S: Some Things I Remember Mae Caudill Hibbard
FC: SOME THINGS I REMEMBER... | By Mae Caudill Hibbard
1: I discovered this journal when helping to pack up Grandma Hibbard’s apartment, while we were in Orlando for her funeral in 1999. It is in the familiar, indecipherable and equally endearing handwriting that we all recognize as uniquely “Mae’s”. Uncle Raymond’s clan, having the advantage of spending years living near Mae and Homer, may already know some of these stories, but for me most all of this was new insight into her life. Even if you already know the stories, and even if you disagree with the accuracy of some of them (as Dad and Uncle Ray are likely to do), the power of her handwritten word to invoke memories of her will surprise you. Just begin each page with “...well honey...” in that slow Kentucky drawl, and you’ll feel like Mae is sitting next to you telling you about her life We love you Grandma... Robert
2: 1 I was born in Manchester Ky Feb 14 1906. My mother was Rachel Hensley Caudill, my father Taylor Benton Caudill. My mother had what was called child bed fever in those days & died April 5th 1906. Before going on I will give some dates of the family The Hensley family David & Caroline Marten Martinsburg Va – Lee County. David Born 1810, Caroline 1815 – 12 children Margarite born 3/10 – 1844, Married Robert Hensley – born in Buncombe Co - North Carolina Son Silas Born 4-13-1865. Silas married Susan Hayes Born 12-16-1864 – she was the daughter of James Hayes son of Johnny Hayes son of Abner Hayes born in Va. | SOME THINGS I REMEMBER... | By Mae Caudill Hibbard (1982) | Betty Mae Caudill
3: Silas and Susan Hensley | Martha Asbury Caudill | Col. Benjamin Everidge Caudill | Stephen Benton & Aura Marcum Caudill | Hiram & Sarah Marcum | Taylor Caudill | Mary Jane Roberts Caudill
4: 2 James Hayes married Mary Dixon from Jackson Co – Ky Susan and Silas had 5 children. Rachel married Taylor B Caudill. Taylor Caudill was the son of Stephen Benton Caudill born 4-3-1855 died 1927 his father was Colonel Benjamin Everidge Caudill – born in Va his mother was Martha Asbury Caudill – Stephen married Aara Maurcun Caudill born 1864 Clay Co Ky – her parents were Hirom Marcum and Sally Roberts Marcum – Arra died in 1958. Taylor and Rachell were married in 1903 – To this union was a child – still born and myself. My grandparents The Hensleys raised me on Hectors Creek until I was 2 years old, my father then married Mary Jane | 3 Roberts. At this time Mary Jane’s Father, 2 Brothers Chester and Shafter & step mother had moved to the state of Washington – Aberdeen – now – then it was a Saw Mill and lumber town. I went with them for a year or more where my father worked in the lumber. My step moms folks ran a Hotel and we lived there, but my step mom didn’t like it so we came home – I can Remember the large ships on the Columbia River going up and down – I also can remember the hotel very well, the gas lights and inside toilets, but I would put orange peels in which caused trouble. Chester was a banjo player and I would go down in the lobby with him & dance for the salesmen & they gave me money
5: Aberdeen Washington - Early 1900's | Chester & Shafter Roberts | Taylor Caudill
6: 4 It would be hard for me to carry it up stairs for my hands were small. I can remember Shafter would follow after me to pick it up – they said when they were ready to come back home I had over $60.00 saved, it was enough to buy our food packs. We traveled by train from London Ky – Before leaving The Hensleys when I was 2 yrs old I can remember keeping a chair under the wall telephone to listen in – I have told my aunt Lula & them where it was and they say about that time they had it removed – but I did know the place where it was. After we come from Washington we lived in one of the houses on my | 5 grandfather Caudill’s farm – he had 16 or 17 hundred acres and about 6 renter houses, so when one of the children married, they moved in one until they were able to build their own. Sometime after we came home Mary Jane and Dad had a son, his name was Stephen. I have heard Dr’s & older people say he was one of the smartest kids of his time but he had brain fever when he was about 4 yrs old. By then my father & Mary Jane were both dead. Taylor died in 1913 and Mary Jane in 1914—before that I and they and the baby went by train to Virginia to St. Helena, a friend of the family owned property there and dad went for his health but | 4 It would be hard for me to carry it up stairs for my hands were small. I can remember Shafter would follow after me to pick it up – they said when they were ready to come back home I had over $60.00 saved, it was enough to buy our food packs. We traveled by train from London Ky – Before leaving The Hensleys when I was 2 yrs old I can remember keeping a chair under the wall telephone to listen in – I have told my aunt Lula & them where it was and they say about that time they had it removed – but I did know the place where it was – After we come from Washington we lived in one of the houses on my | 5 grandfather Caudill’s farm – he had 16 or 17 hundred acres and about 6 renter houses or when on of the children married the moved in one until they were able to build their own – sometime after we came home Mary Jane and Dad had a son, his name was Stephen I have heard Dr’s & older people say he was one of the smarts kids of his time but he had Brain fever when he was about 4 yrs old. By then my father & Mary Jane were both dead. Taylor died in 1913 and Mary Jane in 1914—before that I and they and the baby went by train to Virginia to St. Helena, a friend of the family owned property there and dad went for his health but
7: 6 I can remember it was a country place and kind of swampy – a big house in the area sold us milk and eggs – I know I would have to walk across the fields to get it I must have been 5 or 6 years – I used to tear my clothes on the barbwire fence & be scolded when getting home – Later when Ray was born and I had Malaria fever the Drs were amazed where I could have gotten the germ & when I told them about Va – the said it could have lain dormant until I was in a weak condition I think that must have been in 1912 – I remember when we lived in Clay Co I was out playing in the yard around a pile of old bricks and | 7 Rocks and kept calling for my dad to come look at the pretty worms I had found when he did come I had a nest of young copperheads in my lap – 3 or 4 of them. I can remember at the same place dad would set traps for birds and I would watch them in the snow go in to get feed – I think they were mostly red birds. (I guess the traps were set for Rabbit & birds got in). After my dad died we lived at grandpa Caudill’s as he had a big family and several renters on the farm in the winter they would kill as many as 25 or 30 hogs – make lard, sausage – we would shuck beans all winter – hide onions in the hay to keep from freezing – put up
8: 8 pickles & corn beans in barrels, also kraut – and sulphered apples – we made hundreds cans of black berry jam and jellies also apple – then, we didn’t know how to can beans, tomatoes & so on. We could pile a ton of potatoes in a shallow hole filled with hay – then make it like a cone & lay planks up the sides to the top (like the pic) - cover the top with tin then cover all with about a foot of dirt, then in cold weather you could go in move one plank back get out enough potatoes for a week & recover it. We would have several mounds, and have potatoes all winter long. The renters families would come to us for meats and food and they would pay by working | 9 for grandpa – There had to be coal stripped for the whole farm’s houses also sometimes timber would be cut and sold. At that time about all you could buy in stores were – sugar – soda & salt, coal oil for lamp, some flour – if you lived on a farm you raised your own –we had our meal ground, made our own molasses – tapped the maple trees & made our own maple syrup & maple candy – we had our own black walnuts white walnuts hickory nuts and chestnuts – hazelnuts – these were all to be gathered in the fall – I never saw grandpa do a lot of labor but his horse stayed saddled as he would ride all over the farm seeing
9: 10 to the men who were working – These renters share cropped when their work was done they would help the big house – we always kept from 10 to 30 mules – to do the plowing. 6 or 8 cows for milk and butter, over a hundred hens at all times. When I was very young my job was to gather eggs – we had a hen house but they lived in the barns and would lay under the cribs & I would under crawl with a basket to get 50 or more at one time. Grandma would save a case & then take them to town. That was her money. If grandpa needed any he could always kill a hog or beef and lay it on hay & a sheet | 11 in the wagon & go to town from door to door - people would be so glad to get fresh meat. He would cut off what they wanted & weigh it out. He would take one of the younger boys to help. As the children all went to school, I can remember when 12 of us went at one time for several years. We only had 6 months of school. In town they would teach a winter school for pay - the older people would go. I can remember how the boys, the Garrisons & Crafs would all pass, & my uncles would join them & skate on the river to school. The older girls could board in the 3 winter months. By the
10: 12 time I was in the 4 & 5th grade we had 9 months of school. A lot of the older boys & girls were married by then or some of them when I was going. Our family was very musical we had a brass band they would play for fairs, also lots of strings – fiddle, banjo, guitars, ukes to play for dancing. We kept 2 pianos – one upright Baldwin an one 5 leg – which Stella Maron has now. It had been brought in by wagon over the smokies from Charleston S C. – Grandma Caudill having 17 children I imagine she was pretty busy when they were little. By the time I come along she never did much. She never got out of bed, her or grandpa, unless breakfast was ready. | 13 We usually had a hired girl to help – you can imagine how much washing and ironing was needed – I can remember being over the wash board at an early age – we had a big iron salt kettle in the washing yard where we boiled the white clothes – I can remember drawing buckets & buckets of water from the open well – the night before wash day I would fill tubs to use the next day when sometimes a cow or horse would get in the lot & drink it up and all would be to do over the next day. We were luckier than most families, when the winters were real cold and ice on the river we would cut ice and haul up in wagons
11: 15 Also we had a spring house. This was dug out of the hill in the orchard where coal had been taken out it was about 20’ by 20’ – it had a slate floor hard in one side was a deep hole where you could dip in a bucket and get a clear cool water and on the same end where water came in over the floor about 1” or 2” deep we could set our milk and butter which was always cold. There was a trough cut in the slate to carry the water out – into a drainage ditch. This was rocked up with stone inside the hill & the front was rock except the door. It had a heavy roof – some times after a heavy rain mud would get in & my job was to scrub it. | 14 and fill a big ice house this was built with two layers of plank about 8 inches between, planks going at a slant inside & outside turned the other way this was then filled with sawdust and as a layer of ice was put down then covered with sawdust until the house was filled the building must have been 20’ by 40’ or larger. Doors were at the bottom but as it was filled, a big door was in the top so as hot weather came you would use from the top. As it would get down to make enough room, us kids could play on top of the ice in hot weather the saw dust would cover it under feet. So, we could have cold lemonade and plenty of ice cream.
12: 16 With such a big family we had a lot of company sometimes some of the cousins would spend several months there. If grandma had any cousins who had children they would stay all winter or summer. The Caudill boys & Clocea Sewell from OK, would come for a year or 2 – Uncle Shilpy & Bige and them would open a mine to make them some money. Grandpa was a Primitive Baptist, and the Church was built on our farm. Church was once a month on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Everyone that come from any distance stayed with us. Sometimes we would kill a beef or mutten | 17 or lots & lots of chickens. But in other weekends all the kids would come. We had a basketball court and a baseball field. The people said grandpa would have been quite wealthy but he fed out all his profit – but he would never turn anyone away – when court was in session – or teacher meetings everyone come to (our) home – to stay – but we had a large house. Grandpa said when he was a young man after the war – he and his sister, she was older – took a trip south on horseback his parents wanted them to visit and look for some of their family - and many of the nights they could find no place to stay and be in the rain & | Primitive Baptist Church
13: 18 cold & hungry and have to sleep in the woods. He said he made a vow then to never turn anyone away from his home if he ever had one & he sure didn’t. I heard him tell about when he was 7 or 8 years old they lived Whitesburg Ky – his dad was a Colonel in the Sothern Army and once when the northern troops come through sacking & burning, his mother hid all the children in the woods above the house in the rail fence curbs & covered them with leaves but they could see them when they come they took all the live stock the chicken they could catch they brought all the furniture out | 19 broke it up – broke up the dishes – ripped open the feather beds & pillows and left them with nothing took all the food from the house & smoke house took the corn from the crib ---- I have heard grandpa tell about when years ago the Jessie James mob were staying in Manchester. Ford, who was with them was akin to the Littles and when the posse come in after them they rode across the hill and come down behind our house and through the yard and on over the hill with the posse after them it was early in the morning and all the noise awoke the family up – I wonder if anyone will be able to read this—
14: 20 When I was real young we all went to a 1 room school at Slick Rock but as we all changed and went to the Manchester graded school – we had an academy for the older students, but before I was ready for high school, the Co. had one. Before that the older children went to Berea - Aunt Lina, Kate, Shelby and Biges. When my father was young he and Uncle Hiram & Uncle Henry went to Oneida Baptist School, for Education beyond the grades. My dad & mom were in school there when they were married at a very young age. Uncle Hiram married a school teacher. I have had people tell me he was one of the greatest ball pitchers, he had been scouted by several teams – but one 4th of July after a game with | 21 London Ky – all the team went to the Burchell Mill pond to swim & he being so hot he developed pleurisy or pneumonia of the lumbar – he only lived about 2 months. I remember he had played the Mandolin & accordion - and these instruments were never allowed in the children’s hands but Grandma & Grandpa would play them, one of their favorites was the Bonny Parts Retreat. My father was a great Banjo player and I have given Ray his old Banjo. It still has the original groundhog hide cover on it. I tried to find out how old it was but couldn’t. Once I showed it to Eddy Peabody when he was down the street with Mark’s music teacher – he said he never saw one as old it must have come across the Cumberland gap with early settlers into Ky. | "When They Hanged Old Callahan" by Mary T. Brewer They hanged the fiddler, so goes the tale O that gruesome but strangest affair; How three were condemned and three men were hanged And how the last one fiddled there. The scaffold was built, strong, sturdy, and tall, With the hangman's rope fastened in place And round them the people, while the fiddle tune played, Did a wild and lively dance pace. The lumber for coffins was brought to the site; "How long must they be and how wide?" "We be three feet and a 'backer-chaw' tall!"
15: 23 of course hard feelings still remained between the families – months after this when my grandpa was coming back from surveying trip in the Mounts he met and talked with Newberry. The next day or sometime after that Newberry was found killed. As Callahan was supposed to be the last man who saw him he was hung in the town of Manchester. Grandma said years later before Begley died he confessed to the killing – when I first heard this I told Frank (Judge) Stivers about it and he didn’t believe this had ever happened. So the next two days he spent in the court house going over records and found this was so – Newberry hill in Clay Co got its name from this event. | 22 By the way, my Grandma Susan said once her Grandpa was a Callahan who come into Ky with Daniel Boone & helped survey the road from Va line to Boonesboro. She told me also that he had been one of the outstanding men in the county and as a surveyor he rode a lot & knew the county well. At that time The Newberrys and Begleys – were having a family feud over the Mast over on Red Bird River. People in those days raised a lot of hogs and they lived on the abundant Mast in the hills. The courts appointed her Grandpa to be an arbitrator between them and he counseled with them and they agreed for the Newberrys to keep their hogs on one side of the Red Bird River and the Begley on the other | The doomed men called out in reply. Two men were hanged and laid to the ground While Callahan played the death-knell, Then upon the scaffold he challenged the crowd To come play the fiddle as well. But none took the dare and fear gripped them all As they gathered much closer around. With a shout Old Callahan struck the handrail, Broke the fiddle as the trap-door dropped down. Now tales of the past may be forgotten and fade, Lose much of their glory and shine, But Old Callahan's tune can still be heard As it echoes forever through Time.
16: 24 There are so many things I want to tell I will never get them in order. Grand kept oxen also as they could pull logs and sleds when the ground was ice & snow. I can remember when logging was done & they used the oxen. Uncle Beck was small for his age & it fell his job to go in front of the oxen with a basket to talk the oxen on – they never moved to the whip or command as mules & horses would. When it rained or sometimes snowing we would ride horses to school and pick up the kids on the way sometimes arrive with 3 or four kids to a horse. We could all ride from very young. As the boys got older each had his own saddle horse. Grandma’s mare Mollie was the one we a rode most. When | 25 I was very small & saw my first circus – my great ambition was to be a circus rider to get the mare Molly out in a field away from the family and try to stand up and ride on her bare back. Was quite a treat she was very broad. I would fall off a lot but was never seriously hurt. We would take a trip every 2 years over to Red Bird. That was where Grandma Caudill’s brothers & some sisters lived. We would take a wagon for the trunks & kids & driver, Grandma & Grandpa rode their saddle horses – we would stay several days with each great uncle and aunt. Go down the river toward Oneida to visit. It would take about 3 weeks to make the rounds – then some of the cousins would come stay several
17: 26 weeks they would be older and there were lots of parties – the girls all in pretty silk taffeta dresses – I can remember my Grandma’s sister would come from OK about every 3 years for a month or so. She & Grandma had married brothers – Steve & William Caudill. Aunt Purlina would make lots of light bread & rolls – which we loved. She made us wonderful Lady & Lord Baltimore cakes – sometimes a dozen for Christmas & using a wood stove was quite a task. Anyway, Aunt Purr would say “Aara don’t make the girls so many cotton dresses, get them some nice silk & satin”. | 27 By the time I was in the 7 & 8 grade I was quite a ball player. I was an hour school baseball time at 12 & 13 & played 4 years of high school basketball & one year in college. I was always the captain & was small but very fast, so I was always chosen on the SE tourney & 2 times on the state. I was able to travel quite a lot as our tours were 20 or 30 miles or much farther away. We could take a train to Barboursville then go on to other places by car sometime. I must have been in 7th grade before the a train come to Manchester. Its where everyone went on Saturday afternoon to see the train come in. I had riddin a train when very young but
18: 28 had to travel by wagon or horse to London Ky to catch the train 25 miles. I can remember the first good highway which came to Manchester, it wasn’t complete in 1928 when Homer & I were married. Before my Grandma was born her father Hiram Marcum came to town, it must have been 12 or more miles – he lived at and on the Red bird River. It was in cold weather and as he started home he heard a baby cry – he had his horse tied near one of the nice homes in town near the barn lot – he found a new born baby (colored) and carried it to the home. Whites – one of the leading families lived there and they owned slaves – none | 29 of our families did – anyway, when he showed them the baby they said they had to many & didn’t want it – so he wrapped it in an old blanket & carried it in his arms on his horse all the way home. He couldn’t understand any human being thrown away – so this became Matt Marcum – it was one of our great joys to go there and see Matt. I can remember when I was small all of Grandma’s (kids) were married & Matt stayed with her mother until she died – Matt wore men’s shoes, man’s hat & long dresses – she would plow & make the garden, she was quite old now. Later she went to live with my Grandmas brother John, and some years later they brought her to visit us in Manchester. She had never seen another colored person on a train | Shelby
19: 31 she kept a stick to jab us if we got too near her – I can remember her saying “Steve, Steve make these young-uns stop”. As we all grew older several married off – but I had to (do) lots of babysitting -- I spent many weeks & months with Aunt Allee & her 3 kids. As Uncle Will worked in other towns a lot. When I was 9 or 10 – somewhere that age, my Grandparents had a law suit over me. The Hensleys wanted me to live with them – I would stay with them a lot in summer and as there were no young children my age Grandpa Hensley would put up a big swing to an apple tree & swing me for hours at a time. They said he would lose a crop every summer I came. | 30 so Grandpa had a time getting her on, but we took her on a trip to Barboursville on a train - Aunt Stella, Grandma & Grandpa and myself. This was only a 24 mile trip but it stopped at every post office, anyway when we reached Parks Valley, where a lot of the whites lived some who got on the train raised a ruckus because the conductor let her ride in the white coach & ordered she should be removed to the colored coach. When this happened Grandpa took us all to the colored coach saying he preferred the change. So the next day coming back we all went to the colored coach. We kids would tease Matt. It was because we loved her and
20: 33 get to the Hensleys they wouldn’t take me back. It was a good half day’s ride or more— So one time when school started I was started in school at Hectors Creek after two months they were having their monthly church meeting and my Grandpa C. and Aunt Stella & Lina came to the meeting & spent the night with the Breuer family – one begged for me to stay with them. Then about 2 AM in the morning Aunt Lina woke me & Stella to go outside. Grandpa had the horses saddled & we rode home in the night through the hills they were afraid to be near the road as | 32 I had all the attention, also didn’t have a chore to do – I wouldn’t eat breakfast until a certain goose laid her morning egg – it was In a deep hole at the end of a foot log across Hectors Creek. I would take a hoe to get out the egg. After the lawsuit it was agreed I should stay with the Caudills during school year and the Hensleys other times – I guess I made it hard, as I liked the fun we had with the big family – also all the attention I had at the other. Anyway, the Caudills didn’t take me to the Hensleys on time or when I would | Hensley's House
21: 34 they might be followed I must have been about 11 by this time. Sometime after this my Hensley Grandparents & some of their family moved to Lincoln Co. and I never saw much of them until I was married – Homer & I would go visit them. There was always hard feeling between the 2 families – at the time of this writing 12-19- 82 (19 Dec 1982) I have Aunt Lily 88 – Aunt Mollie 82 – still living of the Hensleys. Only Aunt Stella Carnahan who is 77 – of the Caudills. In later years there were only Aunt Stella, Uncle Estell, Bob & Beck who were not married, lived in Detroit Mich. & worked. My grandparents had taken Polly Michell when | 35 she was about 13. She lived with us until she married in 1927 or 1928 – during these years we had lots of nice friends, went to dances & parties – I worked hard in the summer hoeing corn – working the garden. I could drive a team of mules in a pinch at the last when only Grandma & I were there. Grandpa died in 1927 – I made the cain crop & she & I ran the corn mill & made the molasses. I believe she made the best to be made all the years growing up. That was something she didn’t trust any other one with. Homer & I were the last to marry in 1928 – the next year or two the big farm was divided up into 13 parts, Grandma got 1/4th.
22: 36 Several of the children died without issue, each had so many acres. Aunt Stella drew the place she didn’t want, and some of them raised such a stink that I drew a bet on which they thought I didn’t deserve, yet I know I did more work than any two of them – so they were after me to change with her – not Aunt Kate or Uncle Bob, Uncle Beck or Shelby kept out of it. So I finally changed, I traded my place for our first house in town, as I had borrowed money at the bank to go to college on. I took the house in the Locus Hollow and the notes at Bank were paid off. Really I never went back out in the old | 37 home place much after that. Later after Maurice & Ray were boys we sold the house in town & bought the old home farm where Homer was raised at Greenbriar & built a house there in 1936-37 – I believe. | Greenbriar Ky