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By Ray Gold

Chapter  One

     I have tried to record all the facts that I am able to find about  my  ancestors and related family members. But somehow always come up short on details for these stories, which would add much,  and make it more interesting to read and understand just how they lived and enjoyed the closeness of their families.
    Knowing that they all lived with and near their relatives, and did not have much more than the bare necessities of life. It seemed that I should be able to put more reality into my stories of things that happened in their life. So I began to look around for a way to project the facts that we know about them all.
     The last few years the computer has played a big part in climbing family trees. So by luck I met a cousin that I never knew existed, until in December of the year 2000, I saw a inquiry on the Stone County, MO. Web Site, asking about the Stowe, Wright, families who had gone to the State of Illinois during the first half of the 1900’s.  I knew right away, that I wanted to answer the inquiry.  And to my pleasant surprise, I became acquainted with a very nice lady who was descended through William Houston Stowe, and Mary Ann Gold. Her name is Virginia “Gini” [Severson] Gehant.  We chatted on line almost every day, and still do, real often.  We refer to each other as cousins. We exchanged information about our family records. I told her of my confusion and inability to put real life into the stories of my ancestors.
     She said;  “wait right there” I think we can figure out just what to do. She said she married into a family that originally migrated to America from Norway.  On the following paragraphs, she tells how to accomplish a lot in projecting the story of our ancestors in more detail.   Read on:

      TROLL [She told me about this in a email.]

     In Scandinavian Mythology, a powerful giant that was a enemy to humans. Trolls lived in caves or in castles on hilltops, robbing and eating any travelers foolish enough to stray into their domain after dark, Huge, hard-skinned, and virtually indestructible, they could only be vanquished by sunlight, which would either turn them into stone or make them invisible
     In later folklore, trolls were less awesome and malevolent. They committed specific acts of malice, such as stealing maidens, and also began to develop semi-magical powers such as prophecy and shape-shifting.  Outside Scandinavia trolls began to be associated with stories of the so-called little people who lived in mounds of the outer limits of cultivated land and performed acts of mischief.
     Trolls are also found in literature. The 19th-century Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen used them  in Peer Gynt [1887; English translation, 1892] as symbols of evil.  In Children’s stories, Trolls often lived beneath bridges, harassing passers-by and exacting  tolls. In the Hobbit [1937], by British writer, J.R.R. Tolkien, they appear as highly dangerous but essentially slow-witted creatures. In the Moominland Children’s stories by 20th-century Finnish writer, Tove Janson, the Moomintrolls into gentle creatures living in a rural paradise.     [Taken from Online Encyclopedia]
     Gini told me the story of how a little troll happened to be living among our ancestors, and how he had become real fond of our people.  She said that he was not visible at all times, and that he and his wife, came on a wagon train from Pennsylvania in the trunk of a neighbor, Mary Jane Henderson in 1852. How he got to Pennsylvania is a whole other story, that will have to be recited later.   Gini, said when she was a little girl and playing by her self, that the little troll , who she called Oscar, and his wife was Mable, that they appeared before her while she was playing, and talked to her. And told her to not tell about them, to just have her own secret. And someone made some noise and they just vanished. Gini, also knew that Oscar and Mable were living in a box among some junk in my smoke- house. Mable didn’t like living in that smoke house after I had started curing my meat in there. The salt and dampness was not a good place to live, so she started looking around for a good  place to make their home.
     One day in 1948, Gini  was only about 5 years old, when her father and mother brought her from Illinois to Missouri to visit. And when they were almost ready to leave for home,  she said that her gr-mother, Emma [Wright] Stowe, wife of Oliver Stowe put her suitcase in the trunk of the car. Then opened it to put something in it and left it open, while talking to Aunt Molly, Mable decided to go look in the suitcase, it looked like a good place to make their home, she just got in it and then Gini’s gr- mother shut the suitcase and they took Mable to Illinois with them, That is the last time Oscar has seen Mable. They are both very sad and alone, and while Gini was still young and playing alone, suddenly Mable appeared there with her and was very sad that she had been brought there without Oscar, she was so lonesome, she lived in her gr-mother’s old house, and it is believed that she still lives there.
     Oscar decided that it was not safe to look for another home, after all, look what happened to Mable when she went in search of a new home. Oscar continued to live in the smoke-house.  Ray and Ruby bought a new fangled refrigerator and the meat was no longer needed to be stored and cured. So it was a better place to live.
     This particular time; December 2000, Oscar walked out in the cold and he noticed the temperature was 20 degrees out there.  He noticed that it was better than it had been, but he was so cold and tired of winter weather. He didn’t remember that it was colder when he lived in Norway. It had been so long and he was so much older and perhaps his blood was thinner too. His worn out woolen garments didn’t keep him warm as they used to, and he was so lonesome with out Mable. Being just close to her, kept him warm and he  knew she’d knit him a new hat, gloves, socks and blanket.
     As was his custom, Oscar looked into  Ray’s window who now lived by himself. What in the world was he doing He was sitting in front of a box with a piece of glass facing him. his fingers were busily  moving very fast over a rectangular piece—what did they call that material it was made of,  oh , yes, plastic. What in the world was he doing, had he completely lost his mind?  He had been acting strange like this, ever since those big boxes arrived in 1995. Oscar had heard something mentioned about a computer. What in the world is a computer?  Why does he start to laugh and talk to this strange machine sometimes? He’d see Ray look over his shoulder as if someone was looking. Oscar knew that Ray couldn’t see him, most people couldn’t, only the very young can, and then just sometimes. Oscar couldn’t even sense what Ray was thinking, Ha, he would chuckle to himself ever so often. When I am alone, and talk to myself, etc., I would look around real quick to see if anyone is there to hear me. I knew that no one is there, but sometimes it feels like they are there.
     Just at that second, a very strong wind came along, it set Oscar to shivering uncontrollably. He felt very sick , cold and alone. Oscar decided to do something that he had never done before and never thought he would. He knocked on Ray’s door.
     I have been all housed up here during the cold weather. When I heard a very gentle knock on my door, like there was no evil person at my door. I am Oscar he said. I said Oscar, what is your reason to call on me today?  In a very pleasant voice he said sir; I am sick, hungry, and very cold, could I please come in an get warm by your fire. Sure, Oscar come right in, He was very short and thin, and talked  with sort of a squeaky voice, and shivering with cold. He was so cold, he was almost blue. I got him in a  chair by my fire and wrapped him in quilt, and poured him a cup of hot coffee.  He soon stopped shivering so bad, and a big smile came over his face. I could tell he was enjoying the heat and coffee very much. So he had a quick feeling for me that he tried to express, that he was in need and I was there to help him. So we were already good friends, seemed like. After he had recuperated and all warmed up I ask him to eat lunch with me. He was overjoyed and we eat a good lunch, as we talked about out lives. He told me about his life in the trunk that he came to Missouri in.  Then he told me about living in the smoke-house that was almost at my back door.
     After we had our lunch and both feeling real good, and we, were no longer skeptical, but just curious about our lives. I thought, come to think about it, he knows so much more about me than I had any  idea, he knew.
     After asking me a lot of questions about what things here in the house was, and I had gone to a lot effort to tell as near as I could how everything worked. It seemed he already knew a lot of what I was trying to tell. But I had no idea how he knew so much.
     He ask me about my computer, what it was, etc., and what I used it for. When I started telling him. I could tell, he was puzzled, so I said let me show you what happens, when I click this here little old mouse, and just you watch and I will do it, But watch close.  You see that little old arrow  that moves when I  move this thing around?  Yes, he said, but I could tell, he was a little nervous, and he kept asking simple questions, what makes it move,? He seemed to always accept the way I explained it to him. He kept getting  nervous. He thought it was some kind of a ghost or something like that.
      He seemed to accept my answers, and we moved on. He said how many children do you have?  I told him I had three children, and I began to tell him about them.  He would say things that told me he already knew about my children, but for some reason he wanted to hear me tell about them. I guess to verify his account of the matter. I didn’t think too much about the way he answered. But then he ask about my wife. I said Oscar I don’t have a wife, she left me, and then I kinda laughed. He said  “I know” but you both still love and need each other, don’t you?  So I told him, we are still big fools about each other. He said, “I know. But I could never understand why things are like they are.” I thought gosh, does he know everything about me? So I told him about us being married twice, again he said “ I know?  I did not try too hard to get him to sympathize with me.  I wanted to move on and talk about something else, but he wanted me to tell him about my whole life. He kept asking me what happened before you married her.
     I told Oscar, after all I had spent the last 20 years with the same woman; cause we were married in June of 1981, something still holds us together. Well, that he tried to agree with me on. Then he wanted to know about my life before 1981. Well; Oscar, I retired August 31, 1981, I had spent my life working in the area and made a lot of friends, but had lost my first wife; Ruby, in August of 1978, and that Ruby and I were very close, and I supposed that I was trying to have that kind of a relation with my last wife; Barbara, but it was not to be.  So here I am alone and trying to make a good life on my own.  Every time I told Oscar about another step in my life, he said; “I know”.  So I became more concerned about how he knew so much.  He had me puzzled by this time, and I knew not how to tell him that he must be a person with special powers granted to very few  creatures on this earth. So I was skeptical but had to believe what I saw with my own eyes, and heard him tell me these things that were part of my life.
     I couldn’t understand why he ask me a question, then when I answered it truthfully, he said; “ I know.” I told him of my children and grand-children. He said you have a nice family.  How he knew? I was more puzzled as I told him more.  He ask what did you do for a living?  I told him my story about working for the same company for 34 years, and he still said; “I know”. I told him I had bought rabbits and all kinds of fur in the winter time, and it seemed I told him nothing new. I was a bookkeeper, cream tester, hardware salesman, truck driver, but he still knew.
     Ruby and I started house-keeping here near where this house is located in 1938, and moved away in 1939 and lived away from here until 1942. When we bought this place and moved back here in November of that year, and I have been here ever since.
    He knew that I had only a 12th grade education, and seemed everything that happened in between. Ruby and I were married November 23,  1938 in Clever, MO., by Rev. Maples.
    I guess I moved away from the computer too soon to suit him, because he kept coming back and asking more questions about it. Well, I would show him what little I knew about a computer. But I couldn’t explain to his satisfaction how it works. So he was very confused about that. He said maybe it was a ghost trying to tell us about how things really are.  I failed  to have the answer for him. He was very upset and confused about that computer business.
     He ask me about how long I had electricity in my house? Well, I have had electricity since about 1950. He said what about all these gadgets I see around here? What do you do with that thing on the desk? Oh,  I said, that is my radio, What do you do with it. I turned it on, and out came a noise that he didn’t  like, it was rock and roll music. He grabbed his ears and said, please, can you stop it from making a noise like that. So I flipped the knob and it stopped, and he was relieved.
     His cheeks were getting red, and his eyes a little glassy looking, and he was all of a sudden , very funny, seemed like he would be easy to cope with now. So I thought I would confuse him. I turned the computer on again, and he nodded his approval, until I went on line, and it talked back to us. It said;  Welcome”,  “ You have mail”.  Oscar said;  “ What did you say”.  No, that is the computer, Oh, Oh,  how does it do that? He seemed excited and his eyes all lit up, I thought he was pleased, but actually he was scared, and acted afraid of the computer. Who is in that thing to do the talking to us?, is it a ghost , or what? No, that is the computer telling us that we are in contact with the rest of the world. I flicked it on the mail box, and there was a email from Gini, it was about Giniealogy, so I explained who Gini was,  he said yes, oh yes, I know her, she lives up there where Mable went to in a suitcase, I think. She does that Giniealogy stuff. Yeah, that is her, I said, and Oscar smiled his approval for Gini.
     The telephone rang at this point, and I picked up the receiver and said hello, and he heard that  thing talk to me, and he wondered, what the heck; How can that thing talk?  I said someone in another place is talking to me. I let him listen for a minute. Then in his little squeaky voice, he said to me, who is that?,  before I could say a thing, the phone said, What did you say?  Oh this thing is talking to me, again it said what’s wrong with you? Do I have the wrong number? Then in his squeaky voice he said; “ how do you get it to stop talking to me. So I took the phone  and said to the person on the other end, Oh, the kids are making a lot of racket, but I believe I have them quelled down now. I think? That was hard to explain to someone on the other end of the line, they might think I was loosing my marbles. So I had a hard time with Oscar telling him what was going on.
      It seemed like he was no longer afraid. I saw him kinda blink his eyes and nod his head as if he were getting sleepy. So I got real quiet for a few minutes, and I could see that he needed a good nights rest. So I said, Oscar you can stay all night with me if you would like to. You can sleep right here on my cot by the fire. I could see that is what just suited him.   He climbed up on the cot and I got a good heavy blanket and sorta tucked him in. Then I just set down and looked at him, I knew that I had done a good deed by keeping him over night.  So I also went to bed and slept like a log all night. The next morning when I woke up, it seemed like I had a dream. And it came to me, what had happened with Oscar and me. And I really thought it surely must be a dream. I got out of bed and came to build a fire, and sure enough, there was Oscar still fast asleep in his good warm bed. I kindled up the fire, and prepared breakfast for us.  I was not sure what he would like to eat.  I prepared bacon and eggs and coffee.  I  figured surely he lived on berries, and what ever he could find to eat.  Then I went to awaken Oscar. When I spoke to him , he jumped  and kinda hid under the cover. But I talked to him and he remembered our ordeal of the night before. I told him I had our breakfast ready, so he jumped up and dressed himself. He really nodded his approval as we took our chairs at the table. After we had our meal, we went back to the living room. All of a sudden he said; “ Where is your out-house. Oh, I said I don’t have a out-house anymore since I have electricity. I have a indoor restroom, you may use it,  here, right this way, and I showed him how it all worked, and then I left and went back to my chair in the living room. Then all of a sudden I heard an awful commotion, and went to see what was going on. He was really confused, he said, that thing really works funny, and he was just laughing about what all happened. He said that thing is handy for a old man like me.  He said, you see, I am a lot older than you. I never knew what a contraption like that was used for. Now I know.
     Oscar said,  So you was born right here on this place. Yes, I said do you remember  that old walnut tree that stood right there.  Yes.  Well my mother used to hang my diapers over the top of that old tree. So now we know about how old that old tree is, don’t we?  He said we sure do.
     I said to Oscar, Now you tell me about your life before I was born. OK, he said; I will give it a try. I said to him, “ you said Mable went to Illinois in Gini’s grand-mothers suit case. Well, is that sure enough the last time you saw her, and did you ever think about it. She is probably still living there in that old suitcase. Or with the same people that she left here with a long time ago. He was real quiet for a spell, and I said we will try to find out with a email to Gini. We can ask her if she knows where Mable is at. So we did, and Gini said she would look around, and let us know later, but we still have no word on that. We are hoping to hear from her soon.
     He said, he better go, and take care of other business. So I told him to come as often as he wishes, and I would show him around. He  said he was glad he came and glad to have me for his friend. I said don’t stay and get cold and hungry, and he promised to visit me often and discuss matters of long ago, and even right up to the present time.
     A few days later when Oscar came back to visit me. He knocked on my door, and I opened it and let him come in to set by my fire. He said he was glad to see me, and that he got cold and wanted to set by my fire for a few minutes. I gave him a pair of gloves and some old shirts that I thought he could wrap up in to sleep. He was so happy  that I cared so much about him getting so cold, etc.  He got real warm and I offered him some popcorn and we both eat popcorn and talked for a long time. Soon he said he better go, and climbed down out of his chair, I put his stuff in a paper bag and as he was about to go, my telephone rang, and I answered it. After I hung the phone up he said that thing is a mystry to me, and acted like he thought it was a ghost on the other end of the line, etc.  I said Oscar I have just the thing for you, and I pointed at my CB and told him how it works etc. I have both the CB base and this one to take with me when I go up in the timber, so I can talk to my buddies etc.  He got real interested. So I said us see if we can find someone on that thing.  Sure enough an old truck driver yelled, 10-4 good buddy, come in, and I spoke to him and he wanted to know where he was at. So I got him straightened out. Then I said to Oscar, I have an idea. You take this one and I will have the base set here, and any time you get in trouble, just get on that thing and yell at me and I will know who it is, and we can visit and plan when we will get together again to discuss our lives, etc.
     Oscar acted real proud that I would trust him with that CB, and said that is just what we need to keep in touch,  but I would rather not talk to anyone except you, Oh, I said you might want to say a few words to Gini.   “Gini”, he said , Well, if she gets on here I will talk to her. So if you hear someone on your CB, it might be Oscar. He don’t seem to be scared of me anymore.
     I had a early breakfast this morning, and took my easy chair to watch TV, and about that time, my base CB blurted out, in sort of a squeaky voice that I could not be mistaken about who it was. Anyone out there , come on, Anyone out there, come on. Oscar here come on.  I said, ok, come back.  Good morning, he said, I think this thing  is going to be  alright. —come on—Oscar said if you are not busy us go for a walk in the woods. I agreed, and he appeared  almost instantly at my door. He bowed, and smiled and reached up to shake my hand, and said I feel good and would like to go for a walk so we can talk and enjoy each others way of life. Well that sounds good to me, after all we both need to find out about how we live this life. So we took off on our walk in the woods. We went walking  up the valley along an old ditch. We finally came to a little spring of  water in the ditch. Oscar told me, this is where I have got my drinking water for many years. Here, let me show you—See these old flat rocks, see, I have a goard dipper, I hide it between these 2 rocks, and then I put this one on top ,so no one bothers it.  We got us a drink of spring water and went on up the valley, then, out of the blue –pointing—this here is my persimmon tree, and I like em. I take and dry em and store em in my secret place, near where I live.
     I said, Oscar, why don’t you come to me sooner so I can help you? He said , listen, in that little squeaky voice,  I am a lot older than you. I am better off being my own person, and not being beholden to anyone. He still gets around better than I do. He is so short and looks puny, but out in the timber he is pretty active, quick, and gets excited and talks in his own little squeaky voice and is real pleasant, at least while things are going his way out here in the wild.
     About this time we came to a big old hollow black oak tree. It has a hollow place up about as high as my head. He said now listen. I will show you where another one of my secret places is, if you will promise to not show it to anyone.  I promised, and he reached up to shake hand on it. Then he  pointed to that hollow place in the big tree. He said, with a smile on his face, I have been stealin from the farmers around here, and from you since you moved here in the 1940’s.  You see I keep another goard dipper hid  here in this old hollow tree. And in the night time when everyone  is asleep, I go to where their cows are at.  I just take this old goard dipper and fill it with milk. I have an old tin can that I fill with milk right here on the spot. Then I drink all the milk that I want, and fill the tin can and take it back to my box at my secret place where I live. He said, I hope you really don’t mind helping a friend to survive, the cows don’t mind unless they have a baby calf, then I would just cross the fence and get milk from your neighbors herd. I agreed that I had never missed the milk. But he wasn’t really too clear on some of this stories, . So, I just pondered what he had said, and I wanted to know more about how he survived.
    I ask him,  What else do you eat, Oh—he said, I go out and pick berries, anything that I like, I get wild grapes, which are free for the taking, ha,  apples, and other fruit from the orchards, and dry them in my box. Then when I am hungry, I have a goard bowel that I use for dried fruit and milk. I store nuts of all kinds, and honey from the bee hives in trees or in the farmers hives, Etc.
     He has said much about how he survives and lives to have such a long life. He said he was not sure how old he is. And that brought us to something else. He said if we would go
on out in the timber, he would show me where some of this folks are buried. We walked down a little path and up a hill to a little knowl where at least six graves were all rowed up, Just a big field rock at the head of each grave. He went  directly to two graves that were well kept. This is where my parents are buried.  I ask their names, he said his father’s name was,  Wm. Henry Alexander, and his mother ‘s name was;  Ophie, I was sorta named for my mother, They called me Oscar “Opie”, but I don’t mind, now they call me Oscar.
     I said to him, I like your stories, and learn about the old timers that lived right around here is this part of the woods. So us meet in a day or two and have a visit about these old stories about people and the Civil War that took place around here. He agreed and went to the house, and agreed to meet again soon.
     The next morning he came on the cb and wanted to meet and have a story tellin session by my fire where it is good and warm.  In a very short time I heard a commotion on my porch. I went to the door and I could see nothing, so I shut the door, and I heard in  a squeaky voice, in some foreign language. So I opened the door again, For a minute there, I thought I was just seeing things. Then all of a sudden, Oscar popped up right in front of me, I guess he was saying some of his magic words. Then I could see him. I said, come right in. He immediately climbed upon his stool by the fire, and said how glad he was to have me for his friend.  All of a sudden he jumped down off of his stool, and moved the stool to a different place, and then climbed back on his stool and rubbed his hands to get them warm.  I noticed that his nose and ears were real red like they were cold. That made me think of a  sock cap that I never used, I will give it to you to keep your ears warm. I went and  got the cap and gave it to him. He tried it on and pulled it down over his ears and grinned then said I am so proud of that. Thank you very much. I ask him if he had a warm bed, he said it is kinda worn , and not as warm as it used to be when Mable was here with me, I’ll tell you what I have got , his eyes got big and he really  listened. I have  perfectly good sheep lined coat. I am too big for it now. We can make you a good warm sleeping bag. How does that sound? I don’t think I understand, he said. Well we can sew the bottom together and zip the front of it, and you can go in at the top of it. Wow, wow, in my secret place, wow. So he was in a hurry to go to his secret place and put his new sleeping bag in the place where he wanted it, so he could sleep in it that night. He started to go and I handed him a pair of gloves, he was almost overcome at all of this. I ask , as he was leaving, “let me know how this all works out., and he left.
     The next morning I heard the cb saying in a muffled voice,  This is Oscar, I don’t want to get up , I am so nice and warm.   I said come and set by my fire and us talk. After a long while I heard another commotion on my porch, I couldn’t understand what it said, but went to investigate, and opened the door. There stood Oscar right in front of me. He was saying in his magic words, that I could not understand, except he wanted to tell me how proud he was of his new sleeping bag.  He came in and set on his stool by the fire, rubbed his hands and said he sure slept warm last night. He said;  Now, what did you want to talk to me about. You are really my best friend and I am so proud.
     I said; Oscar,  you know me and Gini does giniealogy together—OH, Yes, I know, and that is good, What does that have to do with me? Well we wanted to know more about your parents, and how they got here, and we wanted to help you find Mable. –You see, Gini, she might be able to find out from her Aunt Kaye where Mable is at. Wouldn’t that be nice. OH, you bet, he said—and then he got real quiet again just a settin with his elbows on his knees and his hand on his chin, just a thinking. After a few minutes, he said , you see, just between me and you and Gini, a lot of that stuff is secret. Please give me some time to think about all of this. OK, I said, but we really need to help you find Mable.
     Again the next morning, Oscar came to see just how he could help Gini and I with our family tree.  You see I have lived amongst your folks since the early 1850’s , and I do know part of your past. I remember when you children were born and I also saw you all grow to be grown. You were all good children, you were well blessed with good parents. I even remember when your Dad lived here alone before he married your mother. I saw that he was a good man, and that he liked to help other people where he could. I saw an old woods cat climb on his window screen at night when we was there alone. He decided that the woods cat was also hungry and needed a friend. I saw him put out a pan of food for that cat and finally the cat came and eat.  He also came back and climbed on the screen so your dad knew what the cat wanted. So he put feed out for that big ole woods cat for a long time. Your Dad kept moving the pan of food a little closer to his kitchen door each time. He kept moving the food a little closer to the door, and the cat kept eating it all, finally your Dad left the door open and fed the cat in the same place for a few days, then moved it a little closer to the door, and kept doing this until he had the cat coming up into the kitchen door to eat his feed, and was not afraid of your Dad.  Just like you have been so good to me, I know that you are all good people. Therefore I have decided to help you and Gini all I can with your family tree.
    I said, Oscar;  that is quite a story about my Dad, and I know that it is true, because he told me about feeding that old woods cat and finally made friends with him. And he would come in the house to be fed every day. But tell me, how long have you lived here among my people. Oh; he said, I have been here around these people since the early 1850’s when they all came here. I know a lot of what has happened ever since that time.
    It seems like you have a very keen memory of the details to the stories you have told me. If you like to tell stories, I could set all day and listen at you talk. Let me ask you a question. Did you ever go to the soldiers camp while they were camped right over that hill in Lane Town Hollow?
     Yes, he said me and Mable  used to go  watch them  march and sing, and play their band, and different instruments, they had fiddles, banjos, harps, and other musical instruments. I was out in the woods one day and I found  a harp, I guess a soldier had lost it. I took it to my secret place and when Mable and me would go on a walk in the woods, I would set on a stump and try to play that harp. Mable could play it better than I could. But we both loved the sound of that thing. I said to Oscar do you still have that harp? No he said, I think when you started curing your meat in the smoke house, the salt made it rust and it was soon no good.
     I was feeding my two beagle hounds this morning, I heard a commotion in the direction of the smoke house, it sounded like boxes being moved and re-arranged.  As I was standing there talking to my beagles. Oscar popped up from behind me, and said I see you are doing your morning chores two. He said he had to straighten things up a bit so he could get around better, and I saw you were out so I might be able to talk to you. To see if you might want to take a stroll in the woods with me again. Seems like we both like the timber. I said ; Yes, I would like to do that again. I said, it is summer time so I might take this here gallon bucket with us , we might find some berries back in the woods. He said, ok, and we started, no hurry, just leisurely strolling with a friend, in the woods.
     We came to a fork in the hollow, and just as we approached the fork, Oscar said—I can tell you a story about this fork. It happened in about 1887 or 1888. So us set on this log while I tell you this story about your gr-ma and her Pa,: Jim Garoutte, now this was before your gr-ma was married, don’ you see? He Pointed to a huge rock over next to the hill. I was hid behind that old boulder over there, and I seed your gr-gr-Pa  Garoutte, he was kinda hid too.  I could see him but he couldn’t see me, so I wanted to see what he was up to. After a few minutes a big ole buck deer, come a grazing  along right over there [pointing]. He shot that old Buck deer and just in a few minutes , your Gr-ma showed up riding a horse and leading  another horse. Seems like she had come to  get her Pa and the deer. They loaded that deer on back of the saddle and they both mounted and rode off.
    I thought you would like that little story about your gr-ma, before she married your gr-pa, James Harvey Gold. I said,  yes; Thanks for having such a keen memory. Now, I will tell you what my gr-ma said about that story. She said she was just a girl at home before she was married, and her and her Pa came down here one day on horse back. He told her to wait right there at where the house is at now. And when she heard him shoot, she was to bring the horses and come up to where she heard him shoot. So now we have a witness to that story. Thank you, Oscar.
    We proceeded  on our stroll up the valley and came to a few gooseberry vines, with nice berries on them.  I said, do we want to get gooseberries, or wait and see if we can find some blackberries. But—Oscar, I said; Now let me tell you a story about this gooseberry patch He was all ears, I said; My uncle Lon Gold told me about a story that happened right over in there, in about 1910, near the foot of that old hill there.  He said his mother, this same gr- mother of mine, she was right over there picking gooseberries and he was right over here, [pointing].   He said Ma, , he called her Ma , something made a noise a buzzin sound and he looked around and there went a big old hoop snake just a buzzin, and he just hit the tail of her dress, and just rolled on down through the timber. He didn’t  get to kill it, cause he was just running through the leaves. He said it was rolled up in a hoop shape about 3 ft high, and big.  Uncle Lon said, he did see a hoop snake right in there. Now Oscar I was wondering if you saw that snake. No, he said; but I did see a hoop snake real close to where we are at. He described it about like Uncle Lon told about a hoop snake. So that  proved to me that the story about the hoop snake is also true, so I am real proud that we have took this stroll in the timber.
      One day I was in  my shop, I was putting the finishing touches on a porch swing that I was making for a cousin of mine who lives in Texas. When I heard the door to the shop squeaking behind me. I looked around and there stood Oscar, seemed that he was just stirring around and wanted to know what was going on. After our always jovial welcome, he kinda settled down to watch me finish the swing. He didn’t  ask too many questions. Just looked on, and commented about my shop etc.  Somehow the conversation got changed to days gone by.
    Well he said; I recollect a lot things that happened before your time. I recall when World War 1 was going on, Me and Mable was living in a big old hollow tree over there on your Gr-Pa Gold’s place. We could look out and see your gr-Pa’s corn field, where him and two of his boys, Virgil and Lon was plowing corn. I seed Virgil when he come to the end of the field, where he stopped and took his coat off and hung it on a fence post. He went another round or two and the U.S. Army came to take him to the Army, that was in June of 1917. Virgil left his horse and plow there at the field, and left his coat hanging on a post and went off to war. The coat was still hanging there late that fall.
     Oscar was settin there close to where I was working, he kinda moved around  a little, And I thought that was all the story tellin. But then he said; that reminds me of another thing that happened while Mable  and Me lived there. This was about a year before Virgil went off to war. It was the cyclone of 1916. It all clouded up there one day, we was just taking it easy. It was in the spring, I believe it was in the month of March. It blowed a lot of trees down all around us , but somehow our tree was left standing, and that storm did a lot of damage, it is the worst storm I ever saw. It blowed a lot of homes and out-buildings away, but we got through it ok.
     I finished the swing, and I said; us go to the house and rest and chat where we can relax. Oscar said, that suits me just fine. As we were going across my yard, he pointed to that old walnut tree and said, We know how old that old tree is , don’t we? I said, yes me and that tree is the same age, that is where my mother hung my diapers over the top of it when I was a little feller. That is right because she told me the same story.
      We went to the house and got all situated. Oscar sat on the same stool when he came, not too high and not to low. I got him a cold drink, and he kinda  cleared his throat,  and smiled. Again he reminded me of how proud he was to be my friend, and said he had known me all of these years but wouldn’t show his self or ask me for help, until he almost had to.
     He kinda braced up, and his eyes all lit up, and he said, I even remember when you started to court Ruby before you were married. I said, Oh, I hope you didn’t watch too close, and laughed.  He said, well, you two sure was crazy about each other, at least it appeared that way, and he laughed, in his squeaky voice.  Oscar , I said—she was a real nice person, and I had to love her.  He said , I know she was a nice person for you. I remember when you and Ruby first moved to this place in the old house that was here. That was in 1938, because me an Mable lived in the old tree up on the hill that you later cut down and built the smoke-house with. You and Ruby loved each other very much and it showed. You both  worked very hard, and raised three nice children, Freddie, Eddie, and Dixie, all good kids and they were all good workers. But they married and moved away. Then Ruby died and left you here all alone. You both loved each other very much, and the neighbors knew and liked you both and the neighbors children liked to gather here and play with your children. seemed like they always met at your and Ruby’s house.
    I said; Oscar as you know, my life has changed a lot since Ruby left here. So, I needed someone to care and love me. So I re-married.  Of course, it didn’t last, and here I am.
     I went up in the timber on my tractor and took the wood splitter and my chain saw. I finished blocking up a tree into stove wood and shut my saw down and thought I would take a break before I used the wood splitter. I just set down on a block of wood, and looking out through the timber, nice and quiet, I thought, except the noises that are common out here in the timber. Just then I heard the leaves rattle over by the ditch. Then a commotion that was breaking sticks, etc., and a mumbling noise. I Thought , huh, Oh, I know that sound, it must be Oscar. I just set real still but didn’t see anything. So I decided to start the tractor and wood splitter. I got up from my seat on the block of wood and started toward the tractor. And right there before me stood Oscar. He said; hi, and jumped upon a block of wood, and said I have been watching  you use the chain saw, but I was afraid to get very close to that thing, it sounds dangerous to me. So I waited until you
stopped it. I listened while he was telling me that he had just been over to the Molly Wright Cemetery. I was looking around to see who all I might know that is buried there. He said a long time ago, before you was born. Susan Wright was buried there in a bunch of trees.  No cemetery was there until little Susan  Wright died when she was only 4 or 5 years old. I notice that several of that family is buried there.
     You see that is the same family, the parents of Susan is who Mable and Me  come to this part of the country with away back in the early 1850’s, from back east. Their kids were all born here to the best of my recollection. So my little visit to their graves today sorta put me in a state of mind, that I need to talk about the old timers and things that happened back then. And they are all buried in the cemeteries in this area.
     Oscar—I said; I have researched some of these people that are buried in these cemeteries. Oscar was setting there on his block of wood, kinda setting erect very attentive to what I was saying, and it seemed that he was very serious about these people that we both knew or knew about in these cemeteries. We both felt that we had something in common to talk about.
     Oscar ask me if I knew anyone that is buried there? I said yes, I knew Mary E. Wright, we called her “Aunt Molly”. I also knew Oliver Wright, we called him “ Oll Wright”, and I remember he always wore a black leather cap and a old jumper, and he had a mustache and beard and he chewed tobacco. I told him about my  visits with Aunt Molly when I delivered kerosene to her barrel that she kept in her back yard, I believed she had a kerosene cook stove and that is what she used the kerosene for. Oscar spoke up and said; oh yes, she cooked with kerosene.  He said you have some recollection that are the same as mine. He said, who else do you know that is buried there. Well, I said I have records of Winnie [Gold] Cavener, who married Timothy Cavener and they had eight children. Then he went off to war and died in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1864. Some of their children are buried there. At least Winnie is buried there. I said Winnie was a sister to my gr-gr-grand-father; Thomas Gold.  Oscar said, I knew him too, he is buried in the White Cemetery. I said; Right. He also said they come from Tennessee to Boaz, Mo. In 1852, about the same time that the West and Henderson’s  came here from Pennsylvania. I said; Oscar you are real sharp and remember things just the way that I found that they came here. Then they moved right down the road after the war was over, and stayed right among these other people for many years. I said, we really do have a lot to talk about now that we know this much.
     Then Oscar started talking to me about Winnie Gold and Timothy Cavener’s oldest child. Amanda Jane [Cavener] Estes, and her husband ; John H. “Booty John” Estes. He said; I knew them well; They lived right over there west of Union City by  a spring of water, back in the field, and they had several children . One was named John Calvin Estes and he married Mary Trewatha. They went to Illinois, to where Oliver Stowe and Emma [Wright] Stowe, went and took Mable with them in a suit case. Yes, he said I knew all about the connection there. Well Oscar I said we will be talking about these families more when you come and set by my fire on one of the cold days this winter. He seemed real serious to  re-live some of them old times.
     Now, Oscar, I said; do you know where my uncle Tommie Gold lived, just down the road, almost in sight of the Molly Wright cemetery. Oh, Yes, He said, I remember when the war was over, and the bushwhackers was coming up the road toward their house. Uncle Tommie was afraid to sleep in the house at night so he slept off down the valley there in a blackberry patch, and he would have the two oldest boys to wake  him up if they heard anyone coming. But they said Uncle Tommie snored so loud that they had to go wake him up, ha. I said; yes, Oscar, that is exactly  the way one of the old timers told me the same story. Well, Oscar said , that is what happened , I was there and heard him snoring, ha ha, He got tickled telling about it, he was talking in that squeaky voice, it was plum comical. His eyes would just shine and he smiled and said there is a lot of them times that I can remember. I said; Oscar, when we have another session like this we will take all the time we need so you can recall all those little details because that is what makes your stories so good.  He smiled and said we will do it again before long.
     One reason Mable and me knew a lot about the Booty John Estes family, was that we had sort of a home away from home. Mostly in the summer time, we had our own secret place near that spring of water. They carried water from that spring and we learned a lot about the whole family.  Mandy even done her washing there real often. They couldn’t see us, but we could see and hear every thing they did. They had gatherings there, at least the young folks did. Oscar, let me ask you a question right there. He said, sure go ahead. Did you know John and Arthur Thomas that stayed there with them. Sure did, he said. I said ok, Oscar, I wonder if you ever knew what relation, if any, the Thomas boys were to the Estes family.  As you know Mandy Estes raised them Thomas boys. Oscar said, I knew they were there, . Did you know they were orphans, Yes, I said, but were they related.  Can’t say that I ever heard, just how they fit into that Estes family. Oscar I will tell you what my dad told me. He said that Mandy Estes was about the best woman he ever saw. That if she saw someone in trouble or needed help, that she would take them in and give them a place to stay until they could do better.  I knew Arthur Thomas he lived east of Hurley for many years, and he was deputy sheriff. He was very active helping stop bootleggers when prohibition came in during the early 30’s. John Thomas and Verna Estes came from Illinois to visit Aunt Millie Hargrove who lived at Union City. They also came and stayed all night with Ruby and I. I will never forget that, Oscar we will need to discuss these people  a lot further, but we need to go to the Molly Wright Cemetery and spend a lot of time  on these stories, and he agreed.
     This morning, Oscar called me on the CB and said he couldn’t sleep very good last night after us talking about all them people yesterday that are buried in that cemetery. He thought he would like to go back this morning if I would go with him, I agreed, He said I am at the barn , so come on out when you are ready to go.  Last week I was in Springfield and thought  of what I had promised Oscar I would get him a harmonica. I found a nice one that is not too big for him to handle. So I got it for him. This morning I decided this is a good time to present him with the harmonica.
     I walked past the barn, and didn’t see him anywhere, so I called for him, and he answered from up in the barn loft and said I will be right down. I said did you sleep up there last night?  He said , no, but I think I will try it in  a few nights, in the hay up there. We were walking  up the valley which goes over half way to the cemetery, then on up through the timber to the cemetery.  I said us stop and rest a few minutes right here. I was really just wanting to give him the harmonica. I set on a stump, and he set on a rock. We rested a few minutes, and then I said. Oscar, do you remember what I promised I would try to get for you. He was quick to say—I sure do. You told me you would get me a new harp. So it looks like he has been thinking about it. Well, you know we haven’t saw much of each other here lately, until yesterday, and I wasn’t planning on seeing you then, but I thought of it this morning. He said real quick and smiling, eyes really bright. But I didn’t show it just yet. So he was really fidigity, and spoke in that familar squeaky voice. Did you bring it to me ?  Oscar, I sure did, and I hope you like it. He changed positions on his rock several times and said, he had almost never quit thinking about you had promised it to me.
     I reached in my shirt pocket and handed it to him. He sure did work getting  the plastic wrapper off of it. After he got it out of the package. He said that is not as big as the one I found in the woods that the soldier lost. He sure was enthused. Finally he put it to his lips and a real nice tune came from it. But I am not sure what tune he was trying to play. I said Now , Oscar the reason I brought it today, is because we are out in the woods alone where you can play it all you want to, and you may not want to play it in your secret place. He struck a few notes on his harmonica. And it really sounded good. It had a good tone, etc.  He grinned and said;  “ Thank you”  over and over.  Finally he said , I will learn to play it when I am alone, when I can study the tone of it, etc. Well, I said we better go on to the cemetery, we have a lot to talk about there.
     As we was entering the cemetery gate, he kinda tiptoed and stretched then pointed to where Susan’s grave is at. He said Susan was a good little girl, she just got sick and died in a few days. There was not a cemetery near here. So her parents, George and Mary Jane decided to bury her in a grove of trees just a short distance from their house. So she was the first person buried in this cemetery. there is her daddy and her mother right next to her. Then I said; Oscar, didn’t you come here with them from back east in the 1850’s. No, he said Me and Mable come here with Samuel and Rebecca West. But they  are all related. Well, I said, can you tell me anything about George and Mary before they came to Stone County, Mo. Well , he said, I was right there when he was born, and to the best of my recollection it was in Greene County, Pennsylvania. Then he scratched his head a little and said; he was the son of David Wright, and his  mother was Susan Statler, and she is who little Susan was named after. That is the way they named their children back then. The father of Susan Statler was John Statler, and little Susan’s brother; John was no doubt named after him. Right here is Corby Wright’s grave, [they called him Corby]  He was another one of that family. Our visit here today brings back a lot of memories for me. Now, he said, before George and Mary Jane were married, George enlisted in the West Virginia Cavalry, Vols. He also served in the 3rd infantry, Co. A. of the 6th Regiment. I interrupted at that point and said; How in the world do you remember all  of them details like that. That was all very important to me, and then I have studied a lot about it here lately. Then him and Mary Jane got married October 11, 1862. She was the daughter of Alexander  and Catherine {Lemley] Henderson. Their third child, Lorenza Boone Wright was born in 1866 and then in 1867 they migrated to Stone County, MO., where her sister; Rebecca West had settled in the early 1850’s. where they finished raising a large family.  They all married and most of them went to Illinois. Now, don’t you see. Lorenza Boone Wright owned and operated the Union City Store, for several years between 1900 and 1910. Then he sold the store and went to Illinois where some of his brothers and sisters had gone to earlier.
     The Wright, Stowe, and Estes families all settled in the same area of Illinois. Mable got there by mistake. I am not sure but I believe she stayed near the same family that took her up there, and she is probably still living among their descendants.I am living in hopes that maybe Mable and me will get back together. I said; Oscar, this has been very interesting to me, and I am looking forward to doing more research together. But for right now, we better think about getting back home. This will have to wait until another day, when we will come back here or go to some other cemetery where other family members are buried. Yes, he said, by all means we need to keep this project going. Mable and Me has always lived here among these families. We started back toward home, and when we came to the place where I had presented him with the harp. It seemed  he all of a sudden remembered his harp. He grabbed his pocket as though he was checking to see if he still had it. Then he smiled and looked up at me and thanked me again. And said I hope to show  my appreciation to you be helping all I can with Giniealogy for you and Gini. We finally came to my barn and Oscar said I will stop off here for a while and I may sleep in the hay tonight. Ok, I said, we will talk again soon, and I went on to the house.
     The next day I was out in the yard, and I could hear a faint musical sound, so faint. That it was hard to tell where it was coming from. So, I went out past my barn, and the sound was a long ways up in the timber. I could hear it good enough to know that it was oscar learning to play his harmonica. I went back to the house and didn’t hear any more from Oscar today.
     On January 31, 2001,  We, [Oscar and I] received a email from Gini, and this is what she had written to us.
     Dear Ray and Oscar;
     I am still shaking after reading your e-mail asking about Mable. I haven’t seen her in years. When I was growing up in my parents house. Mable would come out of the attic to visit me. I was the only one that she’d talk to or let see her. If she heard anyone coming, she’d just disappear. I told my parents about her, but they just laughed at me and told me it was part of my imagination, but I began questioning myself. Why, was I the only one to see her??? Why, was I the only one to talk to her??? Our talks really helped me through some tough times. There weren’t too many kids in our neighborhood. My closest girlfriend lived three blocks away and there were two rail road tracks to cross, the Wabash, and the Burlington.
     My Aunt Mable and Uncle Oscar [strange the same names as your Oscar and my Mable], gave me a cat for my 4th birthday. Aunt Mable named him britches, because he was mostly black but his hind legs were white, making it look like he had a pair of white britches on. I wonder if my kids and grandkids know that britches is another name for a pair of jeans or slacks.[Hmmmm] Britches and I would go up stairs and Mable would come out of the attic and visit with me.  Sometimes it seemed that they were the only two friends I had at that early age. I would talk for hours with them.
     My memories are starting to flow back. I wonder if Mable still lives in the attic. Both Mom and Dad  have passed on. For various reasons, I haven’t been able to sell the house. It is now rented to a family with four kids. When I stopped by one day, the little boy, who was about three was telling me of someone living in the attic. I had forgotten  all about Mable. Since I received you and Oscar’s letter this morning, I now know she was real and not part of my imagination. I am planning a trip  down to Streator in a couple weeks. I will have to see if Mable is still there.
                                                                       Your old friend--  Gini
      As I read the e-mail to Oscar, big tears came in his eyes, and when I had finished , he said, I hope Gini finds Mable, and we can get back together. I assured him that we would soon know if Mable was still there in Gini’s old house where her parents had lived.  Then we would see that they got back together as soon as possible.  So, then we agreed to not worry or talk about it too much and give Gini time to see what she can find out.
     I woke up this morning and thought I heard my radio was turned on, so I just dozed a while and  finally it dawned on me,  that was not my radio, but Ocsar. He was playing his harp on the CB. And what I heard was coming in on the base station and not the radio. So, I jumped up and dressed and when he finished playing his number. I went to my cb and clapped my hands for him.  Then I said, Come in Oscar—where are you at. Oh, he said I am up in the woods, where all is quiet except my harmonica.
     He invited me to go again with him on another trip to just reminisce about the old times and with family member who him and Mable had spent so much of their lives with. O.K., I said, but I will need to eat a bite then I will be on up that way. After I was ready and started up the hollow. I came to the the forks of the hollow and stopped to listen for Oscar, and still just a faint sound from on up in the timber. So, I leisurely walked on up that way. Finally  I found him setting on a log, playing his harmonica real low. Still, I didn’t know the tune of  what he was playing, but it sure was a nice sound, maybe next time I can find out what he is playing. He acted real proud of his harmonica. I set on the log with him and we discussed where we would go on this trip. He said, now, we can take a little side trip right here  if you would like to, and I will show you where your Uncle Tommie and Mary Jane lived after they moved here in 1866. Ok, I said, us go. We came to the black top road and he said “this was just a little old one way wagon road back then. We walked a short distance south on the black top road and he said, pointing to the east side of the road, now, that is where Uncle Tommies house was at. Look—there is still a couple trees standing there. I said, Oscar, I can remember seeing the old house there, it was about to fall in. He said—I will tell you about the time that the bushwhackers came to visit them at their  house. Uncle Tommie saw them coming down the road  so he made a scramble to get under the floor. The bushwhackers came busting in and ask where her husband was at. Mary Jane, said, he is not here. They filled their pockets with apples that were there in a basket and left. Uncle Tommie came out from under the floor and said all time he was under there a copperhead snake was there all coiled up about four feet from him, and he kept it occupied with a stick.  I said; Oh yes, Oscar, one of the old timers, [Curt David] told me the same story, so your account of what happened that day is now been verified by a second source.
     Their two youngest children were born here, he said. Joseph was born in 1867 and Betty in 1872. Then Mary Jane died in 1877 and is buried at the White cemetery. Now—Joseph grew up  and went to Lone Tree, Illinois, where some of the family had gone. So you see, how close , these people was to each other. So they are both buried in White cemetery, and we can go there on another trip. But today we should walk back up to Aunt Molly Wright’s place, and to the cemetery if we have time. We got to her house and Oscar said—Things still looks pretty much like they did back in about 1900. See this here old corn crib and wagon shed, it is still here. Me and Mable stayed up in the loft some times when we were over this way, just to be a little close to the people we knew so well. Right up there was some hay and the last night Mable and Me spent together. We stayed up there. Then the next day Mable got trapped in a suit case and I haven’t saw her since.
     I said; now, Oscar, I understood you to say that Virginia was just a little girl, and she was there when all of this happened. Is that right?  He said, that is right. I told Oscar that Aunt Mollie’s brother Oliver Wright, we just called him Oll, he used to keep his buggy right there in the gang way of the wagon shed, and the wagon shed had a horse stall, but I see it looks different now. He fed his horse there so he would be handy when he wanted to hook him to the buggy and go to the store. I said, Hey—We better go home it is getting late. He agreed, and we started home. We got about half way home and stopped to rest. I set on a log and he set on a stump. He was feeling good and said he sure did like for us to go on these trips. Because it brought a lot of memory back about all these people. We went on home, and decided to go back soon and visit one of these old cemeteries.
     The next morning after we visited Uncle Tommie’s old home place. I was sitting on my porch just enjoying the quiet and just thinking about some of the things that Oscar mentioned on our trip yesterday. And all of a sudden—Oscar jumped up on my porch from  kind of behind me, I jumped and looked around real quick, and Oscar laughed and said I really didn’t mean to scare you. I laughed  also and he said I am really enjoying our discussions about these families. He said we can go back go to Mollie’s Cemetery anytime, we need to discuss some of the other people who are buried there. But I would go on over to the White Cemetery. We can talk about people there and then we can tie them to the people over here at Molly’s—do you agree?  I said, sure Oscar—sounds like a winner to me.  So we planned our trip to the White Cemetery for the next day at nine o’clock. I agreed to meet him at the barn at that time.
     I was there at nine sharp, and I hollered—Oh, Oscar, and from the barn loft came the response. Oh, yes, I am on my way down. He seemed to be all rested up and ready to go. When he got down there he said; now, Ray, with just a little side trip, not much out of our way I will show  you where Wm. Oliver Stowe and Emma Wright lived. I said, suits me, us go. We took off in almost the same direction as we did to see where Uncle Tommie lived. After about fifteen minutes we came to the black top road again—pointing—he said that house right over there across the road is where they lived when the cyclone came in about 1916 and did a lot of damage but did not bother the house. He was still talking and said, Me and Mable stayed around here a lot at night when we were over this way. Just to see what this family had going on. We always had a good place to stay where we could see and hear it all, but they never knew we were there. Then he said, at one time Wm. Oliver and Emma lived right back there in the field, but wanted to build and live out here on the road, so they did. Later on, Mary Ann and her new husband lived  right on up the road there on the east side of the road, across from Aunt Mollie’s house.  See Ray, he said—this place joins the Uncle Tommie Gold place. So one of his grand sons settled right back there in the field, seems like they had pretty close family ties, and kinda stuck together. Don’t you see?
     Well, when we get to the White Cemetery, we can see the relationship of this whole clan that we know were related. As we walked down the road toward the White Cemetery, He was busy pointing out who lived in each house and they were all related. There is where George W. Gold and his family, Charley and Cora Gold, Emlous and Pearlie Gold, and Uncle Billy Gold and his large family. When we came to the road that turns off to the cemetery, he said , stop—and pointed on east of where we turned off and said ; Now. Your Aunt Jane lived there in that first house and in that next one is where George W. Cavener and his family lived.  George W. Cavener was the son of Timothy and Winnie [Gold] Cavener. So you see this was a solid settlement of people who were related. When we entered the gate to the cemetery , we went to the north-east corner and started to look at the stones. We walked slowly and stopped at each stone that we knew were related to  our family and discussed all we knew about them.
     We came to the stone of Adaline [Cavener] White, and Oscar said, This here is the daughter of James Cavener who was a brother of Timothy and Mary Jane Cavener. Adaline married  William W. White and they had eighteen children and they have many descendants in this area. Then we came to the memorial stone for Johnathan and Sarah [Ryalls] Gold, who had fourteen children, and all of their names are on that stone. He told the story about Johnathan and Sarah [Ryalls] Gold being originally buried in the old abandoned [Gipson]cemetery east of the James River bridge. But no marked grave could be found for Johnathan and his wife, so later a memorial stone was put in this cemetery, where other Gold’s are buried. Johnathan and Sarah [Ryalls] Gold  are the gr-parents of all Gold’s and their descendants who settled in this area.
     Next, we came to the graves of Uncle Tommie and Mary Jane [Cavener] Gold, and Oscar seemed to know all the details about all the families buried in this cemetery. Mary  Jane had died in 1877 and buried right here, he said. This is where he told me a lot of the details about why they were not buried at Molly  Wright Cemetery.  This is what he said;  Now if you will just think about it, you can see why. He explained it this way; You see there was no Molly Wright Cemetery at that time. Mary Jane died in 1877 and little Susan Wright died in 1882. So, this was the nearest cemetery. Now, Winnie [Gold] Cavener died in 1912 so she was buried  there at Molly’s cemetery. Near where her daughter, Amanda Jane [Cavener] Estes, and several of her children and grandchildren are buried there side by side.
     We moved on to several other stories that he spent a good deal of time telling me just how they all fit in to the family tree. Then—he stopped—and kinda startled, ? Wait, right here something is missing, OH—He said, right here is where there was a stone for Lorenza Dow Gold’s foot and part of his leg, but I don’t see it. Well, he said, they cleaned this place up a few years ago. They must have covered it up in the fence row. Well, he said, I must tell you the story. We each sat on a tombstone and he started telling the story about  the foot and part of the leg of Lorenza Dow Gold. He said Lorenza, “ Renza” was picking up rocks with his team and wagon. Renza was walking and picking up rocks near a front wheel, and the horses pulled the wagon up and over his foot. And a few days later blood poison set in, and they  had to take his foot and part of his leg off. He said he was curious to see where they put his foot and leg. So he followed them to the cemetery and watched them bury it. They didn’t see me but I saw it all. They made a good wooden box and wrapped the foot in a lot of cloth and newspaper then closed the box, and pointing—buried it right in here. Then they went and had a special stone, especially made for it. It had the outlines  of the foot and part of the leg. Then he said, I wonder what happened to it. Then, as if he had solved the mystry, said, Lorenza is buried in Parsons Kansas, perhaps they came and got it and moved it to his grave there. Then he said do you suppose they really did do that?
      Then, after they had buried the foot here. And about a month later,  “Renza” complained that his foot was hurting and just kinda cramped. Two neighbors, [J.R. “Dick” Hanafin and Uncle Billy Gold] trying to help come over here and dug the foot up and straightened it out and loosened the wrapping on it and then re-burried it and went back, and Renza said he knew exactly when they did  what they did, because it quit hurting at that time. When Oscar was telling something that he thought was new to you, he kinda braced up and motioned with his hands and ever so often, he would say—don’t you see. I really liked to watch him do that. Ha., We had set there for quite awhile. So I said, we better move along. Ok, he said, there is too much to talk about when we get to these cemeteries, like this. I knew most of them people, he said. Then he sorta braced up again, and said, that is a true story about them digging up that foot and straightening it out. And Renza said he knew when it happened. He was using his hands to motion and said, I know it is true, because it was almost dark and I followed them over here. I was curious to know just what they would do. So, I watched them do it.  But they didn’t know I was there, but I could see it all.
    I said, what a wonderful trip we have had today, but we need to go, it is getting late. He agreed and we started back home. We will need to re-visit all of these cemeteries and fill in the gaps as we think of what to ask about these people.
    He said, next time I will bring my harp and if it appears that no one is around, I might play you a number or two that I have been working on. I said, I am going to hold you to that, ok,?
     The next day was a rainy day but not very cold. So I decided to go to the barn and just look around, and maybe straighten  up a few things. I just got started to moving things around and I saw Oscar coming down the ladder from the hay mound. The ladder was made for a  regular sized person. So Oscar had trouble getting his feet to reach the next round on the ladder. He kinda hurried, cause he saw me watching him. You need to see this to really appreciate seeing him come down that ladder, it is amazing.  He was all smiles  and talked about his good nights sleep in the barn. Do you have your sleeping bag up there with you in the hay. Oh no, he said, I just stay in the hay if it is not too cold. When it is cold I go to where my good warm place it at.
    He wanted to talk about the old timers that came here in the 1850’s, we already talked about how Mable and he got here, and how that branch of people got here. That is the same time the Gold’s and Caveners came and settled in Green Valley near Boaz in Christian County. But I didn’t know much about that branch of people until about 1860 when Timothy O. Cavener came to Stone County, and lived at Union City. Then in about 1866, Uncle Tommie and Wm. C. Gold came down here.  Uncle Tommie settled about 2 miles south of Union City, and Wm. C.  settled down over west of Brown’s Spring on the Old Wire Road. It soon became apparent that these families would play a big part in Mine and Mable’s lives. So we did make a few trips up to Green Valley, to learn about where these people lived. Sometimes we would stay four or five days, after all it is about 8 miles up there from here. . But then we knew the people from Pennsylvania first so this is where we had our roots. When the War of the Rebellion was over, they began to scatter and leave Green Valley. So we never did really live up there.
     I had set there all that time listening to him tell about his memories of what all happened, and I Complimented him for having such a keen memory. Then he said, after all, it has resulted in Me and You becoming friends. Don’t you see?  I said, Oscar you have it all figured out. Ha, he chuckled. But he seemed worried that his recollection about that stuff was not as good as he had hoped it was, and said, he just hadn’t thought about in so many years. I sorta broke in right there and ask him if he knew very much about Wm. C. Gold and his family. Oh, yeah, he said, we knew them all. We went over there pretty often. You see, it was just three miles over there from here. I said, when you want too, we will talk about Wm. C. and his family.
      Finally, I said, Oscar I was going to clean this place up a little, but I believe it can wait. I think I will go back to the house and see if Virginia has emailed us today. But this will open up a whole new keg of nails.  He said, I will go back and figure out what to do, so I can try to re-collect of this whole story.
     The next day, I thought we should discuss this matter a little further, so I went to the barn to just see what was going on with Oscar. I called for him several times, but no answer, I thought he had probably gone up in the woods to play his harmonica. So I went back to check my email again. Gini, appeared on the screen just as I was getting on line. She ask about us both. I am ok, but I haven’t saw Oscar today, but I will keep you posted.
     After I had my supper and settled down to relax, I decided to try to talk to Oscar on the cb,  come in Oscar, do you have you ears on, come on.  I heard a real faint squeaky sound that was not very clear. Glad to hear from you I said, What is your 20,? He answered and said; I am over here in Green Valley, I’ll see you in a day or two, and then it faded out, I will have wait and try again tomorrow.  I did, and he came in real clear.  He said he was not so far away this time, that he was up where Timothy and Winnie Cavener lived south of Boaz when Tim went off to the War and never returned. See you in a day or so. I thought he sure is looking the place over, perhaps he will re-new his memories about all he had ever known about our family up there in Green Valley. Again, I emailed Gini and told her that I located him in Green Valley, and he would be back in a day or so. We were both concerned but hopeful that he would have a good story to tell about  all those people that lived in Green Valley.
   The next day I was setting on my porch swing reading my daily news paper. When I heard my CB come in loud and clear.  Ray—are you on this CB ? Come on. After I got to my CB, I said,  yes, I am on the old CB.  Where are you at Oscar ? He said I got back from my trip this morning about 4 o’clock, and sure was wore out. So I slept in, this morning. I told him that Gini and I were both worried about him. He said a lot of that stuff up there has come back to me, and we better talk.  I said, Ok, come on down. I put my news paper down and got me a pencil and tablet so I could take notes when he told me new things. He showed up and got him a seat on a stick of wood on the porch. I said, the next time you take a trip like that, you let me know and I will take you in my pickup truck. Oh No, I better not do that, unless I could hide in a box of clothes or trash.  Well, I said we can handle that. Then if you stay over night, I can pick you up when you want me to. You see, I can park my pickup truck  and leave the door open and go on about looking at the tombstones, and you can get back in the box. Then we just drive off, Ok, Well—We will see if I take trips like this again. I may take you  up on that.  Now, Oscar; tell me about your trip and all that you can about our family connections up there in Green Valley.
     OK; He said,  you see, I was gone three days and two nights, so I got to look around all I wanted to . I went to see where they all lived there in Green  Valley. Then I went to the old abandoned cemetery, at Delaware Town, to see if there was any trace of Johnathan and Sarah’s graves were there. I could find nothing to identify which grave was theirs. They were just marked with field stones and all looked alike. Now, he said you see when Sarah died there was no cemetery near by so they took her over to that old cemetery. Which was about 2 miles away. Then when Johnathan died in about 1865, the war of the Rebellion was winding down. And they all began to scatter and they buried him beside his wife; Sarah; in that old cemetery. Then the Frazier cemetery was started in the middle 1860’s, and later this is where most of the people who died nearby were buried.
    Then I visited the old home  place where they had lived, by that good spring of water, and it still runs a good stream of water, and is piped into a water tank for the cattle. When they were all there they got their mail at Wilson’s Creek Post Office about 5 miles up stream. They always went by horseback to the post office. Before Johnathan died, the girls had about all married and moved away. Sophia Almeda married Ervin Perkins, and they then divorced, so Sophia Almeda came back home and took care of her Dad. Then she moved to her sister’s [Amanda Emaline] house who had married Francis Marion Smart. and moved over west of Clever, where Sophia met and married Lafayette Smart, who was a brother to Francis Marion Smart.  So this is the story of why Johnathan and Sarah Gold were buried in the old abandoned cemetery at Delaware Town, east of James River.
     You see, while the war was going on the families all stayed together right there in  Green Valley. I said; What a story,  wait while I get me some more paper to write on, And I made it quick, He never moved, I got  situated again, he was sitting there in a deep study.  Finally, he said; Timothy And Winnie Cavener were about the first to move. It seemed Old Tim was a good hustler, and tried to make a home for his family. He bought 320 acres of land that joined the place where they had all lived so long. Tim and Winnie lived on the south end of their land. One reason they had to move away from the rest of the people was they had eight children. Some of them were born in Tennessee, and some born in Missouri.
     Oscar seemed to be on a roll---Timothy Cavener joined the Army when their youngest child was one day old. You see,  times were really hard during the War. He believed he could feed his family  better if he was in the Army. Winnie and the kids would get help from the government to help take care of them. Tim died in Little Rock, Arkansas, during the war. Winnie had most of the children still at home to raise. She did a pretty  good job of it. After the children were all married, Winnie spent most of the rest of her life living among her children. Then she died in the home of her daughter; Amanda Jane and “Booty John” Estes in 1912 right over there west of Union City.
    Oscar seemed to be all wound up to tell us a lot about people who had lived up at Green Valley. He said, you see, three of the Gold family married three of the Cavener’s. All of their children were double cousins, and they still have many descendants in the area.
     One time Me and Mable was spending a couple days up there in Green Valley. It looked like they were having a family get-together, there in Johnathan’s yard. Just setting there in the shade. Me and Mable had us a good place where we couldn’t be seen, but we could see it all. The kids were playing and setting  in the yard.  Looked like they got tired romping around. So they settled down to talking with their grand-mother Keziah Cavener.
They knew she loved them all, and that she was pretty old and had seen a lot. She liked to tell the children about the wagon train and people and things she had seen and done ever since she was a girl back in Amelia County, Virginia. They ask her a lot of questions, and she took her time to answer them so they would remember what she had told them. She said she was born in Amelia County, Virginia, and she remembered going to school there when she was growing up. Grandma—when was you born, She said, I was born in 1804 and  that their gr-father was born in Ireland and he died in Bedford County, Tennessee, and is buried there. Well, gr-ma, who was your parents, My mother was named Jane Spinner and my father’s name was Benjamin Tucker. My gr-father is buried in Virginia, and my gr-mother is buried in Lincoln County, Tennessee, she lived to be 100 years old. Now, gr-ma, you told us about your folks, where did gr-pa Johnathan come from. He is setting right over there, why don’t you go ask him, so you will remember what he told you.  Well, he said, us boys was born in South Carolina, but our dad came from the old country. My dad and his 2 brothers came over with the British Army, but joined the American side and fought the British in that war.  We came west on a wagon train to Tennessee, then later came here on another wagon train and settled right here in this valley. The kids all listened well to Gr-Ma Keziah and to Gr-Pa Johnathan . So now they  all have a story to tell and pass on down to their  children. Oscar, really did a good job expressing his memoirs to us all. And I will never forget it. And I told him that, and thanked both, Him and Mable for their efforts.
     Oscar said; while I was up there I went to the Frazier Cemetery to see if some of the graves were of the people I knew. I saw the grave of George W. Cavener and a lot of  his family buried there. Now, if you remember, last week when we were on our way to the White Cemetery , I showed you where George W. Cavener lived and raised his family down there, but when they died they took a lot of them back up to this cemetery for burial. A lot of the descendants  are still living in the area.
     I said Oscar you have had a rough day , maybe we better take  a break for a couple days. Anything else that you can think of, just save it  until we can get back together. Finally he said, I will be back soon and then we can make plans about further research of  this family tree.
     Today, about noon I went to my mail box at the road. As I was returning with my mail. I saw one of my beagle hounds come trotting around the corner of my shop building. All at once he jumped side ways, and then I saw Oscar coming to meet him from the other direction. Well they are old friends, so they came in my direction. Oscar was playing with the beagle, and with his squeaky voice, he said I was just out strolling around, and I bumped into the beagle at the shop. I ask him if it wasn’t just a little strange for him to be out just strolling in broad open day light. He said,  I have been having dreams about me and Mable, and the things that we used to do among the people of this family. I hope I can figure out how to tell you about the people that we knew. Maybe Gini can find Mable and help us get back together.
     We stopped and set on my porch steps. He wanted to talk about it all. So I just listened. He said—but I have been thinking about me taking a trip all on my own. So I can re-hash some of this stuff that happened. So I can tell it in my own words just how it was.  I said, Oscar I don’t want you to get so far away that I can’t talk to you on the CB. You be sure that you take it along with you, on your trips.
    All of a sudden he changed the subject, and said, everytime I see that old log cabin that you and Little Fred built. I always remember how he worked on that cabin. He put on his old coon skin cap and helped you put each one of them logs up there. That is a picture that I will never forget. He used a hatchet to fit up them logs just as good as you did. He talked about Daniel Boone building his log cabin. I could tell he was really enjoying re-enacting the part of Daniel Boone. Yes Oscar, I have often thought about that, and wish we had taken his picture working on that log cabin. That was our Bi- Centennial project in the year of 1976. It was supposed to be a antique house for Ruby  to put her antiques in. We put  a wood cook stove, a old  iron  bed stead, a old type kitchen cabinet with glass doors, two flour bins, and two meat boards. We also put in a old cast iron box heating stove. Ruby was getting real interested and put in a few antiques. But then she died with a heart attack in 1978, and the cabin was never used except for a storage. Now it is just a junk house.  Oscar said, I hope  that Little Fred does fix it up some of these days. Because that is probably the last one to its kind built in this area.  We decided to call it a day and visit at another time.
     I got on my tractor and went to split wood that I had blocked off the day I worked at it. I split it all and came back to the house and ate my lunch, and read the news paper. I almost went to sleep I my recliner, when I heard a commotion at my front door. I kinda perked up to see what was going on. Then I heard a gentle knock on my door. I know who that is, I thought. So, I went to the door and said hello Oscar, come in and set a spell. Maybe we can have another one of our famous chats about the people around here. He was moving his stool over in my direction, sort of like he had something real important to tell me about. Then when he got all fixed, He said—Well, I went back to the White Cemetery, to see  Johnathan’s memorial stone. So I could get the names of all their children. I saw the names when we were there last week. But, just could not remember them all. You see they all scattered about time that Johnathan died up at Green Valley. Some of them moved to the Garrison.Smart, neighborhood west of Clever. So I went to the Smart Cemetery, while I was on my trip. You see, four of Johnathan’s daughters are buried there.  You can find some of the Gold people buried in almost all the cemeteries around here.  Oscar, you sure do a good job checking people out in these cemeteries. Of course I knew most of them, and they were  all pretty good people. Me and Mable liked to live close to  where the Gold’s lived. We was not well acquainted with them all but we knew who they were. I re-collect one time Me and Mable was up there in Green Valley in our special place. A lot of young folks were there in the shade of a big old tree. Johnathan was setting there in his chair. Johnathan’s daughter, Amanda Emaline and her beau appeared there before Johnathan . Her beau was Francis Marion Smart. He walked right up to Johnathan and said.  Johnathan,  Amanda Emaline and I want to get married, she said I would have to ask for your approval. This was a surprise to him. He kinda cleared his throat and pushed his hat back on his head and said;  If that is what she wants , you have my approval.  Now, you be good to her. So they were married and moved away. So that is what I mean by them all getting married and moving away. Now Mable knew more about Johnathan’s girls than I do. Someday I hope I can ask her. I would like to go back up there sometime, I knew about 1/3 of the people buried in  Smart and Frazier Cemeteries. Mable should have a good story about all them people that went to Illinois, she has lived among them since 1948.
     I said, Oscar, what year was you born?  Well, they told me when we got to Pennsylvania from Norway, that I was 15 years old, and that was in 1838. Then when Mable and her parents came to Pennsylvania from Marshall County, Tennessee in 1840, and we got married in 1842. And we lived close to the Wright/West/Henderson’s all came here, we managed to get aboard their Wagon Train, in amongst some boxes of stuff. Mable and her people knew of the Gold’s and Caveners back there in Tennessee. So when they found out that the Wrights, Stowe’s, Henderson’s and West’s had settled down just a few miles of where the Gold’s and Cavener’s had settled. They discussed it with my parents and that is where we all wanted to come here. So when the Wagon Train was ready to come to Stone County, MO., Mable and I, and  our  parents managed to get stowed away in amongst a bunch of boxes and stuff. So we could all be here with the people that we knew back there in Tennessee and Pennsylvania both, Don’t you see? That is why they are all buried right up there in the woods  where I showed you. Mables sister and her man is. And my parents are buried up there, they were all killed by the cyclone in about 1916. When the wind blew the tree over that they lived in and were all crushed. So, Me and Mable are the only one’s left of our familes. Now,  I have heard Mable’s sister and her man and his parents talk about the Gold’s, Cavener”s  and Tucker’s in Tennessee, when they all lived at Gold Hill.
     So if we find Mable, maybe she can help me with the memories of these people that come here from Tennessee. Now, Oscar, I said, if I hadn’t heard you give that account of how it all come about. I would never have known how it all happened.  He said, now that I have some of that stuff off of my mind, maybe I can sleep better tonight. So, I better go and try to get some rest.
     The next time I saw Oscar, he wanted to talk. So I said, let me get my note pad, and we sat on my porch, and he started in, and I took a lot of notes. He said one time Me and Mable was up at Green Valley, when Sarah Jane Gold that married Jesse Creasy, was leaving for Texas. We overheard  them  say that they would go by and visit Rachel and her man, Wm. Patrick Cavener that lived down there in McDonald County, MO. This was in the late 1870’s or early 1880’s. Se we decided to hide in among their things in the wagon and go see where they lived. On our way down through Newton County, at Stella, MO., they stopped to visit some people that we didn’t know about. But they were Gold’s that were related to the Johnathan Gold family through his brother, Zachariah Gold.  So they were cousins to the young one’s in Green Valley. We got there on Sunday morning. Everyone except Noah’s wife; Sarah Eliz Caroline [Ellis] Gold and two of their gr-daughters were gone to church.  They were cooking, getting ready for a big family dinner. Sarah Elizabeth came out to welcome Sarah Jane and Jesse, and ask them to stay and have dinner and visit with all the family. They decided to do that. Jesse tied his team up near the front yard gate. Right exactly where Mable and Me could see and hear everything that took place. Sarah Jane and Jesse were neighbors to the Ellis family down there in Tennessee at Gold Hill.
     Soon other people began to gather in, bringing their well filled baskets of that good old country cooking, and put it on a big long  table. I just set there taking notes and it seemed like Oscar was getting all worked up, just telling about how it all happened. Then he said Mable sorta butted in and told him, oh, yes I just now remember, this is the same family that lived down there in Tennessee at Gold Hill.
    Steven Ellis and his large family, and Noah Gold married one of the Ellis girls. They all came up here. And these were all cousins of Johnathan’s children. Looked like they all had a lot of kids.  About fifty of them here that day for dinner.
    After they had eat their dinner, Zachariah Jarrett Gold got them all lined up there and took a family picture. He was the family photographer. He as a photographer back in Tennessee, and later he had a  photo shop at Stella, Missouri. He was the son of David, grand-son of Zachariah. I am sure some of the family still has a copy of that family group  picture.
    They had all kinds of things going on. They even sang some gospel songs. The old rugged cross, going down the valley one by one. That just seemed to echo up and down the valley  where they lived.
     Chalmers Roseberry got the kids to all gather around him while he told them stories of long ago. Old Indian stories , and love stories  of Civil War times. He later wrote a complimentary story about his neighbors, Uncle Noah and Aunt Sarah Gold. I am sure it is recorded somewhere in the  Gold family records.
    I thought Oscar was really on a roll. So I didn’t want to interfere with his train of thought, and I might lose a good story. I sure was  taking a lot of notes, and trying to keep up with him.
    After they had a good visit. Jesse and Sarah Jane begin to get restless to go on down to McDonald County, where Wm. Patrick and Rachel Minerva [Gold] Cavener lived.  But I heard Noah tell them that it is about 20 miles on down  there. And that they should wait and get a early start the next morning,  so they would have enough daylight hours to get there before dark. That is what they decided to do.  Noah, had Jesse put his team and wagon in the barn. So me and Mable had a good place to spend the night. Early the next morning we left for Wm. Patrick and Rachel Minerva’s house. It took  almost all day to make the trip. We had to cross both Indian Creek and Buffalo Creek. But we did get there before dark.
    This is where Me and Mable had to get us a place to stay a few days, cause Jesse and Sarah Jane would go on to Texas. And we would need to figure out  how we would get back to Stone County before winter set in. We spent a few days among Wm. Patrick and Rachel Minerva and their children. But they never knew we were there. Their oldest daughter married Sumner Maynard, and they lived nearby. They were a young  couple and we enjoyed staying near them. One day  a horse and buggy pulled up  in front of  Mary Ellen’s house, and a nice young couple got out of the buggy and went to the house. We soon saw that they were probably relatives. So out of curiosity we got us a secret place just as close as we could, so we could see and hear  what was going on. About an hour later another buggy pulled up and stopped  at the yard gate. And a well dressed man in a suit and tie got out of the buggy. He was carrying a bible in his hand. It was in the summer time so the door was left open. Mable and Me slipped up and hid behind a rick of wood right close to the door. So we could see what was going on. Don’t you see? This other couple was looking real  happy, then we knew it was a wedding. Mable figured it out real quick. So we were all eyes and ears. Then the young couple stood up in front of the man. He was the preacher man. After the preacher had read some from the scriptures, he said to the lady, Repeat after me, I, Mary Ann Gold, do take this man, Wm. Hugh Jackson to be my lawful wedded husband. Through health and sickness, until death do us part.  And she did repeat what he said. Then he ask WM. Hugh Jackson to repeat after him, and he did. So they were married in the home  of her cousin, Mary Ellen [Cavener] Maynard.
     After the ceremony was over, we overheard Mary Ann to say, “ we are going to leave for Stone County, in a little while. So we slipped away from the door and discussed what we would do. I said to her. This is our chance to get a ride home and she agreed. We hid in the back of the buggy, under the seat and out of sight. After noon they came to get in the buggy to go to Stone County. We were already in the buggy and ready to go. But they didn’t know we were there. The Horse struck a trot and we all went bouncing up the old wagon road toward home. About sundown we pulled into Cassville, where they found a place stay all night. So Mable and Me just stayed real quiet while they put the horse and buggy in a barn that was there for that purpose. We had a good place to spend the night. We were tired from jolting along so far in  that buggy, so we slept real good. The next morning Wm. Hugh and Mary Ann got out pretty early and started toward Stone County. The horse struck that same trot that he had the day before. About sundown again, we reached the home of Mary Ann’s parents, Wm. C. Gold.
     Mable and Me were anxious to get home. You see it was just about 3 miles over the hill. So we slipped out  of the buggy. While they were talking about the wedding, etc. We headed east, coming this way, and about dark we were here where we lived up there in that old tree in the woods.
     I had set about as quiet as I could and took a lot of notes. But Oscar said—maybe when we get Mable back down here, she can fill us in on a lot of details of our trip to McDonald County. You see we met all of them people down there in Newton County at Stella, Missouri, then on down to McDonald County and met Rachel Minerva and all of her family. Then Attended a wedding of one of the Gold girls in the home of her cousin; Mary Ellen [Cavener] Maynard. And we didn’t have to walk anywhere, except, this three miles right here at home. Don’t you see?
     I was at my computer, just completed a nice chat with Gini, when I heard that familiar knock on my door. I was printing off our chat, so I could discuss it with Oscar. I went to the door  and said come in Oscar and set a spell. He was real polite with a big smile and seemed so relaxed and  contented. He took his regular place on the stool. –I said Oscar, I just talked to Gini and she ask about you. So—he even smiled bigger and his eyes were brighter, and he kinda leaned forward and was real  attentive. – Is she alright ? And what did she say about me?  She just wanted to know if you were ok, and said she had been concerned about you and your trips up to Green Valley, etc. He said I am so glad she thinks about me, and she likes Mable too. And I think she will find her at her mothers house.
    I changed the subject about Mable, so he wouldn’t  be so sad that we couldn’t talk. So I said , Oscar what have you been up to  here  lately ? I haven’t saw you for 3 or 4 days.—Well,  he said; I have been on a couple short trips, one time I went up to Union City just looking around. Wait, I said, let me get my note pad. Ok, now go ahead and tell me about your trip to Union City. Well—I can only tell you the things that my trip allowed me to re-collect about a lot of that stuff. I went up to where your Gr-pa and Gr-ma Gold raised their family .That old house is still there and the old barn is there too, but no one lives there  now. I can remember when their children were growing up there. They all  worked real hard in the crops etc. Your gr-pa was a pretty good manager, he owned a 160 acre farm there. And he also owned this 52 acre farm here, and the 40 acres where your dad and mom raised you kids. This is where you and your brother; Cecil was born, right here in that old 2 room house. One day in August it was pretty hot, and me and Mable was right  here and old Dr. Jessup drove up with  his horse and buggy, and tied his horse to a little tree right over there in the shade. It was about 2;30 in the afternoon when Mable and Me , heard a baby crying. Mable got so excited and said the baby is here, and it is going to be all right. Then in a few minutes the Doctor came out and got in his buggy and went toward Hurley. That is the day that you came into the world.
      Your dad was a automobile mechanic and worked in the garage at Hurley. So he got him a Model T Ford to drive to work. Then, when you was about a year old, your dad and mom moved to Union City and still worked at Hurley. But the road was rough, and he had a lot of flats driving  to work. So he moved to Hurley near his job. and your brother; Dale and sister; Louella was born  there. It was about 5 or 6 blocks to downtown Hurley. Me and Mable was in your dads barn one day. When your mom came out there looking for you. She called, but no Ray. She got the neighbors to looking for you, and then one of the neighbors missed their little girl  the same age as you.  Now they had two to look for. You were just little tots. When they found you , you  were almost to downtown Hurley.
      Oscar, hold it right there while I get more note pads, I’ll be right back, --I am enjoying this. I said let me tell you how I know your story is true. About a year ago [2000] I saw an old friend, Mildred Barnett, in Aurora and she told me that same story, She said when they found us ,[her and myself] we were still going toward down-town Hurley. And said we probably got a spanking for that. Ha, Me and Her both graduated from Hurley High School together and have always been real good friends. And by the way she is related to the Gold’s. Her gr-grand-mother was Margaret Jane Gold, daughter of Uncle Tommie Gold.
     Now, Oscar , you go ahead and I will take notes again.
     He said, that is interesting to me that you also have records of what happened.
Don’t you see how it all ties together? I didn’t mean to get off of my story about my trip, so we can finish this part of the story later.
     Anyway—I went on up to where your Uncle Lon and Aunt Vesta Gold lives and raised their family, right there on the west side of Union City. Most of the old buildings are still there , but in bad shape. Me and Mable  was there one time and it was in the winter time. We was there in a shed where Lon kept his hides and a live box, where he kept his live skunks and opposums in etc. That night  about eleven o’clock we saw a man coming our way carrying a lantern and Lon was carrying a sack of something on his back.  We were right there in the corner right by the live box. No one knew we were there though. We were there in a bunch of rags and stuff asleep. Lon just come right in and opened up that live box, and dumped a sack full of skunks  right in that box, alive. And closed the lid, that sure caused a skunk smell to be real strong in there. The other man  Mr. Harve Wade, kinda sneezed and said; don’t them things ever make you sick,  and Lon said no they never did.  About that time Mr. Wade. Said, Get back, give me some air, I’m getting sick, and staggered around and almost got down he so sick. He was a mail carrier, But was not able to carry the mail the next day.  After they left, Me and Mable we went to the barn and spent the rest of the night. I said, Oscar, you sure have a good memory.
     Oscar come back to my house the next day, and said; I told you the other day that I went on two different trips, but I only  told you about  one of the trips. So today I will tell you about the other trip. Well,--I went to your Uncle Jimmie Gold’s old home place to just have a look. I saw where he at one time had a hitch rack to tie their horses to when someone came for a visit. So, I am reminded of the time Me and Mable was there and someone ask Uncle Jimmie why he had a regular size hitch rack. He said, when the boy,s comes to see his daughters, he wanted them to have a good place to tie their horses. And then he just laughed. You know, he did have a sense of humor, and liked to cut up and have fun.
     One time Me and Mable was hid right up close to where the family and all the people that was there in the shade. One of them fellers come to to see Cynthia, his name was John Stratton. When him and Cynthia had left in his buggy. Someone ask Uncle Jimmie about that boy; John Stratton, Well he said there is quite a story about that boy , and I guess it is true. It was Uncle Jimmie telling the story. Me and Mable was right up close so we could hear it all. He said one winter, a family named Stratton was passing through going west, and got stranded down by  Spokane. They run out of anything to eat, and had no feed for their horses. They went to a farmer for help. His name was John Witten Bilyeu. He was a good man. So he gave  them food, and gave them hay for their horses all winter. In the spring when they were ready to leave to go on west, they gave Mr. Bilyeu this little two year old boy. His name was John Stratton. He is the same John Stratton that married Cynthia Gold and they had six children.
     At this point , I said, Oscar I thought I had a lot of note pads, but I already run out. So if you will hold up just a minute, I will get some more and be right back. Now—I said, keep talking and I will keep taking notes.
     He said a little later in life, Uncle Jimmie gave one of his niece’s that needed a home a place to live. His sister, Betty, lost her husband, and she had no way to provide for their small children.  Uncle Jimmie was a good man too. So he gave Betty’s daughter, Ottie Lent a home. Lorenza and Campsedell took in Orus Lent to raise, and William Riley Gold and his wife Sarah, took in Thomas Lent and cared for him. Apparently Betty took care of the other little girl, Janie Lent for a few years. So you see the families back then were really close. Me and Mable talked about what a nice family that was, all honest, hard working, and they seen after each other.
     Mable told me that she liked the way things were fixed around there. They had a regular house, then a little walkway, they called it a “dog trot” out back to the kitchen, where the cooking was done. It was that very day we heard Uncle Jimmie say that when he died he wanted to be buried “pointing” beside that hickory tree right out there, a short distance from the house. So that is how the Gold cemetery was started, and to this day there is only fourteen or fifteen people buried there. And they are all Gold’s . Today that old hickory tree is the biggest hickory that I know of.
     Uncle Jimmie’s children went to school at the Taylor School, ½ mile northwest of where they lived. They went to church  at Mt. Carmel Church, ½ mile northeast of where they lived.  I said, Oscar—That is a good story, and I am glad you and Mable has helped me a lot with our Gold family records. You seem to know a lot of the details, that we probably would never know if you hadn’t told us about it all. You remembered all of the details, I would have to say that you have a good recollection.
      A few days later, I was trying to find Oscar and explain to him that I wanted to interview him for the record. And tell him to put his best re-collections into order so everything will help to explain his thoughts about what ever subject might come up in the interview. Knowing Oscar, he may do a awful lot of talking and explaining and still not have to much of a story. But we will see. Providing I can find him, he may be off on one of his secret trips. After all I haven’t seen him for two or three days.
Oh, I think I see him coming up the path on the other side of the barn. He is in no hurry seems like. Looks like he is coming to where I am at now.  Yep—here he comes. Hi Oscar, I said, been out for a walk, huh?  Sure have, it is nice  to walk alone in the woods and just listen to all the creatures of the woods out there.
     I said, us get a drink of water and set in the shade. Sounds good to me, he said. So we got all situated in the shade. I set in my chair and he set on a stool and a short one for his feet. I wanted him to feel kinda important. I could tell he knew I was up to something. We talked for a few minutes about the weather and his walk in the woods alone, etc.
     I said, Oscar; I have a question for you?  He said, all right, what is it you want me to tell you about? I want to do a regular interview with you for the record. Would that be all  right with you?  Oh, now I could see he really does feel like he is needed and important for the family record. Oscar, me and Gini will be able to quote you all about these mysterious stories of long ago. Kinda like a Santa Claus, See, we won’t really have to tell where you live and about your secret place. He said, if you don’t tell Me and Mable and just use us as a mysterious character that you talked to some place. Yes, I guess that would be all right. He seemed really enthused to be a mysterious character in a story for the children. He see’s his chance to become famous and still anonymous, or not recorded at all.
    I said to him, us go in the house where we are more comfortable. So you can think better, etc. You see I have prepared a special place for you  to give your testimony of things that actually happened. Where only people of great prestige and notoriety should  occupy. As you can see I have included your own stool with a seat that has a back to it. And it has two American Flags, one on each side of you. It was made especially for the purpose of delivering stories that were never told before. So you have a great obligation to tell it like you and Mable saw these stories as they happened. Oscar, do you accept that responsibility?  Yes, he said, I do feel like I have a responsibility to tell you the truth about these old stories the way I re-collect them.
     I said , we might as well get started with some of these question for you. So, he got all fixed in his seat, and he looked great. He smiled and said, thank you for all that trouble. I said, Oscar you look so nice on that special seat, that it reminds me of what the first question should be. May I take your picture right here.  He went into a deep silence, and real quiet. Then said, I understood you to say that I would be a mysterious figure in the background. How could that be if you showed my picture in the stories. Oh, I said , you don’t understand, the picture is for Gini. We could send it to her, and if she finds Mable she can show her your picture, yeah, go ahead and snap my picture for her. So I took 2 pictures of Oscar.
     Where were you and Mable married? In Pennyslvania,  How did you get to Stone County?  Now that is a long story. Me and Mable hid in a suitcase and came through when the West and Henderson people came here. Me and Mable always lived among these same families before they came here , so we came here with them, even though they didn’t know we were always with them. Then they all settled close to each other. They were all farmers. And raised lots of garden stuff, and kept several hens, along with their cattle. Hogs, and sheep. They about all used tobacco, so they planted and raised their own tobacco crop. Some of them like to fox hunt, and kept their own fox hounds and hunted during their spare time. They had a lot of things that we don’t have now, and really don’t want to think  about such stuff. They had lots of wild turkey, deer, squirrels, rabbits, etc., wild berries of several kinds. You see this was before the Civil War. But they didn’t have these gadgets that you have now. So life was simple, and they were contented. You see, they had all the necessities of life. And didn’t know about all these things you have here today.
     When you and Mable first came to Stone County from back east, Can you tell me a little about what things were like here at that time? Well, I have some memories about the way it was here back then.  This place was not very thickly settled with people. The land was not cleared, There was very few roads then, and they were only little old one way wagon roads. Some of the roads had gates across them to keep the cattle close to home, it was mostly free range. But some people had their land fenced so they had to put gates across the roads. The pioneer people stayed  as close to neighbors as possible. They were close friends and helped with the fence’s, building their cabins, barns, etc. They felt safer with plenty of good will from their neighbors. There was lots of timber, so they cut fire wood to heat their cabins. They set by their fires and discussed their new projects in the neighborhood, such as building or clearing the land. The old folks would talk about old times and places that they had left behind. They also talked about the Camp Meetings that were held for a week or more at a time, and plan new Camp Meetings to be held in the area. On account of the unsettled times caused by the issues of the time about slavery, etc.  Soon after the War was over, they began to look around for a better place to raise their families.  Actually they had brush arbor meetings while they were waiting on enough people to come, so they would know more about where to build their churches. Etc. The brush arbor meetings were popular until the 1920’s or early1930’s.
     I told him, I had no idea that he could remember all of those details. He likes for me to compliment him on the stories he could tell.   He said—remember now, when they came here, they just brought what few things they could bring with them. So they had real primitive tools to work with. After they build their cabins, which usually  was one room cabins. Then they built on to it. When their families grew to where they needed more room. They cooked on the fire place, there was no cooking stoves at first. The main cooking things were; pots and pans, ovens, gridirons and pot-racks, etc. They also kept the old rifle hanging over the door, and also the powder horn, and the fox horn. I did not know of any slaves in this area.
     I said, Oscar it is hard to imagine such conditions  were ever here. He said, times were so bad it would be hard for me to describe to you just how hard things were just after the War. Me and Mable knew most of the boys that went to war from around here. So we would go to where their wives and children lived. We’d just stay around long enough to see how they were doing. Now a lot of them families had a hard time. Even after the war was over, the bushwhackers roamed the whole country side around here. Stealing, and burning homes, etc. Quantrill and the James boys come through here a couple of times and kept  the people all up set. You ask me to tell some of how things was back then, well we can always come back and add our stories to it all.
    I said, Thank you, Oscar for this story, I sure appreciate it.  I better call it a day and we will be wanting to get back to another session before long. He was tired an said he better go get some rest.
     The next time we talked about Green Valley days. He was here at my house and when he came in, he climbed right up in his special seat. And Said, where must I start on our family stories today? I told him I would like to know more about what happened when they lived at Green Valley.
     Oscar started by saying, Me and Mable spent some time up there in Green Valley, before Johnathan and Sarah died. We knew them all, but really didn’t know much about them until Uncle Tommie and his brother Wm. C. Gold moved to Stone County. After they lived here a few years, their children were old enough to start sparking, some of them already were married and the rest of them were growing up at home. So , we took interest in their families. We had us a secret place at Uncle Tommie’s house. We stayed in his wood shed. It was located right close to his house close to the fire place rocks. One Sunday morning two wagons and two or three buggies, all loaded with people and some more on horseback came to their house. Looked like a big dinner or a re-union was about to take place. You see they liked to have family gatherings, big dinners  and the like. They had to create their own ways to have gatherings and stay close to their families and neighbors. They were; Gold’s,  Wright’s. Cavener’s, Garrisons, Smart’s, Estes’s, and their connections. That was quite a bunch of  relatives.  I heard someone mention Thanksgiving. So I guess it was a Thanksgiving dinner. They sure had a lot of food at that table.  They seemed to all enjoy a bountiful feast and their reminiscing of old times. Tommie’s brothers and sisters were there with their children, some married, with their  families. After they had finished their meal and settled down to visit about all that was happening in their lives. The older one’s done most of the talking and the young one just listened. Uncle Tommie was ask to tell what he knew about Delaware Town.
     I could tell, Oscar was really loaded while he was telling about it. He would kinda emphasize some of his points. Uncle Tommie said he remembered his dad, Johnathan Gold tell about Delaware Town. He said Delaware Town was still there when they came to Boaz, from Tennessee. Of course I remember seeing a lot of old  buildings scattered up and down the river bank. And the old trading post was still standing at that time. And a lot of people still lived in some of them old buildings.
    According to what Johnathan had told Uncle Tommie, that old Cemetery at Delaware Town was first called “The old Military Cemetery”. Some of the soldiers of the War of 1812 were buried there and move to the National Cemetery in Springfield.  Uncle Tommie said his dad said he wanted to be buried there. Joseph Philbert run the trading post there, and he was a veteran of the war of 1812, but I don’t believe he is buried there. And then later some Civil War Veterans were buried there. You See he was a veteran of the war of 1812. Now that is what Me and Mable heard Uncle Tommie say about his mother and dad being buried there. But then at that time it was the nearest cemetery in the area. So all of their children moved away and no stone was put at their graves that could be identified as theirs.
    As you know, many years later a memorial stone for Johnathan and Sarah [Ryalls] Gold was put at the White Cemetery where a lot of the Gold’s are buried. Their stone is next to Uncle Tommie and Aunt Mary Jane [Cavener] Gold’s stones.  Thank you Oscar for this account of our ancestors Thanksgiving dinner at Uncle Tommie’s house.
     Now, Oscar, what can you tell me about what ever happened to  Keziah Cavener, and where is she buried.
     Well, he said. All I ever knew about Keziah is what I overheard her tell one of her grand children. I think  it was Amanda Jane Estes. She said she lost her husband; Patrick Cavener, in what is now Marshall  County, Tennessee.  He was buried down there. Then she came here where her children and their families had migrated to.  She stayed with some of her family members, and  later stayed with her grand son; Henry Clay Cavener. Then  I think Keziah went on west with her son John Cavener and they both probably died while staying with her grandson; Joseph Cavener, So she is probably buried there.
Oscar arrived on my porch and knocked on my door around 8 o’clock this morning. I couldn’t imagine why he was stirring so early, He said , Last Night  I got to thinking about things that happened around Hurley several years ago. Then I crawled in my sleeping bag to get some sleep and rest. But I couldn’t go to sleep for thinking about  all that old stuff, and I decided that you and Gini would like to hear how some of them men entertained their self around Hurley, during the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s. the older men around town had a marble ground and a croquet court and a horse shoe pitching place all right together. They would play marbles when the ground was dry for a few days. Then they would play croquet for a few days, etc. Sometimes they would be playing to different games at the same time. Of course they had champions for each one. They liked to brag about it. Several set on the side lines and just leisurely lived that life style, and tell stories of what was going on around town. Me and Mable liked to listen to what was going on. So we had us a place under an old bench that was kinda boxed in, but had a crack so we could see it all. These old gentlemen set on the bench , but didn’t know about us.
     Some of these old guys would set there and whittle all day. Some of them were good carvers. They would carve out different things. One thing they specialized in was; Panther Whistles. Each one had a certain kind of wood he used to make his whistle out of. And would claim that his whistle had a better sound. They made turkey callers, crochet hooks and other small items. Some  of the items were useful to use around their homes.
    Me and Mable did not hear them tell things that were bad about anyone. Just funny things, and jokes, etc. This is the way they passed a lot of time and tried to not think about the hard times that was had by all. Of course they didn’t miss this stuff you’ve got here. Because a lot of it was not invented at that time. Seemed like 20 or 30 people were there at about any one time.
     There were usually some fox hunters and wolf hunters, coon hunters and few fisherman there. So, it was a pretty dull day if some old fox hunter or fisherman didn’t brag about his hounds , or a good fish tale almost any time.
    I said, at least I am glad to know that these old timers tried to enjoy life and take interest in creating good will in the neighborhood.
    Oscar said, these people really enjoyed getting together to show who was the best whittler, or marble player. Oh, they was  always someone ready to brag on how good he was at these games. Someone was always ready to tell a good joke on one of these good natured men. Now, you can see how all of that has changed. Everyone works to much and don’t even know their next door neighbors let alone go try to be just one of the good old boys.


Copyright 2001