Samantha Living

Preserving the Heritage - Promoting the Future (Uplifting Stories from Yesterday and Today)

Samantha Siblings Answered the Call During WWII

Reprinted with permission (Printed in The Northport Gazette , Oct. 9, 2011)

Three siblings from the Samantha area of northern Tuscaloosa County, inspired by patriotism and opportunity, joined the Navy in 1943 to help America in the Allied defense against aggressive Axis powers Japan and Germany during World War II.

The siblings were Otis, Mary and Ouida Freeman, and they were typical of the millions of young men and women who joined the war effort following the Japanese attack on Pear Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, which drew the U.S into the war. They are also among the millions of U.S servicemen and women being recognized by a grateful nation on Veterans Day November 11.

Otis, the next-to-youngest of six children, left the tenant farm where his family lived to join the Navy on May 26, 1943, the day before his 18th birthday. Mary, a few years older, joined the WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service) a few months later and Ouida did the same in October 1943.

Otis spent 30 months in the Navy before being discharged on December 7, 1945, following the surrender of Japan three months earlier to end the war. He served aboard a ship in the Pacific Theater struck the U.S. Third Fleet in the Philippine Sea. The typhoon sunk three U.S. destroyers, damaged nine other ships and destroyed 100 aircraft while taking the lives of 790 seamen.

Otis returned home for only a few years before joining the Army in 1950 for a seven-year stint. He served on the front lines in Korea with the 45th Infantry Division 1951-53, earning the Army Commendation Medal, Korean Service Medal with two battle stars, United Nations Service Medal with three overseas bars, Good Conduct Medal and National Defense Service Medal. He also served in Japan and as an instructor at West Point during his distinguished Army career. He achieved the rank of sergeant first class before being discharged on November 19, 1957.

Freeman operated a logging business and served as a Primitive Baptist minister from 1957 until death on September 2, 2002. His wife Billie Faye Watson Freeman and his sons Randall and Mitchell continue to operate the logging business today.

Mary said she left her job as a sales clerk at S.H. Kress in Tuscaloosa to join the WAVES soon after Otis joined the Navy because “there was nothing much else to do and the Navy paid $50 a month with everything furnished.” She spent two years, five months and 20 days in service and said what she learned during that time was equal to any college I might have gone to.

She was sent to Hunter College in New York for basic training then on to Dallas, Texas, Naval Air Station, where she spent most of the remainder of her tour in administration work. “I didn’t like New York much,” Mary said. The people there didn’t have any manners. I like Texas; the people where were friendly. But it was 110-112 degrees in the shade and they didn’t have any shade,” she joked of the hot Texas summers.

“I went to the Navy to help out,” Mary said on the eve of her 90th birthday last month. “I was a pencil pusher, but they had to have pencil pushers, too. It was the best move I ever made. There were 3,600 sailors and we started out with 12 WAVES, so they played a lot of tricks on us. They once sent me all over the base looking for a skyhook for a rear spar,” she laughed.

“I typed up orders for the men when they were shipped out,” Mary said of her administrative duties. “Most had orders for San Diego, which meant they were heading to the Pacific. It made you feel bad, but you had to do it,” she added. Mary added that she met famed aviator Charles Lindbergh and boxing champion Jack Dempsey while in Dallas in addition to seeing the sights of the town. “I had some exciting times,” she said.

Mary was transferred to Norman, Oklahoma, during her last few months of service and was there when the war ended on August 14, 1945. “Everyone partied and carried on, but I didn’t do much of that,” she said of the Japanese surrender. “I just started thinking about going home. They tried to get me to stay in but I wanted to come back to Alabama and that’s what I did.”

Mary was discharged in November 1945 and worked at Bryce Hospital for ten years, attended Shelton State Community College and taught adults to read for several years before retiring. She married Gordon Hagler of Northport in 1946 and the couple had three children, Robert G. Hagler, Jr., Sue Stone and Amelia Mallett. Gordon Hagler died in 1985.

Ouida, the youngest of six Freeman children, joined the Navy on her 20th birthday, October 13, 1943 and said it was the best thing that ever happened to her. “I had worked at the paper mill for two years but I realized I was going nowhere, so after Otis and Mary joined, I decided to join, too,” she said.

“I grew up in a sad situation,” Ouida said her her childhood during the Great Depression. “My mother died when I was three and my father worked out of town a lot and was only home on weekends. My older sister Zuma had to quit school at age 13 and raise five younger siblings pretty much on her own. I always thought kids who had two parents were the luckiest people in the world. Nobody can tell me about poverty. I’ve been cold and hungry and it was sad, but I never got bitter and I never questioned those things. Life has certainly not been boring and I just thank God that I am still alive,” she added.

Ouida also had basic training at Hunter College in New York before being transferred to Washington, D.C., for the remainder of her Navy duty. “I worked in communications and had a top secret security clearance, but I have no idea how or why I was chosen for it,” Ouida, at age 88, said last week. “Our entire living quarters were fenced in and we were not allowed off base. Security was tight,” she said

“We were told that if we ever told what we were doing we could be committing treason,” Ouida added. “They said they would treat us just like men who committed treason and shoot us and I took them seriously. We had to put our hands on the Bible and swear that we would never reveal what we had done during the war. Never being able to discuss what you did with anybody was hard, but I never opened my mouth about anything I did,” she said.

Ouida was discharged from the Navy soon after the end of the war and spent the next several months traveling the east coast selling magazines with a friend from Virginia she had met while in WAVES.

“I was planning to go to a fashion design school in Chicago but my friend talked me into going on a blind date with a pilot, and we were married three months later, “Ouida said. “I just followed Richard around and took care of our three children (Richard Jr., John Gordon and Sheila Gene). “I enjoyed every bit of it,” she added. Hann’s last assignment was a a Navy ROTC instructor in Birmingham. The Hanns moved to Eutaw in 1994 and restored an 1840 home in which Ouida sill lives today. Hann died April 17, 2001,

Richard’s only brother, Eugene, was killed in Pearl Harbor,” Ouida said. “He was a seaman on the USSA Oklahoma and Richard had been on the ship with him until being sent to flight school just a few months before the attach,” she added.

Ouida said she learned to sew as a child and has designed and made her own clothes throughout her life. She also enjoys travel and is currently planning trips to China in 2012 and Romania in 2013 as she writes a memoir of her life.

Printed in The Northport Gazette , Oct. 9, 2011

Summertime Means Birthdays Galore

We celebrate a lot of birthdays in our family. Especially during the summer months. The weather must have been cold in October and November. Currently we have sixty-seven family members. Daddy and Mother’s downline. My hubby gets a little overwhelmed with all the comradery sometimes. He and I had similar upbringings about a lot of things but we did not have the same experience with birthdays. He says his birthday is just another day. I will never forget the look on his face when he opened the door to 50-60 family and friends yelling “surprise” on his 60th birthday. It was priceless!!! It was his first birthday party. “Daddy’s coming around to Momma’s way of thinking.”

Haven’t we all been taught that God has a plan for each of us? So, if you think about it, the day God chooses for us to come into this world is the day He sets our personal plan into motion. That makes it a VERY special day. There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why. It sometimes takes a long time to become young. To me old age is always 20 years older than me.

“God brings about birthdays, not as deadlines but lifelines.  He builds them into our calendar once every year to enable us to make an annual appraisal, not only of our length of life but our depth.  Not simply to tell us we’re growing older but to help us determine if we are also growing deeper.” Charles Swindoll

When the hour glass runs out of sand, you can’t turn it over.

Growing up our family birthday celebrations started the minute you woke up on “your” day. Messages, singing, music, special songs, balloons, cards and of course there’s your favorite cake and parades with marching bands! Well, maybe not parades but almost. We were off the hook from doing any chores. For me, being born in July, meant I didn’t have to shell peas that day. Haha. Not much has changed as adults.

Gotta get busy planning some birthday parties. What are birthday traditions in your family? Leave a reply below.

Thank you! Let’s make it a great day!

Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:12

Salem Hat Men Club

We’ve all heard of the ladies group called “The Red Hat Society”, right? Well, Salem Baptist Church in New Lexington is the only church in our area, or maybe in the country with it’s own Men’s Hat Club. And what a fabulous group of men!!!

How did this club start, you ask? It started organically, which means it just happened naturally on its own. No one said, “let’s start a men’s hat club”. We believe Mr. Jesse Porter was the first. Men just started wearing their hats. One by one it grew and grew and is still growing, we hope.

How do you become a member of the Men’s Hat Club, you ask? You don’t have to be bald. 🙂 You don’t have to be a certain age. We have very young and “not so very young” members as you can see from the picture. Ugly or handsome. Tall or short. The only requirement is that you attend church wearing your hat. Not in the sanctuary, of course. But anywhere else on the grounds. And, sorry ladies, but this club is reserved for the fellas.

Our church is so blessed to have so many men who actively use their talents to serve and provide what is needed to have a loving fellowship of believers at Salem Baptist Church. And ladies too. I am so proud, blessed and grateful to be part of this gathering of people. We share laughter, we share each other’s difficulties and we celebrate life events together. I’m honored to sit on the pew on Sunday and at the meal fellowship on Wednesday Bible Study with this special group.


Pictured

Photo Front Row Left to right: Noah Skelton, Jr., Seth LaFoy, Gage Kirkland, Allen Nabors aka Chang, John Norris, Benny Martin. Middle Row: Bob Sellers, Ron Kirkland, Jr., Ron Kirkland, Sr. Back Row: Dr. David Hinton, Skeet Boone, Jesse Porter, Philip Suttles, Jody Pinion. A few members were not present for this photo, including my brother, Larry Williamson, who is currently battling lung cancer. If you are inclined, please lift him in your prayers. Thank you, Becky

**************************************************************************************

Salem Baptist Church is located at 13481 Shiver De Freeze Road, Berry, AL (behind Big Al’s Restaurant ).

Pastor: Bro. Clyde Stevens

LEAVE A REPLY BELOW

A Different Lens

Written October 7, 2018 — Mentone, Alabama

Took an early walk this morning and sat down on a big rock – thought I would watch the sun come up and have a little talk with Jesus. I wanted to take a picture as it’s bright light peeped over the trees. Unfortunately, it was cloudy and started to sprinkle rain. I was disappointed. And when I saw the power lines would be smack in the middle of my picturesque photo I was disappointed again because they were in the way of my view.  But I took the photo anyway. Sometime later as I was looking back at the photo Jesus had a little talk with me. I saw things through a different lens. The power pole looks like a cross and those lines carry the power.

With disappointment sometimes comes revelation. Even when, or especially when, disappointment stacks up on you Jesus is there sending His Power and light.  He is my source alone for all my needs.

Daddy once told me “just because you can’t see the sun doesn’t mean it’s not there. It’s just on the other side of the clouds”. Count your many blessings name them one by one. It’s guaranteed to put joy in your heart.

Becky Williamson-Martin

2 responses to “A Different Lens”

  1. CRYSTAL ALEXANDER Avatar
    CRYSTAL ALEXANDER

    Love this!!!

    1. Samantha Living Avatar

      Thank you so much. We appreciate it

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Little Ears are Listening

My Pastor, Bro. Clyde Stevens, is always encouraging us to share our personal blessings publicly. He regularly reminds us that people of God are (or should be) thankful people. We should be thankful because God is worthy of our thanksgiving. It is only right to credit Him for “every good and perfect gift” He gives . When we are thankful, our focus moves off selfish desires and off the pain of current circumstances. Expressing thankfulness helps us remember that God is in control. Thankfulness, then, is not only appropriate; it is actually healthy and beneficial to us.

When I think about all the blessings I have, the list is extensive but I’m afraid I don’t acknowledge those blessings to others often enough. Today I will try to do at least two. But you know what I just realized? My blessings build on one another and when you try to tell about them you realize more and more and another is connected and so on.

Here’s what I mean.

As most in my circle of friends and community know, my great-niece, Zoey Elise Williamson was born recently with a rare condition called “Vein of Galen Malformation (VOGM)” which wasn’t discovered until shortly after she came home from the hospital. It was a critical condition and the outlook was very grim. Many, many people came together and lifted heartfelt prayers on her behalf. Zoey means life and Elise mean’s God’s Promise. Her parents are Matt and Kaitlyn Williamson.

Blessing One: Fast forward only a few short weeks, sweet little Zoey Elise has had not one but two brain surgeries and is now home and doing well. Thank you Lord for answered prayers. We acknowledge your grace on our family.

This past weekend, my son, Dex, and his family were home for our granddaughter Dakotah’s wedding. We were sitting around catching up with one another and Anna, my daughter-in-law, asked how Zoey was doing. Colton, our 5 year old grandson was sitting in the floor playing with his army men his dad had just bought him at the DG and I had no idea he was even paying attention to us. Little Ears are Listening. I made the statement that Zoey was a miracle. That is the only way you can explain it. She’s simply a miracle. When I said that Colton turned and looked at me with the most serious eyes and said, “it’s because we prayed for her”. That’s blessing two. His little tender heart knows the power of prayer already at 5 years old. Oh that my heart would be like that.

Blessing three (told you they build on each other). I am so grateful for all of my children for teaching my grandchildren to go to The Lord for the big things and the little things in their lives and to pray for others.

This post is not a thankfulness post just because it is Thanksgiving, although it’s the time of year we “count our many blessings”. My biggest blessings are ALWAYS my family and the events and daily connections with them. I once told someone who is much more financially well-off than me, that I was richer than her, because she wanted “everything” but I have everything I want. My life is not perfect but it is filled with many perfect moments.

Thankfulness should be a way of life for us, naturally flowing from our hearts and mouths. Count your many blessings, name them one by one…”SEE” what God has done.

Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart. Psalm 119:111 (ESV)

Becky Williamson-Martin

One response to “Little Ears are Listening”

  1. Smalley Donna Wesson Avatar
    Smalley Donna Wesson

    Beautiful story. So thankful for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

A Tale of Two Ken Williamsons

Alabama Daughter Has Had Enough of Sore Loser Tennessee Fans

So my dad gets angry calls/messages every year during football season because people think he is Ken Williamson, the college football referee. 🙄 I guess they Google him and find his contact information. My dad gets a chuckle out of it, but this year I’ve had enough of sore loser Tennessee fans spreading false information on social media and everywhere else…

Sorry your team lost, guys. But how can a football referee who resides in Tampa, Florida also live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama as a real estate associate? I know this is difficult to understand, so think really hard and maybe it will make sense 🤦🏼‍♀️…

These are two totally different men who don’t even know each other. They just happen to have the same name. I should know, the real estate dude is my dad, who hasn’t been to a Bama game in decades 😂

I realize you want there to be a referee conflict of interest so you can feel better about your loss tonight, but you’re just going to have to accept defeat and move on. Thank y’all for reminding us why some of y’all make up such a delightful fan base. Stay classy, Tennessee✌🏻and Roll Tide ❤️.

*** My apologies to my sweet friends and family who happen to be Tennessee fans – this message is not intended for you! 😘🧡

The thread could not be found when clicked on

Sorry your team lost, guys. But how can a football referee who resides in Tampa, Florida also live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama as a real estate associate? I know this is difficult to understand, so think really hard and maybe it will make sense

Christina Williamson Eads

Harvest – Cultivating the Fields of our Life

Harvest is not just the act of picking a vegetable from the vine, it is a season for collecting the crops and celebrating the plentiful gifts our garden has brought to us.  I love this season.  Actually, I love all seasons.  Each one brings us a renewed spirit. 

The following is an excerpt of a message by Charles Spurgeon on August 6, 1854 titled “Harvest Time”. If you are a fan of his writings, you will probably enjoy this one.

“[t[here are four evangelists in Nature; and these are the four evangelists of the seasons, — spring, summer, autumn, winter… …We are about to let autumn preach.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon
 “… I suppose the dwellers in cities think less of times and seasons than dwellers in the country. Men who were born, trained up, nourished and nurtured among corn-fields, harvests, sowings, and reapings are more likely to notice such things than you who are always engaged in mercantile pursuits, and think less of these things than rustics do. But I suppose, if it is almost necessary that you should less regard the harvest than others, it ought not to be carried to too great an extent. Let us not be forgetful of times and seasons. There is much to be learned from them, and I would refresh your memories by a harvest field. What a wondrous temple this world is; for in truth it is a temple of God’s building, wherein men ought to worship him. What a wondrous temple it is to a mind spiritually enlightened, which can bring to bear upon it the resources of intellect, and the illuminations of God’s Holy Spirit! There is not a single flower in it that does not teach us a lesson, there is not a single wave, or blast of thunder, that has not some lesson to teach to us, the sons of men. This world is a great temple, and as, if you walk in an Egyptian temple, you know that every mark and every figure in the temple has a meaning, so when you walk this world, you must believe that everything about you has a meaning. It is no fanciful idea that there are “sermons in stones”; for there really are sermons in stones, and this world is intended to teach us by everything that we see. Happy is the man who only has the mind, and has the spirit to get these lessons from Nature. Flowers, what are they? They are but the thoughts of God solidified, God’s beautiful thoughts put into shape. Storms, what are they? They are God’s terrible thoughts written out that we may read them. Thunders, what are they? They are God’s powerful emotions just opened out that men may hear them. The world is just the materializing of God’s thoughts; for the world is a thought in God’s eye. He made it first from a thought that came from his own mighty mind, and everything in the majestic temple that he has made, has a meaning.

     In this temple there are four evangelists. As we have four great evangelists in the Bible, so there are four evangelists in Nature; and these are the four evangelists of the seasons, — spring, summer, autumn, winter…
…We are about to let autumn preach. One of these four evangelists comes forth, and it says, “Is it not wheat harvest to-day?” We are about to take the harvest into consideration in order to learn something from it. May God’s most blessed Spirit help his feeble dust and ashes to preach the unsearchable riches of God to your souls’ profit!

     We shall talk of three joyful harvests and of three sorrowful harvests.

     I. First, we shall speak of THREE JOYFUL HARVESTS that there will be.       

     The first joyful harvest that I will mention is the harvest of the field which Samuel alluded to when he said, “Is it not wheat harvest to day?” We cannot forget the harvest of the field. It is not meet that these things should be forgotten; we ought not to let the fields be covered with corn, and to have their treasures stored away in the barns, and all the while to remain forgetful of God’s mercy. In gratitude, that worst of ills, is one of the vipers which make their nest in the heart of man, and the creature cannot be slain until divine grace comes there, and sprinkles the blood of the cross upon man’s heart. Such vipers die when the blood of Christ is upon them. Let me just lead you for a moment to a harvest field. You shall see there a most luxuriant harvest, the heavy ears bending down almost to touch the ground, as much as to say, “From the ground I came, I owe myself to the ground, to that I bow my head,” just as the good Christian does when he is full of years. He holds his head down the more fruit lie has upon him. You see the stalks with their heads hanging down, because they are ripe. And it is goodly and precious to see these things.

     Now just suppose the contrary. If this year the ears had been blighted and withered; if they had been like the second ears that Pharaoh saw, very lean and very scanty, what would have become of us? In peace, we might have depended on large supplies from Russia to make up the deficiency; now, in times of war, when nothing can come, what would become of us? We may conjecture, we may imagine, but I do not know that we are able to come to the truth; we can only say, “Blessed be God, we have not yet to reckon on what would have been; but God, seeing one door closed, has opened another.” Seeing that we might not get supplies from those rich fields in the South of Russia, lie has opened another door in our own land. “Thou art my own favoured island,” says he; “I have loved thee, England, with a special love, thou art my favoured one, and the enemy shall not crush thee; and lest thou shouldst starve, because provisions are cut off, I will give thee thy barns full at home, and thy fields shall be covered, that thou mayest laugh thine enemy to scorn, and say to him, ‘Thou thoughtest thou couldst starve us, and make us perish; but he, who feeds the ravens, has fed his people, and has not deserted his favoured land.’” There is not one person who is uninterested in this matter. Some say the poor ought to be thankful that there is abundance of bread. So ought the rich. There is nothing which happens to one member of society which does not affect all. The ranks lean upon one another; if there is scarcity in the lower ranks, it falls upon the next, and the next, and even the Queen upon her throne feels in some degree the scarcity when God is pleased to send it. It affects all men. Let none say, “Whatever the price of corn may be. I can live;” but rather bless God who has given you more than enough. Your prayer ought to be,” Give us this day our daily bread;” and remember that, whatever wealth you have, you must attribute your daily mercies as much to God as if you lived from hand to mouth; and sometimes that is a blessed way of living, — when God gives his children the hand-basket portion, instead of sending it in a mass. Bless God that he has sent an abundant harvest! O fearful one, lift up thine head! and thou discontented one, be thou abashed, and let thy discontent more be known! The Jews used to observe the feast of tabernacles when the harvest time came. In the country they always have a “harvest home,” and why should not we? I want you all to have one. Rejoice! rejoice! rejoice! for the harvest is come, — “Is it not wheat harvest to-day?” Poor desponding soul, let all your doubts and fears be gone. “Thy bread shall be given thee, and thy waters shall be sure.” That is one joyful harvest.

     Now, the second joyful harvest is the harvest of every Christian. In one sense, the Christian is the seed; in another, he is a sower. In one sense, he is a seed, sown by God, which is to grow, and ripen, and germinate, till the great harvest time. In another sense, every Christian is a sower sent into the world to sow good seed, and to sow good seed only. I do not say that Christian men never sow any other seed than good seed. Sometimes, in unguarded moments, they take garlic into their hands instead of wheat; and we may sow tares instead of corn. Christians sometimes make mistakes, and God sometimes suffers his people to fall, so that they sow sins; but the Christian never reaps his sins; Christ reaps them for him. He often has to have a decoction made of the bitter leaves of sin, but he never reaps the fruit of it. Christ has borne the punishment. Yet bear in mind, if you and I sin against God, God will take our sin, and he will get an essence from it that will be bitter to our taste; though he does not make us eat the fruits, yet still he will make us grieve and sorrow over our sins. But the Christian, as I have said, should be employed in sowing good seed; and doing so, he shall have a glorious harvest.

     In some sense or other, the Christian must be sowing seed. If God calls him to the ministry, he is a seed sower; if God calls him to the Sabbath-school, he is a seed sower; whatever his office, he is a sower of seed. I sow seed broadcast all over this immense field; I cannot tell where my seed goes. Some are like barren ground, and they refuse to receive the seed that I sow. I cannot help it if any man should do so. I am only responsible to God, whose servant I am. There are others, and my seed falls upon them, and brings forth a little fruit, but by-and-by, when the sun is up, because of persecution, they wither away and they die. But I hope there are many who are like the good ground that God has prepared, and when I scatter the seed abroad, it fails on good ground, and brings forth fruit to an abundant harvest. Ah! the minister has a joyful harvest, even in this world, when he sees souls converted. I have had a harvest tune when I have led the sheep down to the washing of baptism, when I have seen God’s people coming out from the mass of the world, and telling what the Lord has done for their souls, — when God’s children are edified, and built up, it is worth living for, and worth dying ten thousand deaths for, to be the means of saving one soul. What a joyful harvest it is when God gives us converted ones by tens and hundreds, and adds to his church abundantly such as shall be saved! Now I am like a farmer just at this season of the year. I have got a good deal of wheat down, and I want to get it into the barn, for fear the rain comes and spoils it I believe I have got a great many, but they will persist in standing out in the field. I want to get them into the barns. They are good people, but they do not like to make a profession, and join the church. I want to get them into my Master’s granary, and to see Christians added to the church. I see some holding down their heads, and saying, “He means us.” So I do. You ought before this to have joined Christs church and unless you are fit to be gathered into Christ’s little garner here on earth, you have no right to anticipate being gathered into that great garner which is in heaven.

     Every Christian has his harvest. The Sabbath-school teacher has his harvest. He goes and toils, and he ploughs very stony ground often, but he shall have his harvest. Oh, poor labouring Sabbath school teacher, hast thou seen no fruit yet? Dost thou say, “Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?” Cheer up, thou dost labour in a good cause, there must be some to do thy work. Hast thou seen no children converted? Fear not, —

“Though seed lie buried long in dust,
It shan’t deceive your hope,
The precious grain can ne’er be lost,
For God insures the crop.”

 Go on sowing still, and thou shalt have a harvest when thou shalt see children converted. I have known some Sabbath-school teachers who could count a dozen, or twenty, or thirty children, who have, one after another, come to know the Lord Jesus Christ, and to join the church. But if you should not live to see it on earth, remember you are only accountable for your labour, and not for your success. Sow still, toil on! “Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.” God will not allow his Word to be wasted; it shall not return unto him void, but shall accomplish that which he pleases. There may be a poor mother, who has often been sad. She has a son and a daughter, and she has been always praying that God might convert their souls. Mother, thy son is an ungainly boy still; he grieves thy heart; still the hot tears scald thy cheeks on account of him. And thou, father, thou hast reproved him often; he is a wayward son, and he is still running the downward road. Cease not to pray! O my brethren and sisters, who are parents, you shall have a harvest!

     There was a boy once, a very sinful child, who hearkened not to the counsel of his parents; but his mother prayed for him, and now he stands to preach to this congregation every Sabbath. And when his mother thinks of her first-born preaching the gospel, she reaps a glorious harvest that makes her a glad woman. Now, fathers and mothers, such may be your case. However bad your children are at. present, still press toward the throne of grace, and YOU shall have a harvest. What thinkest thou, mother, wouldst thou not rejoice to see thy son a minister of the gospel; thy daughter teaching and assisting in the cause of God? God will not suffer thee to pray, and thy prayers be unheeded.

     Young man, thy mother has been wrestling for thee a long time and she has not won thy soul yet. What thinkest thou? Thou defraudest thy mother of her harvest! If she had a little patch of ground, hard by her cottage, where she had sown some wheat, wouldst thou go and bum it? If she had a choice flower in her garden, wouldst thou go and trample it under foot? But by going on in the ways of the reprobate, thou art defrauding thy father and thy mother of their harvest. Perhaps there are some parents who are unweeping over their sons and daughters, who are hardened and converted. O God, turn their hearts! for bitter is the doom of that man who goes to hell over the road that is washed by his mother’s tears, stumbles over his father’s reproofs, and tramples on those things which God has put in his way, — his mother’s prayers and his father’s sighs. God help that man who dares to do such a thing as that! And it is wondrous grace if he does help him.

     You shall have a harvest, whatever you are doing. I trust you are all doing something. If I cannot mention what your peculiar engagement is, I trust you are all serving God in some way; and you shall assuredly have a harvest wherever you are scattering your seed. But suppose the worst, — if you should never live to see the harvest in this world, you shall have a harvest when you get to heaven. If you live and die a disappointed man in this world, you shall not be disappointed in the next. I think how surprised some of God’s people will be when they get to heaven. They will see their Master, and he will give them a crown, “Lord, what is that crown for?” “That crown is because thou didst give a cup of cold water to one of my disciples.” “What! a crown for a cup of cold water?” “Yes,” says the Master, “that is how I pay my servants. First I give them grace to give that cup of water, and then, having given them grace, I give them a crown.” “Wonders of grace to God belong.” He that soweth liberally shall reap liberally; and he that soweth grudgingly shall reap sparingly. Ah, if there could be grief in heaven, I think it would be the grief of some Christians who had sown so very little. After all, how little the most of us ever sow! I know I sow but very little compared with what I might. How little any of you sow! Just add up how much you give to God in the year. I am afraid it would not come to a farthing per cent. Remember, you reap accord- ing to what you sow. O my friends, what surprise some of you will feel when God pays you for sowing one single grain! The soil of heaven is rich in the extreme. If a farmer had such ground as there is in heaven, he would say, “I must sow a great many acres of land;” and so let us strive, for the more we sow, the more shall we reap in heaven. Yet remember it is all of grace, and not of debt.

     Now, beloved, I must very hastily mention the third joyful harvest. We have had the harvest of the field, and the harvest of the Christian. We are now to have another, and that is the harvest of Christ.

     Christ had his sowing times. What bitter sowing times were they! Christ was one who went out bearing precious seed. Oh, I picture Christ sowing the world! He sowed it with tears; he sowed it with drops of blood; he sowed it with sighs; he sowed it with agony of heart; and at last he sowed himself in the ground, to be the seed of a glorious crop. What a sowing time his was! He sowed in tears, in poverty, in sympathy, in grief, in agony, in woes, in suffering, and in death. He shall have a harvest, too. Blessings on his name, Jehovah swears it; the everlasting predestination of the Almighty has settled that Christ shall have a harvest. He has sown, and he shall reap; he has scattered, and he shall gather in. “He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days; and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hands.” My friends, Christ has begun to reap his harvest. Yea, every soul that is converted is part of his reward; every one who comes to the Lord is a part of it. Every soul that is brought out of the miry clay, and set on the King’s highway, is a part of Christ’s crop. But he is going to reap more yet. There is another harvest coming, in the latter day, when he shall reap armfuls at a time, and gather the sheaves into his garner. Now, men come to Christ in ones and twos and threes; but, then, they shall come in flocks, so that the church shall say, “Who are these that come in as doves to their windows?”

     There shall be a greater harvest when time shall be no more. Turn to the 14th chapter of Revelation, and the 13th verse: “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” They do not go before them, and win them heaven. “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud One sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.” That was Christ’s harvest. Observe but one particular. When Christ comes to reap his field, he comes with a crown on. There are the nations gathered together before that crowned Reaper!

“They come, they come: the exiled bands,
Where’er they rest, or roam;
They heard his voice in distant; lands.
And hastened to their home.”

There they stand, one great army before God. Then comes the crowned Reaper from his throne; he takes his sharp sickle, and him reap sheaf after sheaf, and he carries them up to the heavenly gamer. Let us ask the question of ourselves, whether we shall be among the reaped ones, — the wheat of the Lord.

     Notice again, that there was first a harvest, and then a vintage. The harvest is the righteous; the vintage is the wicked. When the wicked are gathered, an angel gathers them; but Christ will not trust an angel to reap the righteous. “He that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle.” O My soul, when thou comest to die, Christ will himself come after thee; when thou art to be cut. down, he that sits upon the throne will cut thee down with a very sharp sickle, in order that he may do it as easily as possible. He will be the Reaper himself; no reaper will be allowed to gather Christ’s saints in, but Christ the King of saints. Oh, will it not be a joyful harvest when all the chosen race, every one of them, shall be gathered in? There is a little shrivelled grain of wheat there, that has been growing somewhere on the headland, and that will be there. There are a great many who have been hanging down their heads, heavy with grain, and they will be there too. They will all be gathered in.

 “His honour is engaged to save
The meanest of his sheep;
All that his heavenly
Father gave His hands securely keep.”

     II. But now we are obliged to turn to THE THREE SAD HARVESTS. Alas! alas; the world was once like an Eolian harp; every wind that blew upon it gave forth melody; now the strings are all unstrung, and they are full of discord, so that, when we have a strain of joy, we must have the deep bass of grief to come after it.        

     The first sad harvest is the harvest of death. We are all living, and what for? For the grave. I have sometimes sat me down, and had a reverie like this. I have thought: Man, what is he? He grows, and grows, till he comes to his prime; and when he is forty-five, if God spare him, perhaps he has then gained the prime of life. What does he do then? He continues where he is a little while, and then he goes down the hill; and if he keeps on living, what is it for? To die. But there are many chances to one, as the world has it, that he will not live to be seventy. He may die very early. Do we not all live to die? But none shall die till they are ripe. Death never reaps his corn green, he never cuts his corn till it is ripe. The wicked die, but they are always ripe for hell when they die; the righteous die, but they are always ripe for heaven when they die. That poor thief there, who had not believed in Jesus, perhaps an hour before he died, — he was as ripe as a seventy years’ saint. The saint is always ready for glory whenever death, the reaper, comes, and the wicked are always ripe for hell whenever God pleases to send for them. Oh, that great reaper; he sweeps through the earth, and mows his hundreds and thousands down! It is all skill; death makes no noise about his movements, and he treads with velvet footfall over the earth; that ceaseless mower, none can resist him. He is irresistible, and he mows, and mows, and cuts them down. Sometimes he stops and whets his scythe; he dips his scythe in blood, and then he mows us down with war; then he takes his whetstone of cholera, and mows down more than ever. Still he cries, “More! more! more!” Ceaselessly that work keeps on! Wondrous mower! Wondrous reaper! Oh, when thou comest to reap me, I cannot resist thee; for I must fall like others; — when thou comest, I shall have nothing to say to thee. Like a blade of corn I must stand motionless; and thou must cut me down! But, oh! may I be prepared for thy scythe! May the Lord stand by me, and comfort me, and cheer me; and may find that death is an angel of life, — that death is the portal of heaven, the vestibule of glory!

     There is a second sad harvest, and that is the harvest that the wicked man has to reap. Thus saith the voice of inspiration, “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Now there is a harvest that every wicked man has to reap in this world. No man over sins against his body without reaping a harvest for it. The young man says, “I have sinned with impunity.” Stay, thou young man! go there to that hospital, and see sufferers writhing in their agony. See that staggering, bloated wretch, and I tell thee, stay thy hand! lest thou become like him. Wisdom bids thee stop; for thy steps lead down to hell. If thou enterest into the house of the strange woman, thou shalt reap a harvest. There is a harvest that every man. reaps if he sins against his fellows. The man who sins against his fellow creature shall reap a harvest. Some men walk through the world like knights with spurs on their heels, and think they may tread on whom they please; but they shall find their mistake. He who sins against others, sins against himself; that is Nature. It is a law in Nature that a man cannot hurt his fellows without hurting himself. Now, you who cause grief to others’ minds, do not think the grief will end there; you will have to reap a harvest even here. Again, a man cannot sin against his estate without reaping the effects of it. The miserly wretch, who hoards up his gold, sins against his gold. It becomes cankered, and from those golden sovereigns he will have to reap a harvest; yes, that miserly wretch, sitting up at night, and straining his weary eyes to count his gold, that man reaps his harvest. And so does the young spendthrift. He will reap his harvest when all Ins treasure is exhausted. It is said of the prodigal, that “no man gave unto him,” — none of those that he used to entertain, — and so the prodigal shall find it. No man shall give anything unto him. All! but the worst harvest will be that of those who sin against the, Church of Christ. I would not that a man should sin against his body; I would not that a man should sin against his estate; I would not that a man should sin against his fellows; but, most of all, I would not have him touch Christ’s Church. He that touches one of God’s people, touches the apple of his eye. When I have read of some people finding fault with the servants of the Lord, I have thought within myself, “I would not do so.” It is the greatest insult to a man to speak ill of his children. You speak ill of God’s children, and you will be rewarded for it in everlasting punishment. There is not a single one of God’s family whom God does not love, and if you touch one of them, he will have vengeance on you. Nothing puts a man on his mettle like touching his children; and if you touch God’s Church, you will have the direst vengeance of all. The hottest flames of hell are for those who touch God’s children. Go on. sinner, laugh at religion if thou pleasest; but know that it is the blackest sin in the whole catalogue of crime. God will forgive anything sooner than that; and though that is not unpardonable; yet, if not repented of, it will meet the greatest punishment. God cannot bear that his elect should be touched, and if you do so, it is the greatest crime you can commit.

     The third sad harvest is the harvest of almighty wrath, when the wicked at last are gathered in. In the 14th chapter of Revelation, you will see that the vine of the earth was cast into the winepress of the wrath of God; and, after that, the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out, up to the horses’ bridles; — a wonderful figure to express the wrath of God! Suppose, then, some great winepress, in which our bodies are put like grapes; and suppose some mighty giant comes and treads us all under foot; that is the idea, — that the wicked shall be cast together, and be trodden under foot until the blood runs out up to the horses’ bridles. May God grant, of his sovereign mercy, that you and I may never be reaped in that fearful harvest; but that rather we may be written amongst the saints of the Lord!

     You shall have a harvest in due season if you faint not. Sow on, brother; sow on, sister; and in due time thou shalt reap an abundant harvest. Let me tell you one thing, if the seed thou hast sown a long while, has never come up. I was told once: “When you sow seeds in your garden, put them in a little water over-night, they will grow all the better for it.” So, if thou hast been sowing thy seed, put it into tears, and it will make thy seed germinate the better. “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” Steep your seed in tears, and then put it into the ground, and you shall reap in joy. No bird can devour that seed; no bird can hold it in its mouth. No worm can eat it, for worms never eat seeds that are sown in tears. Go thy way, and when thou weepest most, then it is that thou sowest best. When most cast down, thou art doing best. If thou comest to the prayer-meeting, and has not a word to say, keep on praying; do not give it up, for thou often prayest best when thou thinkest thou prayest worst. Go on, and in due season, by God’s mighty grace, you shall reap if you faint not.
Charles Spurgeon

Happy Harvesting! Let us celebrate the gift of our bounty! Always keep “The Son” in your eyes!

Becky Williamson-Martin (205) 233-3794

Overflowing Well on Campground Road – a Samantha Landmark

Several weeks ago a client, who is a longtime Hale County native, asked me if I was from Samantha. I told him yes. That I grew up there and live there now in the house I grew up in. Why, I asked? He wanted me to tell him about the “famous” overflowing well that has healing powers. Famous? Healing Powers? Hmm, that was a new one on me. I really didn’t have too much to tell him, except that it existed and lots of people get water there.

That night I told Benny about that conversation and he said, “you should write something about the overflowing well”. He’s always encouraging me to write. But I didn’t give it much thought for a while. Then, several weeks later a picture of a beautiful little girl standing at the well filling a water bottle popped up on my Facebook feed with a caption that said, “Nanna, it’s a miracle”.

I decided it might be interesting to write a little blurb about it. It made me think about how things can become so familiar that we don’t see them, but to someone else who hears about it or sees it for the first time, will be curious and have interest in knowing more of the details. Sort of like when you travel hundreds of miles to vacation or camp somewhere when we have the exact same thing in our back door almost. Anyway, I began asking longtime community residents questions about the history of the overflowing well on Campround Road.

I started first with my family. My oldest brother, Larry, didn’t seem to know much more about it than I did except that it was on the property belonging to the Tierce family. He said I would need to talk to an “old” man in the community who could probably give me some history of how it came to be. He thought for a minute and said, “wait, I am an old man. Maybe, you need an older man”, and he suggested Mr. Skeet Boone because we all know Mr. Skeet knows everything. 🙂 Mr. Skeet didn’t know any details about the history, just that it had always been there.

Same with Ricky and LaWanda – that it has always been there. LaWanda knew more details about the Tierce family. John and Lura Tierce were the original owners but they have been gone many years. I attempted to find and did reach out to several Tierce descendants but was unable to connect with anyone. LaWanda asked her oldest brother, Wade Gilliam, about how the overflowing well came to be. Bingo! We hit pay dirt – or water in this case. Wade said when the road was built there was a spring or more of an artesian well in the middle of the road, so the County had to pipe it so it would run in the ditch. Now, I’m no geologist or expert on these sorts of things so I went to google to learn more. What I learned is that Artesian water is always under pressure to reach the surface. While spring water may emerge through pressure, it may need to be pumped. Springs become artesian when the water flows to the surface without the aid of a pump. I reached out to the County to see if there were any records from when the road was built and was told they only have records starting when the roads were changed from Rural Routes to named roads.

Next, Benny and I visited with Buster Bolton. Buster has lived on land for many years near the overflowing well that also borders Campground Road. Buster confirmed that when the road was being built, the county helped John Tierce pipe it. He said that from time to time the pipes will get stopped up from leaves and trash and that his son, Todd, will help keep it cleaned out. Buster shared a memory of eight or ten years ago when there was a serious drought one summer, folks would be lined up all the way to the Cabiness House to get water.

We were talking to my son, Shane, about our visit with Buster and our discussions about the overflowing well. Shane said that when he played football at Northside High School, before Carrolls Creek water was available, their water boy would fill the water coolers from the overflowing well. He said the school water had Sulpher in it and was undrinkable so the water from the overflowing well would taste so good when they were hot, tired and beat up during practice and games.

More times than not, when you pass by the overflowing well on Campground Road, you will see someone filling up water bottles, empty milk cartons, coolers and/or big tanks. It is a continuous flow of cool, clear water that serves our community freely. I can’t help but think about Jesus’ words to the woman at the well “…Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:13-14 NKJV.

Thank you to all who took the time to talk with me about the overflowing well. Special thanks to Lee Rutley from Moundville and Miss Adaline Alexander for inspiring me to take a second glance at this community landmark. And thank you to my sweet hubby for always encouraging me. Although this little blurb is just a bunch of my jumbled together words and I didn’t find any evidence of healing in the water, I have so enjoyed talking with you. Your stories and memories have caused me to pause and think about times gone by. We had such a wonderful visit sitting in the shade talking with Buster about life in Samantha and remembering some folks no longer with us. As time goes by so quickly I have come to love and appreciate history, especially when it is connected to me and my family and friends. Please share any memories you have about the overflowing well on Campground Road in Samantha, Alabama.

Always keep “The Son” in your eyes.

Becky Williamson-Martin

SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM TO LEAVE COMMENTS

Fond Memories of Teaching at Gorgas

In the fall of 1961 I started teaching third grade at Gorgas Elementary. It was 43 miles from my home to Gorgas so I caught a ride with Mrs.Edith Aaron and Mrs. Azalea Parsons at Northport for the rest of the trip. Mr. Floyd Handley was the principal and taught sixth grade, Miss Doughty taught second grade, and Mrs. Hosey, the wife of the pastor in Berry, taught first and completed the faculty

The old frame building was nearly empty since the junior and senior high students had been moved to the new Northside High School.  I loved having a gym/auditorium for special activities and extra classrooms for recess on rainy days. The heating system was not reliable. One morning a drinking glass with a camelia froze and broke while we were bundled in our coats. The cafeteria was down the hill in a separate building.

The parents were very kind and helpful. Knowing that I could not go home on PTA nights they invited me to their homes for supper.  I got to know the families and the community through home visits and the early morning gossip en route to Gorgas. I learned where many of the skeletons were buried, what groups were feuding, and whose grandfather had been a bootlegger. Time has erased all of the salty details.

Some of my students were Ken Swindle, Linda Watkins, and Pat and Paula Boone. My failing memory calls to mind faster, those who are current friends on Facebook. Maternity leave interrupted the 1962-63 term. 

I have fond memories of the Samantha Community. Gorgas was a good school.

Dorothy Graham Gast

Six Handshakes Rule and Mrs. Maxine’s Iron Skillet Cake

Six degrees of separation is the idea that all people are six or fewer social connections away from each other. As a result, a chain of “friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps. It is also known as the six handshakes rule. This story about Mrs. Maxine’s recipe for Iron Skillet Cake might be a good example.

My son, Shane, married Mrs. Maxine Norris’ granddaughter, Misty, 24 years ago. A few years ago he was telling me about how much he liked Mrs. Maxine’s Iron Skillet cake and that’s what he wanted for his birthday. Misty got the recipe for me and I made it and it was delicious!

Fast forward. We have potluck at my church every Wednesday night and I’m always trying to think of different things to cook. I love the good, tried and true “old” family dishes that have been passed down through the generations. I remembered Mrs. Maxine’s Iron Skillet Cake and flipped through my binder that holds all my favorite hand-written recipes to find it.

It was such a hit among the Wednesday night church crowd that I barely took home a crumb and folks were running me down as I was going out the door wanting the recipe. So, now the church ladies are going to make it for their families who will hopefully share the recipe and it will be passed down to their children and grandchildren. Although I didn’t really know Mrs. Maxine, I think it is so wonderful how we are connected – and a little bit of Mrs. Maxine’s memory lives on. Once again, food, has connected us. 🙂 Remember, Jesus broke bread with his disciples? So, there is a really good reason for it, right?

Mrs. Maxine passed away eleven years ago and we are talking about her. Thank you Mrs. Maxine for sharing your family with mine and for sharing your legacy with us all. Her sweet obituary stated that she was a true example of Proverbs 31. And I believe she was too.

Always keep “The Son” in your eyes!

Becky Williamson-Martin

P.S. As it turns out, the Wednesday that I took this cake to church was the day before Mrs. Maxine’s birthday. I had no idea

Stories and Articles – Samantha Living

Samanthaliving.com
____________________________________________________________________

Mrs. Maxine’s Iron Skillet Cake

For more family connections I have posted her obituary below :

SAMANTHA Maxine Dobbs Norris of Samantha died March 13, 2012… Burial … Nazareth Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery…

She was preceded in death by her husband, Wilson Norris; her parents, Eddie Brondle and Celia Dobbs; and her brother, Julian Dobbs.

Survivors include her children, Sheila Watkins (Lynn), Emery Norris (Becky), Gail Willis (Billy), and Sharon Wells (Gary); her grandchildren, Chad Watkins (Jennifer), Ginger Roberts (Jamie), Leo Watkins, Kobe Watkins, Jeff Norris (Kelly), Misty Smith (Shane), Lance Willis (Darlene), and Tyler Wells; 10 great-grandchildren; her brothers, Buford (Sally), Solon (Vera), W.D., and Raiford Dobbs; her sisters, Loyal Farley, Christine Wiggins (Dan), Betty Stival, and Joan Turner (Dan); her sister-in-law, Mable Elliott; and several nieces and nephews.

Our mother was a true example of Proverbs 31, a gift to her family as well as others. She never met a stranger.

We add special thanks to our wonderful caregivers, Gladys Donaldson, Kathy Renfroe, Terry Bynum, and Julie Nicholson for becoming like family in their care of mother.”

Always keep “The Son” in your eyes!

Becky Williamson-Martin

.

Jones Mill Pond

Information compiled from tales told by the “Jones Family”

Contributor:  Nell Naugher

JONES OR REUBEN’S MILL

In the 1870’s, Elijah Marshall Jones and his wife, Josephine Roberson, with their family left Tallapoosa County, Alabama, with a destination of northern Tuscaloosa County and

southern Fayette County. Being millers by profession, they were in search of suitable

locations for gristmills. The gentle headwaters of Binion Creek in northern Tuscaloosa

County was the choice location for the Reuben Jones family while the rest of the family

traveled on to locate on Bear Creek which is located west of Newtonville. Perhaps there

was already a mill on this property when it was procured from LeGrand Shepherd; how-

ever, it became known as Jones’ Mill.

Grandpa Rube set about building the first of several ventures on the property located in

Section 9, Township 18S and Range 11W. Local fieldstones were used to construct a dam across the creek to harness the massive energy of the water. The millhouse was built below the dam. Rosetta Jones Oswalt Logan, daughter of Rube, related to her daughter-in-law, Clara Mae (Jim) Oswalt, the story of how her dad and several men took 2-4 wagons and stayed about two weeks on North River to “harvest” rocks for the huge grind stones. The rocks were crafted into huge, round grinding stones with a hole in the center for the shaft to be fitted into.

Visions of a huge overshot waterwheel can be disregarded because the wheel was located

in a sluice box where it lay horizontally under the building. Water was let loose to go rushing down the box to turn the giant wheel which turned the cogs to which the millstones were attached.

People of the community would bring their shelled corn in sacks to have the it ground

into meal by the two huge rocks. You had a choice of coarsely or finely ground meal. Vandie (Lasco) Jones preferred the coarse. She also liked for the corn to be ground slowly so that the rocks did not cause too much friction and cause the meal to get hot and cause it to have a flat taste. The ground product was put back into the sack in which the corn was brought in. The hard covering of the corn, or bran, was left with the meal. It had to be sifted out before the most delicious product, corn pone, could be made with buttermilk and baking soda. The bran was not wasted; it was put into the slop for the hogs. As payment for the grinding, a portion of the meal was retrieved for the miller.

Along with the gristmill were a cotton gin and sawmill. Lasco Jones, a grandson,

remembers the day he had to take his Uncle Sam Jones to the hospital when his arm became entangled in the gin. Lasco had to sign for the doctor to remove the mangled

limb below the elbow. Uncle Sam did not let this injury slow him down. He went on with his life – scaring us kids with the nub of the arm, farming and driving a school bus.

Clara Mae remembers making mattresses in the gin.

The sawmill made the lumber from which the original New Hope Baptist Church was constructed. It was located on the old Fayette Road, just south of where the present

church now stands.

The isolated community received mail that was picked up at Berry and delivered by

horseback. Reuben came to the rescue once again. On September 13, 1880, he became the first postmaster of Reuben , as was in so many cases, the location was named for

the postmaster. The postoffice was in operation until November 10, 1905 when it was

removed to New Lexington. It was located in the store which was located across the

road from the mill.

Many imbedded memories remain with the few remaining people who visited Jones

Mill. The pond became a holy place as new converts from Phillips Chapel Freewill Baptist, Macedonia Baptist, Concord Baptist, New Hope Batptist or Concord Baptist

Churches were baptized. It became a place of great enjoyment as kids and parents

alike enjoyed the swimming hole as portrayed by our local artist, Willie Frank Logan.

Information gathered by Nell Oswalt Naugher and Estelle Jones Bolton Barger.

Painting by Willie Logan

_________________________________________________________________

Additional contributions by Nell Naugher

Grandfather Reuben owned approximately 1500 acres of land in this area and passed it on to his children. Louvinnie, Reuben’s second wife was paid $400 for her part. The children deeded all the real property to Sam Jones and he in turn made deeds to each child. This was done to save cost and expense of recording long deeds.

Uncle Sam Jones, one of his children, lost his hand and part of his arm working in the cotton mill, and enjoyed terrorizing us children with his arm.

For years the mill ground corn, ginned cotton, and sawed logs. My mother remembers making mattresses at the mill. At one point the cotton mill closed, but the old mill continued to grind corn,. You could make a real corn pone from this meal.

There was no money in those days and the miller would take a portion for grinding. Over the years, the mill had several owners and operators. Some of them were: Grandpa Reuben and all his children, Floyd Jones, Sam Jones, Mr. Anner Freemen and Mr. Hosea Camp.

Resident men would gather here to grind their corn, chew tobacco, dip snuff, discuss the news of the day, talk about crops, and tell stories. I would imaging some of them were real stories and some were exaggerated.

It was here I took my first boat ride. My brother, James and I were going to Grandma’s (Reuben Jones’ daughter, Rosetta), and Mama cautioned us to “stay away from the mill pond”. As we passed, James noticed a flatbed boat tied up above the same and suggested we take a ride. He paddled up-creek until he had to roll his pants up, get out of the boat and push us out of the mud. He paddled back downstream, tied the boat and we continued with our trip to Grandma’s. It was years later before we told our parents.

We knew when we got to Grandma’s she would have left-over biscuits and slices of salty ham in the old wooden safe (cabinet) that had tin in the doors. And we would be HUNGRY!

Also, I remember going with my dad to get corn ground into meal. We had a safe that Grandpa Logan made. It had a bin on either side in the bottom. The let side was for a bushel of flour and the right side for a bushel of meal.

A few hundred yards southwest of the mill, a Deserters’ Den was constructed. Men who did not wan to to into service hid out here to avoid serving in the Civil War. It was a mound with a rock levee surrounding it. Someone mentioned that the men made shoes or repaired them.

The mill pond like other bodies of water in the area was also used by churches to baptize new members.

I remember young people gathering at Jones Mill Pond to go in swimming. The artiest who did the drawing The Old Jones Mill was one of those teenagers. When I contacted him (Willie Logan) to see if he had done a painting of the mill, he stated he could do it from memory.

In these days, time was plentiful and life was sweet.

Do you know anyone who was baptized in Jones Mill Pond? We would love to hear about it.

Jones Mill Pond is located on Jones Mill Road just off Old Fayette Road: https://goo.gl/maps/1wm8HmsYK2bxoq9v6. It is near Williamson-Jones Cemetery

Kitchen Table and Eulogies

My sister, Phyllis, and I have been having conversations about eulogies recently. Mine, hers and others. (Mostly hers since she is the oldest. Hehe). We talked about how it seems that the way for a preacher to eulogize a good southern woman is to talk about her cooking or a special dish she was known for.  Phyllis said, “well, I hope I’m known for MORE than my cooking”.

I have thought about that a lot lately. Why do southern preachers do that? Talk about someone’s cooking at her funeral. I think there is a deeper meaning than just the delicious food. Maybe they just don’t know how to say it or it’s sort of a language all it’s own. The food I mean. The food speaks a language. Maybe when the preacher said Aunt Dora Lee had the best fried chicken what he really meant was he loved to sit at her and Uncle Coolidge’s table because their home was so warm and inviting and he just enjoyed being with them. Or, when Brother Terry Joe mentioned that he loved to find Grandmother Pearl’s cold biscuits in Granddady’s lunch “poke” was that he knew he would find extras because she made enough for all the fellas who might be hungry. It wasn’t just about the food. It was about the love that came from those hands and a heart as big as Texas. It is true, we southerners express love with food. I love to hear my family say “Mmm” when they’re at my table. Not just because the food tastes good to them but I get to have them close enough to touch.

The kitchen is really the heart of a home. The kitchen table is a living thing or it used to be. When we grew up, our family had supper together every evening. We all came together at the kitchen table. It’s where daddy took inventory of the status of chores or told us what he expected to be done the next day. It’s where we talked about report cards, teachers, events at school, how many quarts of beans Momma canned that day. We learned about morals and some high expectations we were expected to live up to. We shared Sunday dinners with our Pastor and had wonderful opportunities to hear stories of church and community, upcoming revivals and VBS. We celebrated birthdays at the kitchen table. Sometimes Momma would feed the entire football team on Friday nights. We also learned table manners which seems to be a thing of the past these days too.

the Bible refers to eating together as breaking bread. Breaking bread together teaches us that we are a team. Jesus brought his disciples together to prepare them for what was coming before his crucifixion. The Last Supper.

Ronald Reagan said, “All great change in America begins at the dinner table”.

What we lost when wives stopped cooking was the kitchen table which used to represent way more than food.

Every family has a story that it tells itself, that it passes on to the children and grandchildren. The story grows over the years, mutates, some parts are sharpened, others dropped, and there is often debate about what really happened. But even with these different sides of the same story, there is still agreement that this is the family story. And in the absence of other narratives, it becomes the flagpole that the family hangs its identity from. We must carry those stories through each generation.

“The dinner table is the center for the teaching and practicing not just of table manners but of conversation, consideration, tolerance, family feeling, and just about all the other accomplishments of polite society except the minuet.” -Judith Martin, a.k.a. “Miss Manners”

The family table is also a place where we gather in times of celebration and sadness, to embrace food and each other.

The magic of family dinner is not about what’s on the table; it’s about what happens at the table as you gather around it.

So, the next time you are at a funeral and the preacher goes on and on about Mrs. Johnson’s cooking, just know that this person was probably someone who loved others and that others wanted to be around. If you want the preacher to talk about more than your food, do like my sister and I. Write your own eulogy so he will have MORE to talk about than your cooking. After all it will be my last chance to get in the last word.

Becky Williamson-Martin

Excerpt from Tim Keller’s Prodigal God – The Table

Post Script – I ran across this article The Dinner Table as a Place of Connection, Brokenness, and Blessing, by Barry D. Jones after I wrote Kitchen Table and Eulogies. It compliments my thoughts and says a lot of what I tried to say. 🙂 I hope you will take the time to read it.

Similarity Between My Life and My Yard

By Dex Stanley

It’s amazing to me the similarity between my life and my yard.

I wanted more than anything to have nothing but Bermuda and St Augustine in my yard. I tried just about everything. I got rid of everything but the carpet grass and the Dallas grass. So I said I can’t do this on my own so I hired a chemical company to take care of it for me.

That was my solution to the problem.

Sometimes the process seems like we are peddling backwards but in reality we are getting exactly what we asked for.

I know they will get rid of the grasses I don’t want in my lawn. So I hired them.

After about a year I am at a standstill. What is going on with my grass? It used to look so full and thick and healthy. Now it looks sick. Well after thinking through what I initially wished for. I wanted to get rid of everything but the Bermuda and the St Augustine.

This really got my wheels turning about how when we pray for something and God starts His work in our life, we look at it and it doesn’t look like what we thought it would. Oftentimes our life starts looking even worse than before we said the prayer. In reality though, the chemical company knows what’s best for my lawn no matter how long it takes to get to perfection.

As does God for our life.

Sometimes the process seems like we are peddling backwards but in reality we are getting exactly what we asked for. I know I have to trust God’s transformation process even though it doesn’t look the way I thought or wanted it to look. God has taken control and He is putting the pieces where they need to go.

We need to trust the process!

Dex owns Mowing Plus, LLC in Hartselle, Alabama. He and his wife, Anna have two children, Colton (5) and Avery (1).

Avery & Colton Photo by Wild Child Photography

Rev. Ike B. Cannon recalled as one of the last street preachers

By Delbert Reed

First printed in The Tuscaloosa News on October 4, 1995.

Reverend Ike B. Cannon was the kind of man they used to make Hollywood movies about, and I always meant to write a story about him and what made him the way he was. I regret that I never did, and he has been dead four years now.

            A vivid black and white memory of Reverend Cannon has been stuck in my mind for more than 40 years. He was one of the last street preachers in West Alabama, and I can see him even now, red-faced and dark-eyed, mopping sweat from his brow with one hand while holding his Bible high over his head with the other, hoarsely shouting The Word to a small crowd that came and went throughout the late August Saturday afternoon in front of P. E. Robertson’s Grocery on Main Avenue in downtown Northport.

            In the 1940s and 1950s, Cannon preached not only in Northport but also at the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse and on the Courthouse Square in Fayette and anywhere else the opportunity came. His was a rugged, familiar face in such places, and his daughters played the accordion and most of the family joined in to sing gospel songs and hymns.

            Cannon preached for more than 60 years before his retirement and death, according to family members. He was pastor of several Baptist churches in northern Tuscaloosa County, where he spent his life, and served as pastor of two churches, Friendship and Sterling, for more than 30 years at the same time.

            Cannon also had a radio ministry for a time in the 1950s and held revivals throughout West Alabama in churches, tents and brush arbors. He preached any time and any place he could. It was his calling, and he always answered.

            “It never mattered to him what denomination a church was, he would always go and preach if he was invited,” his daughter Kate said recently. “But he was an ordained Missionary Baptist preacher.”

            “The churches would be packed to hear that old man, too,” youngest son Jerry, who wears the same sharp features of his half-Cherokee Indian father, recalled with a fond smile.

            “But he never made any money preaching,” said J. C. Cannon, the oldest son. “There was no money to be made in those days. He farmed to support his preaching.” Kate, on the same subject, said she remembered selling eggs on Saturday so he could buy gas to drive to church to preach on Sunday.

            Cannon, born in 1907 near New Lexington, spent much of his young life as a tenant farmer, but in 1945 he bought the Samantha-area farm his family still holds onto today. He and Mrs. Cannon had nine children of their own and generously adopted and raised five others, supporting the large family with the farm.

  “He was the best man who ever lived,” said Jerry,

            “He was always a preacher,” Kate said. “I can never remember him not being a preacher. And he always took the family wherever he preached, even in the old days when we traveled by mule and wagon. I can still remember sleeping on a pile of quilts in the back of the wagon on the way home after dark. Those trips always seemed so long,” she added.

            Cannon was not only a farmer and preacher; he was a talented musician, too. “He could play any instrument he picked up,” said Kate, who spent years playing the accordion on the street and the piano in church before turning the job over to her sister Carolyn.

            In the 1950s, Cannon drove a big, long, black car with loudspeakers mounted on the top. The car was a 1946 Ford, according to Jerry. The younger children often sat in the car or played about on the street nearby while their father preached. The older girls and Mrs. Cannon usually joined in on the songs unless Mrs. Cannon was busy selling produce at the Farmer’s Market.

            Cannon’s children, now in their fifties and sixties, remembered him for me recently, trying to help me understand why I have held onto this memory of him for so long. It is a picture of a time and a man handsome and tanned from working the fields and with a calling few of us could ever understand. My goal had been to find the man or myth that had created that lasting memory.

            “I’d like people who didn’t know him to know how good he was,” Kate said. “He helped a lot of people. He kept a lot of people from going to hell. He always told a joke or funny story to get your attention when he preached, then he’d give you the fire and brimstone,” she said with a wide, proud smile as tears glistened in her eyes.

            Cannon performed scores of weddings through the years, often at his home and at all hours of the day and night. He also visited the sick, even when he could no longer drive himself, and he preached many, many funerals.

            “He was a good man,” Kate repeated. “I remember he brought some relatives to our house during the big snow of 1940-41 to keep them from freezing and starving.”

            “He was the best man who ever lived,” said Jerry, looking away toward his youngest son, Ike, playing happily nearby.

            As a boy of 12 or 13, I stood at the edge of a small congregation, some of whom leaned against nearby storefronts or sat on the fenders of dusty cars parked along Main Avenue in Northport, listening to the music and the preaching of Reverend Cannon.

            I don’t remember a word he said those many years ago, or the songs the girls sang, but I remember the man with the coal-black hair and red shirt. And I remember the message, because I know now that Reverend Ike B. Cannon was himself the message.

byDelbert Reed

Mama Confession

by Samantha Native  Christina Williamson Eads

There are days that feel so unproductive. 😣 Days that I accomplish nothing on my mile-long to-do list. I look around my house and see all that needs to be done – laundry to fold, dishes to wash, floors covered in toys and dust. Just to name a few.

I foolishly had many idealistic expectations when I became a stay-at-home parent. Our home would be spotless. I’d whip up a gourmet meal every night. I’d have time for cute Pinterest projects and reading and exercise. This hilarious list goes on (I’m literally laughing 😂). But the truth is, raising young children is no easy task! Who would have thought I wouldn’t have time to do things I want to do?! Even if those things are good, productive, necessary things like maybe take a shower or mop the kitchen floor. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Life isn’t always what you expect it to be, which is something I struggle with handling. But the Lord is teaching me so much through motherhood. Like having a grateful heart despite the challenges I face. Perspective is everything, and these boys won’t be babies for long. I will blink and Sam will be in middle school. Logan will be driving. 😭 They won’t need me as much. Or at least not in the same ways. Part of me is already mourning over this fact. But another part of me is looking forward to a little more peace and quiet. 😏

Until they grow up before my eyes I’m determined to spend each day soaking up the boo-boo kisses, adorable giggles, silly word pronunciations, and that precious sweet baby smell 👶🏼. Some days I might not get much done besides keeping these little boogers alive, but maybe that’s enough sometimes, because they are worth every showerless day. Every sleepless night. Every mess. Every tear. My own personal agenda doesn’t matter compared to these kids. Being their mother is at the top of my to-do list. And what a sweet, worthy task it is. 💙

Printed with permission

Christina grew up in Samantha.  She lives in Trussville, Alabama with her husband Dusty, and their two sons, Logan and Sam.  If her words encouraged you, please let her know by leaving comments below.

Mama Confession by Christina Williamson Eads

Sam & Logan Eads

The Inspiration Behind the Samantha Living Cookbook

Samantha Living First Edition Cookbook

Order Information at the end of post 

My life’s journey has taken many detours but it brought me home and I have the honor and privilege of living in the home where I grew up. A few years ago, I would have never entertained the thought of living in Samantha again. But it’s strange how you can develop a longing to reach back and pick up those lessons learned from your growing years and you realize how rich your heritage really is. Not monetary wealth, but the love of family, friends, neighbors and community. That is getting more rare with each passing day. I was inspired to create a community cookbook primarily for four reasons.

  1.  To preserve our rich heritage and create a connection between past generations and future generations. It is my hope that someday our grandchildren will pick up this book and not only read and use these tried and true recipes, but it will prompt conversations about the names attributed to them. While I do believe we must live in the present and embrace our future, knowing our past gives us a sense of well-being and ownership. This project has given me opportunities to have precious conversations with some “senior” members of our community. Their laughter when remembering nuggets from the past is priceless to me and it encourages me to deepen my roots and strive to be able to offer the same one day when I receive such a call. Knowing stories about what others have faced, what they have drawn upon and risked. Great wisdom comes from their experiences. I believe knowing where we came from helps us understand the purpose of where we are going. Our heritage and legacy is a critical part of who we are as individuals. Embracing the heritage we were given enables us to leave a strong legacy. One worthy to be passed on.
  2. To preserve family meals together. Ronald Reagan said, “All great change in America begins at the dinner table.” When I was growing up we always had supper every evening at the kitchen table. TV off and enjoying a home cooked meal and having conversation. When I visited with my friends, it was the same. Families, friends and neighbors sat around the kitchen table and told stories. It was a time to learn about each other’s lives. Having a meal at the kitchen table is not just a time to eat, but a time to tell stories. I loved to hear Momma and Daddy, my grandparents and aunts and uncles tell stories of the past. Families are so busy now that having supper together at the kitchen table is a lost art. I believe breaking bread together is important and I hope this cookbook will encourage us to cook more and eat more together. When I read stories in the Bible where Jesus sat and broke bread with others, it makes me know that is important.
  3. To promote community. When folks come together to work toward a common goal, it serves to buildup and strengthen relationships. I believe communities grow stronger when folks regularly do a variety of simple things together. It gives us a chance to connect with others.
  4. To raise funds for ministries and projects within our community.

Thank you for submitting recipes to make this cookbook possible and thank you for purchasing a copy. I appreciate you all more than you know.

Always keep “The Son” in your eyes.
Becky Williamson-Martin
Editor

For more information, send an email to [email protected] Or call (205) 233-3794

old recipes found at an estate sale in Samantha to be included in Samantha Living Cookbook

Riggs Farm, Samantha, Alabama

Southern cooks don’t measure, we just sprinkle and shake til the spirits of our ancestors say, “stop my child.”


Click below for pricing of multiple cookbooks

Paypal

J. T. Taylor Recalls Trials and Triumphs of Life, by Delbert Reed

 by Delbert Reed.  (Originally published in The Northport Gazette, March 24, 2004).

I could tell the man was on a serious mission by the way he marched directly into my office and looked me in the eye.

“Are you Delbert Reed?” he asked in a tone that made me stammer a bit before confessing that I was. “I’ve been looking for you for over 35 years,” he said, finally offering a smile that told me that he probably wasn’t heavily armed.

He told me his name was J. T. Taylor and that he had been reading stories I’ve written since the sixties and wanted to meet me face to face. Then his story and our friendship began.

“I grew up at the foot of Reed Mountain and knew a lot of your family,” he said before quickly naming several of the 11 children of my great grandfather Wes and Leona Davis Reed who grew up on Reed Mountain just north of Haygood Methodist Church in northern Tuscaloosa County.

“I knew Etta, Elliott, Ed, Evaline, Ester and your grandfather Ellis,” Taylor continued. It would have been a real trick if he had been able to continue with the names of Ethel, Elbert, Elmer, Effie, Essie and Ella. “I knew Wes Reed, too; I knew all the Reeds,” he said.

I proudly told Taylor that I actually have Wes Reed’s dinner bell and that it was given to me by the late Carl Harris nearly 30 years ago. “I remember that bell,” Taylor said. “It was on a pole in their yard and I remember hearing it ring many times.”

Taylor quickly called off dozens of other names I’d heard all my life, and mentioned places I’d known about but had all but forgotten through the years. Before our first visit ended, Taylor promised to show me the site of the old Reed home place on Reed Mountain one day, and he did so last weekend as we talked about our roots and our lives.

The Taylor family grew up about a mile and a half down the “mountain” from the Reeds, and there were ten Taylor children who helped Jim and Stella Gilliam Taylor work their 120-acre farm. Six of the ten survive today, including Wiley, nearing 94; J. T., 79; Martha Donour; Brazzie Rogers; Maxie Bryant and Gladys Franks. Martha has even returned to the old Taylor farm where she lives today in the same house in which she was born and raised.

“I joined the Navy in 1943 and got out in 1946,” Taylor said, proudly noting that he even returned to Gorgas High School after his Navy tour and earned his diploma.

Taylor was in Japan from November 1945 until March 1946 and visited Hiroshima (the site of the world’s first wartime atomic bomb blast on August 6, 1945) “eight or ten times” and Nagasaki (the site of the second atomic bomb blast on August 9, 1945) once.

“I still think they (the military) used us as guinea pigs,” Taylor said of his visits to the cities devastated by the bombs. “My feet and hands broke out in blisters—bad blisters—for years afterward. It started in the spring of 1946 and finally cleared up in the mid-seventies. My feet were sore for 30 years and I had nightmares that my feet were rotting off.”

Taylor, though only a youngster at the time, recalled the difficult years of the Great Depression, especially 1930-31. “I guess we were well off,” he said. “We had plenty of peas, cornbread and sweet milk. And we played baseball in John Tierce‘s pasture down by the creek.”

Taylor spent several years working at Gulf States Paper Corporation in Tuscaloosa before landing a job with the Postal Service in 1955. He stuck with the job for more than 30 years before retiring in 1985.

“What have you been doing since then,” I asked. “Oh, I’ve been busy,” he laughed.

Taylor did admit to having run into a few bumps in the road of life, including having trouble with alcohol for many years and having his first wife leave him after more than 30 years of marriage.

“I used to drink regular,” he said with a serious look in his eye. “I drank every day; I was an alcoholic and I still am, but I’ve been sober 26 years. But for 20 or 25 years before that I drank every day. Alcohol was the best medicine I could find for my arthritis,” Taylor added. “It was hard, but I quit. It took me three or four years to get back to a normal life, but the last 16 years have been wonderful,” Taylor added.

(Originally published in The Northport Gazette, March 24, 2004)

James (JT) Taylor 8/28/1938-3/4/2015

James (JT) Taylor died March 4, 2015 at the age of 76, at home in Bonnie’s arms. Click here to read obituary.

Samantha Living would like to thank Delbert Reed for sharing this story. We appreciate his journalism and interest in the Samantha Community. We invite your comments below or send them and any photos you might have to editor@samanthaliving.

Please comment below

by Norman W. Naugher

A while ago, we had the opportunity to visit with Norman and Nell Wright in their home.  They shared a wonderful written story of the life of Norman growing up in Samantha.  The writing is attached at the bottom of this page.

Playing dominoes with friends

Cowden home, old Byler Road (Old Highway 43)

The photos were captured on our visit.

 


“…This writing is dedicated to my wife, Nell, who almost had to get a knife and cut me open to extract these stories. To my son, Marty, whom she said would enjoy reading it, to my daughter, Jan, who keeps us all together, and my parents who had a hard time raising me…”  Click here to read Norman’s Story

If you enjoyed reading Norman’s story, please leave comments below and let him know.

 

Becky Williamson-Martin

Visit to Reed Mountain Awakens the Imagination

by Delbert Reed
 Reprint -- Published in The Northport Gazette, April 7, 2004

I had to go back to Reed Mountain in northern Tuscaloosa County last week. Something drew me there to stand at the old home place of my ancestors and look out on the wide, breath-taking vistas to the East and wonder about the history of the Reed family.

There is little left to prove that anyone ever lived at the site now except a few rocks, likely from the foundation or chimney, and a thriving wisteria vine, which was covered with bumblebees on the late afternoon that I visited.

I listened for sounds from the past, like the tolling of the old dinner bell or the chopping of wood, and I watched for wispy images of people I might know as the sun began to cast shadows on the hill, but there was none of either.

I could see, though, why someone would want to live on Reed Mountain. That spectacular view toward the faraway bottomland beside the small, clear stream below had me dreaming for a moment, too, although the place is generally poorly suited for farming in many ways. Those red-land hills and hollows are far more suited for hunting.

But my great grandparents Wes and Leona Reed raised 12 children to adulthood on the place and farmed a large area first owned, by all accounts, by Wes’s father Thomas Reed, the first Reed known to have settled in the country near Haygood Methodist Church. Thomas likely walked or rode a mule or wagon from Georgia if he was typical of the Southern Scots-Irish settlers. All I know of his wife is that her name was Parthenia Moore and that she was from the Moore’s Bridge area.

I imagined the large Wes Reed family meal time and wondered just how much food they had to grow and can to manage through the winters. I wondered just how many biscuits Omie, as Leona was called, had to cook each morning before sending her family into the fields.

Wesley Washington Reed was just 16 years old and Leona Elizabeth Davis only 15 when they married on December 16, 1886, according to family records. My grandfather Ellis, born on December 20, 1887, was the oldest of the children, and he was 25 years old when his grandfather Thomas Reed, born in 1847, died in 1913. The youngest child of Wes and Omie Reed was Elliott, born in 1907. Three children were born dead, including two after Elliott’s birth, and another died at age three.

A photograph of Wes and Omie standing together shows tanned and hard-working people, and a similar photograph of Ellis and my grandmother Viola is quite similar. They seem to be typical of the proud, poor, rural Southerners of the early 1900s.

My dad had an old scrapbook that included several old receipts showing purchases by Wes Reed from the late 1800s until his death in 1938. One was for a yoke of oxen for $30 on May 13, 1897; many were for fertilizer and taxes; one was for a one-ton Ford truck purchased from Tucker Motor Company in 1923 at a cost of $451.40; another was for $9 as “full pay for his child’s tombstone.” Wes had signed some of the notes and mortgages with an “X” for his mark, indicating that he could not write his name.

Unfortunately, there are few photographs of the Reed family from the early days, but there are enough to trace a family resemblance, and there are markers at Haygood Cemetery that help trace the family back in time.

Fortunately, though, the dinner bell from the old Wes Reed place survives today, thanks to the late Carl Harris. That same bell that called the Reed family from the fields or marked a death in the community rests safely in my storage shed, and I promise soon to display it proudly for the memories it holds, for the hands that rang it, and for those who heard it ring so many times.

“I heard that dinner bell ring at 11 o’clock every day for years,” Brazzie Taylor Rodgers said in recalling her years as a neighbor of the Reeds. “Omie always had dinner ready at 11 o’clock. Wes Reed was a good man,” she added. “He walked by our house early nearly every morning on his way to the store to get a box of snuff, and I was at his house the day he died.”

The old Reed place on Reed Mountain was sold many years ago to some large corporation, probably a timber company, and the old house destroyed. When I visited, the timber around the old house place had recently been cut, leaving the area scarred and ugly except for the view across the valley eastward.

But the Reed place was surely a glorious place once, with hunting dogs and teams of mules and oxen and cows and a large family to care for it all. I’d like to think Reed’s Mountain in the old days was much like the mythical Walton’s Mountain depicted on television and that the Reed family was just as happy and loving as the Waltons.

I’d like to think those 12 children grew up with good memories of life on Reed’s Mountain. And I wish I had thought to ask them to share them with me years ago. Now I can only imagine how it must have been.

(Originally Published in The Northport Gazette, April 7, 2004)

Samantha Living would like to thank Delbert Reed for sharing this story. We appreciate his journalism and interest in the Samantha Community. We invite your comments below or send them and any photos you might have to editor@samanthaliving.

Please comment below

The Old Cabaniss Store is Only a Memory Now

The Old Cabaniss Store is Only a Memory Now

By Delbert Reed
Published in the Northport Gazette June 19, 2002

I went looking for a bit of the past last week, following a newspaper advertisement to the old, deserted stone store on Highway 43 in Samantha built by Oscar Cabaniss in 1939 and operated by the family for 45 years. I had hoped to buy some small item from the store just for the sake of history.

But there was no sale after all. No one showed up to open the doors of the crumbling old store to the dozen or so people who showed up, just as I had, searching for a piece of history and perhaps a memory or two.

I peeped into the darkness of the store through the bars of a broken window, trying to see just what might be left after nearly 20 years of abandonment and decay. I wasn’t expecting much, and I am sorry to say that I saw even less among the dust and spider webs.

But I did remember a few visits there from far in the past when Cabaniss’ Store was the big city to me. I was just a barefoot boy of seven then, playing in the dusty fields along Wolf Creek as Daddy, Mother and a mule named John struggled to feed themselves and four small children as a tenant farmer on the old Espy Mill place.

The old store was a familiar place to me from my childhood on as we lived in ten similar tenant houses within two miles of the store during the 1940s. Daddy, older brother Lonnie and I walked to the store several Saturday afternoons a year in those days. Lonnie and I sometimes drank a NuGrape and watched the older men playing checkers while Daddy talked about the crops and weather with the neighbors. I always filled my pockets with soft drink bottle caps picked up from around the front of the store as we started back home and Daddy usually carried a 25-pound sack of flour over his shoulder.

We proudly rode a borrowed wagon loaded with cotton past the store in the autumn of 1947, headed East to the gin near the Samantha Post Office with what amounted to the product of a year’s hard work, and we likely stopped at Cabaniss’ Store for another NuGrape on the way back home. Years later, from 1952-73, Mother or Daddy stopped at Cabaniss’ Store every day for 22 years to deliver a newspaper to the store, and I was with them a lot of those days to get another NuGrape.

Now I hear that the old store, located just a stone’s throw from Northside High School, may be torn down to make way for a modern convenience store. It is inevitable, I suppose, but it seems a sad ending for the once-grand old general store that proudly served the people of that community from 1938 until 1983.

The store was built in 1938 by Oscar Cabaniss, who ran it until turning it over to his son, John Manley, in 1955. John Manley had been a part of the store from the start, having helped his father build it and run it from his teen years on. Oscar continued to spend time at the store until his death in 1968 at the age of 76. John Manley operated the store until his retirement in 1983. John Manley and his sister, Margaret Crump of Northport, recently sold the store and property..

John Manley, now age 80 and living in Northport, recalled this week that the store once handled almost anything anyone needed, including groceries, clothes, shoes, gloves, feed for livestock, plowlines, nails, horseshoes, tires, tobacco, plows, gas and oil. The store also served as the Beat 4 polling location for many years, and it was a general community gathering place where gossip and news–and sometimes even a bottle—were passed around.

John Manley recalled that former governor James E. “Big Jim” Folsom stopped at the store once about 50 years ago as he passed by on his way to visit his in-laws, who were from nearby Berry.

According to John Manley, many of the rocks used to build the walls of the store were taken from a quarry near North River, not far from the old Gorgas School. Other rocks used in the foundation were taken from the fields on Reed Mountain, he said.

“The Reeds (the author’s great-grandparents Wes and Omie Reed and their 11 children and dozens of grandchildren) piled them up at the edge of the fields and we hauled them in there by the truck load,” John Manley said, recalling that the truck used was an International.

John Manley also recalled that the first gas he ever sold was to Crockett Kyzer, a well-known farmer and basket maker from the area. He said that sale came in 1936 at another nearby store his father operated before building the stone store in 1938.

The old stone Cabaniss store holds many memories for John Manley, and he and his children and grandchildren have kept a few items from the store for themselves. Still, he isn’t overly sad to see it finally sold. “I guess it eases my mind a bit in some ways,” he said of the sale.

“It’s a different ball game now than it was in 1936,” John Manley said, noting how times have changed. “At one time I knew everybody who lived on Highway 43 from Berry Junction to Stone Hill in Northport.” And there is no doubt that everyone who traveled along Highway 43 knew that old stone store and its owners Oscar and John Manley Cabaniss, who served their community well for almost half a century.

Now it appears that the store will soon be gone, with not even a bottle cap left behind as a souvenir for a barefoot boy who thought of it as the big city itself more than 50 years ago.

This story is a follow up to a previous blog “Who Remembers Cabaniss Gro.”  Published on June 26, 2017 on Samantha Living.

1963: Cabaniss Grocery in Samantha This rock store stood at the corner of Hwy 43 North and Northside Road in northern Tuscaloosa County.  The store replaced one that was once part of the Stagecoach Exchange at what was then called ‘Marcumville’.

 

Samantha Living would like to thank Delbert Reed for sharing this story. We appreciate his journalism and interest in the Samantha Community. We invite your comments below or send them and any photos you might have to editor@samanthaliving.

We invite you to comment below

It’s the 4th of July – What Does that Mean?

Independence Day.  Barbeque, hot dogs, beach parties, baseball games, and fireworks.  But what does “Independence Day” mean?

The Fourth of July is our country’s birthday.  The day our country’s founders declared independence from Great Britain. This meant they would no longer follow the orders of Britain’s king. To do this was extremely dangerous. At the time, Britain had one of the world’s strongest armies, and to go against the king was a crime punishable by death. But the king’s laws were unfair, so our founders decided it was worth the risk of war to win the freedom to govern themselves. In 1783, the new United States won that war, which we now call the Revolutionary War.

Why does the flag have those stars?   At this time of year, American flags are easy to spot. Point one out to your grandchildren. Explain that each part of the flag stands for something. The 50 stars stand for the 50 states. The 13 stripes stand for the 13 British colonies, which declared their independence on July 4, 1776. It’s a symbol — a way to show the world what we stand for. It also shows that we are connected to one another — that we’re on the same team. And because the flag is special, we treat it with respect.

What makes our country special?  That one thing that makes our country special is that it guarantees us certain rights, or freedoms.   We use these rights every day when we pray (or decide not to), read a newspaper, or meet and talk with friends. We can do these things because our country guarantees us the freedom to practice religion the way we want, say or write what we want, and go where we want.   These rights are spelled out in the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights. Which rights are most important to you?

What does the government do for us?  We pay taxes to our local, state, and national government so that, among other things, the government can build and maintain facilities that reflect our values. Education is important to us, for example, so we build schools. Safety is a priority for us, so we put up traffic lights. And we want open places where we can gather, so we set aside space for parks. It provides the people who help the community, including police officers, firefighters, crossing guards, librarians, postal workers, and sanitation crews.

What can we do for our country?  Our country is like a family: Everyone has to pitch in or it doesn’t work. As members of the U.S. “family” — in other words, as citizens — we all have certain responsibilities, like going to school, voting, and obeying the law.  Being a good citizen also means taking care of the country, by keeping it clean, looking out for people in trouble, and staying informed about the problems that we face. Of course, actions always have more impact than words, so set an example by dedicating some of your time to volunteering in the community.

What does it mean to be American?  In countries like China or Ireland, most residents share a common culture or ethnicity. But the United States is different. Here, what people share is a common idea — that people should have the freedom to live the way they want, and to work and earn money the best way they can. These freedoms have inspired people from all over the world to come to this country and become “Americans.” This is a profound idea many may never have considered and it should make us feel especially proud of our country, as well as more connected to other Americans of different backgrounds. It can also lead to a discussion about our own family’s journey to the United States. Why did your relatives come? Why did they stay? Every family’s story is part of the country’s story. Make sure you AND your grandchildren know yours.  Comments below.

God Bless America
God Bless Samantha

Happy 4th of July

Always keep “The Son” in your eyes.
Becky Williamson-Martin

Article Source

By Delbert Reed
(Reprint -- Published in Northport Gazette, June 4, 2003)

I saw the stranger walking through the mall and guessed correctly that he had a story to go with his black hat and clothes and guitar and that hungry look in his eye. I had seen plenty others like him plodding along Music Row and Broadway back in my Nashville days. And to tell the truth, I’d seen the same look in the mirror a time or two.

“I’m looking for some work playing and singing,” he answered when I asked if I could help him. “I need a job and I’m not able to do much of anything else.”

Jack McCaffrey is his name, and although he shows the wear and tear of hard times beyond his years, he hasn’t given up hope quite yet. But if it’s true that artists do their best work when they suffer, McCaffrey just might be about to write that hit song he has always dreamed about.

“I don’t like to play in bars, but I’ll play anywhere right now,” McCaffrey said. “I’ve got to survive. I’d play at the North Pole if the Eskimos would listen to me.”

A self-proclaimed poet, songwriter and musician, McCaffrey is 59 years old, with more hair on his chin than his head and a nasty cigarette habit. “I spent my last three dollars on cigarettes,” he admitted with a bowed head. “I know I shouldn’t be smoking; my brother died of lung cancer.” But on a hot summer afternoon a few days ago, cigarettes and music was about all that kept McCaffrey’s modest Tuscaloosa apartment from being a lonely place as we continued an interview started the day we met at McFarland Mall.

“I’ve written about 200 songs,” he said, offering to sing one for me he had written in 1982 while visualizing himself as a successful musician out on the road. “I wrote the song for my wife. It’s been ten years since I played it; I hope I can get through it,” he said before singing a not-so-bad little ballad with a few memorable lines about big dreams and a broken heart.

“I’m working on a contemporary gospel song with a blues beat now,” McCaffrey said as he sang a few lines of a song he called “Rock Me, Jesus.” None of McCaffrey’s music is recorded or written down. “It’s all in my head,” he said.

By my standards McCaffrey really can play and sing a little, and sometimes a little is all it takes if the breaks fall your way. Whether he can make it in Nashville or even Tuscaloosa could be simply a matter of luck, although McCaffrey has almost given up on giving Nashville a try.

McCaffrey carries a list of 150 songs in his guitar case and claims he can play and sing all of them on cue, although he had only one formal music lesson in his life. His songs cover 50 years of music and include rock, country, gospel or whatever else one would care to hear. He can also play several instruments, he says, “but I don’t really play the piano; I bang on it.”

“My grandfather, John Williams of the Samantha area just outside Northport, was my inspiration,” McCaffrey said. “He played the bass fiddle and sang bluegrass music. He claimed to have some Indian blood, so I claim to be half-Irish and half-Indian. I’m Irish enough to like a drink of whisky and Indian enough to go on the warpath,” he continued with a wry smile. “That’s why I don’t drink anymore.”

McCaffrey’s mother helped start him on his musical career by teaching him to play a ukulele at age seven. “I worried her to death with that thing singing songs I learned off the radio,” he said. “My older brother had a guitar, but I couldn’t get my hands on it until he joined the Navy in 1956. I taught myself to play and played a lot with a buddy named Ronnie Wheatley.”

McCaffrey and Wheatley played together for several years, working in Birmingham night clubs after working at EBSCO Industries together in the daytime. “We played every club in Birmingham in the sixties,” McCaffrey said proudly. Wheatley still works at EBSCO while McCaffrey is disabled, but they both still enjoy their music.

A Catholic, McCaffrey attends Holy Spirit Church and sometimes plays music at a local Church of God. “I don’t earn any money, but the Lord blesses me for it,” he said.

McCaffrey has children and grandchildren in Birmingham, where he spent several years in construction work, and carries their pictures in his guitar case. He is divorced from his first wife and separated from his second, something he finds painful to talk about. He has been in Tuscaloosa for three months.

“Here’s one of my favorites,” McCaffrey said, breaking a somber mood and patting a bare big toe as he played a current patriotic song made popular by country music star Toby Keith.

McCaffrey’s father worked in construction and moved a great deal, allowing Jack to experience life in Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina and even California, where he said he even attended school with some of the Mouseketeers of Walt Disney television fame for a while.

McCaffrey’s brother, John McCaffrey Jr., lived in the Samantha area on their grandfather’s old place until his death. His widow, Betty, still resides there, according to Jack.

Today, Jack doesn’t often dream of that elusive big break. He’s just hoping to find a paying gig so he can sing his songs and see better days. “If I don’t I’ll starve, he said without a smile as he gently strummed the guitar he was holding onto like it was his only friend.
(Northport Gazette, June 4, 2003)

POSTSCRIPT: I couldn’t help liking Jack McCaffrey, and his music, too, for that matter, and I visited him several times over a month or so. I even bought him cigarettes and a can of soup a couple of times when he ran out of money between disability checks. In an effort to try to help him, I bought a small cassette recorder and had him record some of his songs for me to take to a friend in Nashville who had connections in the music industry there. “If you see Martina McBride, tell her I love her,” he said as he handed me the tape a week or so later. I passed the tape along but never heard anything about it from my friend. I saw in the newspaper a year or so later where McCaffrey died, taking his songs with him except for a line or two I still remember from the one he wrote for his wife and the one I’m writing about his Martina McBride line. (Delbert Reed)



Samantha Living would like to thank Delbert Reed for sharing this story. We appreciate his journalism and interest in the Samantha Community. We invite your comments below or send them and any photos you might have to [email protected]

Historical Barbee School

From Delbert Reed.

Barbee School Reunion Offers a Lesson in History

(Written by Delbert Reed – Published in Northport Gazette, June 18, 2003)

Historical Barbee School

You’ve probably heard stories told by your parents and grandparents about how they walked three miles in the snow and rain to school as youngsters. If you haven’t, you should arrange to attend the next Barbee School reunion, where you can hear the stories of the good old days from those who lived them.

A small group of former Barbee School students gathered recently at the home of Nell Howell Sheffield in Northport to recall their times together as schoolmates at the former small elementary school near Northside High School. Those attending the May gathering included Sheffield, Mary Freeman Hagler, Clytee Rogers Holloway, Lowell Skelton, Faye Maddox Boone and John Aris Harris.

 
“I’ll bet no six people ever had a better time that we did,” Mrs. Hagler said of the reunion. We waited until most of us were gone before we started getting together, but if we can we’re going to get together again next year and reminisce some more,” she said. The Barbee reunions have been going on for six or so years and were started mainly by Loy and Woodrow Wilson.
 
Barbee School, according to history relayed by John Aris Harris’s son John, was named after James and Sarah M. Barbee, who settled in the area in 1818. The school was located about a mile west of Barbee Creek and about two miles west of Northside High School. It was formed in 1909 by the consolidation of Friendship School and the Deal School and closed in 1942.
Mrs. Hagler lived east of Barbee School on the Bart Brown Road for much of the time she attended the school 1932-38 and walked through fields, pastures and woods and even across a foot-log bridge across Barbee Creek to schools with siblings Otis, Clay, Martha and Ouida.
 
“We had some good times there,” Mrs. Hagler said. “We had a few fights, too, but not often.” Mrs. Hagler’s memories of her days at Barbee include the school closing twice because there was no money to buy coal for heat during the winter.

“They brought our teachers out from town on Sunday evening or early Monday morning and they boarded with my Aunt Ida Cabaniss across the road from the school during the week and went back to town on Friday afternoons,” Mrs. Hagler said.

The Barbee School remembered by most of the former students had three or four rooms with two grades in each room. Earlier, a one-room school had stood on the site, according to some former students. “I saw a picture of the old school and I’m pretty sure it was only one room,” Mrs. Hagler said. “It looked like an old crib.”

Mrs. Boone attended Barbee School for six years starting in 1933 and later graduated from Talladega High School before earning master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Alabama. She worked as a nurse and teacher until her retirement in 1990. Mrs. Boone has attended several Barbee School reunions and recalls elementary school friendships with Nell Howell Sheffield and Loy Wilson.
 
Skelton started school at Barbee in the mid-1930s and went there through the sixth grade before attending Etteca and Gorgas schools. Skelton’s brothers Adrian, Shorty and Gordon and sister Louise also attended Barbee, as did Skelton’s father Clarence. Skelton, retired from B. F. Goodrich after more than 42 years, is nearing age 75 and still has many friends from his days at Barbee.
  
Mrs. Sheffield lived less than a mile from Barbee School in what was known as the old Deal home during her childhood. The house, which burned in 1980, was located near one of the two stores her father (Paul Howell) operated for many years. “That old house was made from wide, hand-hewed planks; we wouldn’t have taken anything for it,” Mrs. Sheffield said.
            
“I remember my first-grade teacher was Miss Ruth Rice,” Mrs. Sheffield said. “She later married Horace Brown and we went to church with them at Chapel Hill Baptist Church. “Another teacher recalled by Mrs. Sheffield was Marian Scrivner, who boarded with the Howells.
            
“I remember Miss Rice giving us a picture to color in the first grade and I colored a woman’s hair green. Miss Rice said she had never seen a woman with green hair. Forty years later we saw a woman at church with green hair and she (then Mrs. Brown) remembered that fist-grade incident and remarked to me that we had finally seen someone with green hair.”
 
Mrs. Sheffield’s brother Paul B. Howell also attended Barbee for a few years. Both of them laster graduated from Tuscaloosa County High School.

Harris, a retired telephone company employee who lives in Moundville, attended Barbee for three years starting in 1938 when it had 30-40 students in six grades. He also attended Samantha and Gorgas schools “I still have my first-grade report card,” Harris said proudly. “I carried it to the reunion and my first teacher’s name (Margaret Tatum) is on it.”

Mrs. Holloway lived about two miles north of Barbee School at the head of Wolf Creek near Haygood Methodist Church and walked along a path through the woods and fields to school with friends from the Rice and Nuchols families.

“I can remember being freezing cold when we got to school and gathering around the pot-bellied stove to get warm,” she said. “It was hard living, but there were good days. Everybody loved everybody and everybody helped everybody else during crop time or sickness. We lost our farm and were sharecroppers some, but I’m proud of my raising,” Mrs. Holloway added.

Mrs. Holloway began work at Jitney Jungle Grocery in Tuscaloosa in 1956 and retired from Food World in 1991.

Most of the Barbee School students grew up on farms in the community and many of them came from sharecropper families left poor by the Great Depression of the 1930s, as Mrs. Hagler pointed out with pride.  
“I’ve lived a full life for a poor girl,” she said. “But I’ve had friends and people I cared about and who cared for me. What else do you need?

Samantha Living would like to thank Delbert Reed for sharing this story.   We appreciate his journalism and interest in the Samantha Community.  We invite your comments below or send them and any photos you might have to [email protected]

Submitted by Anita Bailey – Estel Williamson (Freeman) Barbee School 1936 (Anita’s Grandmother

The Barbee School which taught from first to seventh grade was located near Samantha in northern Tuscaloosa County from about 1907 to the early 1940s. After students completed the seventh grade, they were awarded diplomas and encouraged to continue their education. However, students who lived in the rural communities had farm and home responsibilities and transportation was mule or horse and buggy. Photo shows the graduation class for the 1913-1914 school year. The teacher, Annis Estelle Griffin, is on the back row in the white shirt. To her right is Carl Harris. To Harris’ right may be Paul Howell.Submitted by John N. Harris.

Subscribe Here

Rt. 1, Box 152

by Becky Williamson-Martin

Apparently I have always had a love for or maybe taken ownership of the Samantha Community.  Recently, we did some remodeling on the home I grew up in. I came home one day during during the remodel and the carpenters asked me if I drew on the walls when I was a kid. Then they showed me the “art work” they found on the ceiling of a closet they were tearing out. 

Rt 1, Box 152, Samantha, Alabama 35482

While I do not remember creating this “masterpiece”, I do remember hiding in the top of that big closet many times to try and scare my brother Ricky (pay back you know?). I also recall having a thing about drawing mailboxes as a little girl. Maybe that was a result of daddy always teaching us the importance of putting down roots.  Or maybe I am a horrific artist and that’s all I could do.  But my biggest fan, my Momma, said, “you have to frame it”.  So we now have a mounted piece of sheetrock from the closet.  

I often hear folks from the Samantha Community say they live in Northside. This is always a bit comical to me. Having grown up in Samantha and going to Northside School, I always think to myself, “do they live in the school”?   I guess younger folks don’t remember or those who moved here over the passed few years didn’t know this but before the postal service restructured everything our address was actually Rt. 1, Samantha, Alabama 35482. I still remember our address was Rt. 1, Box 152. It just sounds funny to me having grown up here when I hear people refer to Northside as the community.  To me it’s a school.

Mailbox topper – “Johnny Williamson, Rt. 1 Samantha”

A few years before daddy passed away, I came to visit him and found him in the barn working on “something”.  During our conversation I noticed an old mailbox topper hanging on the barn wall.  It was covered with dust and spider webs.  He granted my request to take it home.  At that time, I lived near Lake Tuscaloosa.  I took it home and restored it and I proudly displayed it on my back porch, Johnny Williamson, Rt. 1, Samantha, even though I didn’t live in the Samantha community at that time.  My heart and all my childhood memories are still connected to Samantha.  I can’t help but think that mailbox topper had some historical value for daddy, too.  After all, he had kept it all those years.

I believe we should be proud of our roots. Even if some of the memories might not be good, where we came from helped make us who we are today and hopefully we learned from it all, even if we moved away.   So, for me, I am proud to say I’m from Samantha, Alabama and I now live in Samantha, Alabama.  I am also proud to say I attended Northside School in Samantha, Alabama – home of the Rams.  After all, we do still have a zip code and a Post Office located on Northside Road.  What are your thoughts?  Comment below

Samantha Post Office, Samantha, Alabama

Always keep “The Son” in your eyes!
Becky Williamson-Martin

Subscribe Here

Who remembers Cabaniss Gro.?

Who remembers Cabaniss Gro.? It used to sit where Crossroads is now. Thank you Brian Fortenberry for sharing this photo with us. We like to remember the past.  Can you identify the folks in the photo?  About what year do you think it was taken?

The memories I have of going to this store with my daddy as a little girl are:
1. Mr. Cabaniss smoked a cigar.
2. There were always men hanging around talking.
3. The rock front building was always intriguing to me because it was different than anything else around.
4. The floor was always dirty. (LOL).

Please share your memories of Cabaniss Gro. In the comments below or better yet, send an email with all your memories and the history of this historic Samantha business and we will do a full article. [email protected].

Hope Chest and Father’s Day

I saw this post on Facebook this week.  Caption read  Remember the Hope Chest?   I remember the day daddy took me to Weems Furniture in Fayette to buy one for me when I was a young girl.  I still have it.  It no longer has a lid but I’m still using it.  It has had a purpose in my house since the day we brought it home.  Currently, I have it in the children’s corner of my house being used as my grandchildren’s toy box.

Cedar Chest Daddy Bought me

Daddy was a man of few words most of the time, but he knew how to make the important things, the important things without having to talk about them.  As I recall, Mother mentioned it to him one Saturday morning that I wanted a Hope Chest.  It wasn’t uncommon for me to go to Fayette with him on a Saturday.  I would often tag along in his old dirty truck, smelling of diesel fuel and gasoline and sawdust on his Saturday errand day going to saw shops and tire stores.  We always stopped in somewhere for lunch.  I loved going to Lofty’s Cafe.  That was the best hamburger I ever had.  He would usually run into folks he knew and they would talk about “you momma and them”, gardening and logging.   This particular Saturday he “asked me” to go with him.   Our first stop was Weems Furniture.  He tells the sales lady we are there to purchase a “Hope Chest”.   She ushered us to the row of chests lined up on the side wall.   Some with dark wood, some with  padded lids,  some more “fancy” than others.  And there was this one, plain cedar chest at the very end, which is the one I liked.  He paid the lady and as the young man was coming from the back to load it, Daddy just picked it up and took it the truck.  I always thought he had the biggest muscles and he was always doing things like that to remind me.  🙂

Reliving my memories of Daddy and my cedar chest and it being Father’s Day stirred up other thoughts and sweet nuggets of precious memories of him.  It’s sort of funny how when you are living the moment it doesn’t seem significant at all, but later as you touch it again, you see (and feel) it differently.  For instance, Daddy, was always breaking or losing his reading glasses.  He would fall asleep in the recliner reading and sit on them or they would get crushed somehow.  He would repair them in his special way by tying whatever he had available to make them stay on his head.  14 pair of reading glasses were found in the house after he left us.  Some with those special ties.

Daddy’s Glasses

When I saw him wearing those glasses I would think it was funny or silly or wonder why in the world does he do that!  Now I have them all in his box that he kept notes with phone numbers or whatever.  I guess most people would have just thrown them away, but to me it’s a connection to him – sort of fills that “missing him” part in my soul.  It’s the “real” things he did that I love so much.  Those things that made him unique.

Another example of that unique repair work he would do, is his nut cracker.  He never enjoyed TV much so he often would crack nuts at night to be doing something productive waiting on the sun to come up.   A lot of men repair everything with duct tape.  Not daddy.  He used medical tape.  Probably because he had a lot of that on hand because he usually had some sort of injury.  LOL  He wrapped medical tape around the big nail and continued on with his cracking nuts.  I just couldn’t throw that away either.

Daddy’s Phone Books

Then there’s his phone books.  He wore  out some phone books I will tell you.  Proof that he stayed connected to folks.  He was interested in knowing about them.  He spent hours on the phone at night reaching out to his friends and turning strangers into friends.  He made opportunity.  (Galatians 6:10).

To those who still have your dads – I promise you that those things which you think embarrass you or cause you to shake your head or roll your eyes about your dad – those quirky things he says or does – will someday be a precious memory that you embrace and that you will long to relive.

To those who have said a temporary good bye to your dads, I ask you – “do you agree”?  Please feel free to share your memories in the comments below.

Daddy's Glasses, Phone Books, Nut Cracker and hammer

Daddy’s Glasses, Phone Books, Nut Cracker and hammer

The greatest man I ever knew!

by Becky Williamson Martin

In memory of Johnny Williamson (4/19/35-6/30/13)

Daddy in the swing on his porch

Daddy’s hands

Days Gone By Seemed Much More Simple

Memories of Growing Up in Samantha

OUCH!!!!!!

I was reading the article by Joshua Becker: Those Things By Which We Get Embarrassed and he made this statement: “What if, instead of being embarrassed because our house is too small, we became embarrassed over the amount of unused space within it?”

As I read this article I thought about my visit with a dear neighbor, Jesse Ann, this past weekend. She lived next to us when we were small and has continued to maintain her parents’ house next to daddy’s (my house), even though they have been gone many years. She spends Wednesdays and Saturdays each week at the old homeplace. What a wonderful visit we had – talking about days gone by and some more recent memories of daddy, which brought us both to tears.  The Weavers were such good neighbors. Oh the magic of ordinary days!

Old 1930s church. A gift from Jessie Ann Weaver Langston

The inside of the little farm house still looked much like I remembered it as a child growing up.  The beautiful pine wainscot paneling in the “front room”.  Jessie Ann gifted me with some absolute treasures that belonged to her parents that I will cherish and I hope my children will too after I’m gone, knowing “the history” behind them and the memories attached.  A couple of old (1930) churns and other collections that she wanted me to have.

Among them were two old books about the history of Fayette.

150 Years of History of Fayette

150 Years of History of Fayette

Sitting there in the small farmhouse having conversation with Jessie Ann, I thought about how life seemed so much more simple in days gone by. Memories came to me of running barefoot along the path from our house to theirs.  She must have thought I was such a country bumpkin.  “Probably still does”.  It seems that people were much more relational then.  And even though life was hard, the hurried pressures of day-to-day life that we live under now were non-existent.

Outdoor Fun in Fayette County in the Olden Days Followed The Simplest Form

Outdoor Fun in Fayette County in the Olden Days Followed The Simplest Form

We have enjoyed reading the stories about the history of Fayette – some from the 1900 – such comical entries in the local paper about events such as “fisticuffs”  and items like “demijohns” which I had to seek the definition.  As I was reading those stories it was even more magnified how much more connected folks were then and my soul longs for that.   They worked hard “together” and they celebrated accomplishments together.  It seems to me that folks were less interested in themselves and their personal interests.  It was more about “community”.

You know, I guess we can just “wish” for a simpler life with days of enjoying lemonade with our neighbors after a hard days work OR we can purpose to create those times in our own life today.

Somehow, I think we believe it’s either one or the other – work OR play.  But one huge important thing our daddy taught us – work and play go together!  “Many hands make the work load light!” And even fun.   Make a party out of everything!!

To quote Johnny Williamson, “It’s very simple.  Now I didn’t say it was easy, but it’s simple.  You just have to make up your mind to do it.”

Always keep “The Son” in your eyes.

Becky Williamson-Martin

A little interesting history

18 Year Old ‘Doctor’ Began Brilliant Career in Fayette, by Marguerite Tarwater Callahan

18 Year Old ‘Doctor’ Began Brilliant Career in Fayette, by Marguerite Tarwater Callahan

A reprint of Memories of Growing Up in Samantha from Stuff That Works Blog posted on  9/11/15 by Becky Williamson-Martin

An Uplifting Story about our Sister Community – Stonewall/Canaan

Stonewall Volunteer Fire Department Receives Donation

By DeWayne G. Guyton

Stonewall Volunteer Fire Department Receives Donation

Stonewall Volunteer Fire Department Receives Donation

About 5 months ago, Robert Mallory set out to improve the Stonewall Volunteer Fire Department located in the Canaan Community of Fayette County.  At that time, they were operating with a 1977 forestry issued truck that was costing more money to maintain and keep running that wasn’t readily available.  Their main pumper was a 1990 Ford that only pumped from one side and had constant transmission issues along with a water leak that forbid holding more than one half tank of water.

Mallory began sending out letters using a boundary from Nashville, TN to New Orleans, La to Mobile, Al and getting nowhere quickly.  One day, he decided to focus on the larger cities here in Alabama to see what was available. Birmingham, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and Mobile had nothing in surplus. Frustrated at the amount of work being placed and going nowhere, Mallory remembered he’d forgotten one particular Alabama City…Decatur. He sent an email to the Mayor, Tab Bolling who then forwarded the email to the Decatur City Fire Cheif, Tony Grande. Mallory was then informed there was, indeed, a truck that had been taken out of service and was being held in surplus. Grande was open about other departments who’d inquired about purchasing the vehicle for their own departments. Mallory informed Grande that Stonewall VFD was a small rural department with very little cash and pleaded with him the possibility of the City of decatur donating the apparatus.

Over a period of 4 months, Mallory remained in touch with Grande and Bolling and even sent letters to the Decatur City Council pleading with them to help Stonewall Volunteer Fire Department, who was struggling to keep their community Fire Department alive and running.

The Decatur City Council held a vote on May 1st to decide which city would receive the $50,000.00 truck. May 2nd, Robert Mallory received the news of a unanimous vote, 5-0, in favor of Stonewall Volunteer Fire Department receiving the truck as a donation to help the Canaan Community keeping them safe as well as seeing a reduction in their home insurance by living in a community that is now up to par on Fire Safety. Mallory and other members of the Stonewall Volunteer Fire Department made the trip the following Thursday to meet with the Fire Officials and the City Council to take ownership of their new fire truck.

A Good News Story by AM990 WLDX
– DeWayne G. Guyton

Northside Lady Rams Class 4A Champions 2017

Congratulations Northside Lady Rams Sofball Team and Coach Honeycutt for a great season and winning the State Championship.  You make Samantha proud.  Go Rams!!!

—————————————————————————————–

Northside breaks through to win 4A championship

Northside Lady Rams 2017 4A State Champions

By Joey Chandler / Sports Writer/Tuscaloosa News

MONTGOMERY – Northside High School made head softball coach Tommy Honeycutt’s 600th career win a memorable one.

The Rams shutout top-ranked, Class 4A Westminster Christian – a program listed 14th in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 national rankings and 15th in the USA Today Super 25 rankings – 4-0 in the finals to win their first state softball championship.

Coach Honeycutt

It was a moment Honeycutt spent 20 years waiting for, and one he said he was happy to share with his daughter, starting shortstop Riley Grace Honeycutt, and the rest of his players.
“They believed in our program and they believed in our school and our community. Today, this is a culmination of what has been going on for a long time,” Honeycutt said. “These girls reading the paper tomorrow, and all those girls that played for us in the past, this is for Northside and we appreciate you.”

Tournament MVP Savannah Stamps recorded the final out on a strikeout. She struck out two batters and gave up four hits, going 4-0 on the mound during the state tournament and 34-10-1 on the season.
“It didn’t seem real. I thought it was a dream,” Stamps said. “I threw my glove and jumped around, hoping somebody would grab be.”
The Rams (43-17-1) scored three runs in the fourth inning. Savannah Tidwell smacked a home run over the centerfield fence. Then Alex Green scored on a throwing error and Carson Beatty hit an RBI single to give the Rams a 4-0 advantage. Beatty finished 3-for-4 and Tidwell went 3-for-3.

Posted in Tuscaloosa News Saturday, May 20, 2017

Source: AL.com

A Graduate’s Prayer

We are publishing the prayer below at the request of several parents who have children graduating this year.

A Graduate’s Prayer

Father I have knowledge
so will you show me now
How to use it wisely
and find a way somehow
To make the world I live in
a little better place.
And make life with its problems
a bit easier to face. . .

Grant me faith and courage
and put purpose in my days
And show me how to serve Thee
in the most effective ways
So all my education,
my knowledge, and my skill
May find their use fulfillment
As I learn to do Thy will . . .
And may I ever be aware
in everything I do
That knowledge comes from learning –
And wisdom comes from you.

May God bless and watch over all the graduating seniors.  Please leave your comments or well wishes for your graduating senior below.

« Older posts

© 2024 Samantha Living

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑