of T. J. Allison, Md.
While there is, perhaps, but little of my personal history that deserves mention, still, my children have requested me to write a history of my life for their future perusal and as it may be of interest to them and give them an understanding as to why they have so many relatives in East Texas and how it is that they are connected to so many families, I have begun today to comply with their request. Unfortunately, however, I know but little about my father's people. I was born in Bibb County, Ala. July 29th 1850, in a small village called Maplesville. The county lines were changed at sometime prior to 1867 and a new county was formed so that the site of my nativity is now probably in Perry or Chilton County. About that time a rail-road was built through that section and as Maplesville was several miles from this road, its business was transferred to the rail-road leaving no relic of my native village. I understand, however that the new town retained the name, Maplesville. My father was born in Butts County, Ga. in 1824. This incident being only fifteen years after the expiration of our third president's term of office, it was thought proper to name my father Thomas Jefferson which they accordingly did. My paternal grandfather was William Allison, but as to his nativity, I have never known. My father had three brothers, William, Robert and David, and three sisters, Mary, Amanda and Sophronia. If there were others, I do not know of them, though my maternal grandmother told me when I was a boy that one of my father's sisters married Pratt of Prattville, Ala., the owner of the Pratt gin works, but Aunt Sophronia died unmarried and Aunt Amanda married Faulkner and Aunt Mary married Boyd....so if my grandmother was not mistaken, there was still another sister of whom I never heard my father speak. Uncle Robert married and died after two sons: William and Robert - and one daughter were born. Uncle Robert's widow married a man by the name of Godsey and the family soon afterward moved to Tx. and settled in Titus County. William (Uncle Robert's eldest son) is now living in Mount Pleasant, Tx. and is the only one of my father's people whom I have ever met.
My maternal grandfather was Hitson Brown. His wife's maiden name was Winnie Ray and the first that I know of them, they lived at Maplesville, Ala. though I am inclined to the opinion that he was born further East, probably in Ga. or S.C. This I gather from hearing him tell of riding through Ga. during an Indian War when he was quite a young man. Grandfather Brown's family was a very large one, sixteen children having been born to them, nine boys and seven girls, whose names were as follows: Thomas, Bluford, Briton,William, Berry, Horatio, Monroe, Dock, and a boy that died without a name. The names of the girls were: Harriet, Mary, Elizabeth (my mother), Francis, Julia, Adeline, and Victoria. None of this large family are now living except Monroe and he is in the "old Soldier home" at Austin, Tx. He is now about eighty years of age. The following is a brief history of each of the above children of Hitson Brown: Thomas (T R Brown) married Miss Kittie Billingsly of Maplesville, Ala. where he was engaged in the mercantile business until about the year 1870 when he moved to Texas and engaged in the merchantile business at Gilmer. A few years later he moved into the house with his father and mother, they being very old and left entirely alone. After this, he devoted his time to the management of his father's farm while grandfather lived and a short time after grandfather's death, Uncle Tom died also.
Aunt Kittie then married Wm. Daniels (16 or 18 years younger than herself) and then moved to Wilkins, merely a side-track on the T&P RR in the southern part of Upshur County. After a few years Aunt Kittie died while still on the Wilkins farm and Daniels afterward married a widow Walker of Pritchett, Tx. but they separated and Daniels died soon after. This ends Uncle Tom Brown's part in the drama, no children were born into the family.
Buford (Bluford W Brown) married a Miss Nancy Nix. To them were born a number of children. They lived in Bibb Co, Ala until 1866 then the family moved to Tx and together with his brother-in-law, Billy Fondren, rented a farm West of Big Sandy. The next year they moved to a farm about seven miles North of Longview where they lived a number of years, probably until Uncle Buford's (Bluford) death. They had two sons (Oscar and Newt) and three daughters, though I remember the names of only two of them (Mary and Emma). Uncle Bluford was a Methodist preacher of no mean ability. He was once a member of the Legislature and, if I mistake not, was instrumental in the formation of Gregg County from parts of Upshur, Harrison, and Rusk counties with Longview as its county seat. He lost his speech almost entirely and finally became partially insane. He died about the beginning of the present century. His eldest son (Oscar) was an engineer for many years on the Texas & Pacific RR. He lived at Marshall and ran a passenger train from Marshall to Texarkana. He recently made his usual run to Texarkana and was found dead in bed when he was called for the return trip. He had probably been on the road for thirty years.
Newt, the younger son, studied medicine and went to Okla. to practice and is still there so far as I know.
The eldest daughter (Mary) married a man by the name of Stinchcom(b) and died soon after, leaving only one child, a son (T D Stinchcom(b)) who is a prominent lawyer of Longview, (I now recall the name of the daughter which I had forgotten, her name was Kittie (Mittie)) I also remember another daughter (Lula) though I have forgotten who either of these two married though am inclined to the opinion that the husband of one of them was named Bouthe (Bruce). Emma, the youngest, married a merchant of Longview named Boring. I do not know whether or not these three daughters are still living.
Uncle Briton married Miss Frances Dunlap of Maplesville, Ala. They had two children (James, and they called the other one "Punch" though I suppose it was only a nick-name). Punch died when quite a small boy. James lived to be grown and married and was quite an intelligent man. Uncle Briton moved with his family to Texas before the Civil War and farmed and taught school. He died of Typhoid Fever about the beginning of the war. After the war, his widow (Aunt Frances) married Ira Johnson, a prominent farmer of Smith County. After a year or two she became in-sane and probably died in the Asylum. Her son James died of stomach trouble while he was quite young leaving a son (John Brown). His wife's maiden name was Abernathy (Inabnit) and I think her father lived at Wills Point and was probably a lumber-dealer. She and John may still be living.
Uncle William Brown married a widow Foshee in Ala. She had two Foshee children, a boy (Hugh) and a girl (Sal Sora). They moved to Texas about 1858 or 59 and after remaining here only a year they returned to Ala. and I never saw them any more, though I have heard that Hugh Foshee became quite prominent, having been County Clerk of the county for a number of years.
Uncle Berry was soldier in the Civil War and was killed in battle. He was unmarried and was probably an officer in the Confederate Army.
Horatio came to Texas with his father in 1850, being then a young man. He married Miss Ann Turner of Upshur County, in which county his father also lived, and to them were born three daughters, Lula, Mary and Vannie. Uncle Horatio enlisted in the Confederate Army and died soon after. His widow (Aunt Ann) married Edmund Jeter, a farmer.
Bula (Lul) Brown married Meyer Jacobs of Longview where she probably still resides though Jacobs died a number of years ago. He was a Jew and was probably connected with the famous merchants by that name in Shreveport, La. I have heard however that his relatives discarded him when he married a Gentile. They had four children, Minnie, Anna, Lillie and Walter. Minnie married Dr Bussey of Longview, Lillie married Jim Magrill of Longview. I think she and Magrill are both dead. I do not know where Walter Jacobs is or whether he is still living. He had one child.
Mary Brown married Lewis Barnes, a thrifty farmer in the community. They lived several years on the farm and then moved into Longview where he served the county several years as Tax Collector. They afterward moved to Houston where he died, Mary, his widow probably still lives in Houston. Uncle Horatio's youngest daughter, Vannie married J D Rollins. He was killed by being thrown from a horse, leaving only a son, James D Rollins. This son married Miss Lizzie Phillips. He died of tuberculosis in Gladewater, leaving two sons, Jimmy D and Macy. Their mother, Lizzie Rollins, afterward married Nash Laroe, a lumber dealer of Terrell, Tx. Laroe died recently and Lizzie and two worthy sons, Jimmy D and Macy still live in Terrell.
Cousin Vannie (after the tragic death of J D Rollins) married
W P Mings, a well-to-do farmer.
Uncle Monroe Brown married Miss Vannie Watkins. To them were born two sons (Julius and Elutian) and one daughter (Lola). Elutian died while a small boy. Julius married Miss Belle Brazzil of Gladewater, was elected Treasurer of Gregg County in which capacity he served several terms and is now a jeweler in Longview. Lola married Clay Walker and died a number of years ago and he married again. His second wife died and he then went to the Old Soldiers' Home. I have heard that he is married to one of the War-Widows in the home.
Dock, the youngest of granfather Brown's children was an indiot and died when he was about sixteen years of age. He always wore long dresses and it is said that some of the other children took him to the woods once and put a pair of trousers on him and that he got loose from them and was so badly frightened that he almost ran himself to death before they could catch him.
The above is a brief history of grandfather Brown's sons. I will now give a history of the daughters: Harriet (the eldest) died while still a child. Aunt Mary Brown married Jack Campbell of Maplesville Ala. To them five children wer born viz. Henry, John, Ed, Margaret and lou. Henry died while quite a young man. I remember seeing him when he visited Texas before the Civil War. I suppose he made the trip on horseback, as I remember seeing "H.C.C." put in the brow-band of his bridle. I asked him what the letters stood for and he said: "Henry Clay Campbell". This was brobably about 1857 or 1858. He died soom after. His health was poor when he visited Texas and he probably died of Tuberculosis. John Campbell is at present merchandising in Gunter, tx. where he has been for a number of years. Ed Campbell (his brother) is staying with him and is in poor health. Neither of the boys ever married.
Margaret, the elder daughter of Jack Campbell was lame, probably from her childhood. She died, unmarried, several years ago. Lou Campbell, the younger daughter, married John T Robinson. He was a farmer and above the average in point of intelligence. He farmed at different places in Upshur County Texas for a number of years and about the year 1889 he moved with his family to Ala. his native state. He afterward moved to Mississippi, but is probably living in Ala. now. Four children were born to them viz: Mollie, Dovie Ed and Nina.
Mollie came to Tx. a number of years ago and worked in her Uncle John Campbell's store where she is still working. When she was probably 29 or 30 years of age she married a man named Pate, but the union seemed not to be agreeable and they separated, without issue, and have remained so. Cousin Mollie and I used to keep somewhat regular correspondence. she wrote me once that she had an admirer, "but said she, "Don't you think he came to see me and had on no collar or tie"? I wrote her that when a girl got to noticing such small items as that, I considered her "doomed to be an Old Maid". In her next letter she said that her admirer had been to see her again, but she didn't remember whether he wore a collar and tie or not.
A few years ago her sister, Dovie Robinson, came to Tx. and worked for their Uncle John Campbell where she is still working, however at a rather advanced age probably forty or more. she was married to a man named D A Cater. Ed campbell died at the home of his brother, John. Ed and Nina Robinson have never married and probably never will, and unless Dovie and her husband have issue, which is not probable, Uncle Jack Campbell will not have a representation on earth when his two remaining children (John Campbell and Lou Robinson) and his four grandchildren, now living, have passed away.
After the death of Uncle Jack Campbell, Aunt Mary married William Fondren of Centerville, Ala. He was a well-to-do farmer, a widower with three children viz. John, Jack, and Adeline. Adeline was said to be an albino, even her eyelashes being white. My mother and Aunts always spoke of her as being an exceptionally fine lady. I never heard much about John and never saw him. Jack Fondren had the reputation of being pretty rough, and he may have been intitled to that appellation, judging from a circumstance which I remember. He came to Texas to visit his father. One day they got into an argument over some trivial question and his father finally said: "Now see here, Jackson, you must remember that I am a older man than you". "Yes", said Jack. "But I have known men to live to be old and then be d____d fools. This was in 1866. Jack soon returned to Ala. never heard of him or his brother or sister anymore.
To Aunt Mary and William Fondren (familiarly called "Uncle Billy") were born five children viz. Tom, Charlie, Ella, Livie, and Viola. Tom Brown died while only a lad. Charlie is still living so far as I know. I met him several years ago in Dallas but have not heard of him since. Livie Fondren married a man named Adkins and died and I think left only one child, a daughter. I met the daughter in Dallas in 1906 or 7. She appeared to be a real intelligent woman. She had married a man named Clopton and was the mother of a little boy. I think Clopton was dead. Ella Fondren married a man named Pate, but I never knew any thing of the family. I think Ella is dead. Viola died several years ago. She is unmarried. Uncle Billie and Aunt Mary both died a number of years ago.
My mother (Elizabeth Brown) was the next oldest daughter of Hitson Brown. She married Daniel Smitherman of Maplesville, Ala. When she was about fifteen years of age. To them four children were born viz. Newton, Mary, Wiley, and Robert. Robert and Wiley died as children. Both died in Ala.
Mary came to Texas about 1857 or 58. She married Lafayett Letcher, a farmer who lived a few miles North of the present site of the town of Longview, though that was a number of years before that town was built. To this union four children were born viz. Newt, Beauregard (named for a Southern General) Corrie and Louella. After the town of Longview was built, Mr Letcher moved to that place and operated a wagon-yard. Sister Mary (his wife) died in Longview about 1885 and he died a few years later. Beauregard, the younger boy, died while quite small and Newt the older one went to California. It seems that he operated a vessel from San Francisco to Alaska and corresponded regularly with his sisters in Longview, but after the great San Francisco Fire they heard no more from him and very naturally, suppose he perished in that disaster.
Louella, the younger of the two girls, married a resident of Longview named Richards and died soon after. Corrie, the elder girl married a man named Davis. I think there were some children born to them, though I never knew anything of the family. Davis died several years ago and Corrie married a man named Baker and was living near Brady, Tx. when I last heard from her.
Newt Smitherman (my half-brother) remained in Ala. when father moved to Texas. He visited Texas once about 1857. I remember a little incident that occured during that visit as vividly as it were only yesterday although it has been about seventy years. Newt took a chew of tobacco and offered my father a chew. "No", said father "I've quit". "How did you manage to quit?" said Newt. "I've tried two or three times and I can't quit" "That's the reason you couldn't quit, Newt, because you tried. There's no trying to do. Nothing to do only just quit". Newt returned to Ala. and when the Civil War began he entered the army and served during the War. About, or soon after, the close of the War he came to Texas and married a Miss Ella Smith, sister of Judge Tice. Smith who was County Judge of Gregg County several terms. To this union were born four children viz: Dan, Lizzie, Lucy, and Edna.
Dan, (named for his grandfather, Daniel Smitherman) now has a family and lives near Longview. Lizzie married aman named Rogers and they probably live in Longview, though I know nothing of the family. Lucy married McFarlin. To this union I think two sons were born, one of which was killed by being struck by a baseball as he was watching a game. The other son (Malcolm McFarlin) recently married Miss Lottie Lou Phillips of Gladewater and is Telegraph operator at that place. After the death of McFarlin, Lucy married J.M. Haynes, a farmer, and they are now living near Gladewater of a farm. Edna, Newt's youngest daughter never married. A few years ago she became insane and died in an Asylum and little more than a year ago. Brother Newt's wife (Ella) died in 1925 and he then went to live with Lucy and Mr Haynes where he died recently from heart disease.
This finishes the chapter of my mother's first set of children as far as I know. Newt was born at Maplesville, Ala. Aug 1, 1840, hence he was nearly 87 years of age at the time of his death.
I will now give a brief outline of my mother's remaining sisters before giving a history of my father's family.
Aunt Julia Brown married Jack Turner (brother to Uncle Horatio's wife) and to them six children were born viz: Oscar, John, Joe, Monroe, Fannie, and Eula. I think there was another girl who died when she was ten or twelve years old, but if so, I have forgotten her name. Oscar was an engineer on a locomotive and moved with his family to Ennis, Tx. where he died when he was quite a young man and unmarried. One of the other boys died when about grown but I do not remember whether it was Joe or Monroe. The other one is still living so far as I know, though I have not heard from him in twenty five or thirty years. Fannie died after she was grown, but was unmarried. Eula married a man named Suber and was killed ina train-wreck, leaving only one child. Eula was holding the babe on her lap when the train wrecked. They were both thrown through a car window and she was killed but the babe was unhurt. That was thirty or thirty five years ago and I have not heard of Suber or the babe since. Uncle Jack Turner died in 1874 and Aunt Julia married a widower named Shields. She died just a few years later and so all of that family are gone except Joe or Monroe, if he is living.
Aunt Francis Brown married Sen. Bozman and died leaving a son, (JESSE Bozman) Jesse grew to be a bright young man and married Miss Bagwell. He died in 1889 or 90 leaving only one child. I do not know whether it is still living. Ben Bozman had previously married a Miss Phillips who was a great Aunt of John and Azor Phillips who are present living in Gladewater.
Mildred Bozman was a daughter by his first wife. She married Gemmett Shepperd. Shepperd died a few years ago and Mildred is now living with her daughter in Gladewater. After the death of Aunt Frances, Ben Bozman married Miss Annie Fisher. To them three children, at least, were born viz: John, Robert and Mollie. John married Maggie Bumpus and they are living in Gladewater. Her mother (Annie Fisher) lives with them. She must be 85 or 90.
Ben Bozman also had a son, Frank, but I do not remember whether he was a son of the first of second wife. Frank died when he was about grown. Ben died thirty or more years ago and his widow Aunt Annie married a surveyer named Simmons. Simmons died several years ago and, as I have said, she now lives with her son-in-law, Henry York.
I am giving all these incidents in order to give my children an idea as to how we are connected with the families of East Texas.
Aunt Adeline Brown married J. R. (Uncle Jim) Shepperd. She died, leaving only one child (William). William married Miss Sallie Kelly. He died in Big Sandy several years ago. His widow now lives in Dallas.
After Aunt Adeline's death, Uncle Jim Shepperd married grandfather's youngest daughter (Victoria Brown). To them three girls were born viz: Genie, Mary and Dora.
Aunt Victoria died just at the close of the Civil War. When Uncle Jim returned from the war, he found that she had died only a day or two before. I don't remember whether he had heard of her death until he got home; certainly not until he reached the neighborhood.
Genie married Charles Morgan (my wife's oldest brother). To them were born six children viz: James, John, Monroe and a boy that died in infancy; Nora and Winnie. James died before he was grown and Winnie died while little more than a babe. John married Miss Agnes Rucker. He ran a barber-shop in Gladewater, then in Longview. I do not know where he is at present.
Monroe married a Miss Pickett and I think is living in Ark. Nora married John Landers and is probably living near Pritchett in Upshur County, Tex. Their father, Charles Morgan died about 1887 or 88. Cousin Genie, his widow married a man named Humphries. To them one or more children were born, though I do not remember the number or their names. Cousin Genie died about the beginning of the present century. Her sister Mary died of Miningitis in 1873 when she was twelve or thirteen years of age. Dora married Geo. Stewart, I think there were some children, but they moved away and I never knew much about the family. Dora died a number of years ago.
After the death of Aunt Victoria, Uncle Jim Shepperd married Miss Lizzie Ray, a cousin to his two former wifes and niece of Grandmother Brown. To them four children were born viz: Gabe, Lon, James, and Mattie. Gabe is a deaf-mute and carpenter and was living in Fort Worth the last I knew of him. He married a deaf-mute. Both he and his wife seem above the average for intelligence. I think no children were born to them. Lon and James are both well-educated men, both having taught school several years and Lon, serving one or more terms as County School Superintendent of Upshur County. Both are married and were both in the Land Agency business at Gilmer the last I knew of them. Their sister, Mattie Shepperd married John Phillips, a prosperous farmer of Gladewater, though he is probably in some other business in town now.
After the death of grandfather Brown and Uncle Tom Brown, his son, grandmother lived with Uncle Jim Shepperd until her death. Uncle Jim died a number of years ago and his widow, Cousin Lizzie Shepperd went to live with her son-in-law, John Phillips, in Gladewater where she died a few years ago. This finishes the family history, so far as both paternal and maternal except that the name of Uncle Jack and Aunt Julia Turner's other girl was "Ida". She died when she was ten or twelve years old.
I also remember that my father had a sister who married Tom Hurd, but I do not remember the name of that aunt if I ever knew it.
As I have said, I know nothing of the personality of my father's people, but mother's folks were very much of the simple, primitive type. None of them were highly educated, merely being able to read and write being the extent of their education. My mother could not write, though she could read. They were all superstitious and all believed in ghosts, haints, witches and "sperits" (as they called them). I do not feel, however, that we could censure them for this as they were not so far removed from the time of "witch-burning" in Mass. They all observed all the "signs" and planted their crops "in the moon".
Grandfather was a very stern man and had but few kind words for anyone especially for children. I remember when I was a boy, that the discussion came up between him and others of the family as to whether it was the "right time of the moon" to plant potatoes. I ventured to ask him if he thought it made any difference. "Yes, it does" he bawled out. "What do you know about it?" said he. I merely acknowledged that I knew nothing about it. "No, you don't. Now I want you to tell me one thing. Why is it that the sight in a cat's eyes is just a little streak on the new of the moon, and is big and round on the full of the moon?" I told him that I didn't know, but of course I did not dare tell him that I did not believe it. But I went home and examined our old cat's eyes and it only took me about twelve hours to find that at noon its pupils were a mere streak and at dusk they were large and round and that the moon had nothing to do with it. As I have said, Grandfather Brown was a very stern man, but I think grandmother was one of the kindest and best women that I ever knew. She was the idol of all her grandchildren. She was probably full blook Irish. I am sure her father was, but as to her mother, I am not so sure. Her death occured several years after that of grandfather and I remember hearing it said that each of them died at the age of 82, though I do not know this to be true. This completes all that I know of my father's and mother's people and even some of the things which I have stated may be incorrect as I am compelled to rely very much upon my memory and upon statements made, some of which were made 65 or 70 years ago.
I now come to the consideration of my father and his immediate family. It is probably that he lived on the farm with his father until 1847 when he attended Medical School at Augusta, Ga.
He came to Ala. soon after leaving Medical School and practised medicine at Maplesville where my mother lived and I think she ran a boarding house. Father may have boarded with her. He and mother married, though I have no record of the date of their marriage. I was the oldest child of my father and as stated above, I was born July 29, 1850. When I was only two months old, five families, that of my father, Jimmy Samples, Grandfather Brown, Johnnie Killingsworth and his son Jim Killingsworth and wife all started for Texas in wagons some of which were drawn by horses and mules and some by oxen. I do not know the date of our starting but have been told that we were on the road three months and that we camped four miles East of the present site of the town of Gladewater on Christmas Eve night 1850. Jim Killingsworth's oldest child (Albert) was born on the way, in Harrison County. Albert became quite prominent, serving Gregg County in an official way for quite a number of terms. It was the intention of all the party to go to the Texas Prairies, but the camp memtioned above was only five miles from Sabine river which was reported so swollen that it was dangerous to cross (there being only a ferry, knows as "Kemp's Ferry"). So the party decided to wait a few days for the water to subside. During those days of waiting, people from the surrounding County visited our camp and gave a rather discouraging account of the prairie country. They said that we would find no wood or water and worst of all that the Indians were roaming over the prairies and would be likely to "get our scalp". So all hands decided to remain in East Texas a year and investigate before going further. At the expiration of the next year, however they had all bought homes. The Killingsworths settled a few miles North of the present site of Longview, Jimmy Samples about six miles West of Gilmer, Grandfather Brown four or five miles East of the present site of Big Sandy and my father three miles North of where Gladewater now stands. None of these towns, however, were in existence at that time except, perhaps Gilmer. So, we might say, that that party of emigrants have been "Water-bound" in East Texas for nearly 72 yrs, though most of the younger generations have succeeded in escaping from their environments.
My father practised medicine a few years after coming to Texas, but there were so few inhabitants and they were so widely scattered that he considered it unprofitable and hence he quit the practice and devoted his time to farming. When father came to texas he brought with him a young negro man (George) which I suppose his father had given him when he left Georgia. It is from this negro that I learned most of the history of my father's people. This negro and my father soon cleared enough land, which added sufficiently to the small clearing which father bought to make a respectable little farm, which was its condition at the beginning of my recollections.
I will give some of my father's physical and mental peculiarities: Some of these I would hesitate to record were it not for his glorious transformation. His height was about six feet and his weight one hundred and sixty pounds. His complexion was unique. His hair was as black as a raven, his eyes a real light blue and his beard a deep, dark red. He was energetic and sociable and enjoyed wit and humor. As I have said, he seemed to have a fair education and was handy with carpenter's tools. While he had a ready temper and could sometimes fly in to a passion, he usually took a philosophic view of things. But I have been told that prior to the beginning of my recollection, he had some traits that were not at all commendable. He chewed and smoked tobacco, used profane language, played the violin and taught dancing and drank liquor. Uncle Tom Brown told me that in Maplesville, Father was considered a dangerous man when he was drinking. He said that one occasion Father has threatened to kill him at sight. Said he: "I sat in my store-door all one morning waiting for him to pass. I had my shot-gun across my lap and if he had passed, I would have shot him without asking a question, but I am glad he did not pass for everything was all right when he got he got sober."
He continued all these habits after coming to Texas and right up to the beginning of my recollection. I do not remember seeing him intoxicated but once. I remember hearing him play the violin and could recall some of the times after I was grown.
But the glorious feature of it all is that he quit them all and quit all at once. He decided to reform and he Reformed. Never took another chew of tobacco or smoked, never drank any more liquor or played another tune on the violin, nor was he ever heard to use another oath. He had a fine violine and he just laid it on the fire. He had about a half caddy of tobacco and he sold it to Mr Pitts. Pitts refused, for awhile, to take it for said he: "you'll begin again", but he took it after becoming satisfied that father had quit for good. He joined the Baptist Church and was a consistent member until his death.
I now remember three other daughters of my half-brother, Newt Smitherman, viz: Lora, Mary and Nannie. Lora married Judge Mann and they live in Longview. Mary married Jesse Rogers. They live in California. Nannie married Loy Goyn, they live in Kilgore, Tex. I never knew anything of their families and had even forgotten about these three girls until my attention was called to them.
Father, Mother and I spent our first year in Texas (1851) in the home of John Mings (father of W. P. Mings) about a mile and a half North of the present town of Gladewater. The house had only two rooms, being a log house with a hall between the two rooms and Mings and wife and small daughter (Melody) occupied the other. This place has been known lately as the "Jim Mackey place", thought I do not know who owns it. During this year (1851) father practised medicine and for three or four years afterward, but in 1852 he bought a tract of land just North of the Mings home and moved into his own house. This land is now owned by Joe Watkins. My recollection begins at the point in sight of the present home of Joe Watkins.
Father's family of seven children in the order of their ages were as follows. Myself (being the oldest), William, Berry, Frank, Sophronia, Angeline, and Pugh. William died while a small boy, just beginning to talk. The history of the other will be given on a future page.
My grandfather (William Allison) died in 1856 and father visited Georgia at that time and bought back with him a negro boy (Manuel) nine years old, which I suppose was father's share in a division of grandfather's estate. This boy was a brother of the negro man (George) which father already owned.
George died only a month or two before the slaves were freed and Manuel left soon after emancipation and we never saw him any more, though I have heard that he became quite well-to-do and owned a large farm seven miles South of Marshall, Tex. He died a few years ago. He assumed the name "Manuel Washington".
Father quit the practice of medicine about 1855 or 56 and devoted his time to his farm, though he was still called: "Dr. Allison". When the Civil War broke out he volunteered and left for the army Sept. 16, 1861, my youngest brother (Pugh) being only three days old. He visited us twice after this, but in Jan. or Feb. 1862 he left and we never saw him again. In May 1862 his regiment was dismounted and father was detailed to help bring the horses home. He was sick when he left camp and had gotten only a few miles when he had to stop at a private house four miles South of DeSrak, Ark. where he died of Pneumonia May 14, 1862.
This was certainly a trying ordeal for mother. She and six children and two negroes had to be fed and clothed and worst of all, there were no modern conveniences in those days such as we have now. There was no sewing machine and so all the clothing had to be made by hand, and as my sisters were too young, the older children being boys and I (the oldest) less than twelve years of age, mother had to help along that line, and, to make matters worse, there was nothing to buy, it being War-times. All the cloth must be made by hand. In this, however, we boys, both black and white could be of some assistance. We could spin thread and help in a number of ways in the manufacture of cloth, but mother had to do all the weaving and cutting, and making of our clothes and as the sewing must be all done with the needle and thimble, it certainly gave mother a task which few would dare and none would care to undertake.
Of course, she had to do most of the cooking which was done in pots, kettles and ovens on the fire-place. But through it all, I do not remember ever hearing my mother complain of the hard lot that fell to her share. I did not understand then, but can now see what a noble woman she was. The coming of day-light was the signal for us to rise in the morning and the noon-hour was announced by the shadow of the door-post, as there was never a time-piece of any description in our home.
But through all the time of these sad experiences an amusing incident would occasionally occur which probably helped to sweeten the bitter stuff of which life seemed to be made.
We had a gentle pony. One day mother told me to bridle the pony and take a sack of onions (a half bushel or so) to a neighbor. I placed the onions on the pony's bare back and mounted. There was a small stream of water on the road a quarter of a mile away and the pony was probably thirsty, and knowing that there was a shallow hole of water at the ford, it insisted on hurrying down the hill. The harder I pulled on the bridle the father forward I would slip and by the time we reached the stream I was about on the pony's shoulders. It put its head down, abruptly, to drink and my position on its back and firm hold on the reins brought me over the pony's head into the water (onions and all) on my face, all spread out like a flying-squirrel. The pony became frightened, of course and ran back home without slaking its thirst. I must admit that there was not much in this little episode to sweeten my life at the time, but in its journey through a space of 65 years it has lost all its unpleasantness and retains only its amusing features.
Time is kind to hoary age.
But mother was relieved of the care of the farm by our negro man, George. He was a good darkie and seemed to take as much interest in our home affairs as if he had been the real owner. So we managed to get along and probably lived as well as many of our neighbors who seemmed more fortunately situated.
When I was seven or eight years of age, father put me in school. A man by the name of Alex Mackey (Uncle of Jim and Charlie Mackey) was to teach a little 3-months term as Cross Roads, but as that was two and a half miles from our home, father made arrangement for me to board with the teacher, taking me there Monday mornings and coming for me on Friday evenings. It was understood that I was to start to school on a certain Monday, and on Saturday before, father went to Gilmer (twelve miles) and brought me a Webster's Speller. While that was about seventy years ago, I have not forgotten my thrill of joy on seeing that book. I remember just wondering whether there would be another book in the school as beautiful as mine. Mother said that I ought to know all the letters before starting to school and hence I kept her and father pretty busy teaching me and by Monday morning I had the alphabet about mastered. During that three months term I learned to spell and read in the First Reader (McGuffey's).
Mr Mackey was a fine teacher of reading and spelling. He required all advanced pupils to master all the rules for Spelling and to rigidly observe all punctuation marks in reading.
I had been accustomed to hear father offer thanks at the table, but Mr Mackey did not, although he and his wife were members of the church. One morning (while I was boarding there) when all were seated around the table, I proceeded to offer thanks. Just why I did, I cannot tell. I do not recall any particular feeling which I had in the matter, but I remember that his wife said, "Mr. Mackey, you ought to be ashamed of yourself." From that time on he offered thanks at every meal and I am almost sure he continued to do so as long as he lived for he was a strictly religious man.
I continued to attend short sessions of school almost every year until I was about fourteen years of age but did not attend anymore until I was past twenty-one for reasons which will be explained later.
In these short sessions I would usually start where I did the year before, advancing with the result that at the end of the five or six years I had gone through the speller, the Fourth Reader, forty pages of Smith's Grammer and could do sums in the first four rules in Arithmatic. I could also write but it was a dreadful hand as I had had almost no training in that art. I attended one very short term, during the Civil War; at West Mountain, walking back and forth each day although it was four miles away. Miss Amanda Neely was the teacher. The style of the penmanship I am now using was learned from her.
In 1862 I was employed by A. B. Denton of Gilmer to carry the mail on horse back from Gilmer to Hagan's Ferry on Sabine River, a distance of 25 or 30 miles although I was not twelve years of age. I would go from Gilmer to the Ferry on Monday and back to Gilmer on Tuesday and so through the week which caused me to be in Gilmer on Sunday and it was in church one Sunday that an old man (Steve Beasley) came to me and told me that my father was dead. We had known that he was sick but had not heard from him in a month or more. Father was never in a battle.
In the summer of 1864 mother married a man named Joe McCook. He was a black-smith and a widower with no children and while he was a rather simple-minded man he was a good man and treated us well, though I cannot say we children always rendered him the deference that we should, which I now regret, but there seems to be a strange feeling of resentment in the mind of a child whenever some one takes the place of a parent. But he was a patient man and seemed to take no notice of any of little indignities and so everything went along smoothly.
In the Spring of 1865 I was employed by John Marshall of Gilmer to carry the mail (on horseback) from Mr Pleasant, in Titus County, to Henderson, in Rusk County, a distance of 85 miles although I was less than fifteen years of age.
But it was War-Times and as most of the men were in war, much of mens work was left to the boys. I was thus engaged when the war closed and Mr Marshall, the contractor, stopped the mail, fearing it would be robbed. I would leave Gilmer Monday morning for Mt Pleasant and return to Gilmer Tuesday, Wednesday I would go to near Bellview in Rusk County, and spend the night with old Jackie Fambrough. Thursday to Henderson and back to Fambrough's, and Friday back to Gilmer where I spend Saturday and Sunday.
On one of these trips I got a LESSON which has followed me ever since. I will relate the incident even at the reisk of being tedious. There was a government Post at Gilmer where clothing, shoes, hats etc. were made for soldiers. At odd times the men would use the machinery for making hats and other things to sell to the people. I bought one of the hats and wore it on my trip. When Old Uncle Jackie saw it, he said: "Whar did you git that hat?" I told him and he then asked me the price. I told him I gave $20.00 for it. Then he said: "I want one of them". He gave me a $20.00 Confederate bill (which was almost worthless at that time) and I promised to bring his hat on the next trip. When I called for the hat at Gilmer, I was told that there were none on hand, but they would have it by the next week. I did not use tobaccco, but I had a friend on the route that did and I often heard him wish that he had some "plug tobacco". I found some plug tobacco in Gilmer and thought I could accommodate him by giving the $20.00 for a pound of it and then get the money from him with which to buy the hat. I met him on the ferry-boat at the river and proudly handed him the tobacco. He examined it, said it was rotten and that could not use it. It did not occur to me to return it and get the money, but merely thought that if it was rotten, it was worthless and tossed it into the river. Will, I continued on my route, but Oh, how I did dread to meet "Old Uncle Jackie. (He was not a relative of mine, but was the father of Mrs. B. F. Phillips of West Mountain, was a very stern man and was called "Uncle Jackie" by his friends and neighbors.) I now had neither the hat nor the money and just how I was to convince him that I merely meant to be accommodating instead of dishonest I was unable to figure out. I suppose my feelings on the remainder of that trip were similar to those of a man being taken to prison under a "life sentence". My only hope was that he would not think of that hat until I could make another trip and that I would go by home, which was but little off my route and get the money from mother and bring Uncle Jackie's hat and never let him know about my predicament. Well, I went on to Henderson next day feeling some better. I came back and spent the next night with him as usual, and still he did not mention it. I now began to feel very much better. But next morning, he seemed to suddenly think of it and said; "Well, what about my hat?" I told him that they had none on hand but would have one ready for me to bring next week. Then the thing happened which I had feared all the time. Said he: "I have decided not to take the hat and you can just give me back the money." Just then I, no doubt, felt more like a man going to the gallows than one going to the Penitentiary. There was however nothing left except to tell him the whole story. Whether he believed it or not I do not know for he only said, in a stern manner: "Now, see here, young man, I want my money." Said I: "You shall have it". and I left immediately, and I went by home and unbosomed the whole thing to my mother. She sympathised with me (just as all good mothers do) and told me I should never spend money belonging to another and said that I should have taken the tobacco back instead of throwing it away. She gave me a twenty dollar Confederate bill which I proudly handed to Uncle Jackie on my next trip.
This straightened the matter up, but the lesson was so deeply impressed upon my mind that I have never since been willing to spend another man's money for the accomodation of myself or anyone else. I have had to borrow money a few times, but I never feel easy until it is repaid.
During my boyhood days I helped on the farm and found enjoyment by playing with other boys, roaming over the woods, shooting with bow and arrows, fishing for minnows with "pin-hook", and making and operating "flutter-mills" in the little streams and twisting rabbits out of hollow logs and trees.
During the winter months we made trips and caught birds and rabbits and I often went to my trips barefoot when the ground was covered with snow. I sympathize with the boys of today because they do not know how to get real enjoyment out of life. I, no doubt, had my boyhood faults, but I was not cruel or destructive. I delighted in playing pranks on people, but not such as would cause them pain or loss. I feel that I was more inclined to appropriate what I learned from books than most of my companions were. I will illustrate: A boy friend, a little older than I (I was 14) was at our house and I told him of a fall from a china-tree which was causing me to be a little lame. "I got out on a limb and it was so brittle that it broke and let me fall." I said I noticed that he was amused and asked him why he was laughing. He said it was because I had said "birttle". I asked him what he would have siad. "Oh", said he, "I guess brittle is right, but I would have said: mighty brickly or mighty brash". That "Everlasting Whipcord" story in my boy-hood Reader still comes to my mind whenever I see anyone destroy a thing that might be of future use.
As I have said, our negro man (George) died in 1865 only a short time before the slaves were freed. His brother (Manuel) who was then about 18 years old, together withsome other darkies sat up with a corpse at night. During the night they fastened the door of the cabin, took an axe and went into the woods and cut a bee-tree which Manuel had previously found and thus converted the "death-watch" into a festival.
In the summer of 1865 my youngest sister (Angieline) was stricken with Typhoid fever. In December I was striken and was unconscious from the start. A little later, Mother and my two older brothers (Berry and Frank) took the fever and on the night of Jan. 6, 1866 mother died and about two hours later, one of the boys died and the other boy died the next night, so Mother, Berry and Frank were all taken to the cemetary and buried the same day. I had partially regained consciousness and remember the incident merely as a dream.
Next day grandfather Brown took us to his house, seven miles away, in a wagon, though my older sister (Sophronia) had the fever at the time and died about a month later.
This left only three of us, Pugh, Angie and myself. Pugh was less than three and a half years old, Angeline was six and I was fifteen and a half. My stepfather (Joe McCook) went back to live with his brother. Grandfather kept Pugh and Angelinea and as soon as I was able to work I started out for myself, though I was confined to the house about three months so that when I was able to get out into the farm it was to help "thin corn" in the Spring. I had lost the use of my ankel joints and was unable to stand without support (just as a boy on stilts) and carried my hoe to and from the farm to prevent me from falling.
It was about this time that Uncle Bluford Brown and Uncle Billie Fondren came to Texas from Ala. and rented a farm West of the present site of Big Sandy. This farm was known as the Billie Shepperd place. Uncle Billie Fondren afterward bought it and lived there the rest of his life.
Uncle Bluford visited us at grandfather's and employed me to chop cotton at $8.00 a month. I worked for him until the crop was finished and started out to find other work. A baptist Preacher of West Mountain named McClelland, who was also a school teacher, proposed that I live with him as one of the family and work for him on the farm and attend his school during the winter. I decided to do that and worked about the house a few days. He then directed me to go take a horse and plow and go to the farm and break a piece of land which was covered with corn-stalks and kenn-deep with crab-grass. I found at once that I could not do it and went back and told him so. "Well" said he: "If you can't plow, I will have no further use for you."
I left at once, perfectly discouraged not knowing where to go or what to do. But I found a job of cotton-picking, at which I had always been a failure, and I picked cotton and had chills the rest of the fall. I was a pretty good
ox-driver, for a boy, and in December 1866 Denis Obrien, a brother-in-law of Uncle Jack Turner, employed me to drive a team of oxen to Bell County, as he had decided to move there. I would not recommend a trip like that, in the dead of winter, to any boy who is out for "a good time" expecially if he is as poorly clad as I was and has a team of "raw steers" making it necessary for him to wade most of the mud-holes in order to put them through. When we got to Trinity bottom we found it a veritable sea of stiff mud covered with a thin coating of ice. The team could scarcely pull the wagon through and I was compelled, as usual to walk beside them, sinking five or six inches in the mud at each step. One of my shoes came untied and I stepped out of it and it is there yet so far as I know. I left it quietly resting, probably six inches below the surface. The team finally stalled and a stranger came along and hitched a part of his team to mine and pulled us to better ground. A snow fell that night. We had to remain in camp at the edge of the bottom the next day and night. There were two families, that of Obrien and his brother-in-law Dock Turner, all bound for Bell County. I suppose it was toward the middle of January (1867) when we reached our destination and struck camp on the bank of Reed's Lake near Little River Thirteen miles East of Belton.
John B Reed was a big land owner and Obrien and Turner had previously made arrangements to rent land from him for that year which they did. I stayed around the camp a few days while Reed was having some cabins hastily moved to the back of the farm (about a half mile East of the lake) for Obrien and Turner to occupy. Reed lived on the bank of the lake a short distance from where we camped. Well, here I was with no friend or acquaintance to advise me except the two families with whom I had come and I didn't know what to do or where to go. Finally a man named Belmire, who was a renter on the Reed farm, offered me $15.00 per month to work for him during the crop season. I accept his proposition and went to live with him. He was reairing his house at the time (a thing which I know nothing on earth about) and he decided I was not the boy he had been looking for and gave about $3.50 for the week I had been with him and let me go.
Nothing left now for me except to go and ask Obrien's advice. He heard my story and said he would give me $10.00 per month to help him make a crop. I accepted, of course. He said, however, that I would have to sleep in the little hack-berry pole pen which he had built for a smokehouse as he had only one small room for himself and family. (there were three small children) I don't see why people freeze at the North Pole, for it doesn't seem to me that there can be a colder place on earth than a straw bed on an Arkansaw bed-stead with not enough cover, over a dirt floor, in a cabin made of hack-berry poles and put on the North side of the house. The winter was a severe one and just why I did not freeze to death I have never been able to understand. It may have been because he was the hardest task-master that I had ever had. I worked for a man named Wilkerson during the Summer and in the fall I picked cotton for Sam Silvers who was also a renter on the Reed farm. While working for Silvers, I found a pony that I wanted and the owner said he would sell the pony and take corn for his pay. I made arrangements with O'Brien to let me have my wages in corn and gave it for the pony. The first time I saddle it, it threw me off and gave me such an injury that I was almost incapaciated for work until next Spring. After the cotton-picking season was over I worked for Bill Moore down on Little River doing odd jobs. He recommended me to his brother, Maurice Moore, who lived over on Elm Creek and was gathering a herd of cattle to drive to Kansas. I worked for him several months, herding the cattle and came with the herd as far as Kaufamn. When Moore didn't need me any longer with the herd, another of the men and I went back to Bell County. I would have gone from Kaufman back to Upshur County, but Uncle Monroe Brown had advised me not to go with O'Brien to Bell County and when I told him that I would not take his advice, he merely added: "Yes, and you will be back here inside of a year and afoot." That remark kept me in the West for five years and when I did
go back I rode my own horse. Probably no one was ever more home-sick than I was during the first year of my stay in the West, but after that I felt no very great desire to return. Really, I had no home to return to and would have been as completely adrift in Upshur County as in Bell and I had begun to realize that fact. I had formed new associations and friendships and had become perfectly contented to remain, and I will add that never from then until the present day have I ever felt the sensation of "home-sickness". I still enjoy the association of relatives and old friends, but there is none of that keen feeling of disappointment when I cannot return to them.
In the meantime Uncle Jack Turner had moved to Bell County and was living in a tent about five miles East of Belton. When I left the cattle-herd at Kaufman I went directly to his camp and soon found work on the farms in the neighborhood and during the fall and winter picked cotton at several different places. This was in 1868. In the Spring of 1869, Uncle Jack rented a farm near by and I worked with him that year for a part of the crop. If I remember correctly, I got a little over a bale of cotton for my year's work. In the fall of 1869, Uncle Jack and his brother (Dock Turner) bought some land five miles East of Belton on the Cameron road and Dock's son, Tezula, and I hauled cedar poles twelve miles, with ox teams to fence the farm. This gave me employment all winter. I enjoyed the association of Uncle Jack and his family for they seemed to take great interest in me and the whole family were singers. I had attended a couple of singings schools during mother's life-time and had learned to sing by note. There was only one note-book in general use at that time. (The Sacred Harp) There were, I suppose, three or four hundred songs in the book and Uncle Jack could probably sing the bass, I was the soprano and Aunt Julia the tenor to every one of them from memory. The children, also, could sing many of them. This gave us a sort of prominence in the community and created a kindly feeling between the family and myself which might not otherwise have existed.
In the Spring of 1870, I worked on the farm first for Hugh Smith and then for Bill Perkins, in the smallfield where Uncle Jack and I had made a crop the year before. Smith was afterward shot to death, by an Irishman, as he was drawing water from the well that we had used the year before.
During the summer of 1870, I was employed by Presley O'Keef, a Baptist preacher, to assist in gathering a herd of horses in Williamson County. We camped at a spring which was said to be the spot where the Webb family was murdered, a few years before, by a band of Indians.
The herd was brought to Bell County and kept for a month or two in the vicinity of where Temple now stands and day after day I have watched the horses eat grass on the spot where that town was subsequently built. I went with the herd to Louisana late in the fall. I had three horses in the herd. I sold one to a farmer near Mansfield, on credit, another one went with the herd when O'Keef sold out, for which I never received a penny. The preacher is dead, long since and I have managed to get along without the money and if he can arrange the matter satisfactorily with Peter, I suppose every thing will be OK in the windup.
The next Spring (1871) I worked on a farm for John Whiteside. John was the best and most reasonable man for whom I had ever worked, except Uncle Jack Turner, and these two were well matched in the matter of kind consideration. He was not at all exacting altogether he was paying me the highest wages that I had ever gotten for work on the farm. He gave me $20.00 per month and when we were well up with our work he would sometimes say at dinner-time on Saturday "Well, we'll knock off this afternoon and go to Belton", and when the end of the month came, he would allow no reduction for lost time. All this endeared me to him and
gave me greater determination to give him good service. A sister of Whiteside's father had married Frank Cowden and he with his family, from Palo Pinto County, visited John and his father in July. Cowden was a cattle man and I suppose Whiteside must have given him a good account of me for Cowden proposed to give me an interest in the increase of his stock if I would go with him and take charge of the round-up the next Spring. Perhaps an additional inducement may have been the fact that Cowden had a couple of daughters who were sufficiently beautiful to make almost any young man of twenty-one wish to abandon singlehood. At any rate, I accepted his offer and went with him. The family was in a wagon and I rode my horse. The trip must have occupied four or five days. I remember that I reached the 21st anniversary of my birthday while we were on the road (July 29, 1871) When we reached his home, I did odd jobs around the place such as making post-oak rails, building pig-pens and chicken coops and sawing board-timber. On moon-light nights I also took turns with Cowden and his boys in watching the horses to prevent the Indians from stealing them. This last item did not appeal to me as I had never felt that I was "cut out" for an Indain fighter. While I was at Cowden's a circumstance occured which, no doubt changed the whole course of my life therafter. Cowden lived fifteen miles South of the town of Palo Pinto with just one old, dilapidated, vacant house on the road. He and I visited the town one Saturday and, the distance being so great, we had to stay overnight in town. He introduced me to a couple of his friends (Mr. Evans and Jim Shirley) telling them that I was a "great singer". They seemed delighted and Shirley procured a book and he and I began to sing. Shirley and Evans both said that we must have more of that, and that I should sleep in the back of Evan's store which I did and we sang until late in the night. After that, whenever I went to town I had to sleep in that sotre and sing. But the point is, they were both well educated while I was almost illiterate. In fact Shirley was a teacher in the school there and was also County Attorney while Evans was a merchant and an educated man. They would sometimes get on to a little literary discussion and the only way I could hide my ignorance of such things was by keeping "my mouth shut". While I valued their friendship it was so embarrasing to be in their company that I did not enjoy it. I knew that my ability to sing was my only redeeming trait and felt that they knew it. After a few such trips to town I made up my mind not to suffer such embarrassment all the balance of my life and I accordingly told Mr. Cowden that I was going back to East Texas and go to school. But I didn't have a dollar and how was I to get there? He said he would give me twenty dollars for the work I had done for him but did not have the money and so he gave me an order to a merchant in Palo Pinto for the twenty dollars.
I had a nice violin and a revolver and on the morning of Nov. 3rd, I saddled my horse, tied the pistol to the horn of the saddle, took the fiddle under my arm, told the family good-bye and started for East Texas. When I got to Palo Pinto, I found the merchant would not let me have the twenty dollars in money but would let me have goods to that amount. I sold my violin for six or seven dollars and took the twenty dollars in clothing.
Shirley and Evans were going almost to Weatherford the next day and invited me to stay in Palo Pinto that night and go with them the next day and slept in Evans' store. Next morning we started out and stayed that night with Shirley's father aobut six miles West of Weatherford. I remember nothing more of interest until I got to Fort Worth. I hitched my horse to a rack and went into a store. The merchant said to me: "I see you have a revolver on your saddle". "Yes" said I. Said he: "you had better take it down and put it in your Saddle-bags before an officer sees it". I went immediately and took it down and instead of putting it in the saddle-bags, I took it into the store and asked the merchant if he would buy it. He asked
how much I wanted for it. I told him to "price it and take it". He gave me four dollars for it, which was about one fourth of what it had cost me. This gave me much-needed expense money and I went on. I crossed the Elm Fork of the Trinity River at a ford at Dallas. At that time Fort Worth was such a town as Gilmer was fifty years ago and Dallas seemed a mere village. I do not remember seeing any stores except a few that fronted the river. I remember distinctly, as I rode along between the stores and the river, that there was a circular mudhole, ten or fifteen feet in diamenter, in the middle of the street (if they called it street) and there was a pole sticking up in the mud to show people that it should be avoided. I did not stop in Dallas, but rode on and crossed E. Fork and in the river-bottom beyond I came upon three young men who were engaged in getting out Bois D'arc seed. It seemed that two of them were brothers and the other a hired man which we will call Smithers. I stopped to enquire the way and watched them work a short while. One of the brothers said that it was a long distance to the next house and that I had better stay with them until morning and as the sun was getting pretty low, I decided to do so. I had noticed that Smithers was a jolly sort of fellow and would scarcely speak on any subject without mentioning the business of "getting out Bois D'arc seed. I stopped with them for the night and found that the mother was a widow and very religious. After supper she began talking about the Bible and the way people should live. Finally she explained what she thought was necessary for people to do to get to heaven and asked our opinion. The two brothers and I gave our ideas and then she asked Smithers what he thought about it. "Well," said he "I think that if a man will be honest, treat his neighbors right and get out Bois D'arc seed, he will be all right."
I remember no other incident until I got into Collin or Hunt County. I stopped to spend the night and after supper, the man asked me where I was from. I told him that I was originally from Upshur County and he told me that he had some neighbors who were from that county. I asked their name and he said "McCook" I asked their given names and he said "Hamp and Dan". I told him that they were my step-father's brothers and him to show me the way and I would go to see them at once, but he insisted that I remain with him 'til morning which I did though I could scarcely sleep. I went to their house next morning and gave them what they called: "A glad surprise." I stayed with them a week or two and picked cotton to replenish my almost empty pocket-book. When I left them. I went to Gilmer and spent the night with Uncle Tom Brown and the next day to grandfather's in the Southern part of the county. Here I was once more among my kin-people and acquaintances and I felt somewhat proud of the fact that instead of it being "inside of a year and afoot", as Uncle Monroe had predicted, it had been five years and I was on horse-back. Scarcely any of the people knew me at sight for I had grown from a lad of sixteen, just out of a spell of Typhoid Fever, to a Six-foot man of twenty one and was spporting a very noticeable beard. I visited around among my relatives and friends until about the middle of January 1872 and met with a cordial and welcome everywhere and then started for Mansfield to collect for the horse I had sold. I made the collection and sold my other horse, bridle and saddle at an auction. This gave me about $100.00 which was the most money that I had ever had at one time in my life.
While I was not a toper, and had never been drunk in my life. Still I often took a drink of liquor and the first thing I did when I got to Mansfield was to go into a saloon and get a drink. The saloon-keeper's name was William and was a grandson of one of my father's old Fiddling friends in Ala. I went to the home of Mr. Mosley with whom I was acaquainted, to spend the night. Then a thing occured which gave my life another permanent turn. Miss Ellen, Mosley's daughter, proposed that I accompany her to church, which I did. The preacher's name was Smith and if I remember correctly, was a Methodist. He was a rather young man, was a good speaker and fine worship. His address was more of a temperance lecture than a regular sermon. He pictured a young man of twenty-one, just starting out in life and how he would take an occasional drink with his friends merely as a social feature. His judgement would tell him when to
stop and so long as his thirst for drink is weak and his resolution strong he is safe, but every drink he takes will strengthen his thirst and weaken his resolution and when his desire becomes stronger than his resolution, said he "That man is gone and will fill a drunkard's grave." His description described my case so completely that it seemed that he was talking directly to me and I saw the logic of his argument. I was twenty one, had been taking only an occasional social drink and I felt that my thirst had not yet become equal to my judgement and resolution, and before I left my seat, I had resolved to never take another drink and I have kept that resolution to this day.
I found a wagon coming to Shreveport and took passage on that, the trip requiring two days. There, I took the train (my first ride on a train) and came to Longview. There I found a wagon which took me to West Mountain where a good school was in session. B. C. Chrisman was the teacher and while I have been under the tutelage of quite a number of teachers, he was certainly the best. I indeed consider myself fortunate in having such an instructor. I entered his school about the first of Feb. 1872 and applied myself assiduously for seven months. Near the close of the school the teacher asked me what I meant to do when school was out. I told him that I supposed I would look around for a job on a farm as that was about all that I knew how to do. Said he: "I wouldn't do that." Said he: "It will take you two or three years working on a farm, to save enough to go to school another term". Then, said I, "What would you do?" Said he: "I'd teach school." It had not occured to me that I could teach after attending so short a time. He said that I was well up on all that I had studied and felt almost sure that I could "pass the Examining Board." The thought of being able to make sufficient money during the winter to enable me to attend school the next year together with the assurance of the teacher stimulated me to make the effort and sure enough I passed. With the aid of friends I procured a little school at what is now known as Mings Chapel. I taught three months in an old dilapidated dwelling, that had been abandoned, in the back part of a farm. This netted me $50.00 per month and after paying my board and some other expenses I had about as much as I had to start with the year before. Prof. Chrisman taught at Bethel, church near Gladewater the next year (1873) and I attended the school six months the next winter I taught at Pleasant Hill and in the Spring of 1874 I attended Prof. Chrisman's school in Bethel three months. He then moved away and in the Summer of 1874 I taught a short term in Hunt Co. After this I did not attend country schools anymore, but went back and taught at Pleasant Hill in 1875.
I married Miss Ann Morgan of West Mountain on July 29, 1875 - the day I was 25 years of age. I finished the term that fall at Pleasant Hill and decided to try farming. We moved to my father's old home about three miles North of Gladewater. I tried farming in 1876 and decided I was not a success in that business.
I then went back to Pleasant Hill and taught during 1877 and 1878. In 1879 I taught at West Mountain. By this time I had decided to try farming again so we moved back to father's old farm and farmed in 1880. I made a poor crop and became fully satisfied that, as a farmer, I was a complete failure and have never tried it again.
During 1881 I taught school at Bethel, where I had formerly been a pupil under the tutelage of Prof. Chrisman. During the fall of 1881, I taught several singing schools. I had, by this time, decided that teaching was about the only vocation which I could follow successfully and feeling that I was poorly eqiped to teach a continuous school, we moved to Thorp Spring in Hood County and entered Ad-Ran College. Already some of formost pupils at Pleasant Hill were almost up with me and I felt that it would be folly to return there to teach without adding to my literary equipment. I applied myself dilligently during the College term and during the vacation in 1882, I taught a three or four month's school at Hiner, near Brock, in Parker County. At the close of this school I moved back to Thorp Spring with the view of attending another session in College, and I, with the whole family, fell sick and by the time we were able to travel.
I barely had enough money to get back to East Texas. At this time we had four children and about thirty dollars.
I owed Dr. Lancaster of Thorp Spring fourteen dollars for his services while we were sick, but I acquainted him with my circumstances and told him that we wanted to move and he kindly agreed to wait until I could earn some more money. So we returned to East Texas and I procured the school at Pleasant Hill almost at once and sent Dr. Lancaster his money out of my first voucher. I continued to teach at Pleasant Hill until 1888.
During the vacations I taught singing schools at various points and by this and strict economy was able to keep the wolf from the door although a teacher's wages was only $50 or $60 per month for about six months each year. Once, we moved to the Indian Rock Community and taught a small three or four month's school during the Pleasant Hill vacation. This was probably about the year 1884. In 1885 or 1886 I decided to become a canidate for office of County Tax Assessor. I borrowed a horse and rode up and down through the county for two or three months. But I was "gloriously" defeated. I say "gloriously" because I was only 3rd in a race where nine men were running. Every box in my part of the county gave me a nice majority, but these were Saloon Days and it was almost impossible to be elected in those days unless you would go into Saloons and "treat" the crowds, which I absolutely refused to do.
Some rather amusing incidents occured in this campaign. I was urged by my friends to see a Mr Sutton, who lived in the Northern part of the county, as he was a very in-fluential man. I rode up to his yard gate and spoke to a lady who was standing in the door. I asked to see Mr. Sutton. She said for me to hitch my horse and come through the yard and I would find him plowing in the orchard. When I reached the gate, I asked if they had a dog. She burst into a laugh and said: "No, we had one, but he barked himself to death at Canidates."
After this failure to secure an official position, I never made another attempt, but confined myself to teaching literary school at Pleasant Hill, surveying land and an occasional singing-school in Upshur and Gregg Counties.
In 1887 Dr. Shettlesworth moved into our community to practice medicine and through his influence I began the study of medicine in 1888. He was a pubil in my first school at Mings Chapel and now I had become his pupil and he seemed to take great interest in teaching me. In Sept. of that year I attended Louisville Medical School of Louisville, Ky. and came back about the 1st of Feb. 1889. I looked around for a location and through the solicitation of friends I moved my family to Gladewater Feb. 15, 1889. There was just one old doctor there who practised in and around Gladewater for twenty years or more. He was of the "old-fashion" type and never used a thermomenter or Hypodermic Syringe. On one occasion he said to me: "I wouldn't give a cuss for all of your thermometers. When I put my hand on a man's pulse, I know whether he has a fever or not.
I suppose I did about one third of the practise on the community the first year and he two thirds. The next year - 1890 - I supposed I did about two thirds and the next year he quit and I had no competition until 1894 or 1895. After this, other doctors moved in which made me somewhat uneasy, but I soon found that they only enlarged the territory and did not affect my income. We lived in rented houses until 1892 when I purchased a lot and built a home in which we continued to live until Feb. 1926 when we sold the old home and moved to Spanish Fort.
It is now Apr. 11, 1929. I practised here until the summer of 1928. I was then 78 years of age, my hearing extremely dull and my memory poor and I decided that I could be of but little furthur service to the people and that it was not only a duty to myself, but to the people as well, that I should retire.
After taking my first medical course, I went before a member of the District Board (Dr. Daniels of Gilmer) and secured a temporary certificate to practice until the meeting of the Board in April. I met the Board at Mineola and secured a Permanent Certificate. The President of the Board told me, in the presnece of the other members, that I was the best posted man that had ever been before the Board. While this may not have been true, still, it gave me greater
confidence in my ability. I returned to Louisville in Oct. 1889 and graduated Feb 17, 1890. I took First Prize in Practise and Second Prize in Gynecology at the close of the term.
I attended a Post Graduate course in New Orleans in 1901 and a course in Poly Clinic in New York in 1905. On the way to New York I spent one day at Buffalo N. Y. and visited Niagra Falls. At noon the day before, I had crossed the river at Detroit and was in Canada all the afternoon. From Buffalo to New York City, I was on the New York Central RR which runs along the bank of the Mohawk River, and this brought to my mind the song: "The MOHAWK VALE" which I learned in my childhood.
From New York, I retuned home on the Steamer, "COMUS", via New
Orleans and was on the water five days, and for three days was
out of sight of land. I saw many sights in New York, but my greatest
thrill was this voyage on the ocean. Everyone should take this
trip, if he wants something to remember.
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