From “A Pictorial History of the Old 23rd District” by Larry T. Perry

In later years, Ben Pinson acquired a gasoline engine powered boat. … Ben had whiskers that reached almost to his waist.One day as he was cranking the old gasoline engine, his beard got caught in the flywheel. Ben braces both hands against the cylinder and the flywheel pulled all of his beard out and he didn’t utter a sound. Someone asked him if it didn’t hurt. His reply was “By Ned, it hurt like the devil but I had rather it hurt than to smash my face into the flywheel.” pg. 10

One of the first lessons the boys usually learn the hard way was not to pull a cockle burr out of the hair on a mule’s belly unless you were up to being kicked over three corn rows. pg. 10

Kermit Evans had a little horse that created quite a problem. Kermit had taken him to a blacksmith shop operated by a York located across the street from the old hitchyard in Paris. The horse got so rough that York told Kermit to get him out of the shop and never bring him back. The first time Tom tried to shoe him, they tried swinging his foot with a rope and pulley rigging, but they had to release his foot to keep him from breaking his leg. … The next Saturday they tried blindfolding him and he tore a new woven wire fence down between the shop and the house. They finally threw the horse on the ground and tied all four feet together. Kermit sat on the horse’s head while Tom shoed him. pg. 54

There was one thing common among the older people and that was, if the cure didn’t nearly kill you, it wasn’t any good. pg. 56

If two people are walking together, it is bad luck for them to split and walk on opposite sides of a tree or other object. If you do, one must turn back and go around on the other side and say “bread and butter.” pg. 58

To get rid of the warts, cut a notch in a stick for each wart and throw it away. When the stick rots, the warts will disappear. pg. 59

In one case, one of the men was searching for his brother’s still. His brother was hid in the woods and as the man approached a fork in the path, his brother drew a bead on his back with a rifle. If the man had taken the left fork, his brother would have shot him. Fortunately, the man chose the right fork of the path which led away from his brother’s still. pg. 60

The bootleggers were the ones who sold whiskey. Of course, it was illegal so they had certain signs to advertise their merchandise. One old timer in the 23rd would roll one of his pants legs up between the top of his shoe and his knee when he had whiskey for sale. If you saw him with both pants legs down, he was dry. … Another old timer that lived between Big Sandy and Paris … always raised a big crop of peanuts. He would sell his whiskey in sacks of peanuts on the court square in Paris. A peack of peanuts contained a quart of whiskey, a half-bushel contained a half-gallon and a bushel of peanuts had a gallon of moonshine in it. pg. 61

Curt Evans always went barefooted and his feet would get tough as leather. One time they were standing around a fire and Luther said, “Curt you’re standing on a coal of fire.” Curt, without moving a muscle said, “Which foot Pappy?” pg. 66

One Halloween night a bunch of boys took John O. Giles wagon apart and hauled it up on the roof of his stockbarn, piece by piece. They then reassembled the wagon sitting astride the ridge row on the barn roof. It took a group of men all day to get the wagon down from the roof. pg. 69


Letter: Robert Bruce Gray, USMC to The Parisian, 1905

From France.

Cherbourg, France., July 8- [1905]

Editor Press-Parisian: Dear sir:-

With your permission, I will attempt to write a short letter to my friend in Henry County, through the columns of your newspaper.

Well, it has taken over a century [t]o complete the death burial and [r]esurrection of John Paul Jones, [b]ut at last it is accomplished, and Co[m]modore John Paul Jones, again rides the Briny deep.

We arrived here on June 30th., and from the time we dropped anchor, the French citizens and soldiers seems to have done their utmost to make us enjoy our trip. I attended a banquet on July 4th prepared for us by the citizens of Cherbourg, at the cot of the French government, and all had a good time. The tables were loaded down with wines, champaign [sic], [?], cigars, cigarette and doughnuts. The men were all jolly, although we could hardly understand any thing they said, and on July 6th 500 of us were shaken out of our hammocks, and loaded on a special train for Paris to do honors of receiving the corpse, the train left at 3:30 a. m., and the French scenery far surpasses anything I have ever seen in America, the country is broken and hilly, but the farms look like a picture, their source of agriculture seems to be stock raising, rye, oats, hay, fruit and truck patches, these patches are largest and finest I have ever seen. After 7 1/2 hours pleasant ride on the train we arrived in Paris 11 a. m., and marched to the Military Station and spent a pleasant hour eating a nice dinner prepared for us in a long tent. At one o’clock we limbered up and started on the parade which lasted until 6 p. m., we marched through some fine street, and at last came into a broad street which I took to be the official part of the city, and the end of the street the corpse lay in a shed, so covered with flags you could hardly see the shed, much less the casket, here we line up on our side of the street, and two regiments of the French infantry marched past us, then came two batteries of artillery, last came one regiment of cavalry, with shining helmet and polished armor. They were a grand sight to see, and I shall always be glad I saw them, and the passed we marched back to the barrack and ate a good supper and marched back to the depot and left on the 9 p. m. train, the delegate of officers sent up 3 days before having left on a special train 15 minute(s) before the body was conveyed to the train on the running gear of a cannon, we got aboard ship 10 a. m. the next morning and coaled ship all evening. This morning we washed paint work and done the honors while tranfering the corpse on board the flag ship Brooklyn, and will sail this evening at 9 p. m., I guess this ship will go to Norfolk, Va., and the Brooklyn will carry the body to An[n]apolis, Md. where it will be buried with due honors, the ships will then go to the navy yards for repairs, then it is thought they will be sent to Asia [?] station for a while.

As it is bed time I will close.

Robert B. Gray.


Grandaddy Gray and his Brother Bruce

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usI had never seen this picture before. On the right is Frazier Clifton Gray, my great great grandfather. I’ve been told many times by family that I look a lot like him. On the left is his brother, Bruce Gray, who died childless.

Bruce was a marine, which is something else I didn’t know. Thanks to my Great Aunt Cynthia and a long lost photo album, we’re learning more about these two. More to come.


Notes on Henry Augustus Scarborough, 1836-1863

He was Augustus, 13, in the 1850 Stewart County, Tennessee Census and Augustus, 23, in the 1860 District 9, Henry County, Tennessee Census.

Augustus’ full birth and death dates [3 DEC 1837 - 1 MAY 1863] are on his grave marker [in] Hopewell Cemetery where he is listed as Augustus Henry as recorded in Stewart County, Tennessee Burial Records p. 229. In the court settlement papers for his father’s estate he is listed as H. A. Scarborough. Marriage date [1859] is from Stewart County Marriage Records where they are listed H. A. and Margaret T. Rawley.

Margaret was born 19 Nov 1[8]41, Dover, Stewart Co,, TN and died 19 Sep 1922, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California. We’ve found no record of her parents in Stewart County. Information about her is from her obituary.

Claiborne McLemore, of Franklin, Wilson County, Tennessee reports (1996) that, as a young child, he recalls his grandmother’s telling that her father, Augustus Scarborough, died from a fall from a tree. Others report that, at Fort Donelson, during the Civil War, the Confederate soldiers were in dire need of food. They had no problem with eating horse meat but their horses were much needed in battle, so Augustus set out to steal a horse from the Federal troops. He was caught and hanged. His death date on his grave stone is 1 May 1863. The [battle at] Fort Donelson was 14 – 1[6] Feb 18[6]3, so there is some discrepancy here.

According to her obituary, Margaret married Charles P. Moore of Stewart County, Tennessee in 1868. Their children were Lillie, Gerald W., Mary E. and Robert Raleigh Moore all born in Dover. Charles died 1882 and in 1904 Margaret’s children moved to California and after about a year she joined them. In the 1870 Census there is Charles 56,. Margaret 27 and Bell 2. Her children, Ellen and Annie were not listed so they may have been living with some of the Scarborough family. In the 1880 Stewart County, Tennessee Census, Dover District there is Moore, A. 47 (must be 67), Margaret 38, Lillie (likely Bell of the 1870 census) 10, Mary 8 and Robert 5. Gerald was not listed. In the household there were also Scarboroughs, Ellis 20, Sedia 18, and Mollie 17, listed as step daughters. It is not sure just who these were as we only know that she had two girls by Augustus, Ellen and Annie. Also, in this census Margaret’s mother is listed as having been born in Maryland and her mother in Tennessee and Margaret as having been born in Kentucky.

A newspaper article from “Henry County’s Leading Newspaper” [Parisian or Post Intelligencer?] dated Fri. 29 Sep 1922 states, ” .. her many friends remember her as a woman of true worth and unusual abilities, especially along literary lines. Most of her long life was spent in reading and writing. She left many books, both of prose and poetry (Cynthia Jackson Perry, her great great granddaughter has one of the hand written originals). . . Mrs. Moore traced her lineage back to Sir Walter Raleigh and Oliver Cromwell and other men of great merit.”


Father’s Day

Happy Dad’s Day, Dad!

Giving me my first guitar lesson:
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Eating a moster bite of his dessert at my Graduation Dinner:
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Comments (1)

Grave Dowsing

I saw this subject, “Grave Dowsing,” in a genealogical mailing list. Eery term, right? It gets even better. Two pieces of coathanger wire, straightened and then bent at a 90 degree angle, sense the energy left by the deceased as you near or cross over their grave.You have to read this.

Grave Dowsing by Brenda Marble