Pioneers of Ellis County
Celebrating 93rd Birthday
Mrs. B. D. (Georgia Ann Turner) Caudle
Contributed by Jean Caddel
Aug. 19, 1959
Mrs. B. D. Caudle, who has lived in the Bardwell area longer than there has been a place of that name will be 93 years old tomorrow.
W. M. (Billy) Turner moved his family from Upshur County, Texas to near Italy in Ellis County when Georgia Ann was very small, moving later to a farm on Onion Creek. She remembers her childhood home as a one room house where the native grass was as tall as a man, the prairie chickens sat on the gate, and the wolves howled all around. If hoofbeats of wild horses were heard, her mother would get the children into the house and put props against the doors. Sometimes the horses would stay for hours in the shade of the trees and around a nearby pool.
Since there were no roads, the family traveled by wagon, following cow trails across the prairie and always carrying an ax to chop down the brush that had grown up since the last travelers had gone that route.
Georgia Turner saw her first bridge when the family went to Ennis to see the first train come through. At that time there was only one other house between Onion Creek and Ennis. As the wagon started down the steep bank of Waxahachie Creek, the children held on to its sides. Poles had been laid in the creek bed to prevent bogging down in the mud and the wagon wheels were chained to keep from running over the mules.
Butter and eggs were always taken on a trip to Ennis. . A trade at Pete Freeman's grocery store bought a dollar's worth of sugar which, in turn, was traded for merchandise at the dry goods store. Butter was kept fresh in a container which was kept in the well or wrapping it in a wet cloth, sealing it in a bucket and burying it in the ground.
During those times, a turning plow and a scooter stock were the only implements on the farm and Mrs Caudle remembers long days of following the plow dropping seed into the opened furrows.
She believes her grandfather, William Turner, died about 1872 and distinctly remembers that he was the third burial in Elm Branch Cemetery, near Bardwell. Two Matlock children were buried there previously.
When she was fifteen, Georgia Ann joined the old Bethany Baptist Church, now Bardwell Baptist Church, and says, "They haven't turned me out yet."
She met Ben Caudle (her future husband) after the family moved to Rankin. He lived at old Astonia, near Avalon. After their marriage they went back to live on Onion Creek and moved into their house at Bardwell forty years ago next Christmas. Ben died there seven years ago, but his widow still lives in the same house with her life long frend, Mrs. Sam Collier.(Lula Chapman) as a neighbor.
The Caudles had eight children: four sons, Lawrence and Sam, Dallas; Henry, Compton, Cal., Allen, Houston; and four daughters, Mrs. Ella Steele, Houston; Mrs. W. I. Windham, Mrs. Wilson Vandegriff, Ennis and Mrs. Cliff Adairs, Waxahachie.
[Added note Aug. 20, 1959]
"Mrs. B. D. Caudle of Bardwell is 93 years old today and still has her natural teeth. Although recovering from a broker pelvis, she is still feels 'chipper.' and considers her life very rewarding, if sometimes rugged in the early days. One of the more pleasant aspects was the fact that she always had a good horse at her disposal. When a messenger came bearing news of illness, she could tear out across the prairie in her buggy, or on horse back.
"Hospitals were not generally available in this area before the turn of the century. Fact is, it was hard enough to get a doctor. Quinine was the principal remedy."
She recalls a time, as a child, when she was digging fish bait. Her brother, standing at her elbow, dived down to pick up a choice worm just as his sister let go with the hoe. Their father sewed up the gash in his head with an ordinary needle and thread and no pain killer.
Ellis County History, Vol XIV, pp170-172; compiled by Mrs. Feltenberger & members of Rebecca Boyce Chapter D.A.R., Waxahachie.
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