BENJAMIN HILL HOPSON
(MARCH 2, 1883-NOVEMBER 19, 1953)
EULA MAE HANNAH HOPSON
(JUNE 14, 1885-NOVEMBER 18, 1965)
This is the story of two wonderful people who were loved by their family, friends and local town-folk.† I am fortunate, as are the other family listed in this book, that they were my grandparents.† I will attempt to write about some of the details of their life but feel very inadequate to fully describe how much they were loved and respected by their family and how much they loved in return.
Benjamin Hill Hopson (Ben) was born in Heard County, GA on March 2, 1883 to Thomas George Hopson and Sallie L (maiden name unknown). According to tradition, his mother, Sallie, died when he was 3 years old.† There are no 1890 census records so it canít be determined where he lived until he was shown in the 1900 Heard County, GA Census as seventeen years old, and boarding with his brother, Daniel Hopson and his wife Josie. His brother William was also living with them. Uncle Nick Hopson says that Benís father died several years after his mother when he was still a very young boy and he lived with his grandmother for a while and then moved in with his older brothers, Daniel and William.† Ben did most of the housekeeping and cooking for them since they were older and worked.† He and Eula Mae Hannah were married on September 28, 1901.†
Eula Mae Hannah (Eula) was born in Heard County, GA on June 14, 1885 to William Samuel (Sam) Hannah and Martha Elizabeth Hopson.† Sam was half Cherokee and the story of how his father, Alfred E. Hannah, obtained his Cherokee wife is also included in this book.† Eula Mae lived her early childhood in south Alabama and they later moved back to the Heard County area.† They are listed in the 1900 Heard County Census as living in Franklin. She was only 16 years old when they married.
One of Ben and Eula Maeís first homes is still standing on Bevis Rd, Franklin, Ga. (picture enclosed).† They lived in several other places over the years but the one on Hwy 27 North (picture enclosed) was the one that most of the grandchildren remember. He bought the house and land in 1922 and financed $1200 through the Federal Land Bank for 20 years.† According to courthouse records, he paid the mortgage off in 1944. Tradition says that they rented the place before buying it
Ben worked on the roads as a road commissioner for many years and was also a farmer.† They grew cotton, corn, sugar cane, and many other vegetable crops and had cows, pigs, horses, mules and chickens. Eula Mae milked the cows and churned it to make butter, buttermilk and regular milk that she sold to make money.† The grandchildren loved to watch her put the butter in a bowl and work it with a paddle and put special designs in each one.† She also sold the eggs from the chickens and would hatch some of the eggs (baby chicks) to sell.
Ben also had a crosscut saw that he used to cut up the trees to make lumber to build things on the farm.† He used the sugar cane that they grew to make syrup.† They had apple, peach, pear, pecan, walnut and hickory nut trees.† There were muscadines, figs, and many other interesting crops that Eula Mae used to make food for the family.† For the most part, they grew or raised everything they needed and bought very little from the store or peddler.† Eula Mae canned the fruits and vegetables and made jams, preserves, and pickles.† They killed the pigs and salted the meat and kept it in the smokehouse so it would be preserved.† Hog killing time was always very cold weather and youíve probably heard the weather described as ďcold enough to kill hogs.Ē†
Ben and Eula Mae lived during the depression and were very fortunate that they lived on a farm and were able to grow and make almost everything that they needed to feed their family and survive.† They even used the sackcloth from flour, etc, to make dresses and other clothing.† Eula Mae had a quilt rack in the front room and in the winter months she and friends and family would make beautiful and practical quilts. She kept them in a huge chest. Since, the house was heated by fireplaces, the quilts felt very good on a cold night.† In later years, they had a wood stove in the bedroom/sitting room.†
They had four boys and four girls.† One of the boys, Paul, died April 20, 1904 when he was only two months old.† They were Lizzie Lou Hopson (July 6, 1902), Paul Hopson (February 29, 1904), Ruby Hopson (May 4, 1905), Bob Hopson (June 1, 1908), Joseph Durham Hopson (May 26, 1910), Nick Augustus Hopson (September 12, 1912), Imogene Hopson (November 15, 1914), Sarah Florene Hopson (August 5, 1923).† A genealogy report of each child is given in this book.
Uncle Nick says that he remembers when Sarah was born.† His father sent him, Joe and Bob to Aunt Tomís to spend the day and when they returned, they had a baby sister, Sarah.† She was the only one of Ben and Eulaís children to be born at the Hwy 27 house.† Several of the grandchildren were also born there.† Nancy Blanton, daughter of Imogene, was born there with Eula Mae helping Dr. Wortham with the birth.† It is possible that a couple of Sarahís children were also born there.†
Most of the kids had to walk or ride a mule to school when they were able to go.† Nick and Imogene went for many years to a one-room school on Five Notch Road.† After Sarah was born, Ben decided he would move the family to Franklin because of the schools.† They bought the house across from the Franklin United Methodist Church and lived there for several years.† Before moving they had attended Centralhatchee Methodist Church but after moving to Franklin they became members of the Franklin United Methodist Church.
Ben was the foreman over a road crew that worked the state highways.† He was responsible for payroll and reports to Griffin, GA.† Since Ben didnít write or read well, Eula Mae had to do most of the paperwork.† When their sons, Bob and Joe, got older, they worked on the road with their father.† After they went to work, the plowing, chopping cotton and helping on the farm, became the responsibility of the youngest son, Nick.† The daughters helped Eula Mae in the house and the garden.
The farm life of Ben and Eula Mae was very typical of this rural county and the period of time that they lived.† The South was still rebuilding from the Civil War, WWI, and the depression.† Ben had only gone through the second grade so did not read or write very well.† Eula Mae attended school longer than he did so she could read and write and everyone that knew her said that she was very intelligent.† In fact, Uncle Nick said that her secret desire was to be a schoolteacher.† But unfortunately, times and circumstances didnít grant her that wish.† However, she was a strong, smart woman and contributed a lot to their success as a family and as farmers.†
Ben bought a T Model Ford (about a 1917 model) and kept it for about 1 year but had to sell it because of WWI. Uncle Nick said that it didnít have a gas pump and didnít hold much gas.† If it got low on gas, you had to back up the hill to get the gas to the engine.† You had to crank it by hand and if it was cold you had to hitch the horse to start it.†† Everything cost more and he sold it for exactly the same price that he paid for it. After that he had many other cars including a Willis Overland and a 1924 Dodge and others.† In May of 1931, Ben bought a black 1931 Chevrolet Sedan and financed $326.00.† One of the pictures included in this book is of Ben and Eula Mae standing by this car.† He always parked it by the back steps of the house. Aunt Virginia Hopson said that you didnít want to get behind him because he drove very, very slow.† Eula Mae never drove.† Also included in this book is a story of a trip Eula Mae took to visit Mahaley Lancaster, which was made in one of these old cars.†
Life was less complicated in the days that Ben and Eula Mae lived and raised their children.† Things were much simpler because they lived in a rural area without a lot of crime and development.† Most activities centered round the family, home and church.† Even though they lived a quiet life, they enjoyed entertainment and fun.† They worked hard during the daylight hours but at night and Sundays, they enjoyed music, games, sports and visiting relatives and friends.
One of their first musical instruments was a Victrola.† Eula Maeís favorite record was a song about the Titanic. She played it over and over. Pa Hannah and Bob played the fiddle and blew the harp. They also had a pump organ that Ruby played and later bought Imogene a piano for her 14th birthday (Nancyís son Chris still has the piano).† The family would gather around the piano with Imogene playing and the rest singing popular songs and hymns.
Ruby, Bob and Joe went to the Centralhatchee Singing School.† It wasnít a school for just singing, there was games, lessons, and other activities.† Professor J. L. Moore came down in the summer and held the school.† Lizzie Lou was married and Nick and Imogene were to young to go and Sarah wasnít born yet.
Some of the games that they played were Chinese checkers, checkers, rock school and other popular games of the day. Eula Mae loved her flowers and always had them on the front porch and front yard.† The family had a bookcase in the hallway filled with books that the children enjoyed reading.† Eula Mae loved to read the Atlanta Constitution that they received every day. In the early days it was only a tri-weekly. During WWI, her brothers Clarence and Lon were overseas fighting and she checked the paper everyday for a list of the dead and injured and news of the war.† Clarence received many medals for his bravery in this war.
Ben worked hard all of his life but as he neared his 60ís, he started to experience health problems.† He spent most of his later years with a walking cane which progressed to a wheel chair and finally to being completely paralyzed and bedridden.† He was totally dependent on his wife, Eula Mae, and his children to see to his everyday needs.† Eula Mae was a strong woman and continued running the farm for many years after his illness.† She still had the cows, chickens, pigs, garden and some of the paying crops.† Her boys helped with the fieldwork and made it possible for her to keep the farm. His disease finally took his life at the age of 70.† He died peacefully in his sleep at home.†††
After Ben died, Eula Mae lived for many more years in the house on Hwy 27.† She didnít farm anymore but still had chickens, a couple of cows and a garden.† One of her favorite pastimes was sitting on the front porch rocking and watching the cars go by.† Most of the time one of her children or grandchildren would be there with her.† She was healthy most of her life but as she got older starting having some heart problems.† Her health finally deteriorated to the point that she had to move in with her oldest daughter, Lizzie Lou.† She died there at the age of 80.
These wonderful people who made it possible for all of us to be here today lived a very happy and full life.† They were good, honest people that loved the Lord and their family and friends.† We can all truly say that we were blessed to call them our parent and grandparents.† Hopefully we will remember their love and the good lives that they led and pass that happiness on down to future generations.