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Sandra K. Gorin, Gorin Genealogical Publishing,  Volume 2 of Barren's Black Roots, Michelle Gorin Burris, (c) Aug 1992). By permission of the author

 

UNCLE FOUNT AND HIS FOUR IN HAND

 

Trails of Metcalfe County’'s Past by the Thomas Metcalfe and Edmund Rogers Junior Historical Society.

 

                “Throughout history there have been people who have left their mark on local communities, the state, and the nation. Often such people are statesmen, doctors, or lawyers who have made a contribution to society. “Uncle Fount”, as he was affectionately known in the community, was such a person. Although he was black and born a slave, he was one of the most trusted members of the society in southern Metcalfe County. He was highly respected and well known in the community and is still remembered by older people in the area today.

 

                “Fountaine Clark was born on February 18, 1855 according to the Metcalfe County Cemetery Records, Vol. 1. However, according to the 1870 Metcalfe County Census, he was 17 years old at that time, hiking him to be born in 1853. He started to learn to drive a team to a wagon, which was to be his life’s occupation, at the age of ten. Paul Bushong, who grew up in Summer Shade and the surrounding areas, described “Uncle Fount” as follows:

 

                “He was a fairly big man with a big voice and when he laughed, and that was often, he could be heard from one end of the town to the other. He always let the citizenry know he was in town by his hearty guffaws.”

 

                “Fount had two brothers. George Robert, who was 22 years old in 1870 on the Metcalfe County Census, was a carpenter. He is credited with building many of the older homes in Summer Shade, including the Mayfield place, the Mitchell Word house, and the Mack Word home on Nobob Creek. Even though he was not educated, he knew just how to cut the boards and put them together to make them fit. Fount’s older brother, Thomas J., was 14 years old on the 1870 census and worked on a farm. His father, Alsey A. M. was born in 1820 and was a farmer. Alsey’s personal property was listed as being valued at $540 and his real estate was valued at $600.

 

                “Fount married Mary E. (her last name is not known). They had two daughters, Stella and Alma. Stella was born on October 10, 1892. Alma married a Hall and Stella married Fred Buckner.

 

                “Uncle Fount owned a small farm on the edge of Summer Shade to the southeast. His house was a two-story structure in the front and a one-story structure in the back. He also had a long stable to keep his horses that were most blacks and bays.

 

                “Fount was a familiar face around the Summer Shade area, and Metcalfe, Barren and Cumberland Counties. According to Paul Bushong, “He was the errand boy for the whole town...” Uncle Fount was probably the most high respected black man that ever lived in the Summer Shade vicinity. His integrity was unquestionable.

 

                “During the early years, he hauled with oxen to Horse Cave which was 30 miles away. Later he was able to build his string of horses for hauling to twenty-four. He served the people of the Summer Shade area as transporter of goods, a mail carrier, and a banker. Prior to 1900, there was no bank in Summer Shade so “Uncle Fount” was entrusted to carry the money from the merchants to the bank in Glasgow. He also brought drugs from the Glasgow druggists for doctors in Summer Shade to and from Glasgow. “Although he was uneducated, he had a way of coding everything so that his deliveries were made without error. One man’s order might have a corner turned down, another have a little corner torn off, or some other identification mark. Always every message and package was promptly and properly delivered.”

 

               
                “Hauling on the roads of that day was not easy. However, weather never stopped him. He went through mud, rain, hail, or any type of weather to get the job done. Once on his way home to Summer Shade from Glasgow, he got stuck on what was known as the Brother Renfro Hill. He finally got home that night with a very tired team after yelling and cracking his whip at the horses to get them to pull.

 

                “Uncle Fount” died at the age of 92 on February 17, 1937. The mark that he made on local history can probably best be summed up by the closing words of an obituary that appeared in one of the local papers at the time of his death.

 

                “Uncle Fount” was also referred to 24 February 1987: “Fount Clark, better known as Uncle Fount, drove a wagon and team from Summer Shade to Glasgow and back. He hauled for the merchants in Summer Shade from about 1865 until the 1920’s. Before there was a bank, the merchants gave money for Fount Clark to take to Glasgow tot he bank. During this time they never lost “a penny entrusted to Uncle Fount.”

 

  

 

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