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Home Up Trailing Memory Trail of 80 Years Memories Some History

Trailing Memory, 80 Years, by Rev. G.W.S. Ware
(Part I of Up the Trail of 85 Years)
This, the 3rd day of April, 1934, brings my birth day to 80. 1854 was soon after the Mexican war, when General Winfield Scott was a National Hero. This is why I am G.W.S. Ware by name. If I had come ten years later, other initials would be mine. A few weeks ago, I thought, if a fore parent of mine, at 80, and four generations back, had trailed his memory 80 years on paper for me, what a signal compliment and of intense and historic value. This thought bred another: that I do this for my fourth generation.  [Cross-Reference: See "Writing for my great,great,great grandchildren"]

I shall draw on memory, not imagination. I shall not try to make a hero of anyone, or myself.

That day, so long ago, my Mother went down into the valley of death, to give me life. If she had failed me, then, what a cheat she would have been. Now I stand on 80 years, and say, "Mother" to her through them all.

If you will start South from Ringgold Georgia, through the gap, on around the bend, across the valley to bridge over Tiger Creek, and see a mountain, on East side of the highway, and at the South end of that mountain, you will have the place where my parent honored me into life.  [Cross-Reference: See "Fourth of July, 1939"]

Remember, I am not writing a biography of their lives or mine, but simply going up the trail of memory and jotting down for you what I see, like I wish some fore Dad had done for me. Going back to first memory is a long way off, and to a fine point. It is a big thing, a too little one to reach, and if we succeed, we think it too trivial to write. To me now, my first three years made no records. Then some women visitors laughed at me, a big baby, sucking Mother‘s breasts. Their kind caused my next record. I was dolled up, and girls tried to pet me from the next rear seat. Somehow I didn’t like it, but made ugly faces at them. I must have impressed them, for no woman since, has said that I had a pretty face. At the same meeting I began to use logic, but I did not know it. It was a custom then, for every preacher present to preach, so, naturally I grew weary, so notice, each one began to speak slowly and ended fast, and then quit. So I had no ear for what they said, but I did watch for them to get fast, for I wanted them to quit. No register of prayer, private or public has my mind. Next record, I was standing in a crowd at Ebenezer Church, near our home. It was a summer night, made bright by the moon, save for the shade of a grove of large native oaks. These oaks were full of low plaintive music, made by a large locust (cicada) choir. Thru life, I have been grateful to my parents for having me there, ever since, when I hear them it seems that God is near with Holy Angels. If they had taken me to the tents of the wicked that night, such insect music might have been used of Satan to reach my mind to suggest evil. My next record shows I was drinking coffee, from a tiny cup and saucer. My mother, quilting on a beautiful quilt, and I finding a silver dime in the eave of the house. Now my preacher-pastor father, when I was four years old, made a business venture to make money, but, instead, was financially ruined, lost our home, and moved out to a life of living here and there. [Cross-Reference:   see "Went Down in Defeat"; see also "Lost His Good Name"]. As we moved out, to please me, he placed me on a horse; my legs were too short to balance and I fell off. My first bump in life -- the forerunner of thousands, but I soon learned to be nimble, and light on my feet. From then till now, memory registered with lightening speed. Events of memory comes thick and fast. It’s hard to select, and dress by word pictures for you great great grand-children, to look at. But, before I start to tell about the great armies of brain children serving me by an endless procession these next 76 years I wish to show you two earlier scenes of my Father’s Pastorate, with Dogwood Baptist Church. [Cross-Reference:   see "Father's Pastorate"].   While coming home one day I smelled odors of oil-cloth buggy cushions in hot sun. Again I was at dinner at Betzy Decks. Again, we were in Church, at Dogwood. Then the first church singing stuck in my mind. It had these words: Going down in the valley to pray, strolling about that good old way, who shall wear the starry crown, good Lord show me the way. After coming out of the house, I noticed many persons going West, down a hill; my child mind knew that they were going down into a valley to pray. Then I had no doubt about what they were going to do. 19 years later, my next time came to be there. Father and Mother and the Decks were absent, but the people went down that same hill to the spring. What a pity, my child logic was wrong. But the fact stood, that singing and praying fastened my mind close to my heart, at four years of age.

As stated, my parents had moved to a rented farm. Five years had come. Dad let me ride on his plow stock and brought me candy from Ringgold. Three brothers and three sisters came up around me, all older than I, and I was their little brother, four years younger than the sister next to me. Here I first heard of a coming war. For the next year Father and brother Louis had built a house, in Sugar Valley, near one son-in-law. Amid seven brothers, and near his Mother. After we had moved and were fixed, Father and Mother took a walk one morning with only me with them. After some distance, they stopped and talked quite a while. I picked at the bushes and played around, giving no heed to what they said. Finally, Father came to me, stooped down, looked into my eyes, and asked: if I was willing for him to go out West, to make us a home. I looked into his eyes and answered: "Yes." Then I gave attention as he told Mother if God spared her life, he would prepare us a home.  [Cross-Reference:  see "Went West"].  Then he passed over a branch, on his way. Mother waited ten years and died, Louis waited seven years and died, Julius waited five years and was killed in The Battle of Jonesboro, Ga.; Sallie waited thirty-one years and died. Bob at 86, and I at 80 are still waiting. Oh no, we quit waiting long ago, and made our own homes. Father met an unknown fate to us, in a tragic way. As the Civil War burst forth, before he had time to do Mother‘s mission.

Looms and Spinning Wheels at home; the zoom of the wheel and the thump of the loom were in every prosperous home. Tan-yard was here and there; shoe-makers made boots and shoes in their homes to sell. One a crippled man, I remember; he and a wife and several children, who slept on a trunnel bed, kept under a high one in day time. Two things he could do, make shoes and stutter. He had few chairs, and called his wife Malissa. Some boys dropped in one day, and he began: "S-S-S-Say, Me-Me-Me-Melisa, pu-pu-pu-pull out the li-li-li-little be-be-be-bed and le-le-le-let th-th-the b-b-b-boys si-si-sit d-d-d-down."

Women wore hoops and preachers churn hats, like other men. These hats were costly, hard with a narrow rim, large crown 18 inches high. Women cooked with ovens, pots, boilers, skillets, and frying pans. Boys had to tote chips and oak bark to make fires over and under, to cook. Now, a button is turned and the fire is on.

Now I’ll go back to 1859, and start again up the vale of memory. One summer day, in our new home in Sugar Valley, Mother was reading alone, and as I lay on the floor, near by, I soon caught on that a being called "Jesus" was healing the sick and raising the dead. [Cross-Reference:  see "Myself"].   My love and young life went out to Jesus, then, never to be mine again.

My three brothers made a corn crop for a man, no kin to us, who owned some slaves. My knowledge that one human being could own another, as a cow or a hog made me feel very badly. It makes me sorry for Mother, now, to look back to then, and see how they farmed. Without bluster, old as I am now, I can take a mule and 20 acres of land, and make more corn than all three did, and sell it for a better price. Here we hang green fodder by the tail which flares it out, to cure in the sun. Then, they tied in hands, which required a longer time to cure under the band, and to be taken up at night when damp with dew. They all came in one night, laughing at brother Bob. On the East side of the valley, Billy Swisher had built a house. Bob was toteing fodder in that direction, dropped his load, tore down the rows, shouting, "run Louis, run, Billy Swisher’s house is afire." And, they all shouted back: "Hold on there Bob, that’s the moon rising over the hill." My Dad built houses, and preached and farmed. I must have had a slant for tools in my blood, for a got a stick, one end on the ground, the other against my stomach, and I began to work on it with the drawing knife. Soon, I had blood coming from a cut on my right hand fore finger. I thought I was a goner, but I wasn’t for I still have the scar to prove I got well. One day, a lot of blackberries had been picked, to be cooked for supper, but I took bilious headache, vomited up the bile, and felt good and went to sleep. When I awoke, I asked for blackberries, and Mother said, that all had been eaten. I lay there and cried my hungry self to sleep. Poor Mother, my crying hurt her heart more than hunger did my stomach.

My Dad had taken the Knoxville, Tenn. Whig edited by W.G. Brownlow, said to be the greatest mud slinger of his day. He also took the Christian Repositer, but if he took the Inder I know not. I can now see my uncles together, discussing what would happen, if Lincoln took his seat. They were Irish and could settle any question among themselves from president, down. My Mother‘s being English, in blood, somehow us children were some different.

One morning at breakfast, enlisting for the war was mentioned, and Mother said to Louis: "Have you volunteered?" "Yes, I have," was his answer. He was about 20 years of age. He had a good education, for Father had sent him to school, before he had lost his property. So Louis went to war for the South, was assigned to the Signal Corps at Fort Gains Ala. He was captured there and confined in a Northern prison to the end of war. He was gone four years. He was a tall handsome young man, with no inferiority complex, from ignorance and poverty, like the one I had to overcome, when his age.

My oldest sister, Mary, had married John Wade, who owned a farm West of the creek, facing Dad’s old home. There in a long one room log house, Mother, Jule, Bob, Sallie and myself, lived through the second year of the war. In plain view, across the valley, East stood Dad’s two-story 6 room house with brick chimney, with lightening rods, four fire places. Poor Mother in her rented log hut, stick and clay chimney, looking at her old home, thinking of the ease and glory of former days. Left with two boys, 12 and 14, to make her living by farming. No wonder I went bare footed through the snow of that winter. Too young to work, I sat by the fire, and split the snow open by fast running when I wanted to go somewhere. Those baptisms in snow I had to give my feet that winter explains why, that at 80 they can out run or jump any feet I know, in 20 years of their age. They have no pains and take me where I want to go.

My head wasn’t so fast in those days, for I was sent to school 40 days, weighed 40 lbs. and only got to horse back, on the book of Webster’s old Speller. The school was private and taught by a beautiful young lady, whose father, a miller, had bought wheat to grind, to sell to Mexican war; but the war closed, and broke him. He bought a large mill, on Chickamauga Creek. To haul meal and flour to sell in Ringgold was his objective. His team was two oxen. They were the biggest I ever saw. About three miles to town and it took a day to go and return. When we moved 8 miles from Sugar Valley, it took all day and some of the night. I know for I was sick with a headache. I want you fellows to know I got over that headache and slow mode of travel. I own a new automobile now, the 5th one, that can eat up the 400 mile distance to that place in one day.

Well, my beautiful teacher taught me for Mother, and I have liked Northern people ever since. The house she taught in belonged to her father, and was near the Railroad. Train loads of freight cars loaded inside and on top with soldiers, going North to war.

One day at recess I was standing close up as a train was moving from the station, a soldier stooped down and lifted my little old sorry hat from my head, which was all I had. It hurt my heart for it to leave my head, so I ran after it with all my might, bawling as loud as I could. They all laughed at me, but I keep running until the soldiers dropped it, because of my grief. I grabbed it up, stood off and gave no chance for that trick to be played on me, again.

Jule, through 1862, made a crop for a nearby land owner who had to do war service. My Mother was to get part of the crop, which was one load of corn. This was all of his part they would pay. Bob worked Mary’s husband and got his part of the crop, which was all we had to live on. For 1863 we moved a short distance to a better house, and Bob worked a crop to himself on shares, for a farmer who had been one of my father’s deacons, when father was prosperous, and a popular pastor and preacher. John Clark, who had married my second sister, Jane, had gone to war on first chance, and stayed into the last, while John Wade fought none, but took a beeline for the yankees, the first chance. Oh, the war was wrong like slavery, but to this day those who fought for the South, have something of value away down in their principles that I admire.

One Sunday, I played around by myself. All day, I could hear roars of small arms and booms of cannons. To my child mind, I didn’t wonder nor was I scared. It seemed like something that should be. Next day, the railroad track was covered with wounded men who could walk. All were going South from the battle field about 14 miles away, but nearer as sound travels. Those who couldn’t walk were in tents. I went near one man, on the outside, pouring water from a canteen, where a musket ball had passed through his thigh. That Northern family was so kind to the wounded, who had, perhaps killed some relation during the battle. Near hear some calvary, between the armies had come at each other shooting. One was about to shoot a yankee, saw that he was a brother and turned away.

Most wealthy people moved South as country was invaded. The man who had bought Father’s farm did so, and Mother with us children moved in. What former days of a happy home crowned her mind. Brother Jule was conscripted for the army. He wrote back to Mother, that Louis had told him that many temptations to go wrong were among soldiers, and that he had to be on guard against sin. Soon they were separated, one to prison and the other to be killed in battle with about his last breath sending word to Mother to meet him in Heaven. Both these brothers were members of Ebenezer Baptist Church, and perhaps baptised by our Father.

The first time I saw a yankee army was late one afternoon. I was on a hill and could see the large farms of the valley built enclosed with rails. The Rebel army had spared the fence rails, but as it retreated, the yankee army filled the valley, in war formation. When they broke ranks, they rushed for fence rails. Soon it was dark, and camp fires were everywhere. They did not molest anyone, who lived there. Early next morning, they rushed toward Ringgold, leaving fires burning, breakfast cooking. The Rebels had charged back, and fear gave speed to their legs. Bob found several pocket knives they had left. So the armies would come and go.

One day the Rebs. had the road full of Infantry, retreating. Many of them were eating cakes made with soggum sirrup, bought at farm houses. How I wanted one, but nothing doing for me. It was cold, and the yanks filled those fields again. After supper Bob had a roaring fire, and a yankee in uniform stepped in and politely asked if his colonel could get a room for the night. The answer was yes, and then he bowed himself out. Bob made a fire in the other fire place, but no colonel came, but soon guards were around the house to protect our things. At bed time they were told to use wood to keep themselves a fire all night. All of us slept upstairs. Next morning the yanks bought all our chickens and paid in green back money. Not so with the family who sold cakes. On retiring they shut their doors and left their guards out in the cold, who went to their camp fires and the yanks toted all of their chickens away.

For a while, our house was between both armies, in winter quarters. Wheeler’s Calvary was the out post, South of our house. The yanks were at Ringgold. Out in front a little to the North end of a hill, the Rebel picket sat on his horse. For hours, one day, toward the North West, over one half mile away on a border of woods a yankee would shoot at him. The Reb. sat on his horse in plain view, and let him shoot without reply. I could see the spurt of smoke from his musket, and a whiff of dust when the bullet hit near the Reb. There were men in both armies who wouldn’t kill each other that way. This sniper may have been one. Another time several yankee calvary tried to out run and capture the picket, but they didn’t. I got fun, seeing them run. I wanted to see the reb escape. As he dashed a corner, he waved his gun at them he knew they couldn’t catch him. Soon yanks turned and ran the other way, the thought of Joe Wheeler giving them speed. One day I was sitting in the door on the floor. All at once, a loud piercing sound ripped over the house and then a loud booming sound came over the mountain. Out from Ringgold the yanks had sent that cannon ball, over our way. Bob found it further on, where it struck a tree. Bob had begun to feel himself: hence he would slip by the pickets and go to dances on Taylor’s Ridge. There, young Rebel soldiers could meet the mountain girls, and yanks dared not molest them. One night the soldiers took off their spurs to dance, and asked a mountain boy to keep them. He said, "I’ll show you where I’ll hide them," but when they went to get them, the spurs were gone, but a boy thief was there. Poor foolish boy, not to be honest.

Bob, then, was about 14, large for his age, he would have been pressed into the Rebel army, if the Yanks had been driven back, once more. He was a good worker, had made a crop and Mother had plenty of cured hog meat, hung above the loose plank upstairs. One day a yankee officer came to search our house, like they did everyone’s. He was hunting fire arms, and when he found none, Mother and I went along to watch him. Finally upstairs he went, and began to push aside the planks over head. Poor Mother, how apprehensive for our future she must have been, but all he said to us was: "Madam, you are well prepared to live", and pushed the planks back and took nothing from us, but a box of old scrap irons. If the yanks had known that Mother sold Wheeler’s men a meal of fried ham, hot buiscuits and rye coffee, for $2.50 Confederate money, our meat might have been taken. It was a matter of business with Mother. She would have fed the yanks as boarders, but none ever came for meals.

One day Mother sent me to the mill, to ask the price of flour. It was $50.00 a sack, Confederate money.

As the year 1864 came along, battles were further South. One day the calvary met, and I, from a safe distance saw the skirmish in the open plain. They played back and forth like boys. The yanks away to the North sent a cannon ball at the Rebs, which barely missed their own men. Soon the yanks were reenforced and here they came, and away dashed the Rebs on foot. One threw up his hands, and was rushed back. Another man did not throw up his hands, and I saw him shot, and he fell on his back and lay still -- the only human being I ever saw killed. Afterwards I learn, he told them that he surrendered to no yankee. How foolish, of him. That’s been 70 years ago, and he is still dead. Later I saw one cannon being fired at yanks. About a mile to the North was a stack of wheat straw. A yankee captain stood on it with a spy glass. When he saw the white smoke from a cannon’s fuse flare up, he dashed down, to escape, but just right for the ball to cut off his head. They buried his body on the creek bank, where every freshet sent water over it. After the war, when they dug to his body, to take it North, a tunnel had been made, from the creek to his body, by varmints, and had their den in his coffin. One day a Reb. Major came in and watched my sister spin. He then remarked that he thought that was a slow way to serve the Lord. After his visit his command was later chasing yankees, who had taken to the woods on a mountain North of us. They followed on foot. In the twilight he cried out to the top of his voice: "Hurry up that infantry around there, hurry them up." There were no infantry, but he did it to scare the yanks. We heard that he lost his life in a battle a short time later.

As stated, Mother was back in her old home. Only $100.00 had been paid on it, and the party had lived on it several years. But Mother didn’t know, and moved off and lost her home, again never to own another. My uncles had gone to the yanks at Chattanooga and when they took Ringgold, John Wade went to them. This left sister Mary with several little children, alone. So Mother took us, and moved in with them. Bob made a bumper corn crop, caused by work and rain, which was caused by battle noise. Mother had cows, so did sister, but the yanks would milk them in daytime. So, that summer, it was my business, with her three boys to mind the cows as they grazed on the valley land. So we guarded the cows and sold milk and butter to the Yanks, who were kind to us boys. We had no trouble, but once. We were playing under a shade tree, quite a distance from the cows. After a while we looked, and a yank was milking a cow. We went in a bunch, but I knew I had to do the talking. I was ten in April, just out of my ninth year. We were too scared to fight, didn’t know how, and had nothing to fight with. I didn’t know about tact, as an art. So, it was that we found one yank milking a cow using a bottle. So I said: "If you will go to our house," pointing to it on a hill, "Mother will give you all the buttermilk you want." He went. Taylor’s Ridge had Rebs in it. Yanks would fight those bushwhackers. So one day we were out in the middle of the Valley. Down by the creek on the railroad was a large shed used to saw wood for trains, by blind hose power. A company of yankee calvary had come and had hitched their horses under that shed, and were taking their ease, thinking no danger near. Seeing yankees were no new sight to us. But, all at once that hillside between us and home was poping with gunfire, and, as the yanks were between us and them, stray bullets were knocking dust up about us. The yanks turned bedlam loose. They didn’t shoot back. Some grabbed their horses and burned the wind, others ran on foot. One was shooting gravel towards the Rebs with his feet, too busy to take aim. I saw his horse break loose, and with a dash overtake him, plowing feet into the ground, for his owner to sail into the saddle and then roared on toward Ringgold. Their Captain didn’t run, walk, or hide, but raised arms and waded, waist deep, straight through that creek to surrender. What were we doing? When boys are scared they run toward home, but when we go to the railroad, rebs were gone and all the yanks but one, who had crawled away up tight under a house, and stayed there until he was told that reenforcements had come.

Mother had bought a horse and mare with Confederate money. I was sent to graze them across the railroad south of the yankee picket, who had told Bob that he would have shot me, but he knew who I was.

The yanks had built a blockhouse at every R.R. bridge, and put a company of soldiers to guard them. They were from Ohio and were all fine men. All through the war I found no Rebs. and only two yanks, that I didn’t like. Soldiers would treat a boy right, if he would smile. Probably, I reminded many of them of their little brothers or sons, that they had left at home. One of those yanks, I disliked was a private. His blockhouse was second one toward Ringgold. He had come to our house, made a purchase, and told Mother to send me down and he would pay me the balance due in meat. In a day or two, I took the railroad, and got there. I found out that he was alone, frying meat. I told my business, and he got mad, and said that he owed me no meat, and he ordered me off. I went down to the R.R. bridge, where some of his company were, and told my boy trouble. Two of them went up and I saw them talking to him. They came back and told me to try again. I did, but he was madder than ever, and paddled out a few pieces of hot fried meat into my pan, waved his greasy stick over me and told me to leave. So, my feelings were hurt before those yanks, and I was scared too, so I went up the R.R. bridge a piece, got mad and left that fried meat on the end of a cross tie, a madder and wiser collection. The other yank that I didn’t like was an officer. In Ringgold was where he stayed. Another boy and I, took in blackberries to sell. The guard at the bridge let us pass, but we had to have a pass to come out. We sold our berries, and tried to get a pass, and were told to wait a while. The other yanks were kind to us. They had a rope swing tied to the top of a tall leaning tree. Two of them would stand in it facing each other and pump with their legs, tear through the air, back and forth to a great height. One of them asked me to let him swing me, saying that he would stop when I said to. So, I had faith in his word, and was helped up. Some one gave us a push, and the yank would bend up and down at the right time and I was holding on for dear life. What fun it was and how I liked the ride! As the arch increased, cutting through the air, I enjoyed it more. My insides felt light, and I was afraid I would lose my grip, so I said for him to stop, and he slowed down. I was a small boy for my age. As I see it now, those yanks stood around, so if I fell out they would have caught me. I soon lost my joy, when we asked for our pass the officer was gone. It was getting late and we were three miles from home. We were told he had gone up town, so up town we ran and found him, sitting at ease with other officers. We asked for a pass, and he pointed to the mountain and said for us to climb it and dodge the picket. We did not beg or cry for a pass, but took leg action over that mountain, like two scared rabbits. When on top of that mountain, we met yankees thought sure we would be arrested and told them our trouble. They gave us no attention, so we sped on down the mountain to the railroad beyond the guard, and got home before dark. If that yank who swung me had been in charge he would have written us a pass. It never pays a man to be mean to a boy, for he may be God’s man for a later date. That unkind act broke up our blackberry trade in Ringgold, and caused his mistreatment of boys to go on record 70 years afterward.

Bob and I went to school two days, at Woodlawn, over in the ridges east of us. I could spell on the book a little during the time we went. Then it was dangerous to go any more. That was our term of school that year. As I remember, my head held all that knowledge very well. I don’t think I felt it, and I’m sure I don’t now.

We lived on the highway, where both armies marched, camped, fought, and died. On either side, a few miles where no civil, or military law could touch them, rascals would do their dirty work. Holy terror of bushwhackers would make their raids few and short. Two yanks of this kind took their guns and went 8 miles out to a farmer, whose wife had been in the insane asylum, got better, and was at home. When she saw those yanks throwing off the hog pen rails to take a fat hog, business picked up. She had no gun, but had a spell, of insane anger. So, with flaming eyes and clawing fingers, she rushed toward them, and the fight was on. She dashed on to the ground, then both grabbed their guns and lit a rag, for camp. Perhaps they thought that to kill a woman for a hog wasn’t worth the lard. The pickets of Wheeler’s Calvary said that they could see the light of our fire, in our cozy rooms, which made it hard to sit on their horses, two hours at a stretch in the dark, with icy winds chilling their blood.

Early one morning, in the fog I saw a Rebel picket riding by on his way to the yanks. To my childish instinct, he didn’t look well. Now, when I see christians going back to Satan by sinning against God, I think of traitors and deserters of childhood days.

Another early morning hour, I heard and then saw an engine pulling two box cars, coming around the curve and rushing through the valley at terrific speed. Then at a distance another engine with one flat car loaded with soldiers, yelling like Indians. Then another like train and others until 3 or 4 went screaming by. I knew something was wrong and soon knew the cause. The yankee spies, like Major Andrews of whom my great grandfather could have written about, at 80, but didn’t. Benedict Arnold sold his trust, which caused Major Andrews to die as a spy. He lost his life and left his good name hooked up with a deserter, the arch traitor of our Revolutionary war. These men were yankee spies at Resaccu Ga. They saw a train crew leave their train for breakfast. So they eased on and pulled the throttle open for Chattanooga. Out a piece they stopped, cut the telegraph wire and dropped a box car. Now stealing a train from its crew, was something new, in Ga. They had no presidents to go by, but they fell over themselves to make one, for others which have never been needed. The train crew got the first engine they could get, and set out in hot pursuit to catch those yanks and save their own faces, in such a slick trick. Soon they had to slow down, to ease up, to push a freight car, in front, which made it dangerous to go at high speed, but more dangerous to let those yanks escape. They caught them at Graysville, near Chattanooga. They had used everything that would burn to keep up steam, but failed. Had they had wood and water, they would have been wrecked for a switch was open, ahead of them. Reports came concerning those men that they were of good character well educated, of good families, and sympathy went out and regrets that they threw their lives away on a fool’s errand.

About this time the yankee out post was near where we lived, and the outpost of the Rebs was down a hill, across the creek and R.R. across a wide field, to the foot of the hill, about one half a mile, in sight of each other. The soldiers of each side were kind to me. So, one day I was with the picket of the yanks, when an officer came to him. He took his spy glass and held in on the Reb pickets. Then he waved a newspaper, and so did they. Two Rebs started toward us. The officer told the color of their eyes, and met them, talked a while, exchanged papers, and then each went back to his side.

Bob pulled and stacked two stacks of fodder, which could be seen from the highway. One day the yanks sent a four mule team wagon and took all of it, but no corn. They have had 70 years to pay for that fodder but have not. It seems like they stole it, but they called it foraging. About when this was done, Mother moved us to a house in the valley, whose windows had been taken to a blockhouse by the yanks to fix up their shacks. They got scared and left the blockhouses. Then we carried windows back across a mountain and put them back where they belonged. The yanks soon got over their fright and returned, came and asked about them, and let us keep them which was a gentleman’s act, in the country, they invaded. One day I was down at the Blockhouse, through the gap, from our house. I saw a man in shabby clothes walking across the tressle bridge. When he walked on around, and came near, I found that he was my brother Louis, who had been gone so long. This is all I remember about it.

A great many negro troops marched by near our house, but were under control of white officers, and behaved themselves. In battle they were put in front as a moving breastworks against Rebel bullets. Before the railroad was repaired a train of covered wagons, as far as you could see, would creep by loaded with supplies for yanks farther south. When rain fell, the road would soon be cut to pieces. Wheels would cut down and make a quagmire of mud, the like of which I have never seen, since. Right where I saw this, there is a hard road now, a four mule train now could pull 5 tons, easier than an empty wagon then.

A yankee soldier was detailed to tend the water tank on the railroad. He boarded at our house for so much and his army rations. One day he was passing the blockhouse with his rations on a wheel barrow. The soldiers guyed him and he sailed army hardtack at them. One night, after supper, Mother wanted me to go back with him for something. We went by the blockhouse and the soldiers said what a brave boy I was to go back through that dark mountain gap, alone. I liked their praise, scared, sure I was, my legs felt gangs of goose bumps, and if I had heard a hoot or a groan, two feet would have shot a boy home. But, I headed on hearing nothing that I was listening for, so I slipped along through the dark, and saw a light ahead, so I felt better, and went to it, which Mother had placed in a window, to help her little scared boy to reach home.

I am an old man now, going through a dark world, but I see a light fixed by divine hands, in a window.

The year 1865 came to us southern people, like a calm, after a four year’s cyclone of human passions had spent in its force, blowing things to pieces one way. Then the center of the cyclone eased in, and a brief calm was the result. Then came the reverse side, which was terrific in adjustment. State rights and Slavery had its baptism of fire, and now we see a few old soldiers of both armies left clinging to life from the brink of the graves, and us civil war boys, dead or 80 with age. As the last Revolutionary soldier died 83 years, after peace came at the same ratio 1948 will see the last soldiers of those mighty armies sink into the arms of death.

Now you men of my fourth generation, for whom I write primarily, may be curious as to what I think of this Civil War, after 70 years.

Well, the self-important North looked on the Aristocratic South. Both got wrong, and had to fight for glory, and both got vanity. During the war Southern women would weave cotton cloth checked each way with threads of different colors. There were no stores of any kind. But, with peace, came stores. Mother bought sister a calico dress, at 25 cents a yard. Louis got some home jeans, had a coat made and wore it on Sundays. As for me, the 11 year old boy, I thought such finery was for men, and I should wear any old clothes.

Our cows were dry, which brought me a regular job, every afternoon. One evening I was sent West with a crock jar to get a gallon of buttermilk, to eat with corn bread for supper. There was nothing else. Next day I’d go South and bring in same amount for our next supper. I became such an expert with that jar on my head, that Bob said I would come to the creek, dive off, and then come up on the other side, with the jar on my head ready for business at supper time. Right along there and then Bob caused me to take my last childhood cry.

One night, after our corn bread and buttermilk supper of which I had furnished half, I, further tried to entertain them by rising from my chair, stooping forward, and saying something, then thought to sit down, but Bob slipped the chair back, so the big end of my britches hit the floor with me in them. Mother didn’t laugh, but the others did. When I crawled up on my chair and looked at them a moment then my hurt body and feelings united, then I put my hand on my knees, and my face in my hands, and I cried and I cried and shook and shuddered, with pain tears, not saying a word. After this, I had a cat’s eye for my chair, when I sat down, when Bob was near.

After the war ended, the yanks stayed on for months. The ex Rebs came back and got busy to make a crop. They and the yanks were good neighbors. One day several of them saw a gray squirrel run up a tall tree near our house. After the squirrel was the direction. Was I there? Sure. What boy would miss such fun? The yank climbed up and the squirrel higher. The hickory tree had plenty of limbs. Higher and higher they went. Finally, the squirrel was swaying on the top twigs, and the yank not far beneath. That squirrel wouldn’t fight nor surrender, but sailed out through the air, with legs out on both sides and tail out as a stretched rudder, and air brake, and he hit in a hard road, and bounced up several feet, and when it touched earth again he hit it running.

Church houses were out of repair, so first meetings were in private homes. The yanks would come and be welcome. The preacher asked if any of them would pray in public. One answered, that he would, so whenever that one was present the preacher would ask him to lead in prayer. All would kneel, and the yank would pray, swaying up and down. The preacher, after he had started, had a habit of ending his sentences with Na Na.

The yanks from the blockhouses would visit, and talk with the families in Dogwood Valley. I was at a neighbor’s home, and two or three came and chatted with the folks. One said, that back at home, he got on a lark, lifted a man’s bee gum and he and the boys had a sweet time in the woods. He said that when the man’s friends sat up with him at night, to catch the bee gum thief, he watched with them to catch the sun-of-a-gun. Two were at another home, and a young girl remarked that she had carried the cows to the pasture. One remarked that she must have had a heavy load. Did she mean that she drove them? They seemed to like to hear the brogue of the people. This man a few nights later, with a comrade was on the way to visit another blockhouse, but when midway of the bridge, a train came around the curve. He dashed forward to escape, but too late, and met a tragic death. The other soldier dashed back and cleared the track, as the train swept by. We mourned the loss of our grammarian friend. What a pity to go through the war and on the eve of going to his loved ones, to die that way. His name was Hatfield, I think, from Ohio.

During the campaign of Lincoln and Douglas, the yanks rigged up a contraption turned by the wind. It had Lincoln chasing Douglas around a circle, with his sword playing up and down on the head of Douglas.

During warm weather, I went swimming with larger boys and men from the Southern army. At home, farming, I could not swim, but soon learned myself to swim, like a dog. Our wash hole was down the creek from the mill, where large rocks make the bank on the east side. The yanks used to use the mill pond.

Bob had a crop started when Louis came home, but right away he started a corn crop on shares, and made more corn than Bob.

One place where I got butter-milk, there was a little girl, two years old. I was 11, so I gave her no attention. Her parents were more wealthy than any family in the valley, and ours one of the poorest. But, 17 years after I quit toting buttermilk she became my wife, and your ancestor. I will tell you more about it as I come to it. I replanted corn that year, and was lazy. Somehow I got a deck of cards and learned how to play, but when Mother said it led to evil, I quit, and for 69 years since. I saw no whiskey, nor any of its kinfolks, up to this time. To my knowledge, both armies were free from it. Soon after this, I got my first taste at a corn shucking when it was passed around for all to take a swallow. It burned my throat, and so impressed my mind with its memory to this day. Soon Bar Rooms sprang up. One Rebel Captain got a little whiskey and much water, and got his start, by selling the mixture to the yanks. He whipped none of them with bullets, but some of them with weak whiskey.

When Christmas came in 1865, Santa Claus was a busted booger, for he only left me a little brown sugar. I didn’t blame him, for it was natural to me for everything to be poor, and to live hard, and it stayed that way until I was 15. Then I found out that God did not desire a man to stay poor, if he would work himself out. So I rolled up my sleeves and waded in, having had a dogs bait of poverty. I first got out of it in my mind and then worked up to where my mind was. The state of my mind, made an instinct, that it was unnatural to be poor. I knew it had to come honestly with God. Poverty had come into my life quickly and uninvited, when I was too young to know it. But, he went out like a snail, held on like an octopus, snarled like a wolf and fought back like the devil.

But, to get back to 1865. After crops were layed by, Louis and Bob and a man who had fought yankees 4 years, decided to make a barrel of cider, as we had lots of apples, haul it 13 miles to Chattanooga to sell, to help make a living. They rigged up a cider press, crushed the apples with a maul, and so the barrel was full, hauled to Chattanooga and sold for 75. It was that or nothing. Such hard work, must have impressed my mind that poverty was a deep pit, from which there was no escape. I never had any money. No one had any to give. These were reconstruction days. The dead sea, between Confederate money and green back, as yankee money was called was here. There was no gold or silver and green backs that amounted to less than a dollar were called "shin-plasters". It seemed natural for me to have no money, and everybody else to be in the same fix, except the yankees. I saw yankees throwing raisins to one another. I craved a bunch, but none came my way. I had no money to buy and to beg I never thought. So I went along doing without, which seemed right to me, and was. If I had now, that boy appetite of mine, I’d eat a bait before sundown. If I could reach back through the years, I’d hand my boy self a quarter to buy raisins. I picked a whole lot of minie balls where the armies had fought and kept them a year or two, and then sold them to an ex-slave, on credit, for 20 which I never got. If that negro would pay me now, with interest I would have $9.40, but he wont, for he is dead, if he aint the debt is.

One night, our horses were in danger of being stolen, so they were tied out in a thicket. Prior to this my future father-in-law hired a man to watch his crib and horse lot every now and then through the night. One night he slipped out, and shot at a man running out of the lot. Next day a man a mile away took to his bed with rheumatism, and stayed quite a while to get well. The war gave rheumatism to another man, while others were fighting he was hobbling. But, when they stopped fighting he stopped his racket. The man who had hired the guard, who gave the man rheumatism with a bullet afterwards locked his pair of mules in the smoke house. Someone came and stole them and took the mules away. After the war, he found where they had sold one of them, made proof and got possession again. Such fellows recall to mind what my Mother said what she was told how the tories did through the Revolutionary war. After the Civil War the leader of those robbers went West, whose descendants may think, if they could trace back, they would find proof, how he fought for the South. The children of the Tories must have died childless, for no one proves that he is of their line.

1866 found us on a new place leased for two years. Louis and Bob were the men, who cleared the new ground. The lease included this also. They split rails and fenced it, cut cord wood, and sold it to the railroad which was our first money, but if I saw or smelled any of it, the scent is not on my memory now. But, those brothers bridged up over that awful time of poverty, for which I rise up now to do them honor. Bob is now helpless, and Louis has been dead 67 years. What an honor they would be to my Mother, sister and myself during those days. They stayed at home and worked. They did not drink liquor, use profane and smutty language. They, with sister attended social parties, but no dances. The young ex-Confederate soldiers and the girls who grew up during the four years of war, were very attractive to each other and had great deal of enjoyment, meeting together. Boys of 12, like me didn’t go to parties in those days, hence I stayed at home with Mother; one day the young people met to catch partridges in a net. No bird dogs then, and no shooting partridges. Here they were in large coveys, and gentle means were useful on damp days, for at times they could be driven along on foot. A drove would be formed and the net would be set ahead of them. There they would be slowly driven into it. I was told a party was driving a covey along, and as they came to the wings of the net that converged to its mouth, a rabbit sprang up and a hawk swooped down to catch the rabbit in such a way that the net caught rabbit, hawk, and partridges. The best way to drive partridges was on horse back. We owned two horses and one saddle. Bob had it, and Louis borrowed one, but just as the crowd started, the owner came for his saddle, so Louis had to leave his young lady partner and put the horse in the lot. I see him now, bringing out a volume of Dix’ Works, leaning back in a chair and reading if he was not too mad to do it. Bob went on with the young lady.

No church houses were destroyed during the war, but badly abused. Windows and seats were taken away, to block houses and camps. At this time, seats were made of planks, set on ends of blocks, and a protracted meeting was held. The preachers told how awful sin was in the sight of God, and called for repentance. One ex soldier, son of a deacon, cried out aloud and asked the Lord to have mercy on his soul, which the Lord did. 26 persons were baptized. One young lady, daughter of another deacon, and beautiful, as she was raised from the water, clapped her hand, shouting, glory to God. I was old enough and wanted to find God, but did not know how. Most of the "before the war" preachers were dead, or gone. One of them came back from the West on a visit and preached. He was a splendid preacher. I heard him remark privately that he expected to see the day when he would not be noticed, because he was not educated. I know now, how foolish such idle talk was, for preaching for God, must have more heart than head in it. Later I read what an educated preacher, of that generation, wrote: "That what’s in a man will come out, college or no college." I have found this to be very true. Any young man called of God to preach should not worry along with his ignorance, alone, when school help can be had.

By this time I could read the Bible pretty well. I had to relearn how to pronounce Pilate. I called Pil-ate, and Nebuchadnezzar, I skipped but an uneducated preacher in Florida made a lunge at it in public and brought forth: Ne-buck-the-beasser, as the best he could do with it. When I began to read aloud from the pulpit, I could twist the old fellow’s name out correctly.

When Louis and Bob were clearing that new ground, my business was to pile brush. Now piling brush is no laughing job. Louis said that I wanted to pile as the ax cut the limbs off. My logic was, as I now see it, was to skip those already off and wait for some to be cut. No, Louis didn’t call me lazy, but I now see, he inferred it. All of us, should have been in school, but physical life was more important, than mental culture, so work we did, and picked up some of the other afterwards. Some of that new ground was planted in June and frost caught in roasting corn. We raised some wheat. We would live on corn bread, till wheat would come, then corn would be out, so we would live on wheat bread till corn would ripen. By that time the wheat would give out hence we could not mix them. You had to eat biscuit until you would want a corn dodger, then, dodger corn till you wanted a buiscuit. One time meat got scarce, so Mother would fry a piece or two more than the number of us. So one Morning I thought to eat fast, and get the last piece, but Bob beat me to it so I thought of what a hog he was, and said nothing. Another thing I had to do that year, was to turn the grindstone. Both brothers would grind the axes, but would not swap work to turn the rock for each other. That was my job with both of them. I could play off at brush piling, but not at stone turning. Corn was planted by hand in check rows, 4 x 4, and plowed both ways, or in one way rows, covered with hoes. One farmer planted his corn and then came a big rain; every row was made a gulley which put seed in the creek. Now, we plant corn with a planter, which does the work of three men and one horse. No commercial fertilizers were used. No two horse plows or cultivators. Broke ground, deep with a narrow plow, called bull tongues. They used turn plows, called turnsters. All hoes were eye hoes with home made handles. They were heavy, and tiresome to use. Wheat was sown by hand, and cut with a hand cradle, tied by hand and threshed by thresher pulled by 4 mules, that sent wheat and straw out together, on large sheets, spread out on the ground. That year Bob and I helped my future father-in-law thresh his wheat all day. I made no charges, but he gave me 40, the first money I ever made and the first that I ever had except a dime I found about 12 years before. That 40 was a lot of money to me.

Your maternal ancestor was 4 years of age and there, but she was too little for me to notice, or spend my money on. I do not know how that 40 went or see any sign of it now. After this I was started to school, but soon stopped to pick peas. The culture for my horse sense was taken away by cow peas. If my Mother, had known my need of that culture, in my coming years, those peas would have rotted in the field. However all was not lost for, because of this, I let peas rot, to keep my children in school.

My 13th year came. I should have been in school. We were too poor for that. No free schools, and no money to buy books or pay tuition. Sister Sallie went but us sons didn’t. Louis and Bob plowed the horses and I dropped corn, hoed, and was kept busy at odds and ends. After two years of labor for his Mother and us, for nothing, and as I was large enough to plow, he decided to go West, and make something for himself. He had given 4 years of his life to his country, and 2 to us. So in his 27 years he was going out to make a home for himself, and a beautiful young lady who had promised to share life with him.

Just before he was to go West, one extremely cold night the young folks had a social party. I have no knowledge that any had over coats. Doubtless they had a big fire in a closed room. Then came out and rode home, in the cold wind. Soon Louis was sick with what his doctor said was an earache. Now its called a longer name. Now, by an operation behind his ear, his life could have been saved, but Louis suffered on in untold agony till death was a happy release. How I prayed to God for Louis to get well. But, he passed out of this world. A tall handsome man with classical features, didn’t seem to have been made to buffet the world, like Bob and I have done. Louis was a Christian gentleman. He was clerk of his church when he died. A great crowd came to his burial. His paster used: "Father, I will those whom thou hast given me may be with me where I am that they may behold my glory." The old church minutes of Ebenezer Baptist church of that day, read: "Our beloved church clerk, Louis J. Ware was buried today, who was held in high esteem." In two years, our mother and grandmother Ware took that journey across the border of time. In 13 years our sister Sallie went, and now after 67 years only Bob and I remain.

In the fall of 1867, we hauled our sogrum several miles to a Mr. Bill Jenkins, to be made into syrup. Mr. Jenkins was a christian all the time and a shoutty one, a part of it. One time he started down the aisle, shouting: "I’m going right on to Heaven now." Another man said: "Wait till I get my hat, and I’ll go with you," which broke the spell on Jenkins, and he returned to his seat. Jenkins sided with the yanks. Two of his daughters married yankees who had been soldiers. With others he organized a Northern Methodist church near his farm, which went to pieces in a few years, and then he joined the missionary Baptist. In public prayers he began low, and then gradually went up to the top of his voice. He was a good man.

The cane mills of those days were made of wood. They were greased with tallow, and could be heard screeching for a long distance, as it was pulled around. An exciteable soldier during the Civil War, slipped in home, which was off in the mountain, and two fellows who were also soldiers, heard the mill a long way off, and decided to have some fun. So, they shot off their guns, running their horses toward him shouting: "Surrender." But, he grabbed a sogrum cane, jumped on his mule, put the lash to it, and around and around the mule ran, the man thinking he was running away from being captured and shot as a deserter. At another time, they camped for the night and all agreed to scare him. So two of them slipped out, and came back like yankees. Every man broke for his horse, but the scarry fellow jumped on his mule the wrong way, grabbed for the bridle reigns and found nothing, and shouted: "They have shot my mules head off, boys!" As Louis was gone, I did my first plowing, broke ground with a four inch bull tongue plow, for our next crop. Strange, by plowing, I began to lose my inferiority complex, though at that time I didn’t know what the thing was. Bob was 19, big and strong, while I was small and weak, for my age. Bob was a good brother to me. Could I have looked up the coming 55 years of plowing I was to do. The big plantation I would manage and the different farms I would own, and crop failures that I’d plow 5 days and preach the other two. I’d rather look back at it than to have foreseen it. When I now look back and see myself plowing with the plowstock I used, I laugh, with the cross piece that held plow handles broken and one handle strapped with a leather strap, I see that handle now bobbing up and down, as I tried to do good plowing, but couldn’t. I went to Sunday School the first time that year. Had catechism to study. I rub my teeth with charcoal. There were no tooth brushes at that time.

That fall and winter, we moved 18 miles to West Arrnuche Valley, in Walker County to raise short cotton. There was none raised in Dogwood Valley for market at that time. Bob would haul a load of stuff one day and come back the next. We went down and sowed wheat and oats and finally we got moved. With our last load we came by a house, out of which came a beautiful young lady, and walked with Bob and Sallie some distance, while I drove the team on ahead. Once when I looked back they were parting. The young lady kissed Sallie and then Bob, and poor little me felt cheated. We were too busy getting ready for making some money, raising cotton, which was selling at 25 a lb. that April. I was 15, adolescent, and climbing foot’s hill. I was too hard at work in day times and too sound asleep, at nights to decide what a great man I’d make, but I did fully decide one thing for this world and one for the next. God for Eternity, and a pretty little wife and a big plantation for this world. [Cross-Reference: see "Resolve"].  Time proved that in three years found God, in 7 years I owned a farm, in 12 years I found the pretty wife, but, it was 35 years before I got the big plantation I had planned to own, when I was 15. During that year I killed 14 birds by hand with rocks. I killed one dove with lead slugs in an army musket and one yellow hammer with dry beans in the same musket, rammed down on some powder. I got close to him, and one bean hit him on the side of his head. In my hunting that year, I used slugs, beans, or rocks, as they came my way. No shot or bullets came. No going to school and I was too ignorant to realize my need of it, though I read every thing I could get. Though a wealthy ex slave owner from whom we rented our land had a large library. One of his boys of my age were chums, sometime I’d look at a book, but I never thought I could borrow them. Nearly all the valley was owned by the ex slave owner. There was no prospect for a poor man like Bob, who was twenty-one that year, to own land unless he could marry a landowner’s daughter, whose nose was too high to smell a fellow like Bob, and the little girls a poor boy like me. Shiloh Baptist Church had a large house and membership. [Cross-Reference:  see "Elder Shattuck"].  Their pastor, John J. Caloway, lived in Dalton, taught school, and would preach Saturday and Sunday once a month. He sent another preacher to hold a protracted meeting as the custom was. The negroes used the back seats to hear the gospel. One poor young lady, whose father was a drunkard, would give her hand for prayer and many negroes, but somehow, I didn’t. That poor girl was saved, but I continued on in spiritual darkness. I needed help but no christian came to counsel me. Soon, I found a thrown away book, Bunyan’s Pilgrim Progress, which cleared the way for me.

That year we made a good crop, of cotton and it sold at 22, but Bob and a brother-in-law, who lived in another valley, decided to sell out and go to Arkansas, but fell in with a man, who had lived in Florida, who bragged so about it that they changed their plans for Florida. But, before I start on that I’ll narrate some more of 1869.

We lived in a good home, built by a man, who had reared his family, got old and moved off, and out of the house. We had Apples, Plums, and Cherries, and also a few graves near by. In the spring we had a garden. I liked to live there. I heard my grandmother Ware had died. She was a sister of the renown Alfred Webb, a famous Baptist preacher back of the Civil War, and Modurator of the High Tower Baptist Association for many years. If he had written about himself, in old age, like I am trying to do, at 80, how interesting it would be.

My Mother‘s health declined, worn down by losses and crosses and hopes deferred. After she was bed ridden, one Sunday morning she sent for me, as I was out with some boys, when I came in, Sister Sallie went out, and I sat down to read a book and finally Mother said: "Scott, do you think you can live a christian life as long as you live?" With tears running down my face, I answered, "Yes, Mother." A few days later, I stood near, and saw her gently breathe her life away. The bottom of my life seemed to drop out. The light of my life had gone away. Father gone, Jule gone, Louis gone, and now Mother had left, and me 15. I stood by her grave. [Cross-Reference:  see "Mother's Grave"; see also "Buried without a Song" and "Shiloh 1869"].  No preacher there, no scripture read, no song, just buried. I lived on but I wanted to go with her. Bob and Sallie were kind, and the resonance of youth soon came to my rescue, and God took the place of Father and Mother. I am so grateful now, He did that for me, yes, he let a boy talk with him, and impressed me how to do when I did wrong, he would move me to repent, which I’d do, yes, it has been a long drawn out battle, God and me against sin and Satan and my carnal mind.

One night Bob and Sallie gave a Social party. Hot weather and the young folks drank lots of water. The spring was down hill, some distance from the house. The water I brought up was noticed more than I was. It was dark and I was scarey, but I’d tote that water. The spring, a gum curbing about three feet deep. Away along in the night, when all the boogers were out, I groped my way and fell for the gum, and put the bucket in for water, and it would not sink. So I took the bucket out and reached down in that dark hole with my arm, and my hand felt some big something with hair on it. I reached further down, got hold of its hind leg and pulled it out, and found that it was a pet pig that we had raised. I thought it had slipped in and drowned. Now, after 65 years, writing about it has changed my mind. If thirsty, the spring branch was there. No, it was put down in that gum and drowned to scare me; or else, drowned for revenge by someone, for not being invited to the party. My mind must have been dense, for it took that idea 65 years to get there.

Now I’ll leave this pig tale and Amurche Valley and tell you, that I visited Dogwood Valley and went with Tom McCalla, brother of your ancestor, to a social party, but she was too young to go, but some older sisters did. From then I went to Pea Vine Valley, and from there to Florida.

Moving to Florida, to farm, ought to be here by January, but we waited till February to start. Bob, Sallie and I were our family, with a two horse wagon to take Sister Jane, her husband, and four children, with one horse team to bring them. It took 28 days to get through. Now, I can go to that starting point in my automobile, in one summer day. In 1870, no good roads. We crossed over shaking bridges, dangerous ferries, and fiorded deep creeks. Some boys on the way told me to take some rocks to Florida to throw, for I’d find none there. We, ourselves had more ignorance of Florida, in us, than Georgia Wisdom.

That first year of Florida farming was a sight to forget. Its memory is a pain. For instance, had a fine field of corn, waist high, and plowed it the Georgia way, and ruined it. We sold one mule for corn to make a crop, and our horse died. Both lived and farmed together and tried to fight grass with our lives. We worked hard and excessive rains made it useless. Finally we planted peas which made good, but we youngsters had to pick, while Bob and Clark walked over the country, trying to buy land with nothing and failed. Sallie and I made our good crop at Sunday School. She memorized 8000 verses of scripture and I 800. I have some of that crop yet.

In 1871, Bob and I plowed two mules on another farm, we worked a share crop of 50-50. We planted a big crop of cotton, and some fertile land in corn. [Cross-Reference:   see "1871 Crop"].  We made a bumper crop of both, but in September it began to rain and for days the hurricane raged. Our cotton whipped to pieces and Santa Fee River and Olustu Creek met and covered our corn with water above the ear. I had chills and fever and felt the house shake twice during the storm. No, I was not scared. I was used to shakes. I have not had chills and fever since. For medicine I was given willow root tea, which was abhorrent to take. During these spells of cold and heat, sister Jane rode horse back to see me, and I rode behind her to her home, near where Dukes is now. She would weave cloth to clothe her family and she would relate some incidents. One was: "Away back when uneducation."

A preacher made this talk in meeting. "When I left home this morning, all things seemed to say, ‘fare well brother Crawford.’" "Ah, it made me think, that when I was a little boy, ah, I set me a little trap, that caught a jay bird, ah, then I took that bird, ah, and pulled out all of its feathers, ah, but its tail and wings, ah, there, ah, I threw that bird, ah, into the air, ah, and he flew higher and higher, ah, then as he went out of sight, ah, he seemed to say, ah, ‘fare well brother Crawford,’ ah, as I rode along this morning, ah. A drove of partridges flew up, ah, and roared away, ah, saying, ‘fare well brother Crawford’, ah. As I rode on to a branch, ah, a flock of geese, ah, flapped their wings and splashed the water, ah, which scared my horse, and he threw me off, ah, and he tore up the road, ah, and out of sight and he seemed to say, ah, ‘fare well brother Crawford,’ ah."

While I was there, my brother-in-law said he was told that a tub of cold water poured on, as the chill started, was a chill cure. I said for him to fix his water. He did. At the first shake I stepped up to that tub and a cold bucket of water came down on my head and like ice down to my feet, in rapid succession, they came, untill the tub was empty. Then a bee line I took for the room, skinned off my wet clothes, into something dry, and under the cover I went. I shook that bedstead and everything on it. My teeth would rattle and bones shake and flesh quiver. Cold inside and out, up and down and all around. Then I eased away from freezing to death and was warm for a moment, and then the torrid zone rushed in, saying, "Stand aside, while I try to heat him up." The cover flew off as heat flew in. Hot? All the ice in me melted and came out, hot water thru my skin. I would inhale cold air and exhale hot. Did that cold water cure your Chills? I do not know but I know I’ve had no chills since that surge of them, though ever after, I was careful to avoid impure water to drink and mosquitoes.

One bright Sunday morning, J.B. Roundtree, as old then, as I am now, owner of the farm where we lived, rode down to see us. He was a great talker, and I was fine to listen. He said, while a young man, he went up North, from South Carolina, on horse back through remote sections, to buy negroes, who were unprofitable to their owners, in that cold climate, and he would bring them South and sell them for big money. One day, a farmer named a small price for a fine young negro woman. When they went to town, to make papers, he was careful to keep the slave hid, until he got her for he could have sold her at a big profit, right there. Another time, he came to a creek, and was told that he could ford it, but when he rode in, his horse went under, came up and swam across, as he hung to him, with the tail of his heavy overcoat, trailing after him on top of the water. When over, he rushed on, and came to a farm house, with smoke belching out of the chimney. He dismounted, rattled in with his icy clothes, and a good old motherly woman took him in and kept him in her charge until he could travel again. He and his son-in-law brought their slaves to Florida before the Civil War, and bought adjoining farms. Lots of deer were here, then, and they would hunt them with deer hounds. They would take different stands, and send a man, with dogs away around, and then converge and drive the deer by, to be shot down.

A new man had moved in with his negroes, bought land, and that time they took him with them to hunt deer. Being green in the sport, they put him on the best stand, to hit his deer, while they took chances at other places. Directly the sound of deer hound music was heard, and the sound of it pointed toward that fellow’s stand. They listened to hear his gun; but silence was their portion, except from the dogs which said, that the deer had passed. So they hurried to the place, as the man came running up, saying that he had left the stand, thinking another place was best. Then, with flashing eyes, Roundtree said that the son-of-a-bitch, oh, he’s dead now, and I shouldn’t say that, had put up his opinion against the experience of others. Afterwards Roundtree loaned me, unasked, the life of Benjamin Franklin, and when I read how he walked up a street, eating dry bread and was laughed at by a rich girl, I, too would amount to something, and like him, make some girl’s laughter, turn to yes. Roundtree had been a poor boy, like I was, I knew, he was with me, though 60 years apart.

For 1872, we moved onto high land on Oluster Creek, near Providence. We moved into a house, out of which an ex slave holder moved to South Fla. He sold 640 acres of land to a Georgia man, mostly on credit. In 8 years this man paid for it and built a fine house, and then died in middle life. He had worked himself to death, it was said. He came to us, to work a share crop for him, and he promised a fast mule, but got a slow one to plow. I plowed 40 acres and Bob hoed it. We made a big crop, and sold the Sea Island Cotton for 10 a lb. in the seed. Corn sold for $1.00 a bushel. Sallie taught a private school, and kept house. We worked hard, lived hard, and dressed shabbily, to get a start in life. We would go to Oluster Providence Church on Saturday and Sunday. Once a month Rev. J. H. Tomkins of Gamsville Florida was pastor. He was an educated, ex Confederate army captain. He wore full beard, and dressed well, and rode a pony. He had a genteel appearance, live clean, and was my ideal preacher. Bob and Sallie were members but I was out in the world, where sinners perish. Before this, I resolved never to be baptized in my sins. I was so weary of seeking God, but I would not give up, or quit seeking. I believed the Bible and all truths about God. I would pray, and ask for public prayer. The 2nd Saturday, in April 1872 Tomkins preached and again that night. At the close of the sermon, he gave an opportunity for sinners to come forward and kneel down by a front seat. As the song began I started and before I could kneel down, the burden I had carried so long, dropped off my spirit, backward. It must have been the devil, for I had peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. I was so little, I told no one about it. On Saturday night in May, Tomkins preached to sinners again, and gave an opportunity for prayer. I didn’t go for I had what was offered. After that he gave a chance to be baptized. Again, as the song started I did, and sat down on the front seat. After the song Tomkins stood off some distance, behind a table, and said to me: "Do you desire to join this church?" "Yes sir." "Do you wish to be baptized?" "Yes sir." "Do you believe your sins are forgiven?" "Yes sir." "How do you know?" I didn’t tell about the burden rolling away or off my spirit, I didn’t think of it. In my confusion, I simply answered: "He said that he would do it." Tomkins answered and said to all, "Now that is faith." My baptism was deferred till June, and by that time 6 more persons had joined. All were grown except me. It was 10 o’clock A.M. the second Sunday in June, a beautiful Sabbath, which seemed near to paradise. A large number of people stood on the banks of Oluster Creek, to witness our burial in water. When I was going down the water rushed up and covered my face, at last, at that moment, covered over with water, I was buried with Christ in baptism. As I was lifted up, the water parted, and this was my first resurrection with Christ, and I have fought my carnal mind to live a new life, these 62 years, since. As I was coming up out of the water, I noticed a handsome young man, on the bank, dressed with a white suit. His silent manner seemed to say to me: "It’s all right for you to be wet, in your common clothes, but as for me, I disdain such conditions, as not worth of my life." He looked so clean and proud and content with himself. Alas, for human vanity, for he was, a short time after, shot to death, and his body buried. I was in that Christ grave a moment, but he has been in his grave 62 years, and still there. I went into my grave as a boy, came out as a boy, and have lived to 80 years. He was forced by sin into his grave and his years were out from him, forever. As far as I know, all those who were baptized with me are all dead but two, all the members of that great church, who gave us the hand of fellowship, all are dead except one. I followed the example of our Lord Jesus Christ as to mode and preparation for baptism, and obeyed his command to believe in him, repent of, and forsake sin.

The church met in Wednesday night prayer meetings. Their mode to conduct it was for some to read a scripture and give out a song to be sung, lead in prayer, and then give way, and someone else would go forward, and give out a hymn, and pray. So that fall I resolved, while picking cotton, that I would do that, that night. [Cross-Reference:   see "My Eighteenth Year"].   I had had practice to lead myself in secret prayer, but none to lead others. I would have backed out when the time came, if I had not told myself I would. So, I forced myself to do it. If not recorded in heaven, it’s lost, for not a word of it stuck to my mind. The angels may have rejoiced more to see me make that effort, than since, where I led in public prayer with ease.

Once that year I was in Providence a young sinner boy, of an aristocrat family, whom I liked, said to me: "Scott, go with me over the way," he meant to a settlement, where fornication could be committed. "Joe" I answered, "I cant do that, for I belong to the Church and dont do such things." He answered: "I dont blame you." Back of my answer was God, who had spoken to me in the 5th chapter of Proverbs.

To refer back to our baptism, out it, sprang the cause, which brought a public debate, between the Baptist and Methodist churches. On the Bible mode of baptism, and was infant baptism scripture. The Baptists affirmed that being buried in water was the scriptural form, and the Methodists affirmed that spring or pouring on water was also scriptural. They thrashed that out the first day. Next day, infant baptism was held up by the Baptists as an invention of man, and the Methodists said that it was commanded of God in the Bible. Four Methodists and two Baptists were there. All are dead now, and will be judged by the word of God at the last day. This debate was not published out four years later, J.R. Graver, Baptist and Ditzer Methodist. They met in Carralton Texas, and their debate made a large book when published. I bought the book. With me, Christ’s own baptism settled the mode, and his command to believe and be baptized excludes infant baptism as a command of God.

1872 made three years for us, in Florida, and two of them failures in crops, but now we had enough money to buy a small mule. Bob sent me after it, and said that I’d have to lead it home, for it would not let any one ride it. But, I forgot when I led it out, jumped up on its bare back and rode it home. As I rode off, I heard a boy say: "Why, he is riding it." Do I hear you ask if that mule ever threw me? Oh, yes. After I was grown, I rode him to a temperance society at Providence and had no girth to my saddle, so as I came thru Oluster creek swamp, I got tired of riding straddle so I thought to ease up, by riding side ways. So I threw one leg over, which scraped his mane, and quick as thought the mule was gone, and I came down in the road, sitting in the saddle, jarred up to my neck and on through my head. I fell my legs sprawled out, else I might have broke one or two of them. I was two miles from home and a saddle to tote. So I got up, took a stirrup leather, swung the saddle round over my shoulder, put the saddle blanket on top of that, and walked on, rested from riding a straddle. Directly I saw the mule up the road, eating grass. I said no whoas, or anything to him. I didn’t hurry, but just walked along like I was fond of carrying a saddle and a dirty blanket. He trotted on further as I walked on. He stopped to graze some more. I walked on to him. I did not take hold of the bridle reigns, but put the blanket on him, the saddle on top of it, and took the reigns, and got up and he walked on home. I believe we liked each other. At another time, I rode the mule, with the same equipment, to a singing, one night. Going back home, I overtook a young lady, I liked, my pastor’s daughter, walking along with her two small brothers. I thought that she might prefer one beau to two brothers, so I dismounted and slipped my arm through the bridle reign, and said that I believed that I’d walk along with her. With no answer, she put her hands on my mule, her foot in a stirrup. I foresaw the consequences, but said nothing. She sprung up with one foot and pulled down with the other, to ride my mule, as a war joke on me. But, the joke turned on her, as she fell to the ground, and the saddle on top of her. I stood and laughed at her, as she threw off the saddle. When she stood up, with no help from me, I replaced the saddle, and then she walked meekly along with me to her home. Years after, I was her pastor five years, she, the wife of a deacon. Their home was a joy to visit, but I never mentioned that mule episode. Do I hear you say, that I have made myself the hero, relating an incident when you were not? All right. When I was changing from a tadpole into a frog, I was poor stuff for the girls. I went with Bob and Sallie to a social party one night. Bob was handsome and Sallie pretty, and I was neither. They had poise and sense and I had neither. In my desperation I asked a pretty girl to be my partner, thru a play, but she squealed out a flat-footed no, so all could hear, but a married woman, through pity came to my rescue, and said to the girl: "Why did you do that?" and this caused me to feel much better.

In 1873, we rented a farm for a third of the corn and a fourth of the cotton. We used no fertilizer, and land was poor. We lived one half mile South west of Oluster Church. I went to my first singing School. We used the Sacred Harp as text book, which is a four note book. I still have it. Bob and Sallie was the best looking, but I could beat them singing, hence they wouldn’t try. They were so used to out shining me, that they would not go to the singing school, to take second place to me, or else too for all to go. I was nineteen that year, but my beard had not appeared, and I would not shave off the fuzz, like they said Bob had done, hiding in the chimney corner, with a sharp pocket knife, ashamed to be seen shaving fuzz. I had said that I wouldn’t have fuzz, and when it turned to beard, I wouldn’t hide to do my first shave. 16 miles to the nearest barber shop, and I had no money anyway. I went to mill one day, and a boy remarked at my face and the fact that I had a beard. Surely enough, when I felt under the middle of my lower lip the fuzz had grown long enough to pull. So, when I got home I told Sallie that I was going to shave. "No you are not." she said. But I insisted and got an old razor, and scrapped the fuzz off.

Being poor, with a determination to work out of it, helped me over the pitfalls of my adolescence age. One time, while in health, I thought I would not live long. Now being 80, proves that I was wrong. During my four years in Florida I got about four weeks of schooling. I had been to cases in Smith grammar, and to fractions in arithmetic. No free schools were there and private schools were scarse, and sorry during my boy and young manhood days, caused by the Civil War.

In the fall of 1873, the Florida Baptist State Convention met with Providence Church, which was large in membership, most of whom owned their farms. Hence they were able to take care of the convention. This was the only time the convention met 16 miles from a railroad out in the country. It was a cold November day, no stove in the house, so a big log heap of fire out in the grove warmed the cold Baptist blood, as they came in afoot in buggies, carriages, wagon and horse back. So they stood around that fire, till the hour came and into the cold house they went. I heard L.W. Simmons, L.D. Geiger, and G.W. Hall preach during the convention. Geiger was 21 and a good preacher, Hall was older, large and strong and began in a low tone, but swept the rafters before he quit. Rev. L.B. Fish from the North, played on a mellodian and sang a solo: "Jesus of Nazareth Passing By." It was Sunday and the large house was full. When he sang the last verse, "Too late, too late will be the cry," a middle aged man wept like it was true in his case.

One Saturday, we had company for dinner after church. I heard a hen over her little chicks, squawk like a hawk was after them, so I grabbed our cap and ball rifle. Sure enough, there he was flying away with a young chicken. He lit on a limb, high up in pine tree, with his back to me, standing on that chicken. I took a tree on him, and I got to it. I eased the rifle up, took a bead on the hawk’s back. When I touched the trigger, that hawk kicked the chicken back toward me, as he sprang forward, as the bullet tore through him, and hit the ground, dead. I relate this incident for the boys of my fourth generation. Late one Saturday, I was fishing on Oluster creek and caught nothing till twilight came and the swamp looked scarry. I thought I saw the cork go under and I pulled, and then business picked up. Jerking and sloshing and splashing and pulling and grunting was done in rapid succession till I got him out, and I had a big catfish. Sometimes the alligators would bellow and make the goose bumps rise on a fellow. Soon one morning I was down there with rifle to kill cat squirrels. Sometimes they all get together and I saw a tree full of them, and slipped up to pick them off, but none of them would stop. So, I showed myself, and they began to run down the tree. I ran up to the tree, but they would run down the tree right by me. If I had had a stick in place of a rifle or a shot gun, I could have had squirrel meat. As I was I got nothing, for they never stopped.

In those days, Providence and all the towns and cities had bar rooms, and a dram, or barrels of whiskey could be bought. Pastor Tomkins would preach against the evil and danger of dram drinking and the awful sin of being a drunkard. In one sermon, he cried out that total abstinance is the only rock of safety and to get on it. My spirit answered that I would, and I did, and have been these 61 years and will on and on, forever. One day rideing home from somewhere, I suddenly said to myself: "I’ll let no preacher live a better life than I will." I told no one but sister Sallie about my vow. That fall, I was going through the woods, squirrel hunting, when suddenly, I was impressed to preach. I had not asked God for it. It came from somewhere outside of my mind and heart. I told no one about it. I thought that I knew that I could not preach like God would waist his impressions on one who could not.

For 1874, Bob rented land about three miles North of Providence Church, on the west side of Oluster creek, in Columbia County. We moved before Christmas into a house by a lane. I knew no boys around there, so one cold Sunday, I went out alone, and lay down in the sunshine where the wind could not hit me. I had pencil and paper and began to put down thoughts in poetic form. I took my brain children to the house, and showed them to Sallie who said that they were fine. She said that she would copy them for me and she did, but they died in infancy with no burial, just disappeared. Now, if I could see them as they were, I would gratify my curiosity, to see their form as I fashioned them, as I was going out of my teens. Bob and Sallie went to Mikesville, to a picnic or party and I didn’t go for I had no invitation. Young people didn’t count me, so they didn’t invite me. So I had to stay at home with my poetry, so I did. A boy is in an awful fix at my age, there. He is neither, this or that, or it. He is the product of being neither a child man or boy. He is half man half boy, and not much of either. All boys at nineteen may not be thus, but I was.

That Christmas morning, the rails of our lane fences were made into a high fence in front of our house, so we had to climb a high fence to get out. It was a frosty morning when I got up, Bob was carrying back the rails to their proper place saying that we would build the fence back before any one comes along and see the joke they played upon us, while we slept. But handling frosty rails is no joke so Bob quit, till after breakfast.

The land we rented was part of a large slave farm whose owner had died and left his widow and four minor sons a part and the other open land about 120 acres to be rented out to highest bidders, by the administrator. We didn’t know how to make money, by farming else we would not have fooled along, one to plow and the other to hoe, but would have bought another mule, on time, both plow, to our limit, hire the hoeing done by day labor. That year, Bob plowed and I hoed. We planted corn, cotton and pindars. I did one thing and resolved another that year. After sun down on leaving the field, on the 2nd day of April, I stopped, looked all around and raised my arms toward the East and said: "Farewell teens, I’ll be 20 to-morrow." Another time in the field, I asked myself what I was going to do thru life, to make myself a living. I answered that I would farm as I could live a better life that way. It was a renewal of that vow at 15, that someday I’d have a pretty little wife, and a big plantation.

Our farm tools then, would have made a farmer, now, laugh to see, or mad to own. Slavery had stunted the inventive genius of the South; for negro muscles with any old tool, could make the whites, not only a living but wealth also. But, when that black muscle was lost, it put white brains to work, to invent something to take its place. The slaves were freed, and now machinery has taken his place, to enslave to poverty a large portion of mankind, at present time, 1934.

To go back to 1874, we had corn in the same field with another man who had rented land. Our corn was first class, and his third because of lack of work. One day I hoed to the end of a row, where a snake had caught a frog. I touched it on its tail with my hoe, didn’t want to kill it, because it was not poisonous; when I touched it it began to roll, let go of the frog, and kept squirming and rolling, let out and left another live frog, which hopped off; on turning and twisting and threw out another frog, half digested. It seemed to say: "If you will spare my life, you can have all my frogs." Anyway I let it live.

On another clear day, I looked into the sky for a moment, and thought that I saw a star, looked again more intently, and sure enough there it was doing its best to out shine the sun. So, I felt sorry for it, but I knew that it was as much of a star then as it would be further on, shining through the dark night, eyes charmed with its glory, and human voices saying what a beautiful star, so much larger than its fellows.

We sowed oats that year and I cut them with a schything craddle. After the oats were off, we planted the same ground with black seed short cotton and made a good crop. Cotton caterpillars were bad in those days. One man planted 60 acres in long cotton, they came early, and he made one bale. Sometimes they would strip a field, and at other times one corner or a streak thru. Finally they were poisoned and disappeared. Then the red bug, and after that the boll weevil.

Bob, or we had a habit, I fell out with, not to have fire, and stove wood ready, when needed. One cold night it was my morning to get up first and make fires. Well, I crawled out of a warm bed, jerked on cold clothes, went out in the cold wind, rubbed the frost off the ax handle, went out in the woods, and cut wood off of a log, covered with frost, to make fires to warm by and cook with. So, while I was shaking and quaking, cutting and splitting, I resolved that when I got to be boss of that big plantation and husband of that pretty wife, I would when work was slack prepare scads of fire and stove wood, and have it ready for instant use.

1875 came and we stayed on at the same place. We knew a good thing when we found it. The Revolutionary war was discussed 100 years after it started. They had a big blow out about it in Philadelphia, but none of us went, being too poor, and somehow, they carried on the centennial celebration, very well without us. A knat was on the horn of an ox, decided to fly off, so apologized for doing so, but the ox replied, "Little knat, I didn’t know you were there." Its fine to belong to a church or nation that can do things without us. God tells men everywhere to repent, but the vast majority of them wont do it, and feel their importance before God, by refusing, just as if God would suffer a great loss unless they should come to his aid, against the Devil, where as God, does not know them, and will raise up people to take their place, to repent.

I went to a private school a few weeks, and wrote a composition on music, which the teacher praised, to my astonishment. Of all curious things that I have met thru life, I have never met one to beat me at that time. It makes me laugh and cry now, to look back and see what a thing, I was. Loving and serving God, yet unsecurly trying to prove, that I could not preach for him. I went to no one, and no one came to me, so I carried the burden on alone, trying to ease up by being clerk of the church and superintendant of a Sunday school, further on.

I was 21 now, but a big strapping boy, took hold of me one day, and before I knew, his intent he threw me down in the mud, and then jumped up and ran away, laughing at the trick he had played on me. I was no wrestler, didn’t want to be. Several young men could have thrown me, but I would not wrestle with them. But, this young fellow got my dander up, down in the mud so that evening I passed where he and a negro were covering a house. I told him to come down and I would throw him down. The negro said something to him and down he came and business picked up. Throwing all preliminaries and rules aside, I slammed that fellow down and didn’t fall with him. He tried again and got the same thing, then he went to work and I passed on to mine. If I had met Satan with such a determination, when he was in my way to preach, he would have fled from me. One day along, I was picking cotton. The first thing I knew, tears were streaming from my eyes, and I was telling God that I could not preach. How foolish I was to tell no one about it. If I could go back there, I’d tell Bob and Sallie, and Oluster Church. But I hid those messages from God, in my heart, and he knew I did not doubt him, but myself, which was wrong in me, to doubt God’s judgment of me to preach. So I said nothing, worked on, and life was going from me. We made another good crop in 1876. That fall, my sister married, after keeping house for us seven years. Sallie, my beautiful, intelligent sister, who took Mother’s place with me, for seven years after Mother’s death. She died at 40, when I was 36. 44 years have come and gone, since I was her body buried, but her memory with me is still fresh.

We broke up house keeping. Bob bought a farm and kept bachelor hall, thru 1877-78. I bought 120 acres of land and paid for it, which took so much of my money, that I couldn’t marry a pretty face, I had in view, at that time. I treated that face and its person sacred, and the benefficient influence of lack of money, at that time, made your ancestor a different woman of a higher type. I’ll stop here and pick it up later.

1876 was another year in politics any current history can tell you. Slaves off this plantation were nearby, all of whom loved their old mistress, who was kind and helpful to them, as her means would allow. One large family of them built some cabins, a mile off, and cleared some land they tried to farm, but it was unproductive. They would hire as day laborers and eked out a sorry living. For generations they had been told what to do, and like children they were unable to plan and execute how to make a living. Even now, after 69 years of freedom, their descendants, as a unit are dependent on white people, for labor, by which to live. Many young and middle aged negroes when freedom was theirs, it went to their heads or carried there by white people, who came from the North, for political office, by the negro vote. For 10 years, negroes were tools in their hands to despoil the state government of Florida. In my county, the tax collector, a southern man, who joined the carpet bag party, for office, stole the money and left his family and died a pauper in Ga. In 1876 the ex slave holders, their sons with other white people, went to the polls, and gave the negro his second freedom, from wicked white political slave owners. All had to go to Lake City to vote. Many voting booths, and the poor negroes everywhere, dupes in the hands of their owners for office. That day, Lake City had the appearance of war times, but no guns were visible. Gov. Drew was elected and the negroes free, again. The turbulent actors of that day are now sleeping in one Earthly bed together. God was over all, and how quickly he put them away, from the stage of action. To my knowledge, only one slave owner and two or three slaves are left. All with faces furrowed with age, looking down into their graves, to be with their kind, the like of which will never be again. While a boy I saw and heard things, you boys of my fourth generation, cannot see and hear.

I saw slaves lined up half around a large crop of corn on the ground, on two sides of a corn crib, to be shucked out in one night by late supper time. Corn divided, slaves on one half, white men and boys on the other. The negro song leader would start his shucking song and all the other negroes would respond. Shucks would fly back on the ground, and a stream of corn would flow into that crib. The whites woudl snatch shucks from the ears doing their best to beat the negroes. The side who beat would tote the owner of the corn into supper on a rail. Amid great laughter, this was done. Whites at one table and negroes at another. And, what a supper each would have. Negroes only used to plain food, would also beat the whites at the game of eating.

One night, across the valley I heard a great commotion, patarollers, as they were called catching negroes who had gone to their party, without a pass from their owners or overseers. Thsoe negroes were in mortal fear of the whip of the pataroller. Rip thru a briar patch just any way to escape some time the patrol men would help a poor slave away from home without a pass. They came in on a party of them, having a merry time, and called for passes. One negro, who had no pass, handed the patrol a blank piece of paper, who read it as a pass from his owner. Another time, pataroller found a crowd, in a house with one door and window. When their presence was known, bedlam broke loose. Too many wool heads to go through one window, so a shovel full of hot ashes and fire coals were thrown over the white men at the door; then a black stream of negroes ran over to make home before being caught. Here in Florida, while a young man, I had a negro and his wife to work for me. I was told that during slavery, this man and wife were caught one night, on the high way with no pass. The negro knew the lash, so the negro was gallant for his wife and said: "Gentlemen, I’ll take mine, and Rosetta’s whiping if you will let her go." Agreed, so they whipped him lightly and said that they would then whip him for his wife. So, they put it on, harder and harder, to see how much he would suffer for his wife. Then he jumped to one side crying out in agony: "Rosetta, you’ll have to take your own whipping; I just cant stand it." This negro, when I knew him was very religious, and I believe he was a good man. One day he was working with another negro, who was not a christian, told him to turn the other cheek, where one is slapped. Would you do that? Yes, so the other negro quick as thought slapped him down. When he struck the ground, his temper struck him and he jumped up in a rage, spluttering out, "Nigger, if you do that again, I’ll knock you down."

Another time negroes without passes heard the pataroller coming on horse back. It was a dark night, in a swamp, so they stretched a grape vine across the road, and the galloping patarollers made a pile in the road while the negroes were bee lining for home. Then, they had a song you may have heard. Some of it was this: "Old Mr. Patrol dont catch me

But catch that negro behind that tree.
Run Niger run, patrol will catch you,
Run Niger run, you had better get away,
The niger run, the niger flew.
The niger tore himself in two,
Run niger run, the patrol catch you
Run niger run, you had better get away.

To get back to 1876, about the first meal I tried to cook after Sallie married I cut a gash between my thumb and fore finger, slicing sweet potatoes to fry, and this had to be sewed up. Then I started to South Fla.

I got to atter creek. Four hours till train time. I decided I’d walk on to Bronson. Before I got there the train passed me, so I kept on walking. When I got to Arche, night had me. A big fire of logs with negro around it. I warmed a while and then started on. Stay and warm yourself longer young man. But I went on, but I have liked that unknown negro ever since. I went on up the railroad, made a fire, and camped by myself. I got enough of that, to do me until now. I had walked 28 miles and was foot sore. A saw mill was near where I waited for the train next day, where I bought a ticket to Chattanooga Tenn. If I had gone on to South Florida at that time Jan. 1877, I could have home steaded land, if at the right place, it would have made me wealthy, or else I might have got sorry land, sickness and death. I went on the train to Fernandina and thence on steam boat to Brunswick Ga. Then, Macon, Atlanta, Chattanooga. I got there about midnight, cold weather and no overcoat. Next day. I went to my oldest sister, who was running a large rented farm. I helped her boys in farm work a few days, till uncle Joe Ware came to stay over night. I went home with him, but I had bought a new suit of clothes. A first cousin said we go 8 miles to G.B. McCallas. Near my fathers old place. That Kate McCalla had grown into a beautiful young lady since I had gone to Florida. We went and stayed over night, saw Miss Kate, fell heel over head in an element that swayed Adam when he had a glimpse of Eve. My farm in Florida had a dwelling and out houses on it, a one horse farm under fence, and bearing orange trees to bring around $80.00. a year. All I needed was about $52.00. and I had neither. Mr. McCalla was wealthy and Miss Kate, pretty, vivacious and graceful in form. She was what I wanted, to grace that big plantation I had in prospect. Now I had some money, but not enough, so when Mr. McCalla said that he needed a farm hand, I told him that I would stay up there thru the summer and would work for him. That was Sunday, and he said for me to come back Monday. So I did. He asked me what I would work for, so I said that I thought that I could do him $10.00 worth a month. He said that he could get a cousin of mine for $8.00. I told him that I wanted board, washing, and ironing and 10 dollars. He said that he’d have to consult with his wife about that. So he did, and told me that it would be all right, but he would only pay me $8.00 for two months and $10.00 for the others till crops were laid by, and that I’d lose time from rain. I didn’t like that much, but Miss Kate more, so I said that it would be all right. [Cross-Reference: see "I was 23"].   The following Saturday, all went to church, but Kate, and she cooked dinner. I split stove wood. At 12 o’clock dinner was announced, I went in, primped up, and sat at one end of the table, and Kate at the other, and when thru I went back to work. As I did when religion first got me, so I did when love got me for Kate. I didn’t show it much by word or action. I am trying to tell you how I acted there, to get Miss Kate to step in line, to become your great, great, great, grandmother. Did I have rivals? Sure, plenty of them. When a man wants the best, others will be in the same notion. Was I jealous? Sure, all true love has an element of jealousy in it. God is jealous of any human beings who will permit Satan, to cheat them out of eternal life and joy, for the pleasures of sin for a season.

When a rival would come to see Kate, I would take myself out of his way, and speak well of him. I may have broke that rule once, when she showed me a letter she got from a fellow whose name was Black. I made a pun on his name. I was young, healthy and strong, and had to show that I could make a living. Men, in those days wore brogan shoes that were not cut to fit the foot, but the foot must wear it down to its shape. My old ones that I had broke to my feet, wore out. So one night after supper I walked to Tunnel Hill and bought a pair of 9’s thinking a No. too large woould break easier. Before I had them broken to my feet, they had me broken to always buy the right number. For days, it was not, Kate and my heart, but me and my feet. Never had such an experience since. Had better sense. My feet hurt so bad, my heart eased up on Katie, but when my feet got better, my heart got worse. About this time Katie next older sister married and Kate went home with them to armuche valley. I had known boys there seven years before, who were sons of wealthy men. I hated to see her go, and meet those fellows. I plowed that day, and tried to sing my sorrow away. When she returned, I caught her eye to see if her nose would go up, but it didn’t, so I felt better. I walked with her to Sunday school one afternoon, and had so much of her in my heart that I thought to put some of it in her ear, so I said: "Kate, you are my girl." She looked at me, with a smile that I had never seen on sea or land. I had peace of heart, but there were storms coming. Kate was her father’s favorite daughter, and best looking. So when he knew that Kate was my object, he went up in the air, and I came back to Fla. with my temper up, with no desire to marry anyone. Mr. McCalla was one of the finest men I ever knew and I liked him. This was one reason I got mad when he did. During the few days I worked to finish out my time he said nothing and I said less, or I wanted to do it. I had money, so had collected no wages. So when I had packed my grip, and came around, he was on front porch, and paid me in full for rainy days, and no cut on the first two months. As I turned to leave, wrath left his face, as he said that he wished me well. Did I tell Miss Kate goodbye? No one but him. I walked to Ringgold, then went on to Chattanooga to sister Mary’s. [Cross-Reference:   see "To the Top of Lookout Mountain"].   I stayed with her a few days, and then came on to Fla. But before I start on Fla. again I’ll go back, and give some more of Ga. as I found it in 1877.

That year Atlanta was voted in to be the capital city of the state, but it has 1st Millidgville keep the Insane Asylum, to this day. That year a democrat Governor was elected and its an old habit now. Sister Mary, the mother of 13 children took what her husband left, and had started on the fortune that she made in after years. One nephew told me that he intended to be worth $50,000 some day, but he got out and his prophecy proved false.

Uncle Non Ware had some attrative daughters. In later years I learned that uncle was very properly uneasy, lest I should hatch up a love case, and marry one of them. Had he known my mind. It had in it never to marry a woman, with a drop of kin blood, to me in her veins.

I took my church letter with me, and joined Ebenezer Baptist Church, when my father was its second pastor, when then choirs of the cicada made me think of angels. I attended Sunday school, and prayer meetings, but led in neither. I didn’t idle away time, or consort with immoral boys and girls, men and women. God told me a good name was better than riches or sinful pleasures, and I believed him. I knew that there was nothing in sin, worth having therefore I fought to take nothing out. A statement of facts, is not self laudation.

I worked problems in arithmetic. Found one that I couldn’t work, told Kate McCalla that she couldn’t, but she did. When we went to be married, I had sailed further out than she had. During rainy days, at Mr. McCalla’s I sewed up horse collars, mended harness, made ax handles, or did something. I did anything but hang around Miss Kate, up to that time I had never been beat at foot racing, but Kate’s brother did, and I foot raced no more. Kate’s younger brother and I agreed to walk over Taylor’s ridge, the next Sunday, to see one of his brother-in-laws. When Sunday morning came, Kate and Lola, her older sister said that they were going with us. I had no objection to Kate’s going, and Lola could go if she wanted to. So across the valley we walked, over the creek, through the hollows and up the eastern side of that mountain. As we passed a farm house, a young man we knew, came out and tried to walk with Lola. Now, I had Kate, and I had no objection to that fellow taking Lola off our hands, but Lola had, and flirted around to my other side. So, I strutted on up that mountain, between the McCalla girls, big Ike like. Now, the West side of that mountain was steep and the path rocky, but I helped Kate down, who needed no help, and I left Lola to help herself. Now, Albert Lowe and I had been boys together and liked each other. So we went on to church, came back, ate dinner, and thought we started back in time to get home by dark. After we started, I broke a paw pa branch, and I told Kate I’d beat her up with it. She got scarred, darted on ahead, and me after her, when we were far enough ahead to suit us, I dropped the paw paw, and we climbed that mountain together, regardless how Albert and Lola got up. When we turned the crest, the sun dropped down, and we raced on to beat the coming night, when we got to the creek, a fellow was there to boat us across. I dropped down into the boat off a bank and held up my hands to help Kate down. Instead, she jumped into my arms. Oh, boy, stand aside while I enjoy that thrill, yet we raced on. I didn’t want her parents to think that I kept the girls out after dark, but dark it was, but the Mother said that she had not been uneasy about her girls. I was grateful that a Christian Mother knew that I was a gentleman. My birth day came in April. I said to Mrs. McCalla: "Today is my birth day." "How old are you?" she asked with a quizzical smile. "23," I answered. "That night I was there."

Kate’s older brother, Tom, was younger, larger, and stronger than me. He was in school at that time, where I ought to have been. We liked each other. He had stopped my foot racing. One day we were on opposite sides of a hollow. "Look out" he said, "I’m sending some rocks over there," and here they came. While dodging his rocks, I was making a pile, and then I shouted: "Watch yourself, Tom, for rocks are coming." I know that he could beat me with running feet, but I was sure I could beat him throwing hands. I did my best to hit him with whizzing rocks in rapid succession, which put him behind a tree in self defense. So, our feet and hands were even, which ended our competition.

Catoosa Springs was famous in these days. On the fourth of July, people from far and near, gathered there. A two horse wagon went down from Mr. McCalla’s. While there, I broke loose and courted Miss Kate more than in all past times put together, not knowing that a storm would soon break to blow us apart for 4 years.

Now, I’ll take up Chattanooga again, where sister Mary was making money, and her four oldest sons made great progess in sin, which shortened their lives. One said to me that a younger brother witnessed a number of people being baptized. Among the number was a fallen girl, and he said that he would debase her before night, and did, the brother said, and he laughed like it was smart. These nephews wasted their lives in sin, which did them no good. That summer I went with a young man, to a school exhibition. I walked three miles, across country, and it was a dark night, with no lantern. I had worked hard that day, while he was in school but I went to please him. After dismission, he hooked a girl to his arm, one that he wouldn’t go with in daytime, and I wouldn’t, day or night, and he left me to find my way home the best that I could. 25 years after, his own son, a brilliant young man, fell in love with a daughter of that woman because of her pretty face, married her and wrecked his own life, and brought sorrow to his parents.

I didn’t visit my uncle’s before leaving for Florida. I had to readjust my plans for life. As I thought, I had lost Kate forever. Why didn’t I steal her, as one of her sisters was stolen? When I asked God for a wife she was not to come by stealing her. Kate was Mr. McCalla’s daughter, and he was right, and the only right thing for me to do, was to let him keep her. It never came to mind that she’d wait. I am writing what I thought then. One was, if a man didn’t want me as a husband for his daughter, I didn’t want his daughter for my wife. It was good for me to have marriage knocked out of me, for four years. I was unprepared for marriage. Too poor and ignorant, and Kate too young. It was also good for me to know as I thought, some other man would marry her, before I could conquer poverty and ignorance. It’s so easy to stay poor, if once in it. Spend all you make, as you make it, when young, and you will be in poverty, or the grave in old age. To be idle while young will do it, to work hard and be dishonest while young will guarantee poverty for old age. Working in Ga. at $10.00 a month, and keep, had no appeal to me. So sister Mary filled a box of fried chicken and other accessories, to save my board bill to Fla. I had to wait in Macon a few hours. Had I gone to the President of Mercer University and said: "I can wash dishes, I can sell, sweep floors, wait on tables, I am 23, have some money and a farm in Fla. I can prove I have a good character, and that I can learn. I got religion and a call to preach from God, and I want to be educated in Mercer. Oh well, what I might have been was no present tense with me then. I did not know, and no one to tell, if I had known and acted, some country churches in Fla. would have had a different pastor, later on. By this time, I was normal, and came on to Florida, readjusting my plans that had been out of line. I ate my last piece of chicken as I walked out, from Lake City, 11 miles to our old home. I visited Bob and Sallie, whose husband hired me to go West about 15 miles and build a crib on 320 acres of land that he had bought. No cleared land, but had a new log house with split board floor and no door shutters. A negro man was sent with me, but when Saturday came, he went home. I knew no one, out there I wanted to see. So I spent that Sunday alone away out in the woods. That afternoon, I walked a wide circle thru the tall pine timber. Once I stopped to try my hand at preaching. With trees as my audience. It was my first effort, impromptu, and original. Before an immense crowd of trees I preached. I did not tell them how to live or die. I soon felt that there was no thrill in trying to transfer trees by imagination into people. I would like to have my maiden effort at 23, preaching to trees. It was a very short sermon. All the congregation stood, and none went to sleep, or left the house. The negro came back and we finished the crib, put our things in a wagon, and started home, as it began to drizzle rain, and kept on until we got home and then stopt. The first free school taught by a young lady, had started. I went, but was told by that teacher to come no more, as I was over age. So I worked around and finished out 1877.

When 1878 came, I had been through an eventful year, and had resolved to go to school. A store keeper owed me some money and I had $80.00 in cash. A young married couple said they would board me for $7.00 a month. I got a chance to buy 160 acres of land for $80.00. So I kissed my money goodbye and embraced the land. One of my singing teachers was making up a literary private school in the same school house, where I was turned out by that young lady. When school began, I did, board $7.00 a month and tuitor $2.00.

There were three young ladies, some young men, and a lot of children to be taught. No grades, just a conglomeration of educational prospects. I was in no class. I had made up my mind to surge thru text books, unhindered by any class. A man, baffled in love, his money in 280 acres of land with none in his pocket, felt like using his ire on something, so I took mine out on school books. So, I made the pages fly, to absorb their contents so rapidly, none could stay ahead or catch up with me. One presbyterian young lady said that I’d never catch her in grammar, but I did, so fast she didn’t hear me whiz by. One young fellow fooled away that summer loving the girls instead of his books, but I didn’t, for I had had a bait of that, the summer before, that had sickened my heart with disappointment. So, I stirred up wisdom, and made knowledge take notice. Baseball with a round bat, had just shoved aside town ball with flat paddle, so we played base ball and caught it, with naked hands.

Other young men of my age, 24, were either married or working hard for means to marry on, while I was putting my means in my head, instead of a wife. In seven months I had caught up with my teacher, and quit, and clerked in a store. One day at twilight, I was walking along a path, alone, to night meeting in Oluster Church. There was nothing in clerking, so I thought what I must do, next year. Near the path was a high rail fence. So, I turned aside, knelt down in a fence corner, and told God my trouble, asking for his help. I felt better and went on to church. In a short time a man rode up, to see if I’d run his mother’s three horse farm. A day was set, and I met them, and was asked what part of the crop would I run the farm in. I asked "what part will you offer?" They said that they would give one fourth with board, washing, and keep included. In my surprise, I told them I would take it. The old widow knew me, and told another person that she had wanted me to run her farm for a long time. It was my past record, God used to bring me that splendid opportunity. The widow had two sons single, 16 and 18, and two married. I was to be at no expense, but my clothes, so I took charge, and we had things humming for the 1879 crop, before Christmas. The widow was in debt, the farm run down and her sons couldn’t agree among themselves, for one of them to be in charge.

I was in the latter part of my 24th year. Clean in mind, body and spirit. Good health and had a determination to succeed. I felt and believed that this chance to farm came in answer to that fence-corner prayer I had made.

Nothing but sun time in those days. I would get up at 4 o’clock in summer and 5 in the Winter. I had my own bed and the youngest son slept with me. Their mother was about 55, had owned slaves, but was all energy to make an honest living. She was a christian lady. A methodist, and I was to take time to attend my church on Saturday once a month. I was clerk of Oluster (Providence) church and superintendent of the Sunday School, a part of my time, while running that farm.

On the farm was a 7 acre tract of the best cotton land on the place. The boys asked their mother for this land for their cotton patch. She consented, and I told them, that we would work it with the other crop, with no expense to them, and I would take no part of the cotton. This was wise and tactful, and made me feel good, and the boys too. I took the boys and did a lot of repair work on the place, which cost the widow no money, and she was pleased, and I knew that my part of the crop, would be more than Bob and I used to make at our own expense. This caused me to be well pleased. So all of us were pleased with each other and with our crop prospect. No better farm land. No fertilizer bought, but used a drove of cattle to make a lot of compost fertilizer and that with stable manure we made more cotton than anyone else. Sea Island cotton sold for a good price and too, our corn was splendid. I took one fourth of cotton and corn, but none of the sugar cane crop, pindars or sweet potatoes, which was also tactful and right. I took my cotton money and loaned it out and took a mortgage on real estate. I did wrong by charging too much interest, but cut it down at settlement time.

During 1879, my expenses were very small. I dressed very commonly like other folks. Some young men, with less money were dressed far better than I, but I was competing with them for no young lady, as they were among themselves: therefore, I had no urge to buy costly clothes. I wore one pair of work shoes till they were worn out. I left them and went the bare-footed because I could not tie them, to stay on my feet.

I drank no liquor, and spent no money on parties or women and rowdy men. I paid my pastor and gave money to missions to spread the gospel. No one was dependent on me. I sold my corn for $1.00 a bushel, cash, except 25 bushels on credit, which after 55 years, is still that way, and the man is dead. I would work 6 days, read and rest on Sundays. They had a dance nearby one night, by bringing girls from a distance, but I stayed at home, read awhile, and went to bed. I had my mind made, to marry no dancing girl. The law was, for able bodied men to work the public roads, when needed without pay. I was appointed road boss, but did more work overseeing. This was my first political office.

I wrote no letters to Kate McCalla. Being too poor to marry till then had kept me from writing and I wanted her dad to keep her, if he did not want me to marry her, and I thought it no use to try any more. I went to see a Florida young lady a time or two, wrote her a letter, she never answered, and I quit, for I didn’t want her if she didn’t want me. Now, I have reasons to think her brother destroyed that letter as he wanted her to marry the man she did, but didn’t until after I married Kate McCalla, which was best for me, for I loved her first and she had a body for motherhood and could endure the hardships of a preacher’s wife, and could do more manual labor. Though when I married, my aim was for a farmer’s wife. After my episode with Kate McCalla, I found I preferred to converse with a young lady, rather than frolic with her. God had said and I believed that a bad woman was rottenness to her husband’s bones, but the value of a good woman could not be estimated. Hence, I shunned the company of bad women, and abhorred the idea of making one, out of a virgin. When coming to Fla. July 1877, an old clean looking man, boarded the train South of Atlanta. Men gathered around him, and I gathered from their talk that it was Lovic Pierce, a great champion for Methodists of his day. I had read that back in his prime, he saddled his horse, to go and publicly debate with an Universalist and remarked that he was going on a fool’s errand. He remarked that it was a pleasant thing to behold the scene. He was 92, and died, when 94.

General Grant toured the world as an Ex President of the United States and conqueror of our Southland, which freed the negro, a blessing to us poor white young men. While Gen. Grant was feasting on the plaudits of a world, Gen. R.E. Lee was on his ninth year of rest in Virginia. Ex Gov. Joe Brown was using sense, while Robt. Tooms was making a profane streak in unconstructive fury, in Ga. while one of the admirers of Ex President Davis, gave him a plantation in Miss. The year of 1880, came to me with bright prospects, for that big plantation, but the angel for it had faded out, which left me a prospective king with no queen in sight. My firm determination to own a big plantation, interferred with my selection of a new angel, for it. So we prepared for a crop for four plows with 1/5 as mine. This was the most satisfactory farm year of my life.

I was elected Bible class teacher in Oluster Sunday School. Providence church was rich with talent in those days, and when I made the point that they should elect an older man, the answer was that they knew what they were doing. So I studied books on the Bible as well as Sunday school literature, and gave those old bretheren and young people something to think about. One Sunday morning, when I got there I found everybody going by to a big meeting of another denomination, and left me to hold Sunday School with two persons. It unlimbered myself importance, and caused me not to be discouraged. I am glad now, that I taught those two young girls.

That year, we made 22 bales of Sea Island cotton, which sold from 22 to 28 a pound. I loaned my money out and some parents with daughters began to take notice that I was good timber for a son-in-law. I had thought it all the while, but they had seemed a little careless about it, like Kate’s Dad, for instance. So when one of them, a merchant, with three daughters, asked me to dinner with him, I took it. So after dinner, while sitting on a lounge, his youngest and prettiest daughter sat down by me, and began to dazzle me with her charms I thought: "You’d marry a fellow, if given a chance." But somehow I didn’t want to and didn’t. We had so much cotton to pick, and gathering corn was in our way. So I had a hand with basket and loaded wagon from two heap rows. It got wet with dew, and wore the skin off our fingers. When cotton was about picked out, syrup and sugar making was on hand. We made lots of brown sugar in those days to use and sell. We would boil syrup down to a certain thickness, and then dip up and pour into a long cypress trough, cool, then stir with paddles till it granulated. The hoops of a flour barrel would be slacked, the holes bored through the bottom, three sugar canes inserted upright in the barrel, which was filled with the gummy mass, barrels sitting on wide planks, grooved to run the molasses into a trough, which left sugar dry in barrel. Then the sugar was used, or sold.

Going to sugar boiling of nights was great sport for young people. The last round for the day, generally came off, about 10 o’clock, at nite. When sugar was ready, fire was drawn from the furnace, and with a long handled bucket, the hot mass would be rapidly transferred to the cooling trough. If candy was wanted, some would be left, and stirred, then cold juice would be dashed in, and grabbed out by hand of the operator, into a vessel. Many matches that flamed into marriage were struck at hot sugar boilings.

To save seed cane, it would be dug up by the roots, when wet, piled in the middle of two rows, in a long thin pile, with the top out and roots on the ground, and covered with dirt. Ice would ruin cane for seed. One morning, that year, ice had formed, after a rain, and seed cane was not saved. So, I took all the hands, and dug up, piled, and covered all the seed cane I wanted. It was a cold rough job, but no better seed cane was ever saved. If the sun had melted that ice, cane would have been ruined for seed as in the spiritual world, so in this one with some things. It’s now or never.

Mrs. Adams, the owner of the farm, had the right name--Martha. She was an industrious good woman, a friend and mother to me. She had slaves to wait on her before the Civil War and waited on herself after that. She was raised and married in South Carolina and came to Fla. and was well established before the civil war. She said the rule in her day was for young people to hands off and tongue it out, before marriage. That a noted preacher, famous for plain speech was to preach for the pastor of a high toned church, of culture and refinement. Before the sermon, the pastor told him these facts, asking him to use language that would suit the occasion. That moral, cultured congregation, filled the church, with negro slaves in the galley, to hear the famous preacher. To begin his sermon the preacher said, "Your pastor tells me, that you are not common sinners like I’ve been preaching for, and that I should use language not to offend your pure hearts and cultured minds." Then he swept the galley with his arms, and thundered out: "If this is true, why are there so many mulattoes up there."

To excel in cotton picking was a common ambition up to then, and I had never picked 100 lbs. of Sea Island cotton in one day. I noticed some land fertilized with stable manure, white with cotton, opened since the last rain. I said: "Tomorrow, I will try for a hundred pounds." So next day, I took some rows, alone, early and began to snatch cotton with both hands, as though I were fighting yellow jackets. When I caught myself slowing down, I’d put on extra speed. But, alas, a rain came dashing up, and stopped my wild career, at mid afternoon with only 144 pounds to my credit. At that ratio I would have gotten 180 pounds. After that, I picked over 100 pounds for three days in succession, and have never attained 100 pounds a day since. About five years later, I had some good cotton, and agreed with a negro man for each to pick 100 lbs. and try to beat the other. We agreed to come early as we liked and pick anywhere in the field. Then the moon was shining before day. Now on the other side of the field was a spot of extra good cotton near a swamp and a grave yard. I presumed the negro would be afraid of such things. So, I was there an hour or so before day to beat that negro, and get over 100 lbs. As soon as I began to pick, I thought I heard a cow in the field, but would not stop. That cow, was that negro, coming to the same spot of cotton. Well we raced all day, having dinners brought to us, and picked as long as we could see. Each thought he had a 100 lbs. and me 99. Tragic, to be so near and not attain.

Now, I will go back to 1880, bid it goodbye, and pick up 1881, which, if divided either way gets the same result. We ran 5 plows that year and rented land from the estate. We planted 30 acres of corn the 10th of Feb. I had made up my mind that one more crop, and then I would strike out for myself. I was 27 that year and had no desire to grow into an old batchelor. I was not engaged to be married. Some young ladies seemed to be willing, but I was not, and when I was, they were not. I worked so hard that I had no time to step lightly around them, and when Sunday came I’d go to church or Sunday school, or rest, read, or write. There was none around there, that I wanted, and I had no time to ramble around to find a wife. I knew one thing, and that was if a man married a woman, I wanted, he’d pay her doctor bills and feed her babies. I never fell out with a man about a woman. If he beat my time that was his luck. If I beat his, see the young lady. I shunned bad women, like I did snakes and mad dogs.

On the third day of April, my birthday, we were out early to plow, but the ground was frozen, corn was killed to the ground. Some stalks of that Feb. corn, were so large to form joints near the ground. Those stalks were killed out right, but the smaller stalks sprouted out and made the best corn we had. For that year we had a long drought which almost ruined corn planted at the usual time. First snow I ever saw in Fla. fell that year. An owner of an adjoining farm had two croppers, both were assassinated, at different times that year, the grand jury questioned a young man about it, but nothing proved. Years after, that man’s pistol dropped from his hip pocket to the pavement, which fired it off, and the bullet cut an artery in the man’s thigh and he bled to death.

A married son of a widow woman had a patch with a sorry fence. A fine cow of his mother broke in. He shot her with slugs, and one entered her paunch, and in a few days she was dead. He paid his mother nothing. Several years later, he was out with his muzzle loading shotgun, put a cap on the tube and left the hammer up, poured in the powder and rammed the patches on it, and then poured in the shot, and ramming the wad down on them, which caused the hammer to fall, which shot the whole load up thru his head. By his head I held my first burial service. 47 years ago, it was. Those two men played with sin together, before marriage.

Up to the summer of 1881, I had had good health. The summer I worked and loved Kate McCalla, in Ga. and going to school in Fla. next, and the jolt I got about Kate had been good for me. But now, after two years of hard manual labor, and reading through noon hour, at night and on Sundays, that my system was in the right condition to catch a contagious disease. So when I passed a man in Lake City, with Measle Fever on him, a germ lit on me. I was a fit subject for its multiplication, so I lost my pep, took my bed, and didn’t know what was the matter, until they broke out. Then, I didn’t use sense to stay in bed, but fixed the pantry so it could be locked to save the lady’s pies and cakes, between meals. I did this with fever on, and then, in my ignorance of the effects of the disease, I went back to hard labor, and the mercy of God, saved me, from the grave. Well, I worked on as best that I could and we layed by a bumper crop. One Sunday, to pass time, I wrote to an old school mate in Ga. who had married an older sister, of Kate McCalla. I did not ask about her, for I had her married, in my mind, and wanted to keep the angels of my love for her from fanning into a flame again, for I never allowed myself to love a married woman, for I didn’t want coals of fire in my bosom, as God said I would get, if I committed that crime. So, I let the dead angels stay where I had buried them. I had told her father, I could wait, when he said she was too young, and he acted like he did not believe me. He shot displeasure at me, and hurled silence at him and poor Kate died between us, and a four year’s grass was over her grave, in my memory. My remark to her father to wait must have leaked out, for when that fellow answered my letter and remarked that Kate, was still single, and he guessed that she was waiting for me. Dead angels sprang into life, tore that grass from her grave, and had her before me, feasting my starved soul with her loveliness, that had waited for me thru four long years of silence. My, how I loved Kate. It was like a consuming fire, burning up everything in its way. I wrote her a letter, oh yes, a love letter, about ourselves. No apologies or blaming anyone, but asking if she would start with me again. Time lagged, but a letter came, but not from her. Her Daddy got himself ahead of her again. I had left Kate on his hands for four years. The broken heart of a daughter, is a heavy load to carry, so long. He stated: that a letter from Fla. had come, for his daughter, Katie, that she was absent from home but would hand it to her when she returned. Kate told me afterwards, that she took that letter away down in the apple orchard and sat against a tree and read it and cried and cried. So we revived our troth, and love letters flew back and forth.

I had no money on hand, all loaned out, but I had one cow, and sold her for $7.50. I sent $5.00 of it to a jewelry store in Atlanta with instructions to send a certain ring to Miss Kate F. McCalla, Tunnel Hill Ga. which they did. Did I jump on a train and go to see her? No, I couldn’t. The effect of measles and a big crop, left no place. It was business before fiance, because I had just gotten out of poverty and now was a man of means, with a fixed purpose, never to slip back into poverty, by seeking pleasure, ease, or make a show to equal others. I was determined to live honestly. I had read, that nearly all merchants failed in business soon, or late. That farming was a more sure business, as a life time job. I aimed to marry and not commit forticide, hence I expected children and a farm would be the best place for me to succeed. Kate was a farmer’s daughter. Her father was wealthy, hence she would help me, not to fall back into poverty. Someone had said: "Marry a woman who would wear well." I aimed for that kind, and made a center shot.

Back a year or two I had bought two books. One was Gems of Deportment. I wanted knowledge to be a genteel man, where ever I went. The other book was on sex, which pictured and word pictured young people giving away to their sex passions robbing their minds of sense and killing their bodies by self abuse, or prostitution, or sex pleasure a moment for germs of disease. God says it’s the only sin in the body and destroys life.

In writing Kate I had a unique experience. There must have been something about my way of writing, she liked. I would lay on love to Kate, and sense to her father. Oh, yes, love has some sense also, but only to the beloved. We made a good crop, again, and I took my part of all it, for I was to be married on Christmas day, the time set by Kate. I owned three different tracts of land, one improved with houses and barns, but it was 40 miles away and I didn’t like the idea of living there. So I made the mistake of renting a farm nearby. When marriage draws near, a fellow feels curious. He looks forward to himself and bride. That’s fine, but he looks beyond that happy time to the coming years, and judging by observation of others who have been married for years, he sees enough to steady him, when his angel joins in with him for life. The easiest time for him to make mistakes is on the eve of marriage.

When Kate had seen me last, I was 23, full of pent up youthful viger. Handsome with hypnotic eyes, with Irish wit, which had prostrated Kate, so she could not rise to the wooings of other men, during four years of silence. Now I was going to appear before her after bearing the mental burdens of a large farm, with incessant hard manual labor. Mixed with disappointments, capped off with the effects of measles on top of a 400 mile journey. Undoubtedly, I was only the relic of my former self. If her Dad had crooked his finger, or she had said boo, history, would have repeated itself, never to repeat again.

I made the mistake in Fla. by taking $300.00 with me. I wanted $500. but could not collect it, and would not borrow. So, I went along with $300.00 and landed in Ringgold on Saturday night, stayed at a hotel. The next day was Sunday, one week ahead of our marriage day. No autos or airplanes in those days. Did I hire a span of prancing horses and dash up in a fine carriage, to see my fiance? The Sunday before the set time for our marriage, I straddled a common horse with my $300.00 and rode out of my way, so they could not see my approach, and a little before sundown I hitched my horse at the gate and walked in on them, unannounced. Mr. McCalla said: "Well, General, you look like you have come from a graveyard." I didn’t like that untactful remark, but I was after Kate, and not him. So I said, that the measles had broken my health, last summer. Directly, Kate came in and we shook hands before all of them and sat down and she looked at me embarrassed. Her eyes seemed to say: "You are not that handsome fellow, I promised to marry four years ago." I regreted, the fact that I looked no better, but I was there to back up what I had with all my manhood. Perhaps something in my eyes flashed that fact. Anyhow, after supper, a fire was made in the parlor. I thought I’d get my chance for a tete a tete with Kate, but her younger brother and sister and a foster brother had so much curiosity, or so glad to see me, that they plied in there also. So I sparked Kate, like I did the fire, and did not look at her as much. Kate spent most of her time trying to make that brat behave himself. He knew, I was Kate’s fellow, so played his tricks. I enjoyed that time like a dog his fleas. I left next morning without a chance at Kate, but told her father that I’d be back next Sunday. I went to Chattanooga to see sister Mary, but told her nothing. I came back to Ringgold, hired a horse and rode out to sugar valley to see my uncles. One night I slept with a step son, of one of them. I did not know that he was wounded. A son-in-law of another uncle had stuck the little blade of his knife in his thigh. Soon after I left it developed blook poison and he died. Sad to be cut off in young manhood, and the other fellow to the penitentiary.

Saturday, the morning I returned to Ringgold. I had known the Hotel people when I was a boy. I told his wife, I would marry Kate McCalla tomorrow. She seemed surprised that I could do that, but I was not. I asked a Baptist Preacher, I had known and who had known my father, to tie us up in married, to whom, he asked, and I told him to Kate McCalla. He seemed astonished, but I was not. I went to the court house, and said "my name is G.W.S.Ware, and I want to buy a marriage license". He asked to whom and I told him Kate McCalla. He didn’t hop up and neither did I. I engaged a horse and buggy for Sunday afternoon. Now, I had only a nite and a day to pass. I got thru the night and 12 o’clock came and rain with it. At mid afternoon of that Christmas day, I got into that top buggy and drove that horse, in a walk, thru rain and mud, out three miles to marry Kate. I got there at dusk. I crawled out and went in, and Kate met me at the door, all dolled up for marriage. OH, Boy! stand aside, while I enjoy the near prospect of a long race ended. The preacher was there, Bob Ware and home folks, and two young men came, uninvited and asked permission to see Miss Kate married. [Cross-Reference:  see "Van Bell"].  But, best of all, Kate and I were there sitting together, waiting for the word, all things are ready. Soon the word came and we marched in, stood alone before that preacher, and when he said, "Join your right hands." Kate took mine with a firm grip, and soon we were man and wife, joined together by almighty God. We sat down in that company and said nothing. The two young men sang several songs. Oh, no, they did not sing, "The Fight Is On." but, "In The Furrows of Thy Life Scatter Seed." and I saw a way worn traveler and now, 53 years after I am that man. I am alone tonight.

Time did not stop when we were married, but kept right on, soon the company was gone, and Kate and I were in our room together and whispered, all night long, without a wink of sleep, trying to catch up with ourselves. Next morning I went in, where the preacher and Mr. McCalla were. He offered me a glass, saying, "Here is some of the best liquor that ever went down the red lane." I said: "No thanks, Mr. McCalla, I never drink liquor." He seemed surprised and shocked, like I was when he said that I looked as if I was from a grave yard. No, I did not refuse to get even with him, but stating a fact, that has come up with me to 80 years. All my generation who drank liquor are dead.

Next morning, I gave my preacher $5.00, which was well spent, for he needed it, and in after years when I married a couple, who could afford it, and the man untactfully asked how much I charged him I would say: "I paid my preacher $5.00." The rains of my wedding day and night had passed and the sun seemed glad that I was married, like I was when Mrs. McCalla said to me that she had always been willing for Kate and I to marry.

No bridges over the creeks, in those days and they were raging torrents of muddy waters, so a man drove my outfit back to Ringgold and walked the railroad back. That afternoon, Kate and I took the train at Tunnel Hill, for Atlanta, to take in the cotton exposition. The city was crowded with sight seers and rooms were hard to find. We got one, in a policeman’s house, with double beds and Bob Ware in the other one. It was thus, or no bed, and we needed one for sleep that we had quit since our marriage. Next morning Bob lit out to buy his engagement ring for his Florida girl. All of his old Georgia girls he had beaued around were gone. 11 years had them out of his reach. Kate had on her $5.00 ring. So Bob beat my time by borrowing $10.00 from me to buy his fiancee a 12 dollar one. When he went off to buy his ring Kate and I walked to a street car line, and boarded a car, pulled by two mules, galloping along to make time. That exposition was a big thing for that day. It took us two days to look it over. At our boarding place I showed Kate a $100.00 bill, through pride or something. She smiled as if saying, "I am leaving a dad who has more money than you, but I had rather have you than all of Dad’s money." Bless the heart of my bride forever. That day about dusk, we took a day coach for Jacksonville Fla. We rode and slept and talked all night and came into Jacksonville with daylight. Somehow I forgot I ever had measles. I had brought out of Georgia all I wanted and was satisfied with both States. Jacksonville was a small city. Where the Union Depot is now backwater from the River covered the ground. Bay street was paved with round sawed off short cypress blocks, set up on ends.

There was no train for Lake City till late that day. We went to a hotel and got our meals and waited. When we boarded the train for Lake City, Tom Hawthorn, a school mate, was there, coming from South Carolina, his old state. He said they asked him, out there, how many bushels of sweet potatoes to the acre could be made in Florida. He said that he told them, 150 bushels if they made well enough. Another young man I knew, came to us, and finally I asked him when was he to be married? He answered that he would never be married. I didn’t like his reflections on my judgment, but let it go. A number of years, after, he married his old sinful body to an old maid, and cheated her. We got off at Lake City, but Hawthorn was asleep, went on to Welborn, and came back next day. So, much for him for not being married. We stayed at a hotel, and next morning, hired a conveyance and driver for $1.50 to take us to my home. The news flashed over the neighborhood, that Scott Ware was married, and had brought in his Ga. wife, and all were curious to see her. The one most surprised than any was Mrs. Adams, whose farm I had run for 3 years. Kate brought 23 quilts counterpanes, blankets, her own handiwork. No lady, within my knowledge has made so many by 19 years of age. I had often read the last chapter of Proverbs, and craved a wife of that kind. I found Kate a virgin, with a pure body, to bear children for the Lord. At the door, when she met me before we married, she said she expected me to kiss her, but I did not. A kiss before marriage is a robbery, of the sweetness of those afterwards.

I had intended to move into my rented house right away, but the man in it would not move his family out, so I told Kate, if he would not move out we would move in on him, and so we did, and he moved out. I like this man in some ways, moving out was one of them, but he was lazy and a gas bag, when tried makes a failure. He waited till May to plant corn, which proves that he was lazy, and he said that he was wearing a wide brim palmetto hat, and was passing a large flock of goats, and sailed his hat over, and it fell among them, and scared them so that three of them fainted, which proves that he could work his jaw bone, better than any other bone he had. Kate made our bed on the floor that night. I will write two things we did not do, and they are talk all night, or fall off the bed. We went to Lake City and bought an outfit for house keeping, and started on the journey of life as man and wife. We bought some chickens, and got two roosters. One was large, and the other smaller. Roosters are like some men, for they fight. The smaller and younger one, would fight and run, fight and run. I told Kate that I thought that if that old Rooster had his color changed that the other one would stand up and fight like a man. So I put soot on the old rooster, and dropped him down. One glance of the other one seemed to say: "I have been running from a big old yellow Rooster, because of his size, but I’ll never run from an old black one, like you." So he sailed onto him, with all he had. The old one fought back, expecting the usual running, but it was not done. He seemed to reason that some running should be done, if he had it to do, so he lit out, and soon, he felt how it was to have his tail and back spurred up and picked. Soon he was too tired and bloody to turn around and fight, so he sank down, and the other one stood on him, pecking as fast as he was able. So I took his part, put him in a coop. Why do I write such trivial things? Because life is made of such, and if my sire, four generations back had written thus, for me, what a prize it would be to me.

About this time I began family prayer. I had boarded with a young married couple. He began family prayer, but I noticed that he used the same words in every prayer. He soon quit. So, when I set up my family altar, I would have no set prayer, but talk to God, as my best friend and only Saviour, and use words as they came from my loses, crosses, troubles, sorrows, meals, joys, gratitude, and thankfulness. Kate was no member of any church though parents were missionary Baptists. My father had baptized her father, and her mother was one of the best Christians I ever knew. So, one night we came from church, and Kate asked me to pray for her. So we knelt down and before God I talked to God for her. When she joined the church the pastor began to ask the usual questions, but she talked aloud, and told her experience of Saving Grace, to the delight of the church. So, we began to pray together before our children came.

We both, in single life, knew trouble and disappointment were, and knew they would come to our married life, and not blame each other for them. That man in our house was our first one. I had the mumps, and Kate had her first patient. We looked out early one Sunday Morning, and saw a long stretch of our rail fence had burned and more burning, which left our young crop exposed to stock. I raised a yell, the neighbor took it up and sent it on, and soon here they came, and put out the fire, and by Monday night had a new rail fence. We split the rails, hauled them and built the fence, and the neighbors helped all of this for nothing, except a good dinner that Kate and neighbor women cooked for them. There were no fence wires in those days, but plenty of rail and board timber.

I had to serve as a juror in May. It was hot when I left home, wearing summer clothes. It turned cold, and others had on overcoats while I was odd and cold. That summer my hogs began to die but enough lived to make meat and lard for another year. Kate had a large wash pot full of lard, ready to take up when cool. I led my horse by, and he kicked out over the pot, and brought a hoof down and it struck inside rim of the pot and broke out a piece, which ruined our new wash pot and spilt the lard all but a gallon. I did not plant much cotton, which was my mistake. I bought 280 acres of land, where Mason is now. That fall I moved out a log house, rebuilt it on a wrong site which proved unhealthy. So, we finished up on our rented place, moved to our own. I had the titles made to her as $500.00 of her money helped pay for it. So we started the year 1883. I ran two plows, had two negroes on the place, planted a lot of cotton but the yield was poor. Late one night I woke up my negro men and asked one to go for the doctor, for my wife was sick. He said he did not want to go but the other negro said: "Mr. Ware, I’ll go," and hurried off. I have liked that negro ever since. The doctor came, and early next morning Kate gave us a little boy, and I, a broken rib. I can feel the place now. Soon, after Kate took chills and fever, and I was sick some. So, we went through with 1883, and began 1884. Kate still had malaria, my cash had run out as the crop was sorry, but I sold the timber on another place for $125.00 and sent Kate and the baby on a visit to her parents, to stay that summer. I hired a white man to help me farm and got an old negro woman to cook. I had learned the land better and made a good crop. Kate got well, and came back that fall. We had enough of the house, so I built a new one South end of the place, which proved healthy, with all but Kate. I made very good crops, and Kate did her part.

In 1887, late one day, with our three children about us, I said to Kate: "I believe that I am called to preach." "Preach then," she answered. Next Church Conference, I asked my pastor, B.R. Moseley, home with me and on the way said: "I believe that I am called to preach." "All right, I’ll tend to it." he said. So in July 1887, in my 33rd year, Providence church gave me listeners to preach. I did not rush out and set the woods afire, for one woman said she would not give a peck of rotten peaches for all the preaching I could do. She was not a Baptist, but had been one. I did not let it phase me, for I had my call from God, not from men or women. I had not rushed into it. To my shame, it took God 14 years to persuade me into it. I had not decided where to begin, and was just then getting my bearings where to begin. Just prior to the day I got a letter from Mosely, to fill his appointment at Providence Church on Sunday, for he would not be there. No, I had no notion to back out. I had to find a text. I had no desire to use another man’s sermon. I wanted to wear my own shoes in the pulpit, leather or no leather. I had plead with God, that I could not preach, using a mild term with him, to express what that woman did in a harsh one to man. I knew I could string words on a subject. I must have meant that invisible power, that God alone can give, and oratorical power on my part, both gifts of God. In my ignorance, I must have thought that God gave great reservoirs of these, to be drawn from as needed. The place was empty in me where I thought they should be, forgetting, that in the economy of God, that gave those gifts, only as needed.

So I began a search for a text, and finally selected one. I had no time to write a sermon, having no money to hire labor and I had a wife and three children to feed and clothe.

When the day came, I was there and a large congregation, most of whom had known me from boyhood. To my surprise I felt I was at home in the pulpit. One ex slave owner deacon said that I did well with that text. Everybody else said nothing. I have nothing of that sermon, now, but the text. Individually it appears to me now. What more could God have done, leaving me free to choose than he had done, to cause me to preach for him. Those 14 years, what a rough school they were, to learn me, the simplicity of obeying God. After I started I broke loose, not craving churches, for I felt unworthy, but destitute neighborhoods, where my wonderful Savior the Lord Jesus Christ was not preached. I would plow all week, and preach somewhere like that on Sunday. Idle Sundays, and all spare time, I would read, study the Bible and Preparation And Delivery Of Sermons, by John A. Broadus, who was still living. Hovey’s Systematic Theology. During the years 1879-81 I had access to Clarks Commentaries, and other books.

I was not anxious to find churches but destitute places. My first regular appointment was about 15 miles East, a right good log church house, built by missionary Baptists in a hard-shell Baptist community, but the members choked out and died, or moved away, till I only found one left, and he was like a scarred rabbit. The people would flock out, and I would ride my young gray over there and preach to them. The whole settlement was a tight wad of attimission Baptist, Advents and sinners. I asked nothing for my labor, and got it, but I took collections for missions. I think that I got my hat back the first time and 20 the next. One Sunday morning, the leading man of the neighborhood, a son of a hard shell, brought along his paper, and when I began to spread, he spread his newspaper between us and began to read. I resolved to break down his breastworks, with facts, and did. He gave me dinner, but would not give himself to Christ. Afterwards he lost his wife and married six others, in succession, went to the legislature one time but, from his works he did not go to paradise when he died. He was one sinner, I was anxious to lead to Christ, but he would not glance that way. I preached in a school house further North, and one time when the house was crowded, and as I stood up to preach, I noticed the Hard shell Baptist preacher slip in, and take a back seat. I thought, "I’ll fix you." So at the end of the sermon, I said, "Now we will pray," and as the change of attitude was taking place, I called on him to lead, giving him no chance to refuse, only by silence. I thought he would lead in prayer, and I was correct. It was high war, in Theology, in those days. He was a man of common sense, and up in years ahead of me. So he began slowly and felt for his words. He did not want to hurt his conscience, to pray God to bless my message, so he eased off, asking God to save the people from all false doctrine. I could say amen to that, but our amens were not in agreement. As a father pities his children, the Lord pitied both of us that day. There was no visible results of my labor out there, but I am now glad to look back and see the effort. Now there is a missionary Baptist church in reach of that place, the result of other men’s labor.

About this time, 1888, I got a letter from G. T. Leighner, pastor of Elun church, that he had resigned at Cypress Lake Church, 15 miles West of me, asking if I would take the church. It was a hard, but important field. So, I preached at that church, and they wanted more, and elected me pastor, and called on Providence church to have me ordained so I could do the work of a pastor. This church had many good members and some who were not. It was said of one deacon, that he was so lazy that he wouldn’t laugh when he was tickled. Also, two preachers. One older than me, would begin his sermon, and get faster and faster, till he lost his breath. I asked him why he did it. He said he had to speak his thoughts as they came or they would go on, and he could not overtake them. The other preacher was older, and read two or more chapters, because they were so good, and preached a long sermon, because there was such glorious news to tell. He prayed so long, I was afraid to give him a chance to lead. One time I did. He explained many things to the Lord and then would pray for them. He seemed to be near to close, where of I was glad, then he thought of a convict who came near his home, so he took that up. Then I needed prayer myself for support, to endure, more of his prayer. I may have been wrong, but I am telling my feelings then. The Methodist church was near, and never shadowed the Baptist, by reason of numerical and financial strength. My first compliment, as pastor came from a lady of that church who said that they must have a young pastor, although at another time, passing, her house, I took shelter from a shower of rain. She said that she had not known that us Baptists were afraid of water. I gave reply that we were not, but did not care for it sprinkled on us.

So Providence church voted to ordain me Pastor. B.R. Mosely, S.S. Procter, and J.J. Clark were the preachers used to do the work. J.J. Clark was the connecting link between myself and my father, as preachers. S.S. Proctor preached the sermon, and only one thought of that sermon stuck to my mind: "If I cannot do any great thing for God, I will do a whole lot of little ones for him." 46 years after that day, I preached Proctor’s funeral sermon. We were workers together, with God, for his kingdom. I could write a book on Proctor. B.R. Mosely, the educated gentle Saint, my pastor for 20 years. J.J. Clark, who began to preach late in life, but made a successful missionary to destitute parts. Up from Cypress Lake Church lived on a farm, Rev. R.F. Rogers, a man of extraordinary native ability. If orators are born, not made, he was one of them. I had a better school house education, but he could, without effort develop my inferiority complex more than any man, I ever met. Yet I liked to sit and stir him up, to find his limit. He did tasks I could not touch, and I was things he could not be, so we went along, a long time, and by request, I went a long way, a short time ago, to say a few words by his dead body, which had stood against time 88 years.

That year at Cypress Lake, I had my first protracted meeting, as Pastor. My first candidate for baptism was a young married man. I knew how to swim, dive, and duck fellows, but I did not know how to baptize. No one had told me and I had not thought it out.

So, I stood parallel with the convert, said the baptismal formula, and then lowered him into his watery grave, but had no prop for myself, hence I had to make a quick maneuver, or go under with him, myself. Soon I learned how to baptize by experience.

In that meeting I expected Procter to do the preaching, but unlike God, he failed to come. So, I had to make sermons on short notice and do the best I could. Several more were baptised.

As to salary, I did not expect much, and got that. That rapid fire preacher, who owned a farm, nearby, paid me a dollar for his part for my year’s work. Their house of worship was the largest log house I ever saw.

When I joined Providence church in 1872, their house was made of lumber and built by slave holders, and men before the Civil war. It was the largest country church house that I ever saw. It was made so, so negroes could have room to worship. Their old log church house was still standing. Floor made of hewn logs and pulpit of split cypress boards. The logs were better prepared and walls higher, but its size was much smaller than the one at Cypress Lake. The one at Providence was built before saw mills had come, but Cypress Lake church house had plank floors. 10 years, before, I made a short speech in a union meeting at cypress lake. They were discussing the question, of whether it was right for young men to go courting on Sunday. Not one, but my pastor Elder John G. Taylor, who got it up said anything. To give the question two sides, and because I believe it, I said: "The Lord says, that who ever findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and to court on Sunday was no harm, for it was on the way to obtain favor of the Lord."

Cypress Lake has always had a warm place in my heart, because it was my first pastorate.

The same year I was called to Bethlehem church four miles S.E. of Lake City. The Deacon of that church at that time was deacon Waldrip, a section foreman. He had a brogue. He used "thor" for "there". So, one day he was sighting down the track while his hands were prizing up the cross ties to a level. Now, his hands had agreed, so when the track was level he said, thor, they went higher and he hollered out, thor. Up still higher. He jumped to his feet, up and down they went, slapping his hands and screamed, thor, I say, didn’t you hear me say, thor? Brother Waldrep was a good man and has long since passed to where no one will molest him, or poverty which he fought so hard, will ever enter. I served Bethlehem church for a very small salary, because all of them were poor people. The executive committee of our association hired a missionary at $40.00 a month. He would preach second day advent doctorine. Soon, after I met the chairman of that committee, and told him that it was strange, that I go, almost for nothing and up hold our Bible faith, and his committee paid a preacher $40.00 a month to try to tear it down. They had not known. He lived near Bethlehem. Soon after he lost his salary, he fell off his house and was hurt. I went to see him, sat by his bed side, in sympathy, he would lift his hands and pray, but when he recovered, he joined the second day advents. So I thought that he was gone for good, but one day in Lake City I met him. The first thing he said was that it’s good to be back home. I asked him why had he gone. "No, I mean I’ve come back to the Baptist church." I asked him why and he said that when the advents taught that when Jesus died that he was a dead God, and he could not stand that.

Bethlehem church was weak then and it is yet. In our protracted meeting, that year, we had John G. Taylor, 7 were baptized and some by letter, one man, who guarded prisoners at Andersonville, Ga. during the Civil War, joined after holding his church letter, over 20 years. One of my young manhood friends, owned a farm, adjoining the church ground. He had been a Baptist, but was an ardent adventist now. He would come to church, entertain me in his home, and said that if I would join the advents I could be a great preacher. I said that I would never be a great preacher, which has come to pass, but, if I had joined them, I would have been less.

W. M. Oves, a lawyer, clerk of court, a hale fellow well met, was the bulwark of adventism in those days. He had been expelled from the Baptist because of this. We bandied our defences with each other, and these advent friends, are all dead now. I would preach in churches, in school houses, and tell the Bible where ever I went, and their big advent preacher, announced that a little preacher, me, had been pulling at his coat tail, and that he would give him a dollar to meet him in debate, and a deacon of mine who told me, said that he would make it two dollars. I resisted that money, but went on tearing up adventism, whereever found. That preacher had been a Baptist and expelled, therefore he spent his time trying to prove the Baptists wrong. He had to, or acknowledge that he was wrong. He finally drifted down to Tampa, throwing out his challenge to Baptist pastors who would not waste time with him. But they sent and got a Baptist preacher from another state to accomodate him, and before the debate was over, he wept on the platform and had another advent to take his place. When I was a child, followers of Alexander Campbel were trying to break down the Baptist church when they ran their course, those who were like Joe Miller, would lead astray all they could. Now the sects on the Holy Roller order are red in the face, exhorting Baptists to come to them to find the Holy Ghost.

The year 1889 came with the sad news that Kate’s father was not expected to live much longer. He had been so kind and helpful to Kate since our marriage, I was anxious for Kate to see him before he died. By this time Kate and I had three children, Lowel, Arlie, and Pearl. Money was very scarce with us. It’s doubtful if the churches I served paid the cost to serve them. But, we managed some way, and Kate and the children went and got there quite a while before her father passed away. I stayed at home, did my own cooking, made a crop, and preached to my churches. I wanted Kate to stay thru the summer, to be with her mother, and to build up her health. I was 35 and Kate 27, right in the bloom and glory of family life. I have some of our love letters yet. I plowed the crop, but had to hire hoeing done. I often hired two negro boys. At noon one day one of them went out in the field. I had a watermellon out there waiting to get ripe, so I took his track, which led to that mellon, and it was gone. Another noon, I saw him going to the store. After he came back I went, and asked the merchant how many eggs Rufus had sold him. He said two for some tobacco. On going to work I asked him why did he steal two eggs. His younger brother said he would not steal from me because I caught him every time. We were at work in the barn at another time and I bumped my head hard on something. The younger one roared with laughter. I brought something down on his back twice, and said: "Now see if you can laugh at that," but he cut it off so quickly, that I did not leave a smile. I should not have done that, for God had told me not to be a striker.

1889 was a test year for me. My body was 35, my new spirit 17, as a preacher, I was 2 years of age. I had set out to live 70 years. I was half way up. I had to fight the world, sinners, the Devil, Satan, and the flesh, myself, harder that year than any other. If I could slip out a year and live it over, and put it back, it would be that one. But, God has fixed it up for me, which is better than me trying to live it over again.

Spurgeon, my ideal preacher, helped me that year. Henry Ward Beecher, my ideal orator, left the earth; somehow I felt a personal loss. Late one day, riding in from plowing, I thought of the death of Kate’s father, tears streamed down my cheeks unhindered.

I had only two churches to serve once a month, both at a distance, which made the other two Sundays hard to bear. About this time I led weekly house to house prayer meeting, which were largely attended.

I built three large tobacco barns, and raised cigar tobacco several years, and made no profits. Sea Island cotton hardly paid expenses to raise it. One morning I started with pork to Lake City at 2 o’clock, and after riding 11 miles I got to town, but had to wait for daylight. Before sunup I began to sell pork at 8 a pound from house to house. By 8 o’clock I had sold out, and met other farmers going in with pork. It’s wonderful how a young husband and wife will endure hard times, fight poverty, and raise children, and preach the gospel of Christ. My wife preached thru me by working, and taking care of our home affairs during my absence. She always had my clothes ready, and never complained, because of my absence. One time she was sick, and I had to run a week’s meeting, as pastor of Hopeful church, and I could get no help at home, and no preacher to help in meeting. So I rode my mule 5 miles and preached at 11 oclock A.M. and then go home to help Kate, ride back at nite to preach and on for nine days. That week I rode my mule 160 miles, preached 15 times, baptized 7 converts, let a field of fodder burn up. One woman I baptized was 65, and other woman, the mother of my present pastor, Rev. John Dix. I got along without that fodder, my wife got well, and I have a glad memory of that tough week 45 years ago.

About 1889 I was called to that neighborhood to marry John Dix’s grandfather to an aged woman. Mr. Dix, the bridegroom was rather awkward having no experience, in 50 years, but I managed to get them married. After that the groom wanted me to preach, so I did, and after this, I asked the groom to tell us how the Indians fought, in Florida, as he was in that war. He was so modest, or else, so enraptured by his bride, he only said that the Indians were in such haste that they would pour the powder down their gun barrels, ram a bullet down, without any patching, so when the rifle was fired, the bullet would drop to the ground. Perhaps, I should tell what patching was. To load a rifle of those days, a charge of powder would be poured in at the front end of the gun, and then a piece of strong cotton cloth, either greasy or wet with the mouth was placed over the gun muzzle, a right sized lead bullet would be pressed by end of a pocket knife, then cut smooth with the end of the gun barrel, and then, with a hickory ram rod, the bullet would be rammed hard down on the powder. A cap would be placed on the tube. Then the gun was loaded.

1890. About a middle aged Baptist Preacher moved near Cypress Lake church. He informed me that everybody wanted to hear him preach. He seemed to hint that it was not thus with me. So I made an appointment for him, but everybody did not hear him. One time after my sermon, I asked him to lead us in prayer. I waited in vain, and had to lead the prayers myself. I overtook him, going home. As we were alone, I asked him why he kept silent in prayer. He said that it was because I did not ask him into the pulpit. His answer struck me in a place that I leaned back in my saddle and laughed it out. When I got thru I said that I did not think to ask him. Other pastors did not ask me to sit in their pulpits, and I had rather face the pulpit. He moved away. Poor preacher; he set out wrong and ended the same way, as far as I know.

Another time, while I was preaching, a deacon cried out in a loud voice: "That’s right, preach the word." Every now and then, he would shout out, how I should preach. I cut the sermon, and closed the meeting. Poor deacon. He died in the Insane Asylum. One old brother, who had raised a large family. He had raised his youngest daughter, who married a sorry man. He took them to live with him, and soon raised cain, with profanity. I told him to come before the church and state that he had been overtaken by a fault. The old brother could not read, but he could make a speech. He was getting along fine, but happened to think what a fellow his son-in-law was, flew into a passion and cried out that the fellow should have been cursed, some. A grandson of his, is now an educated useful preacher, of the same faith. Profanity is excepted in his case.

I was the guest of a farmer, whose wife and young son, I was pastor, and he was a man, large in body and mind, a good farmer, owned his land, was well to do, but the most tyrannical man, with his wife and children, I ever knew. When he called his wife, she would run to him. His children seemed to be in terror of him. At the table there was no laughter, smiles, or words from them. His house made of split logs, smooth on the inside, a porch in front, a shed room on the other side, for kitchen, by the rear door, was the way his wife had to travel, to keep house for him. In the neighborhood, lived his match, or counterpart. When they met, the one who could get the drop on the other would take the cursing.

When this man’s son, was grown, he took his mother away, and left his father to live alone. This was a good deed, for the son, to do.

Women knitted socks in those days. While the pastor at Cypress Lake, I made a mistake. An old mother, poor in worldly goods, brought a pair with her to church. After dismission, she said to me that she had no money, but had knitted me some socks. I told her that I had a wife who knitted all the socks that I needed, and for her to keep them for her own family. I should have taken them, to give her the satisfaction of helping her Pastor.

It was unusual to see a man at church without a coat, but one man came in his shirt sleeves, and gave such close attention to my sermons, that I thought that he must be very near salvation. So, in private, I asked him why he did not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and be saved? He gave me the strangest answer to that question, that I ever got. He said that he did not want to believe. Afterwards, I heard that he made a hard shell Baptist Preacher.

The oldest man in that church invented, and made a wooden corn planter. He had the nucleus of a fortune in his hands, but died on the hands of his children. We planted corn and cotton by hand, which went back to Adam, as far as I know.

I preached a sermon in Cypress Lake church, on the intent, that a Baptist church member could go to hell. By living in sin. A Methodist said that he did not know that Baptists believed that. He had forgotten who betrayed Christ. One hot summer week I plowed till Friday nite. Early Saturday morning I straddled my large young mule to ride 15 miles West to Cypress Lake. I took an umbrella to keep off rain and the hot sun over me and the hot mule under me, the umbrella catching the hot steam from the mule made me sick. So I stopped at a house, and cooled off, and got there in time. Later on, I drove a horse to a two wheel road cart. Those spring road carts had a back and forth motion, that a buggy did not have. A friend very kindly told me how to take that horse motion from my road cart. I innocently asked how and he said to hitch a mule to it. I baptized that man’s children, but he would not believe, and now he is dead. He abused his first wife, but his second wife would not take it. He thought it strange but I did not.

Now, I will cluster now, the years from 1890 to 1902, and write of events without regard to chronology. During those years I lived on one farm, and they were so busy that they seemed all jammed up together at this late time.

My home was near Mason, I named it. It’s 11 miles South of Lake City, Florida. My house was in sight of the Lutheran Church house, and parsonage. I knew and liked their pastors. Most of them were German. One of them could roar Bass louder than any man I ever heard. No, he did not try to modulate his voice, but he let it roar like a bull. He was a Northern man and served in the army against the South, during the Civil War. He was great at manual labor. I was with him at work. He told me he helped guard Jefferson Davis, when he was a prisoner on a gunboat. I asked him to tell me about Jefferson Davis, and he said that he was a haughty fellow, and that was all that I could twist out of him. Another one of them, I went to Lake City with, and in a few minutes we were in jail, but the sheriff took us on through and made us his guest, for dinner. On our way home I remarked that I got in jail by coming up here with him. Another Lutheran preacher who knew it all, and could tell it with a tireless mouth. To ask a question, would set him rolling out a stream of words. We agreed to go, in my wagon, 16 miles to High Springs. I resolved to find out, if his reservoir of talk could be exhausted, and so for 12 miles, my every question would bring floods. Then it ran dry, or else he caught on to my trick. Another one was an old man, whom I like best of all, for he was full of common sense, except at one point. I knew his wife, a fine woman, but she died, and after a time, he asked me to walk with him about two miles, on a pastoral visit. The lady of the house was a widow, the right age for him, but she had vivacious daughter budding into womanhood. I saw his visit was not pastoral, but courting. He had no intention for the widow, but an eye for the daughter, and a ready tongue to win her. On our way home, I told him why he wanted me along. He smiled. That daughter did him a pile of good, by marrying another fellow. I liked that preacher. He would come to my house, and while I lay on the floor resting after dinner, he would sit in a chair and we would have a big time together when work time came I would go to the crop. He went to another field, married a woman of proper age, and long since, passed away.

This preacher had a brilliant son, who was a successful doctor, in South Carolina. He came and bought a fertile farm to be near his father, and Mother. This doctor had a very accomplished wife, in the glory of young motherhood, having two daughters and one son, who was very young. The doctor was in the prime of life, careless of God, and regarded not man, if they got in his way. He told me, that once he was called to see a man, the patient of another doctor, who would cry out: "I’ll kill myself." He prescribed by laying his pistol near him, with directions, "now do it." He added that the fool did it. Once in Fla. he was called to a man, who had hysterics, like some women. After a few visits, he found him whining as usual. He stepped out and got his buggy whip and wore him out. The man got well. One day, I was his guest, and at the table, he began to criticise the food, to his wife. I said: "Doctor, this food is better than you diserve." His wife said: "That’s right, Mr. Ware, let him have it." One day, he said that he wanted to go to Heaven. I told him that he would have to quit cursing, before he got there. He answered: "I’ll take that from you." I drank no liquor, and asked him, why he did. "A depraved appetite," was his answer. He had moved to Lake City, and I took continued fever, and rubbed the gates of death. My family physician was drunk and we sent to Lake City for my friend. He came and finally broke the fever, which left me so near death, that when I lost consciousness, it was because I had turned my head to speak. The doctor stood at my feet. I could tell by his manner, that he was standing there to see me die. I said: "I’m all right." Then he came, bending over me and said: "Dont speak, dont move, be quiet." He knew and I knew, that if I should, my heart would die, and then my whole body. Kate and I at that time had six living children. I am not writing what I should have thought, as death was cutting me down, but will write what I did think. My burden, and great regret was that I could never preach Christ any more on the Earth. I have lived and preached Christ 32 years since that time. Oh, no, I have not lived Christ and preached him as I should, but I thank God, for those 32 years and still they come. Both doctors, my wife, oldest son, and most of my friends who were so kind, are now dead. That year, I sowed and harvested a large oat crop. After my sickness, I had 600 bushels threshed out, when sold, paid my doctor bills and other expenses.

God was so kind to prompt me to raise that oat crop.

Now, I’ll go back and tell the cause of that sickness. It may help you to avoid such a cause.

I had dug a well in my yard, which gave plenty of healthy water, but that year a long drought came, the water was low in the well, when I noticed that it had an offensive odor. But the vegetable parasite, or germ was in my system when I changed water. Since that time I drink pure water and have had no more continued fever. That was an oddity, for when rain came, and water rose in it, it would roar, by air escaping from a subterranean cavity, which would require several days to fill with water.

Philippi Baptist church was seven miles south of me. My brother, R. G. Ware, was one of its consistent members. A shrewd advent preacher began a meeting, in an old gin house, amid a large family connection, a few only belonged to the Methodist Church. The rest were wicked. Now when that advent preacher told those fellows that there was no eternal hell, that when they died in their sins that they would not be in torment, but dead, till resurrection then they would be burned up with the Devil, and after that have no pain, because they would be dead, such a state would be fine for sinners who miss Heaven, if it was true. God says that there is no rest for the wicked, but they were told that there was rest, after being burned up. That they could have that hope in their death. Jesus Christ says that there is an everlasting fire, but the preacher told those sinners that there was no such a thing. Two Baptist deacons helped in their meeting. One joined them with 15 other members of Philippi Church. On such a stew as this Philippi called me to become their pastor, and I accepted the work, for they were in need. Those sinners who had joined, "no everlasting fire, and the wicked had hoped that after death," would come to hear me and nudge each other, when I disputed with the Devil, about it.

That Baptist deacon and nearly all the members who had joined them, all came back to Philippi church, when those members were taught that Christ had not power to take back his physical life, because he was dead. They came back to Philippi to serve a living Christ, in or out of his human body.

I was called to Sardis church. They paid me a $30.00 salary, and I served for four years. Before the Civil War, there had been a Baptist church in that neighborhood, but its pastor who lived near committed an awful crime and moved away. Soon after the war the church died, and the settlement left to the anti-Mission Baptists. Sardis at that time was near Dukes. The strength of Sardis was Baptists who had moved into the settlement. In those days, the Baptists and hard shell preachers, would fight each other, from their pulpits. One exposed the other, one Sunday, then the next Sunday, the other would expose the other. So when I took charge of Sardis, I was so dead earnest to reach sinners with Christ, that I had no time to waste on Baptists who differed with me. Now the Baptists here, let each other alone, to answer to God for themselves. I knew the Primitive Baptists called themselves that, without any right, but there was no use for me to waste my time to tell them. Another reason they let us alone, they were so busy fighting each other, they had no time for us. To my knowledge, around here they have been fighting us, and each other, 64 years, and they have about fought themselves to extinction. Once I heard Matt. 23:15, quoted by them in regards to our mission method. I read an interrogation, raised by a cousin of mine in North Carolina, their leading preacher. If missionary Baptists had the Gospel to send to heathen nations? His question is answered for he is now in eternity, and so are thousands of christians who had been heathens, till they heard and believed the gospel as preached by our missionaries.

I was now pastor of my home church, Providence, on Oluster Creek. It was the largest in house and membership of any country church I ever knew. It was second, also in point of age, constituted near 1833. Not later than that year, but may have been around 1830. I tried to do my best, but my best only held the pastorate 18 months.

The year 1892, the centenary of modern mission was in those 18 months. I advertised the day, in newspapers, and all churches for miles around to announce the day, and to come. I tried to get a prominent pastor to preach the sermon, but failed. When the day came, the people were there with their dinners, and ran the house over and out into the yard. I had been preaching 5 years and was 38. No other preacher came, so I faced the crowd, used "Watch man what of the night," as a text. A Lutheran said that he did not know I could preach that way. Baptists said nothing. If my preaching had lived on human praise, it would have died about that time never to breath again. The collection for missions that day was $25.00. Somehow, I wish I had had my present self, to preach that sermon, that day.

During these years an appearance came to me, for an instant, which I had never seen before, or since, or ever expect to see again, in this world, and as for the next world, I’ll wait and leave all that with God.

I cannot name the day, month, or year; I was around 40 years of age but was not pastor of Providence church that year. I forget who was pastor, but I know who was doing the preaching during that protracted meeting. I will not write the name, for soon after, he fell into sin, or had never been out, anyway, he preached, no more, as I ever heard.

The church house at that time had two doors, at the front end, and one at one side of the pulpit. It was summer time, and doors and windows were opened. My wife and I were sitting on the front seat, by the door. One of our children was on my lap. I was about 10 feet from the preacher, who was in the midst of his sermon. He was not looking my way either, nor did I have my eyes on him. As I now remember, I was in a rebound of discouraged mind that comes, after preaching a few years. I was young, and I was in health and to quit preaching had not entered into my mind. But, I sat there, looking over the head of the child, my eyes on a panel of that door. I know not what my mind was on. All at once a blaze of white light formed, but not from fire. The light radiated as from a face, including only the eyes, but I only saw an eye in the center of that light. It was somewhat dark, and one look at me, for a moment, which shook my body and thrilled, my mind and spirit. That eye in that light, gave me a look of encouragement and approval. I did not so interpret the look it gave but it so conveyed this meaning to me as it came to me. After dismission I said to a christian that I had got a blessing. I told a little about it, a long while, after. All the effect, it seems to have on others, was, a good pastor, spoke adversely about it. He must have thought I was mistaken, or saw things unreal. It was as real to me, as anything I have ever seen. I did not bring it or take it away. This appearance came entirely from another person, not of this world. Now, after 40 years, it is still new and fresh. I never was impressed that it came to me, to tell everywhere. I never could string words together to show it to others. Even now, my word picture, is so weak, and hazy. I was, and am no drug addict. No hallucinations, or fits ever preyed on me. The appearance was not satanic, for it helped to seat me, his eternal enemy, to abhor sin, in all of its seductive forms. I believe that when I see our Lord Jesus Christ, as he is, I shall understand why I was permitted to have that one glance, beyond this world. I do not think christians should ask for what I saw. I did not, and do not. It is beyond the reach of prayer. It is not necessary to walk with God by faith. I was thoroughly satisfied with God, before that time, and since. That one look from that eye, caused me to quiver, upward, a moment more of it, and man would have said that I had died in church, and no one, on Earth would have known the cause.

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Original spelling and punctuation have been preserved.

Copyright 2006 Brett W. Smith. All rights reserved.

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