August 11, 1955


Transcribed by Elsie Sampson






          These lines are being written on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 1955.  Well do we recall that on Sunday, Aug. 7, 1910, we left our father’s little home at the foot of Mace’s Hill on the west side, toward Dixon Springs, in Smith County, Tenn., to go to the Dean Hill section for the purpose of opening our first school.  We left on Sunday with our brother, Thomas M. Gregory, driving our old bay mare, “Old Nell,” to the buggy.  We had our cheap trunk tied on the rear of the buggy.  We drove eastward over the old Fort Blount trail to Difficult, then we took the road to the northeast of the church house which still stands at Difficult, drove up the Kemp Hollow to the top of the ridge that divides the waters of Defeated Creek from the waters of Salt Lick of Cumberland River, thence about a mile till we came to the top of the high Dean Hill.  Then we went down that rather steep hill road to the home of Alvis Donoho, then perhaps about 45 years of age.  His wife, Jennie Grandstaff Donoho, was not far from the same age.  Our brother helped us remove the trunk from the buggy and carry it inside the Donoho home.  He then drove away to our old home place.  We felt a sort of pang as he drove back to our childhood home, some twelve miles to the west.


          We had previously made arrangements to board with  “Alvis and Jennie,” at the small sum of $8.00 per month, with “washing thrown in” at no extra cost.  Here we spent four months that were as nearly free from worry as any we have spent in all our later life.  Today there are a dozen problems to each one of 45 years ago.  We recall that Donoho asked us to return “thanks,” that night at the table.  We were so upset by this request that he did not ask us to perform the same task the next morning.  However, when he learned that Gregory had opened his school with a little prayer, he resumed his calling on us to “return thanks.”  Some teachers of today have no idea of how it would be to teach school far enough from home that one had to board and could not return home oftener than once a month.  The motor car has largely removed this sort of a situation from the teaching profession today among the country teachers.  It has also largely eliminated the “teachers Institute” of 45 years ago.  We then went to the county seat, expecting to stay from Monday morning till Friday afternoon.  We had a good time, the older teachers showing the younger how to solve many of the hard arithmetic problems of that day and time, giving the younger teachers a lot of encouragement in their work and otherwise assisting them.  The last two days of the annual “Institute” were given over to the examination.  We recall that our very first “Institute” was in Carthage in June, 1910.  We made the highest grade in our particular group, the grade having been slightly above 93 per cent.  We were mighty proud of that grade.  We still have that first “teachers’ certificate,” somewhere in our old papers.  The County Superintendent, Joe C. Nichols, had written on our certificate, “Best Certificate of this grade.”


          Well in a few weeks we had been promised the school at Dean Hill, which, by the way, no longer has a school, the attendance having fallen so low that the school could no longer be continued.  We were given a contract by one of the directors, Pendy Copas, at the, to us, “huge salary” of $40.00 per month.  We might add just here that we taught four months that term and managed to save $100, after paying our board and incidental expenses.  We bought our first saddle at the end of four weeks of teaching, buying it at Pleasant Shade from Sloan Brothers and Company for $14.00.  It was one of the long-skirted, roll-seated saddles common among young men of 45 to 50 years ago.  We might add that that was the first and only saddle we ever bought.  And were we proud of it!  The “squeak and noise” of that saddle made as sweet music as any 19-year-old country boy of half a century ago ever heard.  A nice car given us today would not bring half the joy that the new saddle brought to a bashful, young school teacher 45 years ago.


          We went next morning, 45 years ago yesterday, to Dean Hill school house which still stands today, empty, weather-beaten and forlorn.  No laughter of small boys and girls, no playing of large pupils, no playhouses by the little girls who were unconsciously planning the latter keeping of a home, no baseball diamond, no marble ground, no horseshoe “stobs” are to be seen there now.  The large cedar thicket that came up to the east side of the school building still stands, but the Donoho home in which we boarded 45 years ago, has been destroyed by fire.  The hills that were covered by timber in that day long ago, are now covered mostly with bushes, the larger trees having been cut for their lumber.  The old school house stands today, a silent reminder of a day that has gone to return no more.  In our teaching at that place, we had a chair that we occupied and which we leaned against the wall.  Our hair then was oily by nature and we saw for years afterward that “greasy spot” we had left on the wall on the east side of the house next to the cedar thicket.  But it has been “painted out” and lives today only in memory.  Our hair is now streaked with grey, and the “oil of youth” has gone.


          On that first morning in school 45 years ago yesterday, we had 35 boys and girls present.  For fear we might overlook somebody and do that person wrong, we refrain from trying to name them all.  But part of them have long since crossed the silent river we call death.  Those six-year-olds are now men and women of 51 years.  The oldest children in school that August 8, 1910, are old men and women of more than 60 years.  Truly time flies and “the time and place that know us now will soon know us no more and that forever.”


          We were not “bad to tell tales” then as we have come to be in the years since that August morning.  But we enjoyed teaching and some of our most pleasant memories cluster still around the various places where we taught long ago.  We recall that some children in our first school were like children in many instances are today-just putting in the time til four in the afternoon.  Some of the “time-killers” were in that first school, nearly half a century ago.  They used to come to the teacher with a word that the teacher was supposed to pronounce, with four fingers of one hand pointing to as many words.  We frequently had to say, “Now which word do you want me to pronounce?” and finally the child hit on the word that he thought would do and justify his getting on the floor.  A lot of patience is required in trying to teach boys and girls to try to make something out of themselves more than just the “run of the mill” kind of students.


          We can still recall rather vividly some of our experiences in the school.  We had to chastise some of the students in a rather harsh  manner, for we believed “that sparing the rod spoiled the child.” we had to whip two boys not long after our opening day.  One of them came back next day, riding on a horse and seated behind his mother.  That mother gave us the “scare of our life.”  She proceded to tell the young teacher just what she thought of him.  To make the situation all the worse for the writer, three of the men of the neighborhood, one or two of them great “laughers,” were eye or ear witnesses of the sad state of affairs that had befallen the youthful teacher, who did peep out from under his hatbrim and see the smiles on at least two of the faces.  After we had received the “tongue-lashing” of the boy’s mother, she went her way and “came no more to trouble us.”  This brought on an “eclipse” in the sun of life for the 19-year-old teacher.  But he was not given to brooding and soon dismissed the entire incident as not worthy of a single worry.


          Our opinion of the long, long ago that parents do both their children and the teacher an injustice when they “take sides” with Johnny and go visit the teacher and give him a “bawling out,” in the presence of the boy is unchanged after nearly half a century of close observance.  Our own dear father, “Pappy,” to the writer, used to say: “If the teacher gives you a whipping, I’ll give you another when you get home,” and he meant it.  This made things a lot better for our father’s children and much better for the teacher; and we would judge that it was also “good for Johnny.”



This Article Appeared In The Times

But Was Not Actually Titled Cal’s Column




          The descendants of Frank and Levitha Cardwell Sampson held their annual reunion at Sampson’s well, about six miles west of Carthage, Tenn., on Sunday, July 24th.  Those present were:  Mr. and Mrs. Willie Sampson, of Denison, Texas; Mr. and Mrs. Albert Browder, of Piketon, Ohio; Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Morris and children, Wayne and Peggy, all of Waynesboro, Va., Mr. and Mrs. Hershell Sampson and sons, Carroll and Bobby; Mr. and Mrs. Gleason Sampson and Mr. and Mrs. Kermit Sampson and children, Teresa and Geoffrey, all of Woodburn, Ky., Mr. and Mrs. Ernie Sampson and children, Mitchell and Novis, all of Red Boiling Springs; Mrs. Martha Graham, of Cookeville, Tenn., Virgil Sampson, who owns the mineral well and picnic grounds; his daughter, Mrs. Mary Manning, and their daughter, Mary Neal Manning, all of Route two, Carthage.


          A picnic lunch was served in the large dining room of the cafeteria.  The afternoon was spent in browsing around the grounds, sitting in the shade and talking.  The kiddies enjoyed  the swings and watching the goldfish, rabbits, peafowls and pigeons.  It was a lovely day and was greatly enjoyed by all in attendance.  Frank Sampson, whose name appears first above, was the son of Johnson Sampson and his wife.  His brothers and sisters, as they appear on the lists that the editor of the Times has in his possession are as follows:  John Sampson, married Mary Vaughn; James Sampson, married Martha Morrison;  William Sampson, no additional information; Lem Sampson, married Liza Ann Taylor; Molly Sampson, married John Coley; Fannie Sampson, married Tom Kittrell; and Floretta Sampson, died young.


          Of the next generation we have:  John and Mary’s children:  Ernie Sampson, Willie Sampson, Hershell Sampson, Haskell Sampson, Clyde Sampson, Thomas Sampson and Betty Sampson.  Lem and Lisa Ann Taylor Sampson were the parents of Drusilla Sampson, married a Barnett; Willie Harris Sampson, married Dixie Barnett, a niece of Drusilla’s husband; Levitha Sampson, married a Mitchell; Clara Sampson, married a Goad or Good; Robert Sampson, married a Foster; Ezra Sampson married a Wade; George Sampson, married Ellen Decker; Joe Sampson, married a Cain or Cane; Annise Mae Sampson, married a Proffitt; and Faye Sampson, married a Fultz.


          Frank Sampson had one brother, George Sampson, who married an Overstreet.  He had another brother, Jeff, who married a West.  Jeff had one son that we have on our lists, Wade Sampson.


          Johnson Sampson married a Snoddy.  His brothers and sisters were as follows.  Coleman Simms Sampson, the grandfather of the Virgil Sampson, who owns Sampson’s mineral well and picnic ground; and the husband of Mary Skelton, born in 1810 and died in 1864; Stephen Sampson, married Katherine Dawson; Joan, no further information; Drusilla Sampson, married M. Ligon; and Billie Sampson, no additional information.


          Coleman Simms Sampson and his wife, Mary Sampson, were the parents of:  Stephen Duke Sampson, known as Dee Sampson; James Wilburn Sampson, Johnson Sampson, Dr. C. S. Sampson, Pate Sampson, and one that died in infancy, name not known.


          Stephan Duke Sampson (Dee) married Venie Andrews and became the father of : Marion Sampson, removed to Kentucky; Stephen Sampson and Parris Lee Sampson, who married a Nance.  Some of this family made their homes for a number of years near Glasgow, Ky.


          James Wilburn Sampson never married and died as a young man at Natchez, Miss., some time prior to the Civil War.  Johnson Sampson was twice married, his first wife having been a Waters.  We do not know whom he married the second time.  He resided in Texas and was the father of:  William, Belle, Oscar, Onsby, and Mary Sampson.


          Dr. Coleman Simms (C. S.) Sampson married Mary Jane Harper and was the father of: Madonna King, married a Denton; Mattie, married John Martin; Mary, married a Gore; Belle, married a Kinney; Hershell, married Maggie Hailey; Mildred, died in infancy; Louanna, married a Bass; Willard, married a Gore; Walter, married a Beasley; Virgil P., the above mentioned owner of the well, who married a Kinslow; and C. S. Sampson, Jr., who married a Kinslow.


          Pate was another son of Coleman Simms Sampson, and his wife, Mary Skelton; and married a Wilson by whom he has two children, Mollie and Kidder.  One of the children of Coleman Simms and Mary Skelton Sampson died in infancy, but we do not have the child’s name.


          Stephen Sampson, who married Venie Andrews, as we have already noted above, had a son, Stephen Sampson, Jr.  He was the third child of his parents and went to Glasgow, Ky.  We do not have his wife’s name.  Stephen Sampson, who married Katharine Dawson, was the father of: Titus Sampson, married an Oakley and also a Fisher; David Sampson, married a Wilkes; Tom Sampson, no additional information; James Sampson, married an Oakley; Mattie Sampson, married Elder Henry Smith, a noted Baptist minister of Macon County, the father of the late Don Q. Smith; Johnnie Sampson, never married; Minerva Sampson, no additional information; Jane Sampson, married a Fisher; and Kate Sampson, married a Nance.  Dave Sampson was the father of James and Edgar Folk Sampson.  Titus Sampson was the father of Roy Sampson.


          Nancy Sampson and her husband, William Dawson, were the parents of:  Henry, James, William, John and Harriet Dawson.


          The father of Coleman Simms, Stephen, James Wilburn, Johnson, Nancy, Joan, Drusilla and Billie Sampson, was Stephen Sampson, born in Virginia about 1790 and died in Smith County, Tenn., on June 10, 1850.  He married Miss Luranie Simms, who preceded her husband in death.  Stephen Sampson died suddenly, falling dead in his garden.  He was a small man and had his funeral preached by Elder E. B. Haynie some time prior to his death.  He was a member of Hogan’s Creek Baptist church.  Stephen Sampson had two brothers, but we are not certain as to the name of either.  One of them was killed in the battle of New Orleans on Jan. 8, 1815.  The name of the second brother is believed to have been Johnson Sampson.


          Francis Marion Sampson was the father of Stephen Sampson, who married Luranie Simms.  He lived and died in Virginia.  His father was William Sampson, an early English emigrant to America.


          If there are any errors in the above, we shall be glad to correct them.  If there are names that should be added, we shall be glad to include them in the descendants of William Sampson, the first we have of the name coming to America.  We desire to try to keep the old records as accurate and as free from errors as possible after a lapse of so many years.  We may add that most of this record was given to us by Dr. C. S. Sampson, during his late years.  They were written, for the most part, more than 25 years ago.