††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† April 12, 1951

 

This Article Appeared In The Times

But Was Not Actually In Calís Column

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††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Transcribed by Janette West Grimes

 

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† TexasLetter

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ______

 

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Commerce, Texas

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† March 30, 1951

Dear Editor:

 

†† "Cal's Column" is yielding some rich and interesting materials. Keep a few of those Civil War veterans coming. Perhaps thirty at one time [early nineties] got their quarterly checks at Eason, on White Oak, where my father was postmaster and storekeeper and D. H. Knight was blacksmith. Among such old pensioners whom I heard tell of Stone River, and other battles, were such as Jake B. Bertram and Asa Blankenship, about whom you ask information.

 

†† I am saddened to think that fifty years have left Macon Countians oblivious of such wonderful characters. Jake Bertram lived on Akersville road about seven miles north of Lafayette, just below Underwood church where the road enters from White Oak by where Jess Knight now lives. Uncle Jake and Uncle Ace, as we pronounced it, were two of father's best customers. Asa Blankenship first lived above Underwood on the ridge. He had two daughters, Etta and Martha. One married Washy Hale and the other Ed Bray, a distant relative of mine [son of Harmon Bray, whose place on White Oak the father purchased---the Booker Freeman store site]. Uncle Asa Blankenship was "the laughingest man in Macon County" but the glumest if, as seldom happened, the joke pointed at him. He never missed "first Monday" or the county fair. His horse was fat and sleek, showing the pride felt by the owner and the good care and feed provided. Uncle Asa was a man of large frame, big face, ruddy complexion, large features, long hair, and usually wore a hat like Dick Bray's--showing wear by holes in the crown, grease on the sides and brim, and turned up edged; but they had better ones in service.

 

†† A story Uncle Asa delighted to relate was about how he once had all the scrambled eggs he wanted on Christmas morning. " The girls had been saving eggs for weeks to get the highest price from the peddler. They had close to two cases they kept in front of the fireplace during cold weather. On Christmas eve they were uneasy about the very cold weather and told me to be sure to leave enough wood on the fire to keep the room warm. Well, when they went off to bed, I just set a half case out on the porch, and next morning set them back in a bit farther from the fire then the rest. When I got the fire started, I called the girls. You better get up and look after these here eggs. It was awfully cold last night, and I am afraid some of them froze. The girls got up and while I was getting the fire going in the cook stove, they looked at the eggs. Sure enough, several dozen of them had froze [n], and I had all the eggs I could eat for breakfast! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, hahh." But one cannot realize that this laugh could be heard a quarter mile from the little store at Eason and that he had smacked his legs like mad all the time. His laughing continued a good minute, as a rule, and as he got a kick out of the joke all others laughed, until they stopped to realize Uncle Asa was laughing at them as well as at the joke. There are old men and women living in Macon today who appreciate just what I am trying to tell.

 

†† When Uncle Asa moved down a mile below Eason at the Booker Freeman place, his girls were soon married. One day, so I was told, he met Ed Bray, one of his two sons-in-law, alone as on Old Daisy he went to Adam's overshot mill near Underwood in a deep hollow neat Puncheon Creek. Ed tried to treat him nicely and simply said, "Hi, Uncle Ace." But the old soldier just looked the other way and when he heard Ed's salutation, he rolled off his nag and started throwing rocks. Ed just rolled off his bag of meal in the other side of his mule and tossed a few back at him. This battle of "Stone Ridge," we may call it, soon saw Ole Daisy taking off toward the mill down the hill and to safer atmosphere.

 

†† Jess Knight married a daughter of Washy Hale, the other son-in-law. I see Uncle Asa's great-grandson, Webb Freeman Knight, recently enlisted for military service, and I know the old gentleman would be mighty proud of him and others like him. So would his great-grandfather Knight, for Uncle Jesse Knight was a veteran of the Mexican War in the 1840's in Texas and lived at Eason.

 

†† More echoes of Eason at later date.

††††††††††††††††† W. W. Freeman