Tuesday, January 6, 1959
I want to tell you this funny thing about Aunt Mary Cotton and me (she was papa’s aunt and my great aunt). I have spent time in her home, first when Grandma, her sister, 20 years older would go there. After through the years I would visit her. She lived till I was about 18 yrs. But this funny thing, there was a Confederate reunion and barbecue and other good food, so Aunt Mary and I went on a street car, the place was known as East End, now its Forrest Hill Dairy. They had so many of the things they have for children now at the fairgrounds, so I met up with a Sunday School friend, Pearl Bowel. She is now Mrs. Aude Hassell and I had a letter this past week. Her sister Annie Bowe died at age of 66 yrs. Any way Pearl and I were in our teens and I just could not have enjoyed more all those shoot the Dep, the train and all the fun. There was a cloud coming up in the meantime from north it was terribly black and threatening, so Aunt Mary kept telling me us, Mary, be sure have got to go before that rain comes up, we got out to medrain’s (?) are and got on the street car, and sure enough, the rain and wind came in gushes and waves (Turn to page 5-9)
Special Data (Feb 27, 1959)
(Cont. of my trip with Aunt Mary Cotton from page 6)
It just could not have rained harder. We got to Main St. where we had to transfer. We had an umbrella, Aunt Mary wore glasses and the wind had gotten them so wet she went the wrong way on up Madison toward the post office. I said Aunt Mary this is the wrong way, so we turned to go back to N. West Corner of Main and Madison where the clock was for years and years. The umbrella turned wrong side out and I really got tickled. She said you idiot you would laugh if we drowned. We got back to the corner to catch our St. car. There was a sign there and it hit a girl who was there with her date. He assessed the man next to her and they had a fight. The wind and rain was terrific. Finally, with our hats over our faces from rain and our shoes screeching from water and our clothes stuck to us, we went to the street car and soon got off at the corner about 2 blocks from her home. The rain had stopped by now and there were patches of sky, here and there. When we got to her home, her husband, Uncle Jim met us.
Wednesday, January 7, 1959
(Glenda Jeane Howard 17 today)
My mother was Alice Elizabeth Dodson the oldest of four children. I never knew her parents, her mother was Sophia Herring [Kerring]. Both parents were born in Mississippi. Her mother, my grandmother, was sick for a long time, and my mother being the oldest took care of her and her sisters, Jenny and Callie and her brother Henry. Her mother of course died early and her father remarried and had one son who was named Earl but my grandfather died, when I was maybe 4 yrs old. I can recall going to see him and they had a turkey gobbler and I always felt the gobbler was always ready to get me. They lived in a big house. I believe they said both my mother’s parents had cancer too.
My mother’s father objected to her marrying my father, mostly because he was 19 years older, so they eloped to Memphis and were married April 25, 1892. My father’s mother had lived with him all the years, so early, my father found a colored boy seven years old, named Edd Norwood, whose step mother was mean to him. My father asked if Edd might live with him and his mother so he could be with her anytime he might not be home. So Edd was there (Thursday, January 8, 1959 – William H Piercy 64 today) when my father and mother married and stayed on till I was 10 years old. He addressed “Papa” as Boss and Mamma as Miss Alice (Edd was older than my mother) and he called me baby and called my grandmother “Ole Miss”. He said I was about the worst baby he ever saw. I think, he too rocked my cradle. They had cradles in those days. I was 16 months old before I walked Mamma said Grandma held me too much. Nancy, I really don’t know why I was that old before I walked. My brother, Bill, arrived when I was 20 months old. And I went in the room with my grandmother Piercy. (Grandma is what I called her.) When I was one year old and stayed there with her on a white iron bed. I slept on until she passed away – Dec. 27, 1904. I really felt my grandmother was a most important person. Another brother, Duke, who was the only one of brothers who had grey eyes, died Oct. 4, 1901, when he was barely five years old. He was born Sept 18, 1896. Bill was born, Jan 8, 1895 and my brother Walter who was born Dec 23, 1898. Your children and all the family knew him as Uncle Walter.
Duke died of scarlet fever, it was a cruel blow to the family, especially my dad. Walter after three years time filled in and helped Papa over come his sorrow to a great extent–
Grandma died of pneumonia. She just went to sleep. ???? some of the very happiest memories of childhood was that Grandma had two civil War friends both of them too, were doctor’s widows. They had an old Colonial home with white plank fence all kinds of flowers and trees and to me it was like paradise. I often went there with Grandma. They were devoted friends, Mrs. Eliza Gabbert and Mrs. Ellen Ham, her daughter. Others visited there for the day, among them Mrs Jim Hale, Mrs. Farrow of White Haven, Mrs. Nail and Mrs. Pollard of Hernando, Miss. Grandma often spent a week or more in the home and caused papa to say Ma – I’ll declare looks like they just want you to live there. Mrs. Gabbert was just about blind and she was 84 years old and her daughter Ellen Ham was in her 60’s. She called me her girl. She never had any children. And, they were Christians so from my earliest childhood, I was taught respect for God and people from my family as well as these very dear people.
Saturday, January 10, 1959
I just must tell you this, Grandma was sick at Christmas and my brother almost put his eye [out] with a fire cracker.
Dr. N. F. Raines of Raines, Tenn., was our family doctor. He has a son in Memphis, Dr. Sam Raines, and he visited Grandma, Dec. 26, said, she was going to get well but mamma decided to get Penny, who was married to Abe Lester. They were colored people, but they had lived there on the place many years, and we sure loved Penny and Abe. Any way Penny arrived to sit up with Mamma, and watch after Grandma. About mid-night, I heard Mamma tell Penny, she was going to die. Grandma had asked them to take her clothes off and all who knew her, knew her, as a most refined woman. She had a screen in the room and as a child I never saw her leg above the knee. And, that too, was also very important to papa, people should have respect for others and show good manners. So, the next morning a colored man
Sunday, January 11, 1959
went to tell Mrs. Gabbert and Mrs. Ham about Grandma. I can see Mrs. Ham now come in with her curly hair parted in the middle, her brown eyes so sad. She then told of her mother calling her at midnight, and telling her to get up, that my Grandma was dying. Mrs. Ham told her mother, that there was no one calling but I well remember Mrs. Gabbert expected her daughter to do exactly what she told her, so Mrs. Ham said she went to the door of the big hall, that had beautiful colored glass on each side of the double doors and really there wasn’t any one there, so she told her mother and her mother said, “Ellen there is someone saying, ‘Mrs. Piercy is dying'”. If this hadn’t been so true, I am sure I could have forgotten it, for actually Grandma started at midnight to get weaker and weaker. And well I remember, Died about 10 a.m. of that day, Dec. 27, age 77 and said just before her going into the final sleep of death, ” I am at peace with the World and God”.
Monday, January 12, 1959
My father kept her three days as she requested it, she was highly educated and read many books – back in those days, people had been reported to have been sometimes buried alive. She was buried at Hinds Chapel, near Horn Lake and Hernando, Miss. Her father was founder of the church and cemetery which is there, at this date 1959, and a well kept cemetery.
I want to make plain here about my grandmother, she was not a superstitious person rather she was a woman of dignity, common sense of life, and thought and lived in those same terms, so what she had read was told by people who should have known. As for me, I feel it would certainly be most unusual to bury any one alive, unless you really were trying to, but it maybe, could have been possible in that day as neighbors and friends prepared the body for burial.
Sunday, Feb 15, 1959, your dad was going to see about some calves near Bull Frog Point, near Horn Lake, Miss. So I went and we visited Hinds Chapel.
Tuesday, January 13, 1959
We turned right at the first crossroads past Bull Frog and followed the road and found directions to Hinds Chapel which we found all in good order, well fenced and the country church, which my great-grandfather founded in 1845 in good condition. he donated the ground it was built on and where the cemetery is. There we found the slab Josiah Hinds M.D. born Jan 31, 1801 – died May 6, 1864, inscribed were these words, “We sorrow not as those who have no hope”. his wife, my great-grandmother was Sophia Moore, daughter of J and Fanny Moore. I was unable to read inscription of her birth and death. My grandmother piercy too, is there, has a marker, Mrs. F. E. Piercy age 77 died in 1904, Dec 27 at 10 O’clock White Haven in the home of her son and my father William Thomas Piercy. My grandmother called him Willie.
After a visit to Hinds Chapel your dad and I returned to State line and turned East and after going about 1 mile reached Edmondson Cemetery, where
Wednesday, January 14, 1959
my father and mother are resting. This I saw that about 2/3 of people there I had known – one was my mother’s sister Callie, who married George McPeak when she was 16 years old. Uncle George is what I always called him loved aunt Callie very much. They had 4 children, Ruth, Walter, Robert and Julia Mae. One stormy night at Horn Lake, Mississippi, where they lived and owned their home, Uncle George remembered about 8 pm he heard a terrible roaring. He thought it was a train. They lived close to railroad. Any way, brick from chimney came blowing into the room and the best he remembered about Aunt Callie was trying to get into a hall. The next he knew, she was dead. Ruth, their daughter, Walter and Robert badly hurt and Uncle George too. Julia Mae the baby girl was the only one not hurt. 15 people were killed in the storm – Aunt Callie and Ruth were blown into the ground and were so mangled. My mother said they were wrapped in sheets for burial. Uncle George and family later moved near Munford, Tennessee. He remarried had two more sons, later Julia Mae
Thursday, January 15, 1959
(Ma Nichols Birthday; I also had operation at Baptist one year ago)
and Robert both died and Uncle George too is dead, Walter is the only one that is living today of Aunt Callie’s children and he lives in Memphis.
At Edmondson Cemetery, I saw the markers of Jesse Cobb [lot 250] has wife “Miss Rosa”, Wm Hilderbrand [probably Earnest William Hilderbrand lot 133], the Vaughan family, the Hudgens family, the Peek family including my Sunday school teacher Mr. Walter Peek. Oh! I could go on and on, I’ll name one more Mrs. Hallie Brewster [lot 43]. She stayed with us often, several weeks at a time. When I was a small girl, she had one son Dunlap Brewster. When I first knew her and she lived by us on Mill Branch Road, that was the first place I can remember. Dunlap was killed when a bridge fell in. Mrs. Brewster had two grandchildren, Mammie and Dunlap, later Dunlap died and only Mammie survived. After leaving Edmondson, we returned to Memphis by way of Mill branch Rd, and we saw about two places, that were still there, the Will Robinson and Isebell homes. We passed the place where the Luthers lived. Mrs Luther was very sweet. Her husband was a German and much older than her. Next, we came to the place on Mill Branch, where I can still see
Friday, January 16, 1959
(Nancy A Nichols Gross 22 today)
as plan and clearly as in those days – we would drive to the big gate enter a woody lot, with all kinds of trees, including pecan to the left of house was a big pond, where mamma had one time, 75 ducks, that swam in the pond. Back of house on left was the barn and back of that more woods with a running stream of water.
Well, I recall one special day in June, Mamma and Grandma were having their first mess of fresh green beans from the garden which was an event back in those days, for we only had green beans in season. A few were kept in cans. They usually spoiled any way. Mrs. Hallie Brewster and her son “Mr. Dunlap”, we children called him, was just down the lane from us so Mrs. Brewster was invited to help enjoy those first beans, likely they had fresh onions too. Any way – it was a day, Nancy, I can never forget, with the help of my brothers, we would take it in turns and get corn from the crib and take the chickens to the stream back of the
Saturday, January 17, 1959
(Laura Lee Nichols 8 yrs old today)
barn, there were some right deep holes of water. We would catch a chicken and put it in water. Then hold it down in the water and it would sink. Guess we were trying to find out if the chickens could dive like the ducks and then come up and swim away. Well we were really having a good time. UNTIL, I looked up on the hill, calling from the barn lot – MARY REE – it had the “REE” on it, for I knew by the tone, something sure was going to take place! In a jiffy, the corn we had was put back into the crib. I don’t believe Bill and Duke, my brothers got the switching. I did. I was not over 5 or at most 6 cause it sure did hurt. I know we never ducked any more chickens for those that were ducked sure had a watery grave and I can almost feel that switch. Yet when I’ve looked, I didn’t see any of those things, they were gone and in their places were
Sunday, January 18, 1959
houses, the whole business now is a subdivision. Well it was sad to be again so close one more the blessed memories of childhood and now it was just a memory. I could almost see Papa there again, see the teams getting ready for the field. Mamma out gathering up the eggs, cooking or the many other things she had to do. We children were in bed by dark. They had what they called a foot tub, we were bathed and given our supper early, for they said children should be put to bead early. It was this place my brother Duke died. He and Bill rode on seat beside the colored man who was gathering corn, in a brand new two horse wagon with a spring seat. What joy they got from the ride to and from the field. When one afternoon both became ill, Dr. N. F. Raines, our family doctor, said it was scarlet fever, Duke was unable to swallow even medicines and died on the 3rd day. Walter, my other
Monday, January 19, 1959
(Martha Nichols Birthday, [d.] Jan 1961 was 83 yrs old)
brother who wasn’t two years old too was desperately ill and i too, knew no one, but when we got better, I well remember the terrible loss and sadness in our home. Papa’s grief was terrible for Duke was named for his father Dr. Duke Piercy and the only one of us four children, who had grey eyes, like Papa – who was 6 feet tall black hair and a man of dignity and good manners. He had been raised that way and was always a gentleman with grand honor, for I knew I could depend on him for honesty and the right things of life. Mamma was 5ft 5 inches, light complexion, light brown hair and eyes of the same color. She had wonderful teeth. She was good in every sense of the word. She had a heart of gold, always ready to help where ever or when ever she could, old and young alike loved her. She was happy and jovial, very industrious. My father’s mother loved her very much and depended on her for so many things. Grandma was just one of our family, she was treated
Tuesday, January 20, 1959
with highest regard and respect, for well I remember we were all taught respect for our elders and each other. My father instructed my brothers to treat me as a lady a should be and I was to act like a lady at all times. My father had high regard for womanhood and always, he was kind and treated his own mother with highest respect. I am proud of my parents for their honor and their teaching me from earliest childhood that God was the greatest of all and God was love – and I must do God’s way to reach the life provided for us when we depart this worldly state.
Grandma had the best education college could provide in her day as did her brother and sister and another relative they often spoke of, Dr. J. D. Hinds, who went to Europe to finish his education he was an M. D. but had a right limp. He formally taught chemistry at U. T. Knoxville. Many medical students told me when I was in training to be a graduate nurse, Dr. Hinds knew more chemistry in an hour then they could learn in a life time.