiting for dinner to cook, Bernice noticed a man was boiling coffee in a tin bucket. He did not have the lid on tight and she thought poor man his coffee will never boil like that so she pushed it down tight. In a little bit it blew up and it was a wonder someone didnt get burned bad. They all told him he should know better than to fasten a lid on tight. He said he could have sworn that he didnt. It was years later before Bernice confessed to being the one who did that.
When we got to Dallas the horses became scared of all the traffic, and had to be almost led through.
Of course they were broke by the time they got there and Mama learned of a cotton patch that had not been picked out. Early in the morning she took the two boys and the five girls to work. She cooked the last bread and potatoes she had and put them in a water bucket for dinner. Ed went to his brothers house and was not seen any more till all got in that night. He warmed his shins by the fire and had a good meal to boot.
It had rained and then frozen the water in the middle of the rows. Mama drew the pay when the day was done and went by the store and got plenty of good food for supper. When Ed came he gave some lame excuse about seeing his brother about borrowing some money. Of course he didnt get any.
Newton begged Mama to turn around and go back to Archer, Co., but she wasnt about to give up on her marriage that soon. She really gave it a try. She meant to stick no matter what and sooner or later what did happen.
After begging Mama to leave for several days Newton left. George was still back there and breaking horses and riding in rodeos, and the oil field work was starting too. We will never forget the day he left. He was crying real loud and he would tell us all good bye and start off only to come back and do the same all over again. It really scared the girls as the only time they had ever seen any of the boys cry was when Papa and Lovey died. Of course we were a long time getting over another disappointment.
Newton too began to ride in the rodeo along with George and Mamas half brother Dick Dudley who was home from the war and was known in the rodeo circles as Cheyenne.
In the mean time things went from bad to worse but Mama stayed in there. She knew the
boys had promised Papa they would see after her and the girls but she didnt want
them to be saddled with responsibility. She didnt believe in divorce at all.
Another crop failure - worms ate the cotton up. Mama saw in the Dallas News that cotton pickers were needed in Mitchell Co., Texas.
Once again she got on the train with the girls leaving Lonnie to come through with Ed. He rented a boxcar to bring the stock and household goods in.
We got to Colorado City, Texas in August 1919. We had our summer clothes on as it was hot when we left Limestone Co. A blue norther had blown in and it was real cold. We had traveled day and night and what sleep we had gotten was on the train or waiting at the gate to change trains in Dallas.
It was early morning when we got there and while we waited for the man for whom we were to pick cotton to pick us up, Bernice had a hard chill. Mama had to go to drugstore after chill tonic for her. Mama vowed she would never live where the climate was unhealthy again and she never did.
Finally the man did come and took Mama by the store for groceries, and on to the three-room log house we would stay in while gathering the crop. He asked Mama when her husband and son would get there as he doubted if she and the girls could pick very much. She assured him they would be there soon but she also told him he would be surprised at how much she and the girls would pick.
We had a fireplace and we would build a huge fire and roast potatoes in the hot ashes. Mama would cook beans on it too and biscuits in a Dutch oven.
There was only one sack to use and the man told Mama he would bring more next day. But it rained and he was not back with more sacks for several days. The ground was sandy and did not get muddy so Mama was out picking soon after it quit raining. We all used the one sack, which she pulled. She piled the cotton up in one of the rooms of the house to keep it dry in case of rain. When the man got back he was pleasantly surprised.
In the meantime Ed and Lonnie were on the boxcar coming to us. Ed would tell Lonnie to watch the stock and house hold goods when it was stopped for a time and then he would go off some where
and return later picking his teeth. Finally as he got hungrier Lonnie saw he was not going to be given any money or food either so he took money from Eds pocket as he slept at night and when Ed would go off in one direction he would go another and be back by the time he returned. He was fifteen that August.
They finally arrived and Ed got a job hauling the cotton to the gin with one of the wagons and teams.
Years later Lonnie said he often wondered what Ed thought he did for food on that trip.
Mama and the little girls picked every day that they could except on Sunday. She quit early on Christmas Eve in order to start cooking on the next days dinner. She told Lonnie to go to the mailbox and see what she might have there, and he saddled up old Paint to go.
Bernice and Cassie started to beg him to let them go instead. Mama said yes we could go as she needed him to help her catch a hen and cut wood for her baking. He sat Bernice in the saddle, put Cassie on behind her and hit Paint with his hand and said go on then. The horse went straight up bucking for all his might and Cassie was thrown off on the ground and Bernice landed on top of her.
Bernice was unhurt but Cassie knew nothing until next morning when waking on Christmas day she saw a stocking filled with candy, nuts and fruit and marvel of marvels, a large orange on top of it all. Ed was in town with cotton when this happened and came in during the night bringing some things Mama had sent for. We had no toys but were happy just the same.
In Jan of 1920, we moved to the Spade Ranch about twenty miles from Colorado City, on a 200-acre farm.
Then all the children would start to school. It was Mildreds first year and Cassie was jealous because she would not be going to the first
day. Mama told her she could go but as a visitor only. But she enrolled along with the others. Mama wanted to stop her but Ed said he thought she could do all right. Against her better judgement Mama agreed.
George was with us part of that year helping with the crop. But when we were hoeing cotton one day, he was not there. Lonnie and two of the girls got their row through to the end and Lonnie sat down. The girls told him they should turn back and help Ed and the other three girls get out as we would be going to the house for dinner then. He refused to help and Ed called out to him that he was going to whip him when he got out. He carried a belt with him wore it on the outside of his overalls. He took it off and ran towards Lonnie, who took his hoe and knocked his legs from under him. Of course if Lonnie had went ahead and helped hoe the other rows this wouldnt have happened, but he was sixteen or would be soon and he was tired of being treated like a slave and wanted to be out on his own. He had been begging Mama to let him go. He then ran on ahead of the others to the house and told Mama if she didnt give her consent for him to leave he would run away. She gave him a horse and fixed a lunch and he left. He didnt leave until Ed and the girls were back in the field chopping cotton. When Mama came to the field we could see she had been crying. But she was still trying to make a go of her marriage. The girls said among them selves that Ed should be the one to leave. Mama was expecting the first child of hers and Eds.
Lonnie went to Dundee, Texas where grand mammy and John and Dick
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Dudley lived. He slept on the ground and ate whatever he could find in the fields such as watermelons and cantaloupes. He was sick with typhoid fever when he got there. It took a lot of nursing by grand mammy to pull him through. The girls sure did miss him as he had been with them all this time through thick and thin. This was another heartbreak that had to be borne as best we could.
A good crop was made that year but the price was down. Cotton was still in the field when we moved to within three miles of Colorado City, and the girls started to school, walking the three miles. But that was a short distance to what we walked at some of the places we lived. We would tie toy sacks on our feet and wade through snow five miles.
They hired a crew of Mexicans to gather the crop. Their Captain came and collected for all of them and skipped out. A few years later another one pulled this same deal or tried to, but Mama learned of it in time to stop payment on the check.
Mama had a boy Feb. 16, 1921. He was so cute, with red curly hair. The girls adored him.
They bought their first car then. Ed knew nothing at all about a car as he had always driven horses and he never did learn much about one. Newton was home for a while as he was riding in a rodeo in town. He told Ed to drive the car into town one day and he would ride along showing him how to drive. Some of the girls were in the back seat. When he got to the gate he yelled WHOA, WHOA, and just kept going. Newton was laughing and he jumped out and opened the gate just in time for the car to go through. The girls were scared to death the car was probably going all of ten miles an hour.
We lived real close to the Church this year and (some text missing)
cousins was called to hold a meeting called a revival now and she was so happy to find her fathers people again. She had lost all contact when he had died in 1887. She wrote to Cousin Vernon asking about his father who was Ben Tatum and a brother to her father.
Uncle Ben came to see her at once. He was a retired Baptist preacher at that time and was living with his son Vernon.
Many were saved during the meeting including Gladys and George. On the last Sunday of the meeting, they were baptized in Champion Creek along with about twenty others. All waded out waist deep and the Pastor of the Church came along, immersing them one at a time. It was a beautiful sight to see.
Later on that summer, Mildred came down with Typhoid fever. George was with us again, helping with the crop. He got the Doctor out and he said she was pretty sick but with care she should pull through. George got ice and oranges until then, Cassie thought one could only get oranges at Christmas time. She watched the orange squeezing for juice well done. George would leave some juice in the orange for her. She really did love oranges as a child.
No one else in the family took the fever and at long last she seemed to be out of danger, and the Doctor said she could start getting out of the house some. One morning, Mama was washing. George took the girls to the field to chop cotton and Ed was plowing nearby. Cassie was babysitting the baby. Mildred came out and asked if she could hold him a little while. She was so weak he slid right on through her arms and hit the ground. It knocked the breath out of him and Mama thought for a while he was dead. It scared the two girls to death also. Mama grabbed him up and began to bathe his face in bluing water and told Cassie to go tell Ed Mildred had
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dropped Buddy and killed him. Cassie did exactly that. Of course he went into a panic. He always wore large leather gloves and he ran ahead of Cassie taking them off as he went. By this time Mama had revived Buddy and he was weakly crying. But Ed paid no attention to anything except Mildred. He jerked her up by one arm and began to beat her with the gloves. Mama was absorbed with the baby but she called to him that he was alright and for him to stop. He didnt till she ran and pulled him off with one hand and held Buddy with the other.
Then she gave him to Cassie as Mildred had collapsed and had to be helped to bed. She started to hemorrhage from the bowel, and her fever came back up. Mama was scared to death but more than anything she wanted to protect George. She told Cassie not to tell him what Ed had done as he would kill him. She thought that would not be such a bad idea as then we would not have to put up with this. But she said then George would be put to death for killing Ed. So when he came in for dinner and found Mildred much more worse he asked Cassie what had happened and she said nothing.
Mama had tried to tell him Buddy was all right before he ever hit Mildred but he paid no attention. He would go on a rampage at the slightest thing and then he would seem to come to himself and shake his head as if in a daze. He was always ready to be set off.
George got the Doctor back out there and this time Mildred almost didnt make it. Years later, after Ed and Mama were separated and Mildred was married, he wrote Mildred asking her to forgive him. When asked not long ago if she told him she forgave him, she said yes she had now, but at the time he asked she had not.
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One time Mama had bought a tow sack full of apples to eat and after we had eaten only a few Ed locked them up in his trunk. Mama took the axe and chopped the lock off and pulled the sack out spilling apples all over the floor. She told him she bought them for us to eat not for him to lock up in his trunk. And after all we had worked to earn them anyway. He never tried that again. His brothers told Mama a horse kicked him in the head when he was a young man and he was never the same again. Something was wrong with him for sure.
Many, many things happened that would make young girls hate him but we have learned to forgive him and realize he could not help being the way he was.
After Lonnie left in 1920 we didnt see him any more until two years later when we lived at Cuthbert in Northern Mitchell County. After that he didnt stay away so long. All through the years he kept in close touch with all the girls. Either by letter or a visit. We lost him in 1958 after a long siege with cancer. He was saved a year before he died and baptized by a Baptist minister in a Pentecostal baptistry in Shafter California. We still miss him.
At Cuthbert we were not as near the Church. There was no organized Baptist Church as they had been unable to get a Pastor. Mama arranged for one to preach and had her cousins to hold revivals. We attended all the affairs at the Church in between cotton chopping and picking.
We moved there in Jan. of 1922 and it was a long way to drive. Mama packed a box lunch to eat on the way. It was after dark when we got there to the new place. We ate a cold supper in a cold house but did have kerosene lights. Only got the beds up
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and into them. Next morning we were looking forward to a good hot meal only to discover the stove pipes had been lost off the wagons. They had been strung through with clothesline wire and hung on the side of the wagon when it broke, all were lost.
Mama noticed a house a short way from us and she loaded up the family and stuff to cook for breakfast and went and asked the people if she could use their stove, explaining about the stove pipes. Mrs. Adams said she sure could cook her breakfast on her stove. Mama made coffee fried ham and eggs, and had butter and preserves and syrup and then made gravy. We sat down to eat and could hardly swallow a bite for seeing the hungry eyes looking at us. Mama saw that they were hungry too and when we got through she asked Mrs. Adams if it would be all right to leave the rest of the food there. She left milk too. Before we got out the door these poor people were grabbing food from the table. They were down on their luck as they only farmed on the halves and seemed to be quite shiftless too. Mama knew only too well what it was like to be in need and she had learned to manage as long as they could make a good cotton crop.
But we cannot ever remember her having to bum off of her neighbors as the Adams family did us that year. We practically fed them. One of the girls would come early in the morning when Mama was cooking breakfast and pull a flour sack from under her coat and say she guessed Mama thought they were bums but could she borrow some flour and meat. Feature borrowing meat when you didnt have a hog on the place. Later on in the day at school this same girl and her sisters would be mean to us girls.
Hazel would tell Mama not to give them any thing the next time they came bumming but she said she couldnt let the others starve
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on account of the hateful girls. But it sure was hard to take. We had plenty of food. Ed could raise good hogs for meat and we always had lots of cows so we had butter and milk. Bernice and Hazel did the milking. Mama believed in what the Bible said about casting your bread upon the water and after many days it will return to you. She taught us that applied to good or bad bread. We learned many good truths from her that we have never forgotten to this day. She was a good Christian and never failed to get an opportunity to testify to the goodness of her Lord and Savior.
We saw our first oil well here at this place. It was not too far from where we lived. It blew in with salt water and gas and we could hear it roaring all night and day. People came from near and far to see it. They have a big oil field there now.
A neighbor had ordered a collie dog. He would run away to come and play with the girls. The man would keep taking him home but he wouldnt stay. Finally he said we could have him as he was not supposed to play with children but work with stock he said he would never be any good for what he bought him for now. We called him Old Collie and kept him till he died which was four years later.
Mama raised a good garden too and would water it from the windmill. That year we got fine wild plums from Colorado River.
A girl was born to Mama and Ed May 16, 1922 and we called her Bitsy because she was so tiny. She had blonde curly hair. She was only 15 months younger than Buddy. They both looked like dolls. We were so proud of them and loved them as if they had been our own sister and brother. We felt no different.
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Bernice and Hazel were saved in a meeting that summer and were baptized in a horse watering trough eight feet by three.
The preacher like to have never put Hazel under all at once, when he got her head down her feet would come up. She never did close her eyes. Cassie was nearby watching it all.
Mama would move into an old house, clean it up and plant flowers making it a beautiful place to live but before long she would have to move on to another one and do the same thing to it.
She always wanted a piece of land but the only thing she ever owned was two lots in Big Springs, Texas. She worked in San Diego, California as a cashier in a hotel coffee shop after she was sixty-four years old and bought the two lots and had a house built on them. She was smart and could do most anything. She could sew well. We always had a new outfit for Easter. She would borrow money on just her name the stock were usually mortgaged to make a crop, and get hats and shoes for us and make our dresses. Many times she would make a dress while she was at the house for dinner from the field.
We never went to school until after the cotton was gathered which was always after the first of the year. But Mama had a good education and she helped us with our lessons but it was hard to keep up anyway.
We moved closer to town in 1923, seven miles North of Colorado City at Lone Wolf. It was real good land and made a bale to the acre that year. And some real big watermelons. It had a peach orchard too.
George had quit trying to farm with Ed and went to work at Aspermont. He paid off the loan Papa got in 1917. He now owns the building that he first worked in for Bryant-Link Stores and has a store of his own. He came home on his vacation to see how things were
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going with the girls and Ed. Hazel told him all that had happened as she could never keep anything a secret. He got Mama and Ed together asking them what the matter was that they couldnt get along any better and said he would not have the girls raised up like this and that was all there was to it and something was going to have to be done about it. Ed said Hazel was the cause of all their trouble. She was a troublemaker or rather she agitated it but she was not the cause. Poor man, he would not have gotten along with Mama had they been the only two people in the world. George knew Hazel was pretty bad though and said he would take her home with him and see how everything went.
Mama and Ed took them to Abilene to catch the train and took both the small children and Cassie got to go along to baby sit. They were put on the train there and the rest went on to Cousin Vernons house to spend the night with him and Uncle Ben Tatum. Vernon was attending Hardin Simmons University and came in later. Uncle Ben was patching pants for Vernons three boys. Mama took that job over at once. Vernons wife had run off, leaving him with the boys, and Uncle Ben was staying with them.
The next day when we got home, Ed threw another fit and said Bernice was causing all the trouble. Mama knew then how it would be, so she had Hazel back home soon. Poor man, he could never see that he was the cause himself. George did everything he could to help, but finally even he gave up. We survived it though because we were loved by Mama and our brothers and each other but it wasnt easy. We had some fine brothers, even if we do say so ourselves. And we had a fine Mother and Father too.
Gladys was Mamas helper and had been cooking since a very small girl. It wasnt often that Mama ever left us at home over night but when
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she did have to leave us on rare occasions, she could do so, knowing Gladys would take over like she did. One time she left us in her care and we thought we had it made as she would usually let us get by with most anything. But this time, Mama had told her to be more firm with us. She didnt let us get by with a thing and we didnt know what was wrong with easygoing Gladys. She was a great storyteller. She could keep us entertained for hours with one of her tales. She would start one while we chopped cotton and tell us if we wanted to hear the rest, we would have to hurry. She would make them up as she went and continue them often until the next day. Of course we had favorites and would ask her to repeat those.
Hazel was the comic of the bunch. She kept us laughing at what would have been tragic had she let us take it seriously. She could always think of something funny to say no matter what it was about. Mama didnt dare to leave her in the back of the Church with the other girls she was sure to make them laugh. She would march all down to the front.
But on the way home from Church she would say something we thought was funny, much to the disgust of Mama. One day she said two of the men who were singing in the Choir (they were bald) looked like two pumpkins smiling on the vine. The preacher was skinny and had loose false teeth she said he was a skeleton whistling through his teeth. One morning we attended a meeting at the Church. An old lady shouted all over the place. She had two bandages on each side of her nose and (Hazel) said she would have flown away had it not been for the bandages holding her down. It is not so funny now that she made fun of everything, but we needed something to laugh about in those days.
Bernice was a sight too. She thought she could do most anything and usually she did. One day, Mama and Ed were going some place but
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he couldnt start the car. After they left, she started it and said, now was her chance to learn to drive. Mildred and Cassie told her she had better not, but she paid no heed. She took off across the pasture never was under a wheel before but she drove like an expert. She could fix most anything on a car too. She can still do carpenter work, plumbing and concrete work. She could always do most anything like that. But she was stubborn and hard headed but that is why she could do these things she wouldnt give up.
A few years later than this time when we were living at Kamay, Texas, we had not made a crop that year and the horses were hungry. She saw some shocks of grain in a nearby field hooked two horses to a plow and drove to the field after night. She got off and picked up a bundle of feed in each arm when the horses saw her coming it scared them and they bolted, wrecking the plow. The next day, she knew nothing about the plow being torn up.
Lonnie came by the house one day in 1924 while Mama and Ed were away, and got a horse saying he was going to Snyder, Texas a few miles away (about 20 or so). Newton had given Bernice the saddle he took. Ed had some repairs made on it and then he claimed it. When Ed and Mama got home and he found out Lonnie had taken the horse and saddle he swore he would have him put in prison if it was the last thing he ever did.
The girls were scared to death that he would do just that. They prayed the horse would somehow come home or that Lonnie would ride him home. One day we saw him at the road, pawing at the gate, trying to get in. We ran and let him in, knowing our prayers had been answered again. He had sold the horse a few miles away, and he ran away to come back home. He mailed the saddle back home.
One day, Bernice decided that the horse pasture needed burning off she had seen Ed do this in the spring but it would grow back then
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but not in the fall. Ed was pasturing horses for other people too. She got into hot water again by doing as she thought best and not asking. She was a daredevil and had she been a boy, she would have been a bronc buster like Newton and George, probably.
Their luck started to get bad that last year in 1925 that we tried to farm in Mitchell County. The grasshoppers were real bad Ed would take bran, syrup and arsenic to poison and kept them down some, and made a fair crop where we had been making a good one. One day when we were chopping cotton, Mama took 25 of her fine laying hens to the field to eat the hoppers. She left their coop near by so they could have shade. But they all crowded in when it got hot and smothered to death.
As stated before, Ed did raise fine hogs for our meat, and hog killing time was a day to remember. It started early in the morning and lasted until after night. As Mama would say, it required all hands on deck. Ed, Bernice, and Hazel would go to the pen and he would shoot them he never failed to kill less than three in one day, and then hang them and cut their throat. Mildred and Cassie would hide under the bed with their fingers in their ears to try and drown out the sound of the hogs squealing.
After they had bled for a while, they were put in barrels, one at a time of course, with tow sacks wrapped around them and the scalding water which had been heated in the wash pot was poured on them.
As soon as they were ready to scrape, everyone had to help do that. Then Ed would gut them. We had fried liver for dinner and spare ribs for supper. Next day, we would eat backbone. Sometimes, a neighbor would come in and help for some of the meat. Other times we would prepare them all by ourselves.
Mama always gave the head away, but she loved pickled pigs feet
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so she kept those.
The meat was trimmed and placed in a large box, salted down for long winters ahead. The next day, the fat trimmings were rendered into lard, which was poured into buckets and put in a cool place along with the meat. The lean trimmings were ground up for sausage, which was put into bags made out of flour sacks. They were hung up in the meat house, or side room. These sausages were delicious eaten on a cold snowy day with hot biscuits, gravy, or eggs.
The fat was put in the wash pot with one gallon each of water and fat, and one can of lye. It was cooked till the fat was gone and it had thickened - and we had good lye soap. Contrary to what some might say, it was not harsh at all but mild to ones skin and hair. The girls and Mama always liked it to shampoo their hair.
The bladders were cleaned and a quill from a feather inserted inside to blow them up, and we could play ball with them for several days.
In November of 1925, Mildred got mad at Ed about something one Sunday at the dinner table. She jumped up from the table and ran out the door. Afterwards, Mama said the family would visit our nearest neighbors that afternoon. All went except Bernice and Cassie. They started down the road towards town to hunt for Mildred. She had been talking of leaving. They found her behind a cat claw bush, pouting, and when she said she was not putting up with Ed anymore, Bernice said, "Lets leave then." They went back to the house and put some extra clothes in a pillow case and set out saying they would go to a small town a few miles away and get a job in the café there.
Cassie stayed with them, but took no clothing. She had no plans to run away, but was going to stay with them as long as she hoped they would change their minds. They passed within a few hundred yards of where the family was visiting but it was at the back of the house and no one saw them.
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Cassie had new shoes that were rubbing a blister on her heel and could go no further. She was too big of a coward to run off and never had any intention of doing so. Bernice would stay back with her as she was hobbling along, but Mildred said leave her as she is too young to go with us anyway. She was 11, Mildred just barely 13 and Bernice was 15 years or age.
They went on and Cassie turned back to the neighbors house. They had other company besides the family. Mama asked her where the other two girls were and she mumbled something. Mama understood that they were still at home and said, "I guess Mildred is still mad."
Cassie was miserable and scared to death about what could happen to the two girls. Mama had warned us about the white slavery market. No one could have hired her to get out in the world this way.
We went home and Mama asked Cassie if she knew where the girls were and she said no. Mama thought they were hiding out in the barn. Hazel and Cassie got in the car trying to keep the two little kids quiet while Mama and Gladys cooked supper.
When the sun started to go down, Cassie had a sinking feeling that they were not coming home that night. She told Hazel what had happened but asked her to wait a while before telling Mama. But she couldnt keep anything and ran in right then to tell all.
Of course Mama knew they wouldnt find a job, and she thought for sure they would be back any time.
When dark came and they had not returned, she was worried, but she still refused to think they would go off very far. She decided that they had stopped to spend the night at our neighbors house as we often did (but not without her consent).
Cassie was so worried as she had seen how determined they looked
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on their face when they spoke of leaving. Of course, they only said they would go to the little town nearby, but she wasnt at all sure they wouldnt go further when they found no job there.
Early next morning, we saw the neighbors coming by in a buggy, and Mama ran out asking if the girls were at their house. She was so surprised when they told her they had not seen them.
Then she sent Ed to another neighbors, a further distance away. They were not there either.
Then she went to Roscoe, Texas, a few miles west of Sweetwater, to ask about them and was told two girls fitting their description were seen going through town the evening before, just before sundown.
She went on to friends a few miles from there, but they had not seen them either. Little did they know that the girls had stood outside their house the night before Bernice told Mildred they had better not go in and let them know they were running away as Mrs. Blankenship would be sure to hold them there for Mama.
Of course Mrs. Blankenship said she had not seen them, and Mama sent telegrams to George, Newton, and Dick Dudley. George came at once. And he went to town to have their pictures and description put in the Ft. Worth Star Telegram.
When he got to the telegram office there was a wire saying the girls were safe and sound with Grandmammy. Dick sent the wire.
This was Wednesday, and they had been gone since Sunday afternoon. Mama was almost crazy with worry about the girls; in fact, she was sick from worry.
The girls of course got no job at the café it was closed when they got there and they just kept going. After standing in the yard at our friends house, they went into a nearby field and bedded down in a shock of feed. It was real cold, as this was late November. They had caught a ride into Roscoe and walked on to the Blankenships.
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Long before morning, they were so cold that they could stay there no longer, so they got back on the road again.
A car gave them a ride, letting them out at a filling station. They were trying to get into the locked restroom when a night watchman saw them and asked them what they were doing out that time of night. They told him their uncle had went off and left them there and they didnt know what to do as it looked as if he was not coming back. He took them to a hotel lobby and fed them coffee and doughnuts. Then he told them to go to the train depot. They did and they thought he must have sent the law there as a man came in asking questions. They managed to slip out and head for the highway once again.
They caught rides that day which brought them to Munday, Texas. They were walking on through town when a man stopped, asking them if they were schoolmates of his daughter, and offering a ride. They told him they were orphans and trying to get to their grandmothers in Dundee, Texas. He said if they were his girls, he wouldnt want them to sleep out that night, so he took them home to his family. They were given a bed to sleep on and fed a nice supper and breakfast, given a sack lunch for the next day and then they set out again.
They got to Grandmammys before night by catching rides that day. She was so glad to see them and kept asking them if Maude knew they were there. They assured her that Mama did know.
Grandmammy and her boys lived near us in 1915 in Stonewall, Co. and Bernice stayed with her a lot while the boys would be gone. They had a horse called Thunderbolt and he was trained to back up to them when they twirled a rope. One day, Bernice picked up a small rope and started to twirl it as she had seen them do. Thunderbolt backed into her and knocked her unconscious. Dick grabbed her up and when she came to, Grandmammy was bathing her face with water.
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Old Thunderbolt lived to be twenty-some odd years old. Lonnie found him down in our pasture in 1928 and knocked him in the head. We were all so sad when he did that, but he said the horse would only lay there and suffer and it was best to put him out of his misery.
Mama and Ed went after the girls, but Mildred refused to go back and said if Mama made her go, she would only run away again. They left her there and brought Bernice and John back to help gather the cotton and help us move to Archer, Co., one of the biggest mistakes we would ever make.
We had hard times in Mitchell, Co., and had to work hard, but it was a far far better place to farm than Archer and Wichita Counties ever were.
Mama, Cassie, and the two small ones went through in the car and John drove the truck, loaded with household goods. Ed, Hazel and Bernice came through with the wagon and stock. Ed drove the wagon and the two girls rode horseback and drove the horses. They were expert riders.
We moved into a house a few miles S. E. of Mankins, Texas on Jack Parkeys place. He was a wealthy rancher there. That first year, things were hard. Hazel worked for Parkeys as housekeeper for a while and later on at a boarding house in Mankins.
We started to school in Mankins in what was left of that School year. When school was out, we got a job shocking grain. There was no such thing as a combine in those days. After the grain was cut with a binder, you would have to go along and put the bundles into shocks. We got $3.00 a day for that, and that meant the five girls got $15.00 a day. But it was soon over. We then chopped cotton when it was ready. John Dudley had a small café in Mankins and Mama made cakes, pies and bread for him to sell.
While we were waiting for the cotton picking to start , (the grass
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hoppers ate the cotton up again at our place) Mama made the remark to a neighbor that she didnt know what we were going to do now until that time. The woman told her it looked like to her she had it made with all those girls. Mama asked her what she meant by that, and she said you can put them out to hustling. Mama said, they have been doing that all year. She also said, Jim always said she was one of the best hustlers he had ever seen. She told Mama she didnt think she understood what she meant. She sure didnt understand. Some time later, she told her brother about it and said the woman looked funny when she answered her like she did. He told her what it meant. Was she ever mad and said she would have gotten her told had she had any idea what she meant. We teased Mama for years about being the best hustler Papa had ever seen.
Finally, the cotton was ready to pick in West Texas, so we went to Roby, Texas. All except Ed, and he stayed with the stock and the place. Lonnie went with us. The cotton was good, and we were furnished a beautiful house to live in. The people were real friendly there, and soon we were going to parties and giving them. The church was just across the road, and we would go there every Sunday and Wed.
The work was hard, but we would go to town and shop, see a movie on Saturday and to a party that night and to Church again on Sunday. Cassie was only twelve now and did not date, but did go to the play parties. The other girls had started dating earlier that year. We did enjoy ourselves that fall. We were carefree and happy for the first time in a long time.
But all good things must end sooner or later. We moved back to Archer Co. and stayed there for the winter. We met the Goforth boys, who Bernice and Cassie would marry a few years later.
Mildred had already met the man she would marry, Walter Dugan.
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But when the girls rode from Mitchell Co. to Dundee, it took seven days of riding. The wagon was loaded so they had to sleep on the ground and they would cook on a campfire.
They slept under the wagon for shelter and put a wagon sheet up for shelter and privacy between themselves and Ed. One morning they woke up to find him gone and themselves covered with snow. They saw him coming soon from toward town. Licking his chops, Hazel said. He had a toothpick in his mouth. They had no idea how long he had been gone, but they suspected he had slept in a hotel when he got cold.
They couldnt build a fire that morning, so they scrambled around and found a few bites left over from supper.
At another time, he stopped and went into a store for smoking tobacco and later on they would see him toss out apple cores.
Finally, they got to a horse pen a short ways from Grandmammys house and put the horses in it and we saw them come riding down the road towards the house like wild Indians. Ed was mad because they had not waited on him so he could come as they did. Then was when we moved to the Parkey place near Mankins.
We didnt stay long in Archer County after coming back from Roby, but moved on to Wichita Co. at Kamay or as it was known then, K. M. A.
One night in 1923 when we had been attending a meeting, Mama woke up to find Ed standing over her, telling her he had just seen his mother who had been dead for years. It scared her but he told her he wouldnt hurt her at all. The girls were sleeping outside had the beds put up in the yard. He came outside and began to walk back and forth from the house to the barn, singing "On Jordans Stormy Banks I Stand." He was moaning and groaning and scared us to death. Finally,
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Mama decided he was under conviction as we had been attending the revival for about a week. He would often seem to get religion while one was on, and then forget all about it later on. We slept no more that night.
While living at K.M.A., Lonnie heard that John Dudley had been found in a pasture near Decatur with his throat cut and they were bringing his body to Dundee next day for burial. He had been buried about a month and John was missing from home about that long. Dick heard about the man and had him dug up and thought it was his brother.
We left for Grandmammys at once. She was brokenhearted. of course. The next day, we went into the Church there for a funeral and when Mama looked at the body, she went to her mother and told her she could dry her eyes as that was not John. Someone had given her a large bouquet of flowers and she asked Mama to place them on his grave as he was some mothers son. John came home the next Spring. The man was buried for John on Thanksgiving Day, 1927.
He is still there and has never been identified yet. John had gotten tired of staying home with his mother all the time and gone off on a trip, we suppose.
That was another hard year. We did live in a large two-story house that was rather nice after we cleaned it and the yard up and planted a garden and flowers. Again we left to pick cotton, this time to Frederick, Okla.
Then we moved in 1928 between Holliday and Wichita Falls, Texas but in Wichita County. We grubbed out a pasture to have more acreage to farm. Again, almost a failure on the cotton.
The three younger girls married this year, and Mama and Ed and the ones who were left all went back to Mitchell Co. Mama gave birth to her twelfth and last child on May 16, 1926 named Gloria.
They gave the farm one more try that year of 1929 which was a
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failure, they farmed near Westbrook where we had first started out picking cotton in Mitchell County in 1919.
Then they called the farming quits and moved into Colorado City. Mama worked for Dr. Lee there as a nurse. She would nurse on cases for him or go with him on house calls. The depression was on now, and any kind of work was hard to get.
Things were getting worse between her and Ed now. So at long last they separated, and he went back to Limestone to make his home with his brother, Pitt.
When the W.P.A. started, Mama got a job at the sewing room as an overseer. And one time when the W.P.A. was working on court records such as school and birth records and such.
When she was fifty years old, she had gone to the high school and taken a course in typewriting. So she could type and got that job.
We lost her November 19th, 1952 it liked eight days being thirty-five years since Papa had died. She never completely got over his death. She went on to join her beloved Jim and we know she is happy, at least with him and Lovey and ___. We know we will see them when we go on to our reward, too.
All the other brothers and sisters are still living at this writing, which is January 1st, 1980.
Maude Marie Tatum was daughter of Barbara Dowell Shacklett and George Washington Tatum.
Barbara Dowell Shacklett was daughter of Burnis Shacklett and Susanna Jane Dowell
Susanna Dowell was sister to Benjamin Shacklett Dowell, first mayor of El PasoThis photo from Edna M. Baucum in 1982 by way of Victoria Broadbooks Fairchild in 2001.