YANKEE SOLDIERS AND GRANDMAMary Amanda Crandfield Flint and baby daughter,
Martha Mettalla Flynt Davis.
When a roving band of Union soldiers came into Northern Mississippi from, Tennessee, Grandfather Naris Martin Flynt, a Confederate soldier home on leave, took his horse (the only animal left on the farm near Iuka, Miss.) and hid in a gully. Grandma Flynt, at home with a small daughter, Martha Mettalla, put Grandfather’s uniform under the mattress in the cradle.
The Union soldiers arrived and searched the house for Confederate soldiers, for food and for money. Beds were stripped and the feather mattresses and pillows slit open. Trunks, boxes, baskets and sacks were opened and emptied. Everything in the house was disturbed except the sleeping baby.
As the Patrol searched diligently, the leader walked over to the cradle, pulled down the cover and gazed at the sleeping baby! By what miracle grandma kept back a betraying scream or a gasp, I’ll never know, but after a few seconds of unduly regarding the child, the officer replaced the covers and turned away!
When the soldiers left, taking what little food was in the house they stopped in the yard long enough to kill all the chickens to take along for supper.
Needless to say “Yankee” was a three syllable word to Grandma Flynt as long as she lived.(signed) Annie Zora Davis,
Daughter of Martha Mattella Flynt Davis.
It has been said that the Davis’ are honest unassuming, hard working folks. The name represents integrity, truthfulness and dependability, a ‘salt of the earth’ name---with a lot of common sense and ‘a matter of fact’ attitude thrown in. Reuben Franklin Davis displayed a ‘Davis trait or traits’ when he left Mississippi to move to Texas.
ON A MULE FROM MISSISSIPPI TO TEXAS
Reuben Franklin Davis rode one mule and led another one from Iuka, Miss., to Dawson, Texas, instead of riding on a train. “Coming on a train would have saved time, but I had plenty of time. Uncomfortable riding a mule such a distance?---Yes, I guess it was, only I was a farmer and no stranger to the outdoors and riding a mule was easier than following a plow. Speed meant something in the modern world---it was good business for the railroad, but I could not hurry the first of January when I would take over the farm I had rented in Texas. There is a seed-time and harvest---a time appointed to every thing under the sun and in my business I have to go along with the seasons.”
Frank was one of the last of the Flynt-Davis clan to leave Tishomingo Co., Miss. In September, 1893, Grandpa Ben and grandmother with their younger children, were ready to go. Frank put Mattie (so far as I know only he called her Mattie, to everyone else she was Met or Mettie) on the train with them so that she would have help with three-month-old Paul. Frank had a few items of business left he meant to follow the next day.
His last errand was delivering a matched pair of iron gray mules, named Kit and Sal. They were good stock but selling them and buying others in Texas was more practical than shipping them by rail He had sold them at a satisfactory price but had asked to keep them until he had hauled his personal possessions to the train . With his crop gathered, his equipment disposed of and a farm already rented in Texas he had reason to look forward to a worry-free journey.
On what was to have been his last morning he bridled the mules and saddled one of them, tied on his slicker and suitcase. The bridles and saddle were included in the trade---he set off to the buyer’s farm. To his everlasting amazement and consternation, the buyer refused to pay the amount agreed upon. To Frank, his word was his bond and “going back on a trade” was unthinkable. He rode away.
There were regular auctions at Iuka and he went into town to enter his team. However, the erst-while buyer was not idle. He had thought that a man about to move several hundred miles would be in no position to bargain, that cheating him would be a pushover. His scheme had failed but he still had a chance. He confided in a few friends. “We got Frank over a barrel. He can’t keep those grays, he’ll have to sell. If you will pass the word that they’re wind-broke or something we’ll get the best of him yet.” The prospect was delightful and it was with a great deal of hearty joviality and leg-slapping laughter that the friends entered the chicanery. Warned in time Frank withdrew his team from the sale. He had heard the traders speaking of an auction to be held in another town soon and he resolved to go there.
It was a dismal repeat of Iuka. His adversary, reluctant to let go his scheme, had followed. Some of the men had the grace to look shamed, others grinned sheepishly, but Frank read the signs. He withdrew his team. If he couldn’t sell those mules at a fair price, he could ride them to Texas.
It proved to be a sound decision. He could not get possession of his rented farm until Jan. 1st, so there was no hurry. The weather was fine, and the long, lovely days of Indian summer lay ahead. The grass beside the road was lush and green, for Mississippi was kind to growing things and the mules had plenty of food. They were both broken to the saddle, and Frank rode them alternately. He bought his meals and bed at farm houses, where the lonely tillers of the soil welcomed his company even more than the small sums of money they charged. Sundays he rested, attending church with his host.
The journey lasted 21 days notable for the lack of major difficulties. One incident near the end of his long rode brought him immense satisfaction. He arrived in Corsicana, his mules sleek and fat from their unhurried pace and alternate days of rest and the good grazing. A horse trader looked them over carefully and offered him almost twice the sum he had asked in Mississippi. Although highly gratified at this vindication of his judgment, Frank turned down the offer. He had only 20 odd miles to go, and he’d need stock to make a crop. He kept his mules and when they were too old to work he turned them out to pasture”. I think he even mourned their deaths. He often told visitors, “They moved here from Mississippi”.By a daughter, Leola Davis Maars.
Submitted by Dorothy Davis Arthur
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