Father Had a Plank Corn Crib

Father had a plank corn crib with a large window for an entrance, the lower part of the window was about 3 1/2 ft above the crib floor.  Remember well once when the hired hand put me in there when he was shelling corn to take to the mill.  For some reason he failed to take me out when he left.  I was just the same as in jail as the boards were put on perpendicular which left no place to get a toe hold, and the bottom of the opening was too high to jump up for a four year old. I am sure there was a lusty call for help from within that old board crib.  I was one tickled kid when I had been taken out of my jail.

Our next move was down on Brushy Creek east of Hallettsville. I became another year older then.
My maternal g'parents lived near us there - one of the best grandmothers there was. Mother with her brood went visiting one day to a neighbor name Hicks. They had some viscous dogs. Kid-like I wandered out of the house, and the first thing I knew the dogs were fighting over me.  I have always thought the larger dog was fighting the other two off. One of them was a hairless Mexican dog that was not fond of gringos as he sunk his teeth into my setting down place. That experience seems to have left a sore spot in my feeling toward dogs which has never completely healed - as the other place did.  Had not a young man - Commodore Hicks come to my rescue, I might have gone west instead of later NW up here.

About two years later one of my uncles got into a difficulty over the KKK and a man was buried next day. This uncle came home to my Grandmother's with two big cap and ball pistols on and with two other men with him. At that time the KKK was organized to scare the freed slaves against infractions of the law, as it seemed the Negro did not know what to do with himself, especially the young grown ones. They seemed to rather pilfer and steal rather than to work for a living. After the KKK had accomplished the mission for which it was organized instead of disbanding as they were ordered they in some sections continued to harass Negroes and some whites. In order to bring order out of chaos in our immediate section, those who opposed the then operations of the Klan organized to curb these operations. So that was what the scrap was about.

There was brewing in that neighborhood a feeling between the KKK and I guess you would call them a vigilance order who thought the KKK should disband as their mission had been fulfilled. The culmination was one of the former members was killed which seemed to have curbed the activities of the two orders. After growing older, I learned the identity of many of the personel in either order. To me one order had as good men as the other. The younger & hot heads were the ones who made trouble.

The first cook stove I remember was when we lived there. Father was freighting for merchants at Hallettsville. One trip his freight consisted of some stoves. Anyway he had one for delivery that had one of the oven doors broken off at the hinges. The merchant could not receive it in that condition so F.[ather] bought it for M.[other].   But he fixed it up and it did good work.   

Of course you people of this generation will wonder how the people of the South arranged their cooking. They all had fireplaces or chimneys with large hearths where they would rake out live coals of fire and set their dutch ovens on & cover with a tight fitting lid & put coals on it and very soon the cornbread or biscuits were done to a queens taste. The meat, coffee, and other foods were cooked the same way.

There was a country school near where we lived. There was where I learned to spell cat - dog - bug and so on. I recall a very pretty little girl attended that school. She had a band comb to keep her curls in place. When I was not studying my lessons I was looking at that band comb.

Some time my
Uncle Jim would stop in with us for a nite. He was a somnambulant - we called walking in your sleep. One nite he broke out thru the door in his shirt tail and into a live oak thicket, which clawed up his naked legs--which woke him up plenty. Of course, he came back into the house thoroughly chastened.

You will think my people had itchy feet - which they did have. Especially F.(ather] as we did not stop at one place long. Just chasing the rainbow, I now guess, for '68 found us at near Hackberry where we remained a year, and I went to school at old Andrews Chappell where I advanced from cat & dog to baker--shady & so on. I recall one day while at that place a Mexican freight caravan came by. There must have been at least 50 big two wheeled carts in the caravan - with one yoke of steers pulling the carts. The road by our house was then the highway from San Antonio to Houston, the terminal of the RR. Hackberry was also a P. O. where the mail and passengers were carried on a four-horse stage. The stage driver would blow a horn when near enough to the   P. O. that the stable attendant would have fresh horses out and ready to put to the stage - that the mail could move on to its next destination or stage stand.

Mrs. M. E. Peacock Walker wrote to Woodson, " When I was a young school girl, a widow Coffey (Coffee) visited us and told Mother this story.  Her husband went to the Co. to make his pile as many others did. After a time he wrote her he had done well and was coming home overland with a good span of mules and wagon. A man named Simpson was coming with him. Simpson came but claimed C. died on the way but that he had nothing. Simpson was prosperous. I think she said C. name was Logan Coffee. She believed he was murdered……..    The young widow you spoke of whose husband wrote her that he had done well and was coming home was Logan Coffee, my Grand-father, so Uncle Bob told me, and as Uncle Bob's version was, my grand-father and a man by name of Jacks were together, and Jacks came home with the same statement as you understood………

In 1869 our family moved to Kansas.  Father of course heard of the money to be made driving cattle to Kansas and selling them, and there was plenty cattle in Texas that were very cheap and would sell in Kansas for a good profit after the overhead expenses were paid. Father purchased, as I recall, 300 head and pooled in with two other small drivers. Our family landed in Butler Co in early summer. Father hired a crew and put up prairie hay to feed such cattle he did not sell that fall,. I recall we lived in a tent until snow flew, but soon we had a house to move into. The winter was rather severe as some [of] our cattle died, though they had hay stacks to feed at their own will. Next spring we moved from Hickory Creek west to Whitewater River where the country was more open and less farms.

F.[ather] had I think 40 yoke of work oxen he had wintered on hay which he moved to our new abode and, as Father went back to Texas for more cattle, it fell to my lot to day-herd these oxen in the daytime and pen them at night. had two ponies to herd on and by the time Father returned I had the hair worn off those ponies' weathers & back in places, as I had no saddle. While there our baby brother took sick & died. The grave I know not now where it is. While the baby was sick we lived in a one room log cabin with a wagon sheet hung up for a door and a blanket for a window shutter. One day a man stuck his head thru the door and stared which scared Mother. We sat up all nite, as we had no firearms. I was placed by the door with the ax. But our fears proved to be groundless. Those oxen stampeded one day and ran into a cornfield and had a sample of Kan. corn before I could get them out of the corn.  F.[ather] had to pay damages for corn when he returned. I think half of 2 year old beef - which was cheap as the oxen did well on the luscious grass of Kan. that was free to all who would graze it.

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