"I Was a Hill Billie Girl" by Elizabeth Beach Robertson
"Here is the document my Great Aunt, Elizabeth Beach Robertson, wrote when she was 80ish about what she remembered about her grandfather, Wm. Riley Beach." - Sherry Beach Chapell
Western North Carolina, Johns River, 2020 MapQuest, <https://www.mapquest.com/us/north-carolina/johns-river-nc-364499012>
Yes, I was born and bred in them thar hills, I was born of poor but honest parents on the head of Johns River, in the mountains of western North Carolina. And sure there is gold in them thar hills, for I found it, the gold of contentment, and brotherly love, the mountain people, are my people and I love them, and I love those great princely mountains. When the Rhododendron, and Pumtation and azaleas are in bloom, or the rich color of the autumn leaves or even when they are colored with a deep blanket of fog, they have a beauty all their own, and when they are colored with snow they fill me with awe, and I realize how small and insignificant I really am.
My father was an Advent Christian minister, and all my early years were spent on the Blue Ridge, from blowing Rock to Jellico K. Y. and my first recollection is of moving, we did not stay in one place long, I had two sisters older than me, Sallie and the Oldest, and Lue, then Lizzie which is me, our father was Billie Beach, of scotch and Irish decent, and Mother was English and Dutch, Her name was Marry Harrison, the first thing I remember was a pair of red shoes, Daddy had bought me, we cooked over an open fire in the fireplace, like everyone else around us did, mother was in bed sick, and Sallie was going to cook dinner, now she was only eight, but she was trying, she put the skillet lid on the fire and heat it hot, then she mixed her corn dough and put it in the skillet, then she put some live coals and ashes on the lid, then as careful as she could she placed the lid on the skillet with a hook, but she spilled some ashes on the dough now Daddy was very strict about mistakes like that and she knew he would scold, so she made some more dough and put over the ashes to hide them. We had ash sandwich for dinner, meantime I was playing with my shoe, slinging it around by the string, I let the string slip through my hand, and the shoe went into the fire, I was heart broker, for they was the most beautiful shoes I ever had, I was only a baby of two and a half, we moved from there to Burke county, where another sister was born, her name was Isa bell, the next I remember we were living in Shell Creek Tennessee, with mothers cousin, she was a tall woman with a coarse bluff voice, and I was afraid of her, she was such a scold. Her little son Teed was a little larger than me, but a great playmate, one day we were sitting on the stairs, he had a dull knife and was making me something to play with, out of a stick, he had it nearly in two when I tried to help and he cut my hand, Aunt Jane as we called his mother, began to yell, Neily get me a rag, Lucrish get the turpentine. Teed has cut Lizzie and she is bleeding to death, is was cut pretty bad, but not that Bad, I was scared, and Teed was scared so bad he ran and hid among some shingle blocks, they did not find him for a long time, he thought he had killed me. I have heard mother tell about Sallie and Lue killing a chicken before I was born, they were living in Lenoir N.C. then, and there was an old gentleman by the name of Warren lived nearby, who raised chickens, he also planted a garden, now he gave my two sisters, two and four years old, twenty five cents per week to keep his chickens out of his garden, one day mother was working in her garden, leaving the two little girls in the house, she saw smoke coming from the chimney and went to see about it the girls had got one of Mr. Warrens chickens in the house and killed it, they had it almost cooked in the pot, they was boiling it, feathers and all, she took them to Mr. Warren and made them tell him what they had done, he would not let her punish them it was so funny. He said he had not laughed so much in months, we bought a farm at the Wahoo Springs where another little girl was born, the Wahoo springs is about two miles from Blowing Rock NC. NC the old stage road.
Now I was the odd one, two sisters older and two younger than me. That fall the conference sent Daddy to preach and establish churches in the mountains of K. Y. we sold our farm and everything else we had only what we could take in a one horse wagon, and started for K. Y. but we had company, Mother’s aged cousin Richmond Harrison, and his son Harve, and Harve’s two sons Ed and Henry went with us, eleven of us in all, we hated to leave our friends but us children were happy to be on the move, and besides there was so many new places and things alone the way. I only hoped there would be mountains, all the way, for I loved those mountains even then , we passed through Blowing Rock and on to the Grandfather mountain, us five older children and Harve walked all the way, we was afraid we would miss seeing something if we rode in the covered wagon, we had all our worldly goods in the wagon, and no set time to get where we were going, there was a light snow on the ground, but there was lots of winter green berries to pick and sights to see, and we were warmly clad, and in no hurry to get there, and we did not mind the cold as we were used to it, we camped out on the top of Grandfather mountain, that night, Daddy and Harve and the little boys slept under the wagon, and the rest of us in the wagon, they kept a big camp fire going all night to keep the Panthers off, we could hear them screaming on hill tops all night, it was rough but thrilling, and we were happy, we had good health, enough to eat and warm clothes and each other and a great adventure ahead of us, what more could we ask and something new around each bend in the road, and plenty of bends in the road, and new sights on the other side of each mountain, and a sense of God being near from the top of each peak. If it rained we got in the wagon and kept dry, although we begrudged all the time we had to ride, so me enjoyed every step of the way, cold and all. Have you ever slept out in the open, and waked up in the morning hungry as a bear and feeling how good it is to be alive and eat breakfast cooked over an open fire? Food has never tasted so good, nor sleep been so sweet and refreshing, we camped out every night, and wherever Sunday caught us we stopped there until Monday, and if we came to a place we wanted to see more of, we stopped and explored all we wished, I still believe this is the best way to travel. We are all in too great a hurry to see anything these days, really see it we took time to see everything along the way, if we made fifteen miles in a day we were satisfied, one night we camped at the Poplar stump, near Elk Park, this was a favorite camping place for wagoner’s, when we went to bed Uncle Richmond placed his coat and hat on the poplar stump next morning when we got up the big stump was burned, so was Richmond’s hat and coat he had no other hat, that morning a man joined us on our way, us children had just recovered from whooping cough and were still coughing some, this man told Daddy if he would go with him up the road about a mile he would get us some whiskey for our cough, as this was a remedy in those days for everything, from snake bite to heart break, Daddy went with him. He was not gone long until we heard the report of a pistol, Daddy always kept one while we were on the road, we knew there had been trouble, and we were all worried, but he came back soon and he had this strangers hat in his hand, He said the man tried to rob him and he shot his hat off, Daddy gave the hat to Richmond, but he did get some whisky that day, this was all the medicine most of us mountain people knew about, except the herbs in the woods and field, and garden, the mother in the family done the doctoring and learned about medicine and herbs, early in life, this and homemaking was a girls main education, some had no other, I believe in education for both sex, but I think the part of home making and nursing should never have been left out, it comes in mighty handy I know by experience, and I am still mountaineer enough to believe our girls should be taught to be home makers with some nursing thrown in for she sure will need it. And our boys should be taught how to be the true head of the house with all the responsibility that goes with providing for a home, and family. Which is sadly neglected today, but the divorce courts would not have much to do, I never heard of them when I was growing up.
We crossed a river somewhere in Tennessee that was frozen over, the ice was thick but not thick enough to hold the horse up so Daddy and Harve took axes and cut the ice and made a channel for the horse so he would not cut his feet. We had a lot of rain for the next week or two, and when we came to Clear Creek Kentucky the creek was up. But we tried to cross any way, in midstream the horse fell down, the wagon was floating, Mother and the little ones was in the wagon, Daddy was driving the rest of us crossed on the railroad trestle, Daddy jumped out to cut the horse loose and Harve waded in and carried mother, uncle Richmond, and the two little ones across, we went in a pine pole cabin, where the railroad workers had lived. Daddy and Harve and the horse were covered with ice, but they soon had a fire going, we took the horse in too, Mother hung quilts between us and the horse but he came partly in with us to be near the fire, we made room for him too. I sat between his feet to make more room around the fire. He enjoyed that fire as much as we, Daddy spread a quilt over him to keep him from catching cold. There were several of these cabins and we visited all of them next day as they were empty. I was very bad to put things in my mouth, they all tried to break me of this habit, we went to a grave yard near the cabins the men were talking about them, and as usual I was listening in, I overheard Daddy say these were negroes and they were killed, I was chewing on a piece of rubber then I asked Harve why did they kill the negroes? He said to get their skin to make rubber out of. I threw my rubber away, and was never guilty of that habit again. Later in life I learned that the white men in that community had killed the Negroes because the railroad had brought them in to build the railroad because they would work for less, and the people did not like Negroes anyway. We stayed here a long time, they let Daddy preach in old store building that was empty, Here is where I met my first experience with feudalist, the Heldons lived on one side of the creek, and the Sheldons on the other if either crossed the creek they was killed or at least shot at and those Kentuckians usually got what they shot at.
Daddy visited both sides, and invited them to come to preaching. Now the place where he preached was on the Sheldon side of the creek, finally they formed a truce and the Sheldons permitted the Heldons to come across, but only to the church. They both came and brought the whole clan, they did look odd, both sides brought their rifles and the Sheldons sat on one side and the Heldons on the other, with their rifles beside them. Daddy preached to them of Christ and his coming kingdom, where they would not have to carry a gun. This was something new to them
For he preached the first sermon they had ever heard, and they were eager to learn of the bible, which was a strange book to them, they knew little of books of any kind, we stayed there a long time and organized a church where we all met as one, I do not know how long it was as I was only six, but before we left the Heldons and the Sheldons were friends. they had been enemies so long they had forgotten what started it, anyway and they were both our friends and we hated to leave them, the people in those Kentucky Mountains are some of the best people in the world, they were kind, gentle, hospitable, truthful and honest, and friendly as long as you did not infringe on their rights and stayed out of their business, if they liked you they would die for you, and if you earned their hatred they thought mothing of killing you, their home no matter how poor their women folk and their honor was their pride and they are a proud people and in those mountains they have something to be proud of, an inner goodness simpleness and love for one another, they did not love you for the clothes you wore, or the money you had or the property you owned or our beauty no matter how old or ugly or how poor you was, if they liked you they liked you and was not ashamed of you. I have gone to church with girls two for instance who were great chums one wore a beautiful silk dress and nice shoes, the other wore an old faded cotton dress that was clean and went bare footed, they were about sixteen years old and inseparable, they went arm in arm and loved each other just as well as if they had been equally dressed, they had something we all need a lot of.
At last we reached our destination, there was not much happened that summer. Harve rented a farm, and took uncle Richmond to live with him, we left them there when we moved away, we rented us a small farm too. Daddy helped get it planted, but he was gone most of the time mother and us children made a crop of corn with our hoes, most of the people did and there was no stock law, people who had livestock turned it loose, people who farmed had to build fences. We had no stock so we had to fence. Our land load had lots of hogs running loose and they would get in our corn. Daddy told him, he only said, fix your fence. There was nothing wrong with our fence, he had one old sow, that could climb the fence and tear it down, she had nine pigs, she kept tearing down the fence and turning them in our corn, they were good sized pigs, and could eat and waste a lot of corn, when Daddy came home and they had been in the corn he was mad. He went and told the man again that his hogs was tearing down the fence, and wasting his corn the man said he would have to fix his fence and keep hogs run out. Daddy told him if he did not keep them out he would kill them. He went to Barbourville to preach, he was gone a week when he came back the hogs were in our corn again and had been two or three days. Daddy just got his gun went to the field and shot the sow and all the pigs. He went to the landlord, and told him what he had done and if he wanted the hogs for meat to come and get it otherwise he was going to bury them. He came and got them, we were all scared for Daddy, we were in a strange country and did not know how the land lord would take this, and he might even kill him. We never knew what words were said, but the man did not seem to be very mad at Daddy when he came after the hogs. Daddy took his gun when he went to tell him he looked big and brave to us kids for he was our Daddy, he only weighed one hundred twenty pounds, and was only five foot two, but he had a fire in his eyes when he was angry that made up for his size. We left there that fall and came back home to old N.C. we bought a farm known as the Barnhill place, it had two houses on it and a big orchard, and vineyard, we were very happy here, it was only three miles to Blowing Rock. Daddy was gone most of the time, but he was home more than when we were in K.Y. I went to school for the first time from here, we were about two miles from the old stage road, they were making a turn pike in its place, Daddy worked some on this, but he was a brick and rock mason when he was not preaching, there were some negroes rented our old house to live in while they were working on the turn pike. Some nights when Daddy was at home, they would come to our house and sing for us, we all enjoyed their singing very much. They only sang sacred sons that were the only kind we were allowed to sing. father and mother were very strict and deeply religious and very careful of us five girls, but we had cousins nearby and plenty of nice neighbors, berries to pick corn to hoe chestnuts to pick up apples to gather and store, so much to do and see we never knew what loneliness was early that spring Daddy was clearing a new ground on a hill in front of the house, now there was a heap of old cane stalks where they had ground the stalks up get the juice to make molasses, they were dry and I wanted more than anything to burn those stalks so I took some splinters and a shovel full of live coals and set them on fire, Daddy saw the smoke and called to me to put out that fire and not to put any more fine in them. I poured water on the fire extinguishing it. But I was not satisfied I wanted to burn those stalks, I was six years old, old enough to know better but I reasoned ashes is not fire. Daddy had said not to put any fire on those stalks. He did not say ashes, we all know ashes is not fire, so I go a shovel full of ashes I searched through them to be sure there was no fire, that would be disobedience, pouring the ashes very carefully on the driest of the stalks then I lay down close as I could and blew with all my might on the hot ashes, finally I raised a smoke, I was so interested in what I was doing I saw no one, until Daddy spoke, I thought I told you not to put any fire our here, I did not argue for I knew I had done wrong when He was through with me I never wanted to put out any more fire. I never got to burn those stalks; they were too close to the house to burn so we had to move them. One hot day that summer Sallie was minding the Little ones while mother was working the garden there was a fence around the field the weeds grew ranker here than anywhere else.
Sallie took off mine and Bell’s clothes all of them and made us a dress, shoes, and a hat of leaves, we played in them until time to go to the house, that night I felt like I was on fire, I burned and itched so I could not sleep, finally toward morning mother noticed my restlessness thinking I might be sick she came to my bed to see. I was covered all over with a rash of some kind, she thought I had measles she looked on Belle she had some too, next morning she found out it was poison, Sallie had made us clothes of Poison Ivy. Daddy painted us with wet gun powder, which killed the poison, and very near killed me, but we were tough and hard to kill, so I got over it, but I never forgot it, the nearest school house burned down that summer but Daddy made arrangements for Sallie, Lue and me to go to the Sky Land Institute in blowing Rock that fall we only had three months school and it was three miles away, but we walked it every day. I was only six that spring and I don’t remember when I learned to read and spell. I know it was long before I ever went to school, when school was out in November, we moved back to Kentucky, selling all we had, we went by train this time, which was not half the fun it was in a covered wagon, but we stopped over in Tennessee, to pay a visit to my Grandfather, I had never seen him after Grandmother died. He married again, there were three of the first children my father Billy as he was known by most, but his name was William Washington Beach, and his brother Frank Beach, and his sister Sarah or Sadie Beach Holden. Sarah died before I was born, Frank went to Kentucky somewhere but there were about six of the last children, Joe, Nathan, Martha, Ellen, all married and went west before I was born, but there were one girl about seventeen , I think her name was Ariah but I remember Cora, and Bonnie well. Grandpa said Daddy ought to give up preaching and settle down, so us girls could go to school, that night we had a spelling match, this was a common pastime evenings when they learned that we could read and spell as good as they could and they were older, there was no more said about it, I never saw any of them again, although, I would have liked to for they was my kin, as for spelling that was our favorite pastime evenings when we were alone Mother gave us the words, and each spelled It’s word when its turn came if it missed the next in line got to spell the word. We also took turns reading aloud with mother correcting us she was a wonderful teacher, so patient but always firm. We always made a game of every task, had a lot of fun and got lots of work done; she always kept up competition among us. Sometime before this we had spent one winter on Jonas Ridge, in N.C. We were there for Christmas; there came the biggest snow I have ever seen. It was over my head and I was about five years old, we were in the house with Mother’s cousin Abel Harrison, and another cousin was there too, Nancy Beam, was her name, cousin Abel had two children, Polly and Willie. Six of them and six of us , and we all lived in two small rooms, the men distilled birch bark and made oil until the timber froze, then it was all they could do to keep us from freezing, the chimney was made of sticks and clay and caught fire sometimes we ran out of food and cousin Abel had a pet sheep we ate that then Bill Beams, Daddy and Abel gathered willow switches, and mother made baskets the men folks sold the baskets, and this bought food for all the rest of the winter, one day Bill went to the mill with a bushel of corn for bread, it was the coldest time I have ever seen, the snow was about two feet deep and frozen solid, he left home about nine, he should be back by noon as it was only two miles, when he did not come then we were all worried about two Daddy and Abel went to see about him, they found him setting astride the foot log almost asleep. He would have frozen to death if they had not went after him.
But they carried him home and put him to bed, he recovered alright. When we left Grandpa Beach we went to Barboursville Kentucky, then to the Davis Mountains, some miles from Barboursville, we rented another farm and went to work there; I met a little boy about my age who was the best play mate I ever had. We were in perfect harmony we never quarreled as most kids do. We always agreed on everything, we never thought of sweet hearts we did not know of such things we did not think of him as a boy an me as a girl, we were just two kids that liked to play together, I know I enjoyed those two years on Davis Mountain, better than any years of my life, we were together all the time when it was light enough to play, in the summer we roamed the hill and fields, we had no toys and never missed them our toys grew on bushes or in a tree top or an old abandoned coal mine. We never got tired of each other or cared if we seldom saw other children. We was sufficient in ourselves, our little brother was born here and was we proud of him? He was my especial pride, when he was only three days old Bell caught her dress o fire, she would have died had Mother not been there, it was almost a mile to the nearest water, us children were too frightened to do anything, Mother jumped out of bed grabbed the water bucket, it was empty so were all the other vessels, then she began to tear Belle’s clothes off in doing so she burned her own hands bad, but she saved Belle’s life, when Ben was only two weeks old we were out of food and Daddy was away preaching, He was not preaching for money and he received none, so when the food run low we depended on no one bur God and ourselves, when Daddy came home finding no food he gathered willow switches and mother wove them into baskets, she worked all night and painted the baskets in places with her blood from her burned hands, is it any wonder we children almost worshiped our mother for she gave her all to her children, while Daddy was giving his time to the Lords work mother was keeping the home together which was her part of the service, which I think was a great a service, as any Daddy preached eight years, establishing churches in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia, without price, all I remember he ever received in this life for his labor was one pair of socks Mrs. Maine knit for him. But he was not alone in this work, there were other pioneers who did not charge for preaching the word of God which was supposed to be free, and they did not believe in putting a price on it, besides the people in those mountains were poor like ourselves, they were not financially able to pay a large salary to a high priced preacher, but he was welcome to eat at their table and sleep in their bed, in fact he fared like an honored quest, in their home, there were Rev S. E. Gragg, better known as the mountain lion , also Rev W. F. Hendrix an Rev Green, Dula. Our home was headquarters for them all, I was born with an enquiring mind, and my greatest pleasure was to sit quietly and listen to these great men, when they were in our home. Sometimes they would discuss the Bible, until mid-night it was a great privilege to stay up and listen. Sometimes they would have a debate at some school house, with some other preachers, I always loved a debate, but I was never permitted to go to one of these, I was too small, sometimes Daddy would take Sallie and Lue, who were older, in years but I always thought I would have enjoyed it more than they, in spite of my years for I was more interested in such things, than they were, we were very happy in spite of our poverty, we had never known anything else, I guess the hound never missed the wool on the sheep’s back, so we never missed the riches we never had, we were healthy and enough to eat to satisfy our hunger a clean dress once a week with an extra one for Sunday, and plenty to do, a friend or two, and we were satisfied, Billie Davis and me always found plenty to do to amuse ourselves. We explored the old abandoned coal mines climbed trees, and built play houses. If he is still alive I wonder if he remembers the grass hopper pies we used to make, there was some white clay in a damp place that was a perfect substitute for wheat dough, Billy would catch the grass hoppers and take off their wings, and legs and I would use the clay for crust and make the pies, baking them on a flat rock in the sun shine, one time we built us a chimney out of rock, the hogs and cattle ran loose as there was no law against it, and Mr. Davis had lots of both, one sow and her pigs used near our garden, the pigs would root under the fence and get in our garden, me and Billie played at our chimney near the garden, Mother told us to keep the pig out of the garden, every time we would get busy playing the pigs would get in , we would chase them all but one this pig refused to go out the way he came in, we had to catch him and carry him out, we soon got tired of this we would have to think of some other way to keep him out, I told Billy, maybe if we whip him with a little switch, he will stay out, he agreed and got the switches two or three of them. Then he held the pig by the hind legs while I whipped him across the belly. I did not whip him hard for I never could bear to hurt an thing, no one had ever told us if you whip a pig across the belly with a keen hickory it would die, but this one did, now we were in deep trouble we knew we would be punished, and we did not know how bad, so we talked it over and decided to take the pig down in a hollow and bury it and say nothing about it, there was a chance it would never be missed, being his father had so many, so we buried it in a deep hollow where the leaves were very deep, we buried it in the leaves piling them deep on top, no one ever found it out, I never told it until I was married and had children of my own, and I don’t think he did. That was a hot but wonderful summer, Daddy was away more and more, and for longer periods, sometimes six of eight weeks at a time, we were used to it and enjoyed life as we found it. I became more and more of a Tom boy I suppose that was why Billy liked me; he had no little sister or brothers of his own. One day Mother sent me and Lue to Mrs. Davies on an errand, I do not mean to boast but we were all obedient to our parents, we ask permission to play a while, she said we might stay until the sun went behind the mountain. The sun was all the time piece we had, we had not been there long, till Mrs. Davis told us we had better go home mother might worry, we were taught to respect grownups and not talk back, we went home greatly insulted and told Mother we were never going back there again because Mrs. Davis had run us off. We never either unless she was with us. We learned later that some neighbor children would come to Mrs. Davises and stay so long their mother had told her to send them home, so she thought nothing of telling us to go home, but we never forgot it and never liked her because of it. We were not used to their customs and therefore we did not understand them, for instance, one morning a neighbor woman came to our house while mother was washing the dishes, she said, I came to get me a mess of beans mine is later than yours and have not come in yet. Mother said, when I get through washing the dishes we will go pick them, they are real nice and I will be glad to give you some. Oh don’t hurry Mrs. Beach, she said, I already have them picked, and another time Daddy went to see our corn he had been gone so long, he was anxious to see how much it had grown. It was in roasting ear stage but he would never let us pull any out of the field. We always planted some for that purpose when he came back he told us some man had been getting our corn, he saw his tracks, and the corn was gone, lots of it, he was real angry but he did not know who to be mad at, about three of four weeks after wards one of our neighbors who lived across the hill from us came to our house it was raining he stayed and talked awhile, then said, well Mr. Beach my corn is in roasting ear, when you want a mess of roasting ears just do me like I did you, go to my field and help our self, we knew then who had got our corn but we was ashamed to be mad about it, that was their way and they thought nothing of it, we never went after any of his corn tho we knew it was all right. It had never been our way, I said I was a tom boy I would climb trees no matter how tall they were, or if they had any limbs or not, I was always tearing my clothes, was hard to keep me in dresses. Daddy bought some cloth they made men’s pants of, to make me a dress, he said I would not tear that, now there was a blue bird built her nest in a hole in a post in the garden fence now this fence was made of strips of wood the top was sharpened, then nailed to a long board which was nailed to a post the strip was standing up, now this was over two feet higher than I was but I did not mind that I wanted to see the blue birds nest, so I climbed the fence to the top looked in the nest there were two eggs in it , then I jumped down, or part way down my dress cough on one of the strips, and this time Daddy was right my dress did not tear, I hung there, till Sallie helped me down, but did this stop me from climbing? No. but it did make me careful. Now Mr. Davis had some geese as sure as it rained the goslings had to be put in the shelter or they would drown, I liked to help catch the little ones but I was afraid of the old ones for they would bite my legs, they had one old blue goose that stole her nest off in the woods, Billy and me had to hunt her nest, after several days we found it, Billy held her while I got her eggs, she had a nest full. We divided them and carried them home, she quit laying but sat on the nest anyway, they sent us to fill her nest full of rock. We did but several days after that they sent us to break her up again, we found her sitting beside the pile of rock, Billy said, maybe she has laid some more eggs lets see, so he held her by the neck to keep her from biting me while I felt for eggs it took me to long, or he held her to tight, one or the other , anyway when he turned her loose she was dead, we very sorry bur we knew what to do , we had one secret, we could keep another, so we buried the goose with the pig. His folks wondered for a long time what had become of the old blue goose, finally they decided that a fox had cough her, we knew different but we did not tell. And that was the end of the old blue goose; I was swinging on a grape vine swing one day and knocked the breath out of me. But Billy helped me over that, we did not go to any on else, we just looked to each other, we always pulled through without any one’s help except the time we were seesawing and Billy fell off and broke his arm, we had to have other help then. When wash day came we made a game out of it. I said before water was a log ways from home, during the summer water was scarce, most of the springs and wells went dry. Sometimes people had to carry or haul water as much as a mile for household use, we got our water from a spring about half a mile the best I remember so once a week us and the Davis girls would take our clothes to the spring to wash. This took most of the day; I must describe this wash place if I can. As it was a community wash place, someone sometime had took a big log about nine feet long and about three feet through, they had hollowed out about two feet of it then left one foot then hollowed out another place the same size, then left another space the hollowed another, forming three sections or tubs. Then they bored holes in the log at each end at each side, then they put four legs in the four holes the right height for a wash tub, then they bored a hole in the bottom of each tub, and there was three perfect wash tubs we put a stopper in the hole in the bottom and fill each tub with water from the spring, when we were through with the water, we just pulled out the stopper and let the water run out, and our tubs was empty, we made our own soap. And there was a stump to lay the clothes on and beat them clean with a battling stick, can you beat that for ingenuity, I never saw anything like it before or since, but as I said these mountain people were an independent, and resourceful proud people, they ask no favors of the outside world, and were content. I am proud I was one of them for a while any way, Daddy always kept a horse and us girls were all good horse women. I rode everything he bought, but one mule which was mean to kick, had to feed the horses this was my task, but they would let me take this mule out of the stable Lue and me would have lots of fun putting sticks through the cracks in the barn (if it could be called that) just to see the mule kick, I was only eight when I would get up at five in the morning take the lantern and go to the barn and feed, Lue was two and a half years older than me, but she was afraid of all animals, while I was not afraid of anything that walked on four feet, and I loved horses and cows. We owned one old mare whose back looked like a cradle rocker, Sallie was like me she loved horses but mother was sick a lot and Sallie had to look after the house, so I had to take care of the horses, but one day she was going to take this old mare to the spring to water, we all wanted to ride her she was so gentle so Sallie took Celia on her lap and Bell held onto Sally then Lue, then I was last we was all going to ride, we had not gone far when the mare stumbled, Sallie lost her balance and as we all were depending on her. We all fell off, no one was hurt bad Sallie fell under the mare and she stepped on her leg, but when the mare found Sallie was there she held her foot up for her to get out, Sallie’s leg turned a little blue but not bad, but we never tried that again. One day Sallie and me was grazing the horses we owned. Two then then we was on the horses while they ate grass. The sun was hot so I got in the shade of an apple tree to graze my horse. He was eating and I was dreaming. I did not see what he was eating, and I did not know sweet apples would make a horse sick, but they did, that was the first time I had ever seen a horse with the colic, we almost lost that one, but Mother led him up and down and around as fast as she could make him go, until he was better, it seemed like hours to me, and the horse kept trying to lie down, but she would not let him. It was the next summer we had the big earth quake, Mother took us all outside for fear the house would fall on us it shook terrible but it did not fall. When all our work was done in the evening we would sing till we were tired of that then we would gather round Mother with some book, school books of course, for Daddy allowed no books in the house but the Bible and our school books, Mother would read the first paragraph, then the next in line would read the next, and so on to the end of the story, or poem, we would read aloud Mother correcting our mistakes, then Mother would tell us a story. Something she had read or heard, sometimes it was a hair raising ghost tale, or maybe something that happened in her girl hood, no matter what the subject we always enjoyed it, she was a wonderful story teller, then we would read verse about a chapter in the Bible then prayers and a bed, a calm peaceful existence, but very noisy when we all got in an argument, and we all loved to argue, and it was very satisfying when one was able to prove its point, to that one at least, we could argue all we wanted to without reproof as long as we were calm and put up a sensible argument, when one lost its temper or talked nonsense we had to hush, if we could not agree on anything we took it to one or the other of our parents, they were never too busy to settle our disputes. Sometimes we quarreled and sometimes it ended in a fight but never in the presence of either parent. Lue and me was always fighting behind their backs, she always come out ahead because she was larger and older than me, but she never got me whipped. My greatest ambition was to be big enough to whip her. One day I ask Sallie if I was not as big as Lue, she said yes sure according to your age and size, I was satisfied with that answer for I thought I was now as big as Lue, but I was mistaken I could not whip her yet, I tried. One day Mother caught us fighting. She calmly called us to her, she told us we were going to play hot jacket now we had no idea what she was talking about she told us to bring her three switches, we did then she gave me one and lue one and kept one for herself then she told us to fight . We was not mad now it was funny. She told us again to fight, I struck at Lue and missed her on purpose when I missed Mother struck me with her switch, then Lue hit me very light. Then Mother struck her hard, when we missed she hit, when we hit light she hit hard, so this was hot jacket, we had enough so we promised to try to keep from fighting here after. When school started we were an excited bunch of kids, it was three miles to walk twice each day, but we did not mind that. There were other children to get with us on the way, we had wonderful times on that long hike, so many things to see that was all new to us, this was my first real school. But I always made friends easily, and soon was having a wonderful time every day I was always eager to learn and I loved school and my teacher, he taught all the grades in one room, some of the children chewed tobacco which they grew on the farm. The teacher did not object so there was quite a litter of tobacco stems on the floor every day, the teacher was also the janitor and had to sweep them up, but he did not seem to mind perhaps he was used to it and took it as part of his days’ work, when one of us wanted to go outside, we simply laid our book in the door, that way the teacher knew who was out, only one boy was permitted to leave at the same time, but two girls could go together, there was a paw pa patch nearby, they were not too far away, Hennie Parten and me wanted to see if they were ripe, we laid our books in the door and went to see, they were not very ripe, but we ate some any way, Hennie had a little sister this was her first day in schools so she did not know the rules, seeing us leave the room she laid her book beside ours and followed us, this was against the rule, when we returned the teacher gave us all three licks with a tobacco stem he picked from the floor. This was my first whipping in school, but not my last, but it was the last this term. At school one Friday we would have a spelling match, the next we would say speeches, the first time I got up to say a speech or rather recite a poem. I will never forget, I knew this poem backwards and forward every line of it the poem was Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. But when I got up there to recite I got stage fright, I could not remember but the title, my mind was a blank. I could not remember one word, I only repeated over and over Twinkle Twilkle Little Star, the snickers of my school mates did not help any either. On my way home It was no better, even the older girls mocked me, I wanted to die, but I only ran away from my tormenters. Billy was very angry with hem his sister about fifteen was the leader. Billy threw a small stone at her for poking fun at me. Then we both had to run all the way up the mountain to keep out of her reach for she meant to whip Billy. I had his sympathy at least, when we reached our house Billy crept under the bed to hide from his sister. Mother would not let her whip him there and that made her more angry she went home and when Billy come in his mother refused to punish him. Saying he had a right to take up for his friend, and she should be ashamed to laugh at a little girl that was doing her best, this made the sister madder so she came to our house and demanded that mother let her have Billy’s walnuts. Mother told her Billy could have them and would come for them when he wanted them and that was between me and Billy. We had not divided them now Billy and me had gathered the walnuts and hulled them together, and put them on the loft at our house to dry. There was a large pile of them, two or three bushel. When they was dry we divided them, this is how we divided them Billy would take one then I would take one and put them beside us. We divided this whole pile this way it took us a long time but at least it was done fair, the next year we farmed again, I had to watch after the two the two little girls and our baby brother Mother and Sallie and Lue hoed the corn and beans. Daddy was not at home scarcely any that summer, Mother would bake us a big round cake of corn bread to take to the field with us, for our corn was a long ways off, this bread and some salt was our dinner, this was all we had but it was good, when our beans and potatoes came in we lived well, we had no meat bur us kids never thought anything about that we were used to rough fare, and we were all healthy I don’t remember any of us being sick and our appetites were enormous, we would cook a two gallon pot full of green beans, and when they cooked till they shrank we would peel enough potatoes to finish filling the pot, bake us a cake of corn bread, and have a feast, food has never tasted that good since when September came it was school time again, we had a new teacher this time, I did not like him I had made two grades the last year, but this year I failed this is why, this teacher had a little brother, they kept his hair cut close as was possible and he was skinny with big ears which made him look like a monkey to me and he sat in front of me. He would wiggle his ears up and down to make the children laugh. One day I laughed out loud at him, the teacher called me up and ask me why I was laughing out, I told him Gilbert wiggled his ears at me, then he called Gilbert up and ask him why he did this. He denied it and said I was lying, now this was a word we was not allowed to use at home, so I thought this was horrible, but the teacher believed him, wasn’t he his brother? I hated this boy the teacher whipped me for laughing and let the boy that was the cause of it go free, I felt this was unjust and I hated the teacher so I would not study my lesson, or I would make mistakes on purpose when all the time I knew my lesson perfect, but I was getting even with my teacher. This was all the way I knew to do it, then he would whip me again for not knowing my lesson. I would be defiant because he had been unfair then he would whip me again, or punish me for he never got me whipped, and Gilbert found out his brother would believe him above any of the rest, if we did not let him have his way and the best part in all our games he would tell his brother and have us punished, the whole term was a struggle between us pupils an Gilbert and the teacher, that fall we moved to another settlement, I never saw Billy again. I have often wondered what became of him, he was the best and closest friend of my child hood and until this day I have a tender place in my heart for Billy Davis, we had a good house here in Beech Bottoms where we moved next in another good settlement one thing it was near the school and it was level a real pretty place, with a creek for us to play in and fish, it was a large two story house, me and the other girls that were large enough caught all the fish we could eat, sometimes Mother would go with us , but we would have to bait he hook, she was afraid of worms, Mr. Rose had corn round the house he also had peas and pumpkins, he gave mother two bushel of corn and Sallie and Lue half the peas they could pick each day while the corn and peas lasted us other little girls gathered his pumpkins for half , I ate peas that winter till I never wanted to see another pea, we lived between two roads which came together in sight of our house, there was a grist mill at the forks of the road, there was plenty of water in the winter, but as usual most of it dried up in the summer, I never knew till that winter that there were beech nuts large enough to eat, but the beech nuts in Kentucky are plump with large kernels that are sweet and rich, it seemed like everywhere we moved there were no little girls for me to pay with, there were some here but they lived so far away we did not see each other often, but there was a little boy about my age that lived near, he had an older brother and sister, and we were almost like one family, we would hoe corn in their field one day and ours the next, just to be together, they would eat with us one day and us girls would eat with them the next. We would stay one Saturday night with them, and they would spend the next with us, we all carried our dinner to school and we would spread it out on a cloth and all eat together, these children’s names were Linda, who was about fifteen, ElI, who was about twelve, Archie who was nine, Linda Goins, was one of the sweetest girls I ever net. They were a nice family. That summer a neighbor boy came on day and told Mother, her sister was at his house that she took dinner with them. Now Mother only had one sister and she had disappeared, when just a little child, so she said she had no sister, but that evening they came, her and her husband and son, sure enough it was her sister, Grandmother had left her with a family for a few days, so she could work for another family. She left Mother who was the oldest with another neighbor, when she finished her job she came after aunt Nancy, and they told her she was gone they knew not where. That they had searched for her and could not find her, they supposed the bears had eaten her, Grand mother never knew any better, but this man had taken her to Oxford to the orphanage, and she grew up in an orphanage, she married there and when her son was fourteen, she visited the mountains, there she learned she had a sister, she began to search for her, and found her in Kentucky. They spent the rest of the summer with us, that fall we all went to Tennessee to live, they left us there and went back to Oxford, we never saw them again, we lived in Tennessee one year then moved back to Kentucky, this time to a different County, of course we did not move, till after school was out, here we made new friends, and sometimes we would visit Beech Bottoms. The people here raised sheep. Sometimes the dogs would kill a sheep or two. When a man found where the dogs had killed on or more of his sheep, he would kill his dogs, then he would go to his nearest neighbor’s tell him they would kill his dogs then they would both go to the next house, tell him and kill his dogs, and on until they had killed all the grown dogs in a settlement. That way they got the right dog, for they did not know whose dog had killed the sheep, and they knew if one dog killed a sheep, and another dog was with it this dog would go out and kill it a sheep. We owned a small dog and Mr. Jones owned a big dog. They run together. One day Mother took us to the woods to hunt ginseng and herbs. The roots brought a good price when dried, we took our dog along to look for snakes, and he would always let us know if a snake was near. And we never went to the wood without him. We heard him chasseing something. When he came in sight we learned it was a sheep, Mother called to him, but he would not stop, then we all ran after the dog, when we caught up with him he had the sheep down and was chewing on its neck, he might have killed the sheep if we had not been there, if he was little, we gave Mother switches and she whipped him until he just lay still and let her beat him, then she took him home and shut him up in the smoke house, we all cried because we had to whip him, but we knew these men would kill him if he killed their sheep. We never knew whose sheep it was, for it was not hurt bad, we also knew the big dog he ran with was a sheep killer, but we said nothing about it because we loved our dog Bingo. And we knew they might shoot him, a few days afterward the found where a dog had killed a sheep, so all the men went dog killing. They came by our house, but they knew we only had one little dog, they said he was not big enough to kill a sheep so they left him, but we knew he had tried. They shot the big dog that had taught our dog to kill sheep. We kept him, till he was eighteen years old, and he would never look a sheep in the face, when he passed a sheep he would drop his head and tuck his tail between his legs and sneak past. He never forgot that whipping Mother gave him, neither did we children ever forget the lesson it taught us, to always keep out of bad company, there were no small children near enough for us to play with but there were enough of us so we could play most games. There was a girl who lived near she was about fourteen, and as bad a tomboy as any of us, she would make stilts for us little girls and herself, we would have a great time walking on them. Then we would climb trees and swing on grape vine swings. Daddy was home the most he had been for years he organized a church near us, and was the pastor so we went to church there, we had always went regularly to church, but most of the time someone else preached. I went to my first box supper while we lived here. There was a large crowd young and old we all had a nice time and raised a lot of money for the church. I ate too much cake and was sick. The people were wonderful to us. There most of them was poor but very liberal with what they had, that fall we moved again to still another county. Here I found another little girls two especially Emma Hubbard and Maggie Messser, we had some real nice times, when I had time to play, for I was a big girl now and I was nine years old, old enough to take my place in the field with my sisters. We had out a big crop and it kept us pretty busy, still we had some time to play and we sure used it , then we made a game of our work too. We would go to the field to hoe corn, but if the dog treed a ground hog we all took off and helped him get it if it took half the day, we usually dug him out of his den. Sometimes Julia Cranford would come and spend the weekend with us, she was an orphan girl who lived with her sister, she had to work very hard and about all the fun she seen was when she came to our house we was always glad to see her. She was sixteen, but was not above playing childish games with us, we really had a good time when she came. Sometimes I would get to go spend the day with Maggie or Emma, I was visiting Maggie one day, Mother always told us when we visited a little friend to stay outside and play and not be noisy, we had played for some time when I wanted a drink of water, Maggie told me to go through the hose and get it, as I passed the sewing machine I saw some thread hanging from a drawer, now I cannot remember any one having to tell me not to take what did not belong to me I knew better, but this thread we pretty I looked and no one was in sight so I broke off a little piece two or three inches of each color. I put it in may bosom, I do not know until this day why I took that thread, I had never stolen anything before, us girls each had a box under our bed, we kept our private belongings in, and we always respected each other’s things, we never meddled in what belonged to another, so I can’t account for this, but I got no pleasure out of it. When I went back to play I felt like Maggie knew what I had done, I kept looking to drop the thread out of my bosom, I was afraid to move around, so I could not play. Maggie thought I was mad, when I assured her I was not, and then she thought I was sick. I had not drank any water while I was in the house, now I was very thirsty, but I could not go back in the house for fear someone would see that thread, so finally I agreed with Maggie that I was sick, and had to go home, tho Mother had said I could spend the day, but I had to get rid of that thread, because I could not play for fear of someone seeing it, and I was sure if I stayed for dinner every one would know, and I had rather die than have them find out what I had done, so I went home of course Mother wanted to know why I came so early, did me and Maggie quarrel? I told her I felt bad which sure was the truth, I do not remember ever feeling worse, I just knew Mother was wise enough to know just what I had done, I could not keep it in the house, and some of them would find it. I took It near the spring and hid it under a rock. Now I was rid of it, I felt better but wait, perhaps I had left it where it could be seen, I went and looked to be sure, but I was afraid if I went to play someone would go to the spring and turn over the rock and find it so I had to stay where I could watch the spring path, if anyone went to the spring, may heart was in my mouth, finally night came and no one had discovered it, but I could not sleep , it might rain and wash it out from under that rock or a rat could find it and bring it in the house, I tossed, till Mother was worried about me, she came to my bed, and felt my head, saying you are hot with fever, we must do something, so she gave me a dose of castor oil, I knew this was not the remedy I needed, but I could not tell her one of her children was guilty of stealing. Next day I had decided that I had to take that thread back where I got it, I never wanted to see it again, but I had to do this, so I ask Mother if I could not go play with Maggie that I would not stay long, she said I could stay two hours, this was one of the happiest moments of my life. I ran all the way nearly a mile, first I went to the spring and got my thread putting it back in my bosom, when I arrived Maggie was glad I had come to play with her as her mother was going to a neighbors to be gone a couple of hours, and she was to be alone, it was not long until I was thirst, telling Maggie I was going for a drink, I ran through the house pulled open the sewing machine drawer put the tread in and ran and got some water, the thread was all dirty but it was back where it belonged, and I was the happiest I had ever been in my whole life, now I could play and not be afraid, that was one short two hours, but at the of it I went home happy and well again, for I had been really sick, this was a lesson I never forgot and the temptation to take what does not belong to me never returned. I had had my lesson, there was a blue grass meadow in front of our house where us children played, there was a fence around the meadow. Daddy bought a mule from a man named Broughtner, this mule was mean and us kids were afraid of him, one Sunday they was having a business meeting at the church and left us at home, the mule got loose and got in the meadow. We had a habit of naming any horse we owned after the man we bought it from. But it made this mule mad to call him Broughtner, he would try to kill us if we called him that. Daddy had told us not to let the mule get in the meadow, we tried to get him out but he would not come for calling Sallie told us all to get in the house but leave the door open, she opened the gate so the mule could get out, then she climbed on the gate out of his reach then Lue stood in the yard and called him Broughtner, several times, he came after her but she ran in the house, Sallie then closed the gate, she waited till he went in the stable where we had placed some corn, I slipped round while he was eating and shut the stable door, we had him then in September (Tom) another little brother was born. Daddy rented another farm and we told them he might go to Texas, if he did he would let him know. Bill Pane, and Bud Messer, had gone out to the red river in Texas, and were going to send us word when to follow, we sold everything we could not put in a two horse wagon, and loaded it ready to go to Texas. Daddy went to the post office to have them to change our mail, and received a letter from Bill, telling us not to come, that the Indians had broke out of the reservation and was killing the white people, that was there we were loaded and ready to go, and nowhere to go. Daddy said we would go to this farm, now mother was home sick for north Carolina, we drove till after noon and when we crossed the rail road Daddy stopped to talk to an old friend. Sallie was driving. He told her to drive to the next cross roads, one road led to this farm, the other crossed the river and led to North Carolina, and take which ever you like I will follow. when we came to the cross roads, Mother said keep to the right Sallie and lets go home, we were disappointed at not going to Texas, but were thrilled at the idea of going to North Carolina, it was wonderful traveling in the fall of the year, we were in no hurry we had all winter, we were warmly clad so we did not mind the cold even in winter. There was so much to see along the way one night we camped at the three state corner, where Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia, joined, we went over in Virginia one night we camped on the side of the mountain, next morning we heard a man and woman quarreling, the man was off some distance from the house, and from what we heard he did not belong there, after they quarreled awhile the man shot at the woman, we hurried to get away from there. Daddy said he did not want to be a witness, so we drove through the next town before breakfast, before we reached the Holsten Valley it began to rain, it rained over a week and everything in the wagon was wet, and it was in December and very cold. Daddy had been trying for several days to get us in the dry somewhere, finally when we came to the Holston River we could not cross the river was out of its banks, we found an empty house where a man was using for his sheep at night, he said we could use this if we would clean it by this time a shelter of any kind was welcome, we was all wet and cold, but we went inside and built a fire and raked a place large enough to put the things out of the wagon, then we all worked at cleaning the place, we raked it good then used boards to scrape the floor, then we used gallons and gallons of water an scrubbed the flor clean, by bed time we had a clean dry place to sleep and eat, but it rained on and I was sorry for those sheep, having to sleep in the cold rain. I could sympathize with them, for I had slept in the rain too. We lived in that sheep house almost two months, for when the water subsided the river froze over,
Daddy took the top off the wagon, and went to hauling lumber in the rain, but we had to eat, he preached every Sunday, and hauled lumber all week. He did not make much but enough to live on, we were living here Christmas, of course we was not expecting any treats for Christmas, we never did have much, maybe a stick of candy, and half an apple, each but we did not expect any more but we had never spent Christmas on the road but we were in for a surprise, the people began to bring us gifts early that morning, and continued until evening, apples, and candy, cookies, cakes and pies, pounds of pork and bacon, sausage and Sause meat liver worst and ham, flour and meal, In fact the best Christmas we had ever known, they made us so happy we loved them all, they were the kindest people I have ever known. When the water was low enough for us to travel, we hated to go, one Mr. king said his team knew the ford and as it was dangerous he harnessed his team to our wagon and took our wagon across, but Mother and us children crossed in a boat, when we were safely across there were a group of men waiting for us with more gifts, then they told us, they had been glad to have us among them and was sorry to see us leave, and that they belonged to the Ku Klu Klan, with everyone in that community, if all Ku Klux Klans men are like these fine people I would love to have them for neighbors, all the time as we were climbing cross mountain the axel broke in our wagon, the road was so narrow no other wagon could pass, and there was no room to turn around, soon there was several wagons in front, and behind us, the drivers helped Daddy fix our wagon on a pole then those in front backed up until the road was wider so we could pass, Sallie took us children on up the road, and tried to make a fire, as it was bitter cold. She did not get a fire and was so angry because it would not burn, she shocked us all by wishing she would freeze to death, I expected it any minute, it was so sinful, but we survived any way in spite of her wish, about five miles ahead there was a blacksmith shop, where we got our wagon fixed, but we had to spend the night there, the house was new and built of green lumber, there were large cracks in the wall but it was better than we were used to and there was a big fire place and lots of room and fuel, and three other children to play with, and a big tub of apples to eat, they were frozen but we would put them on sticks and thaw them . We had lots of fun, we did not care if it was cold, in fact we liked it. We had warm clothes and lots of cover on our bed, and the cold made us sleep better. When the sun was up we took to the road again going down the mountain looked for water so we could camp that night. That was the driest mountain we have ever seen, when it was dark we had still found no water, it was so dark Daddy could not see the narrow road. I walked in front of the team with my dress held up so Daddy could see my white under skirt, and know where the center of the road was, it was a long way to the bottom of the hill, and the road was rough and frozen, but we reached it at last, but we had to make a dry camp as there was no water, when we reached Tennessee it was the coldest weather we had had all winter, one day it was a gray day the sun did not shine, and the clouds were lead colored. Daddy told us it was sure to snow, he began to ask for shelter early that evening, everyone had some excuse, he only ask for a shelter in a barn or shed for us to sleep in that night, but no one would make room for us. When it was late in the evening, we came to a field of young pines, the road was wide enough for a camp, we stopped and unharnessed the team tying them to a tree, then we cut and carried pines to make a shelter, Daddy cut two forked poles and dug a hole in the frozen ground, he made one end sharp this he placed in the ground, then he cut another pole, this he placed in the fork of the two that was upright, we then carried long branches of pine and leaned one end against the last pole, when we had several layers of branches we had a roof then we made another for the horses, then us children carried small boughs inside and placed them on the frozen ground, on each side of our brush arbor this was our beds the pine boughs was thick enough to keep us off the cold ground, we then placed our bedding on this and we had a bed good enough for anybody, in front of the arbor Daddy made a big fire out of rails from someone’s fence, this he kept burning all night, when we were in bed we were warm and comfortable. Next morning there were six inches of snow on the ground, we cooked breakfast over the fire, we left our arbor for someone else. At Zionsville we had to lay over some time because of high water, but we was back in old North Carolina. When we landed in Bowing Rock we were at home even if we had no place to live.
We moved in with Cousin Sarrah Harrison, until we could find us a house, we were crowded but happy to be together again, one morning we awoke and found the wind had blown the roof clear off the house and set it down in the field. The men folks soon put it back on we found us a house over on the highway near the old stage road, the house was at the foot of a steep hill below the road, it was so steep a wagon could not get to the house, so we had to carry our things down to the house, the man that lived there last sold Daddy all his furniture as he was going to another county so we went to housekeeping Daddy sold our horses he sold the one we called John which was a pet to a man in this neighborhood us children cried when he left as we were very fond of him but we soon bought another horse a mare with her colt he was very cute Daddy worked at Blowing Rock that summer and the rest of us farmed, most of the rock work in Blowing Rock was done by Daddy that summer and the next he also made brick and built two or three store houses one of them was Will Holshousers, and I think the post office, that fall he told us girls if we would give him our money, he would move to the cotton mill, and he would buy us a home of our own, we all agreed to that, there were four of us girls, old enough to work, as there was no child labor law then, Sallie was sixteen, Lue was fourteen, I was eleven, Bell was nine. Daddy bought seventy five acres of the Harrison land, and we built a log cabin on it soon as school was out we moved to the cotton mill in Newton, I made eleven cents per day, the first three weeks, then I was learned so I could make sixty cents, which was top wages at that time, but a man could get board for one dollar and twenty cents per week, the next March we moved back home. Daddy told us girls we had to clear the land for farming as it was all in woods, he went to work in Blowing Rock, by the middle of April we had the land cleared and our corn planted, we went back to the cotton mill that fall and finished paying for our home, but we always went to school every fall, but school began in September, and only lasted three months, we were very busy, working all year round, but we had some wonderful times, and we loved our little home, and our neighbors.