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Recollections of
Ann Martin Cunningham


As told to James W. Cunningham (1947-)

Mack Denny

Mack’s parents had moved into the head of the Gizzard and where the big spring …. Now to the left, if you went on up the Gizzard to Tracy City, the way I understood it, and the cemetery is up on top of the spring or back there somewhere but on the right there was a cove and I don’t know how big it is and Mack’s mother and daddy moved in there and, I assume, bought the land. I don’t know whether they were the only people living in there or not.Because George Thompson’s parents had lived up there somewhere.And I don’t know whether the Dennys and the Thompsons lived in the same cove, but the Dennys must have been in there first because they used to call it and still do the “Denny Cove.
They had several children. Mack had a sister, I think, and I don’t know whether he had a brother or not. We just called him “Mack”—I don’t know what his full name was. He was a young man and no one had ever seenMack in anything but bib overalls.I don’t know what age, but I guess around 20 or 21 or something.
Dave Harris married Margaret Box and they had several children and they lived over across the creek, up on the edge, side of the mountain.Uncle Spencer and Aunt Margaret’s[1] side.And they had Ginny, and Ten, and _____and another boy, I can’t think of his name, and Mahaley.That’s five children and I can’t think of anymore. Lee was the oldest daughter.
Mack had been courtingTennie and Tennie, I think, was named for my mother[2].She was either named for Papa’s mother[3] or my mother and I’m not sure which one, more likely to have been named for Papa’s mother.But anyhow, they called her “Ten.”
So Papa[4] went to take the milk down to what we called the “milkhouse.” A lot of people called it the “storeroom.” That’s about all you kept in it was milk and butter.And he came back up the lane[5] and the lane was straight up ’til it got to a certain place and then it turned the other way, and when Papa came back up, he was getting ready to come in the back door through the kitchen and he saw a man coming down the road, just dressed up fit to kill. He could tell he had on a suit of clothes, and so he just stood there and waited to see who it was.And when he got a little closer, he saw it was Mack. And he said—and the old country saying was when you saw someone dressed up like that,that you didn’t often see them dressed up, was—“Where are you going to preach today?”
[Mack replied,] “Well, hoo pusses, I’m going to get me a dough roller.” (Laughter)
He looked just like Festus[6], especially when he was in his everyday garb and after he got older.But he had on a new mail order suit, a white shirt, a tie, a new pair of shoes. He perhaps had a hat, but I don’t remember what Papa said about it.But I imagine he had a new hat.
And you see, if he walked down on the road, he’d be out in the open sun and he’d have gotten real hot, but he walked down and he was pretty well shaded, from the Denny Cove down to our lane and then it was shady mostly, down our lane. And if he’d crossed the branch and walked in that path, he was shaded all the way and Cedar Ridge, too.
And you walked around there and the first house was Uncle Ike Henley’s.And the next house was the Adams’ and the next house was the Normans’, where Lenabel was born. There was a road around there and you came to Hey Tom’s House, or Hey Jack, they called him.Tom Anderson was his name and he married Abigail, Daisy Abigail Roberts. You’ve heard us speak of Osira[?]. And I believe they were Amos Roberts’daughters.
AndMack had his license already and he was going to get married.Well, that was the first time my daddy had ever heard a wife called a “dough roller.”

[1]Spencer & Margaret (Tate) Anderson
[2]Tennessee Jane Raulston
[3]Mary Tennessee Tate
[4]William Herbert Martin
[5]They lived at the Speegle place in the Gizzard which Comfort Matilda Tate,
Tennessee Jane Raulston’s mother, had received as a wedding present from her father, John Knox Tate.
[6]A character in the television show,Gunsmoke.


She was born and raised there in the house that Granny and Grandpa[1] later … that was their farm, you know … my family.Well, she was John Smith’s daughter and I think it means John Adams ….And so they had several children. There was Mary Smith that married a Smith and lived at Sewanee. And then there was … Ed Smith and Henry Smith were the boys.And I don’t know whether they just had 4 children or not. Myrtle was the baby and they called her “Myrt.” Alva Suggs—A-l-v-a was the way he spelled his name—had come from Pikeville. He was a young man and he worked in the McConnells’ sawmill. When the McConnells came into Battle Creek, they put their sawmill up in the head of the Kelly Cove and lived up there, you know. Alva Suggs had come to work at the sawmill in the Kelly Cove and, of course, Myrtle lived right there where Bill and Dot[2] lived behind where our home was[3] . Alva was courting her and so they decided they were going to get married.Myrt said, “I got married right in front of that fireplace” and said,“Alva had bought a new pair of overalls to get married in” and I guess he had a white shirt and a tie, but he got married in bib overalls.And you’re supposed to wash them before you wear them, because that blue will fade on you and it must have been hot weather.It had to be because they didn’t have a fire, if they got married in front of the fireplace. And she said the overalls faded all over where they touched the skin.And she said on her wedding night, she slept with Alva for the first time and he was blue all over.And she just died laughing. (Laughter) He enjoyed her and he was a nice person, too.And he did real well; they had a good living.But she kept up a hoorah wherever she was.I never have seen anything like that Myrt. Oh, she was a cracker jack.

[1]Ann’s parents, William Herbert & Tennessee Jane (Raulston) Martin
[2]Ann’s brother and sister-in-law, William David &Dortha Virginia (Jones) Martin
[3]in Smithtown

Submitted by James Cunningham

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October 8, 2011