My family: things my dad and mom told me

Mom and dad were married on March 2nd, 1925. The minister was Shade Stidham. The witnesses were dads cousin, Bert Morgan and a friend, Johnnie Cornett. Dad's birthday was April 10th, 1903 and mom's was March 22nd, 1905 so they were almost 20 and 22 at the time of their wedding. Some interesting things about Shade Stidham and my family are these: Mom's friend Mallie Lewis Married Shade's son Harrison. My grandpa, Jess Johnson, had a truck wreck and Shade Stidham was killed in that accident.

Grandpa had an old truck so I am supposing this was sometime in the late 30's or early 40's since a horse or mule and wagon was the only transportation until about that time in these parts. He was moving Shade and the truck was loaded with household goods. They were going down McKintosh mountain toward Hazard when the breaks gave out and they crashed into the field at the bottom, Shade was thrown off the sideboard and killed..

After mom and dad were married they set up housekeeping in a one room house that was located where Delver Hensley built his house and beside what is now the turn around at Jim Hensley's old store. Mom said the cracks were so wide between the floor boards that you could see the chickens under the floor. She said in the winter that snow would blow in across the beds through the side cracks. It is hard for us to imaging that in these days. I sit here in my good, new, warm house beside the lake and at the push of a button can be as warm or cool as I wish. Thank you Lord!

Then the children came. Tester ( Ted ) was first on January 30th, 1926. Next was Francis on March 18th, 1928. Then Vance on November 26th, 1930, then Roy on April 6th, 1932, Marshall on July 27th, 1934, Delphia on July 28th, 1936, Jewel on January 6th, 1939, Vernon on October 14th, 1941, Shirley on March 30th, 1945 and me, January 22nd, 1950.

Mom and dad lived in this place until about the late 30's. I know Roy was at least older than about 3 when they lived there from the following story. Roy and Vance were playing in the yard with an old wheel barrow. Vance dumped him out on the ground and Roy was crying. Dad flew mad and ran out and grabbed the wheel barrow and slung it over the hill in a big ash bank. There was just one problem, Vance had tied Roy to the wheel barrow so wheel barrow, Roy and all went over the hill.

Just across the creek from the house there was Jenny Barn. Now for you young kids who don't know what a Jenny Barn was, it was a whore house where bad women, even badder men, cards, whiskey, music and guns came together for a lively ole time on Friday and Saturday nights. Dad worked away from home sometimes. He went where ever the work was back in the depression days so often mom was alone there with the children. She told me that there was a small window that looked out toward the Jenny Barn, it was high up and you couldn't normally see out of it. She said that after she put the kids to bed at night she would drag a crate or stool over and stand on it and listen to the music and watch the goings on. Sometimes there would be fights and shootings. I ask her if she wasn't afraid. She told me that she was not, that non of them ever tried to bother her. She said they all knew dad and were afraid to bother her. One if my brothers told me that dad had went over and told them that if they ever bothered his family he would kill'em. They never did.

From there they moved down in Hurricane creek where the Arnold Lewis house was. It was a two room log house with double chimneys between the rooms. It was here that Marshall, Delphia and Jewel were the little ones. Uncle Lawton's family lived up in the holler to the right behind where Jim Hensley's store is.( Seldon Hensley lived there when I was growing up.) Lawtons children, John, Mary, and Billy were roughly the ages of Francis, Vance, and Roy. While they played together a lot it usually turned into a fight by the days end.

A few years later dad moved up to the Pearl Fields place in a 2 room cabin with a third lean to kitchen, a long front porch with a dog trot and double fireplaces. ( A little history lesson is needed here: Most people in the Appalachian mountains of Easter Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, and Tennessee are of Scotch-Irish ancestory. The style and size of the old cabins were brought over from Scotland and Ireland with those first settlers. They were in general two rooms that were about 12X12 with a fireplace built up between the rooms so there was a grate in both rooms but they both shared one chimney. Since the chimney didn't take up all the wall there was usually a recessed area off the porch. You stepped up from the porch to the open recess and a door opened of the recess into each room. The roof was peaked and there was sleeping lofts over the rafters and those were accessed by a ladder up through a hole in the ceiling. In later years lean to or shed roof kitchen areas were added to the backs of some of these log houses. Almost all the old cabins still preserved are built in that style.)

From the Pearl Fields house on Preacher Fork ( so nick-named because at one time in the 40's every house had a preacher in it, the original name is Wolf Pen Hollow but nobody knows it by that name now ) dad then moved to a similar cabin in the head of Big Branch of Coon Creek which meets with Preacher Fork at the Grassy Gap. Jim Hensley owned the house and dad was renting. Finally, dad saved enough money to buy a place on Big Branch where he built a 5 room log house. This is where they lived when I was born. He bought 100 acres of Jim Hensley in the head of Big Branch. I lived there until I was ten. That's where my early childhood memories come from.

Mom and dad were married on March 2nd, 1925. The minister was Shade Stidham. The witnesses were dads cousin, Bert Morgan and a friend, Johnnie Cornett. Dad's birthday was April 10th, 1903 and mom's was March 22nd, 1905 so they were almost 20 and 22 at the time of their wedding. Some interesting things about Shade Stidham and my family are these: Mom's friend Mallie Lewis Married Shade's son Harrison. My grandpa, Jess Johnson, had a truck wreck and Shade Stidham was killed in that accident.

Grandpa had an old truck so I am supposing this was sometime in the late 30's or early 40's since a horse or mule and wagon was the only transportation until about that time in these parts. He was moving Shade and the truck was loaded with household goods. They were going down McKintosh mountain toward Hazard when the breaks gave out and they crashed into the field at the bottom, Shade was thrown off the sideboard and killed..

After mom and dad were married they set up housekeeping in a one room house that was located where Delver Hensley built his house and beside what is now the turn around at Jim Hensley's old store. Mom said the cracks were so wide between the floor boards that you could see the chickens under the floor. She said in the winter that snow would blow in across the beds through the side cracks. It is hard for us to imaging that in these days. I sit here in my good, new, warm house beside the lake and at the push of a button can be as warm or cool as I wish. Thank you Lord!

Then the children came. Tester ( Ted ) was first on January 30th, 1926. Next was Francis on March 18th, 1928. Then Vance on November 26th, 1930, then Roy on April 6th, 1932, Marshall on July 27th, 1934, Delphia on July 28th, 1936, Jewel on January 6th, 1939, Vernon on October 14th, 1941, Shirley on March 30th, 1945 and me, January 22nd, 1950.

Mom and dad lived in this place until about the late 30's. I know Roy was at least older than about 3 when they lived there from the following story. Roy and Vance were playing in the yard with an old wheel barrow. Vance dumped him out on the ground and Roy was crying. Dad flew mad and ran out and grabbed the wheel barrow and slung it over the hill in a big ash bank. There was just one problem, Vance had tied Roy to the wheel barrow so wheel barrow, Roy and all went over the hill.

Just across the creek from the house there was Jenny Barn. Now for you young kids who don't know what a Jenny Barn was, it was a whore house where bad women, even badder men, cards, whiskey, music and guns came together for a lively ole time on Friday and Saturday nights. Dad worked away from home sometimes. He went where ever the work was back in the depression days so often mom was alone there with the children. She told me that there was a small window that looked out toward the Jenny Barn, it was high up and you couldn't normally see out of it. She said that after she put the kids to bed at night she would drag a crate or stool over and stand on it and listen to the music and watch the goings on. Sometimes there would be fights and shootings. I ask her if she wasn't afraid. She told me that she was not, that non of them ever tried to bother her. She said they all knew dad and were afraid to bother her. One if my brothers told me that dad had went over and told them that if they ever bothered his family he would kill'em. They never did.

From there they moved down in Hurricane creek where the Arnold Lewis house was. It was a two room log house with double chimneys between the rooms. It was here that Marshall, Delphia and Jewel were the little ones. Uncle Lawton's family lived up in the holler to the right behind where Jim Hensley's store is.( Seldon Hensley lived there when I was growing up.) Law-tons children, John, Mary, and Billy were roughly the ages of Francis, Vance, and Roy. While they played together a lot it usually turned into a fight by the days end.

A few years later dad moved up to the Pearl Fields place in a 2 room cabin with a third lean to kitchen, a long front porch with a dog trot and double fireplaces. ( A little history lesson is needed here: Most people in the Appalachian mountains of Easter Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, and Tennessee are of Scotch-Irish ancestry. The style and size of the old cabins were brought over from Scotland and Ireland with those first settlers. They were in general two rooms that were about 12X12 with a fireplace built up between the rooms so there was a grate in both rooms but they both shared one chimney. Since the chimney didn't take up all the wall there was usually a recessed area off the porch. You stepped up from the porch to the open recess and a door opened of the recess into each room. The roof was peaked and there was sleeping lofts over the rafters and those were accessed by a ladder up through a hole in the ceiling. In later years lean to or shed roof kitchen areas were added to the backs of some of these log houses. Almost all the old cabins still preserved are built in that style.)

From the Pearl Fields house on Preacher Fork ( so nick-named because at one time in the 40's every house had a preacher in it, the original name is Wolf Pen Hollow but nobody knows it by that name now ) dad then moved to a similar cabin in the head of Big Branch of Coon Creek which meets with Preacher Fork at the Grassy Gap. Jim Hensley owned the house and dad was renting. Finally, dad saved enough money to buy a place on Big Branch where he built a 5 room log house. This is where they lived when I was born. He bought 100 acres of Jim Hensley in the head of Big Branch. I lived there until I was ten. That's where my early childhood memories come from.









Glenna Combs