Transcribed by Timothy R. Meador, Jr.
* CAL’S COLUMN *
In one or our recent “Colyums,” we “covered” parts of a trip made from Lafayette to a funeral service near Pleasant Shade, in Smith County. We got down to the old home of Elder H. C. Oldham, who went away July 16, 1943. We gave quite a lengthy account of some of our good times with Elder Oldham.
We continue our “journey” down Little Peyton’s Creek. Just below the Oldham farm lies the old Pleam Piper farm. Our first information is that on this farm more than 100 years ago Martin Luther Herod, son of Peter Herod and his wife, Rebecca Key Herod, lost his life by being crushed by a rolling log. We do not know positively where Peter Herod then lived, but suppose that he lived on the hill just above the present Pleasant Shade, where Dr. G. W. Herod, whom we knew personally, lived so long and where he died on March 25, 1929, at the age of nearly 83 years. He has two sons, Peter C. Herod, of Bowling Green; and George Herod, of Gallatin, still living. He also has a number of surviving daughters.
The first Herod of whom we have any record, so far as this family is concerned, was thought to have been named William Herod. He was a Virginia soldier, residing in the vicinity of Mt. Vernon, the home of George Washington. This Herod is said to have served under Washington in the French and Indian Wars, and later under the same leader in the American Revolution.
He died in Virginia prior to 1808 and is buried there. His wife’s name is unknown.
Sons of the Revolutionary soldier included: James Herod, married a Valentine; William Herod, Jr., married Sallie Settle, daughter of Edward Settle, a pioneer settler on the Stone Branch of Peyton’s Creek’ and Peter Herod, who married Rebecca Key, daughter of Johnathan Key, commander of a “privateer” in the Revolution. Jonathan Key lived in Newbern, N. C., and married a Miss Edwards, said to have been a niece of the Edwards whose property in the early part of this century was in litigation. Key is said to have been a relative of the numerous Keys around Monoville, one of whom is our good friend, Dr. R. E. Key. Another is our Attorney General, Baxter Key, a brother of Dr. Key.
James and Peter Herod are said to have come to Smith County, Tenn., in 1808, James settling on the present Ellis Porter farm, about a quarter of a mile below where Martin Luther Herod lost his life on account of the rolling log. Later James Herod removed to Denton, Texas, where he died at the age of 97.
Peter Herod was born March 31, 1787. In early manhood he was a teacher. In the War of 1812, he enlisted under General Jackson and was in the battle of Horseshoe Bend, and also in the fight at Pensacola, Fla. After that conflict was over, he returned to the vicinity of Pleasant Shade and engaged in farming until he was 40 years of age when he became a physician. In addition to his son, Martin Luther, above referred to, he had two other sons, George W. Herod, born about 1816. He never married and died at the age of 28 years from typhoid fever. He had become a physician only a few years prior to his death. The other son of Peter Herod was Ben Franklin Herod, born in 1819 and died in 1886. He married Judith, daughter of Elder E. B. Haynie, a well-known Baptist minister of the long ago in Smith County. The writer’s line of “baptismal descent” runs through E. B. Haynie. The writer was baptized by Elder R. B. Davis on Oct. 3, 1809. Elder Davis was baptized by Elder Haynie in 1859. Haynie was baptized by Elder Johe Wiseman on Dec. 20, 1819. Wiseman was baptized by Thomas Durham; Durham by John Waller; Waller, by James Read in the 1760’s in North Carolina; James Read, baptized by Shubal Stearns in North Carolina in 1756. Shubal Stearns was baptized by Wait Palmer in the fellowship of the North Stonington Baptist church, in North Stonington, Conn., in 1751. We have a history of the North Stonington church.
We have baptized more than 2,000 persons and we would be glad for them to copy this line of “baptismal succession: for future reference, as we cannot expect to live a great many more years.
But to return to the Herod family, Ben Franklin Herod and his wife, Judith Haynie Herod, were the parents of: Clarkie Rebecca Herod, born in 1842, married William Haile, and died in 1925; Dr. George W. Herod, above mentioned, married Miss Bettie Clay and later his sister, Miss Hattie Clay; Morton Peter Herod, born in 1850 and married a Duncan, later a Johnson; and died in 1924; John Franklin Herod, born in 1854, married a Burkhardt, and died in 1920; William Edward Herod died young and unmarried; Casper Wister Herod, born in 1861 and removed to Oklahoma; and Louisa Herod, who died in infancy.
We have some additional information as to the Herod family. If an reader is interested in same, let us know and we shall be glad to publish what we have.
In coming down Little Peyton’s Creek, we passed the H. E. Porter farm, already mentioned. It is now occupied by the widow of the late Hudson Ellis Porter. On this farm the writer lived in the year 1914, while he taught at Kittrell’s school about a half mile down the stream. Recently we had occasion to visit our old home of 40 years ago. Many, many changes have taken place since those happy, care-free days of our young manhood. The old frame house is in a state of decay, although still serviceable for tobacco stripping and such work. We visited the old house, but found the loneliness and painful memories almost stifling. We, the wife of our youth, and our first-born son and the writer lived there from December 1913 to December 1914. We went over the old house with a feeling almost that eyes long since closed in death were looking at us. We went to the little kitchen where we ate our simple meals of two score years ago. We recalled the kind of dishes we had, the chairs around the table, the wood-burning range, the wood box that we generally kept filled with fuel and a thousand and one other things that fond memory brings back. We looked at the place where we installed our first telephone and we may add that it is still in use and quite serviceable. We visited the old spring where we went to get our drinking water, up the little valley about 100 yards to the west.
Here on this hillside we lived happily for one year and had a fairly successful school year down the valley. We recalled the many mornings when we arose to find the sun just peeping up over the hills on the east side of the valley of Peyton’s Creek. We recalled looking down the valley toward our school with all sorts of dreams of the future. We had no fears then nor, scarcely one dread of what the future might bring to us. Ah, the glorious things of unbounded future prospects, with never one thing to fear or anything which could in any way thwart us and restrain us. We lived then in all the happy anticipations of youth which know but few shadows and none of which can last more than a few days. So we then thought. But even here we had one of our great blows. On the morning of November 19, 1914, we were informed over the telephone that our “Pappie” had died almost without warning. We rushed to his home, our happy childhood home, to find our father cold in death and unspeaking for the first time since we could remember. The man we had childishly thought was too strong to die, was indeed dead. And worse he had left ten sons and daughters without father or mother. Our “Mammy,” at the early age of just 44 years, died two years before. So we began to see what a terrible load was thus thrust upon shoulders that were just beginning to bear the burdens of a man. We had to find living quarters for six sisters and one little brother. We took four of these sisters into our own poor, little home and cared for them as best we could. We look back to the day when we had to make a decision as to how many of the sisters would be given a place to stay place with their oldest brother. It was a hard decision to make indeed, but we have never regretted our choice, in which we were joined by the wife of our youth, to whom this added burden brought much labor and toil. She continued on for 11 more years until she became too tired to hold on to life; and, with hands clasped together, we journeyed on until she entered the valley of the shadow of death and the writer knew the first great loneliness and sorrow of his life. Nearly 28 years have passed since then, but the memory of the industrious, strong-willed young woman, who had no fear of work and who carried on till the end which came at just 32 years of age, live on and will last as long as we tread the pathway of time.
We could not endure the terrible feeling of loneliness as we walked about the old place that we called home in 1914. After walking to the old spring and bowing down to drink from its sweet waters, we bowed down on the rocks in the stream bed nearby and tried to pray for divine guidance for the remainder of our journey. The heavens above were giving off showers of rain as we made our way by the old house, then to the old barn and thence to the highway where we felt relieved to be able to come back, as it were, to the land of reality and where we still find a deep and abiding interest in living an striving to be of some use to our family and to our fellow man in general.
One joyfully sweet thought comes to us over a period of 40 years of time. This pertains to the revival meeting that Elder C. B. Massey and the writer held at the school house down the valley in the summer of 1914. Here we labored and God was very near. We had one of the very best meetings of our ministerial life, with about 30 conversions. We could not “preach a lick,” but our Heavenly Father could take the feeble efforts of his unworthy and youthful servant and crown them with success. Now after 40 years, we still give praise and thanks to the “Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
We had many thoughts of the past as we pursued our way to the funeral above mentioned as occurring near Pleasant Shade. When we reached the Smith-Macon line, we were on the road that we traveled as a rural carrier from 1916 to 1919. Some of the old mail boxes that we served are still in use, while most of their owners have gone “the way of all the earth.” On some of them we could still make out the names which the writer placed on them with black paint on Thanksgiving Day in 1916. The lettering is nearly faded out, just as we are fading from life’s picture.
We are not going to close this article on so melancholy a note as part of the above is. We recall that we owned a pony mare, a Western, which would stop to get a drink of water at practically every ford on the entire 29.3 miles of Rural Route No. 1, out of Pleasant Shade, 37 years ago; and we may add that there were 11 fords on Little Peyton’s Creek and Big Peyton’s Creek that we crossed on the last half of the rural route. We were using a closed-in mail wagon, with a glass “windshield” in front. When this mare stopped, she stopped “all over,” that is suddenly. We had just served the mail box at the home of Ray Kittrell. Just across the stream running down from the Mart Taylor Hollow and only a few feet from the Kittrell mail box were some other boxes. We stopped over to select the mail as the little Western mare trotted on. When she struck the ford, she stopped so suddenly that our “holdback straps,” as old John Jasper used to call them, did not hold and we ran our head partially out through the glass. It was broken into a thousand pieces, our hatband punctured by broken glass in numerous places. We let the mare get the drink that she did not really want, but was an excuse for loitering. Then we removed the broken front window of that little wagon, took our good buggy whip and began to apply it with all the vigor we could muster. As a result of our application of that whip, we made the 11 miles of that part of the rural route in one hour and 25 minutes, stopping at nearly every box either to deliver mail or to pick up out-going letters and cards.
At Difficult which place we visited each morning on the rural route, and which was the worst place for “joshing,” the writer nearly ever saw. Uncle Jim Jones came out and looked at the front end of that mail wagon all butted out and then asked as innocently as a child to all appearances, “Were you drunk?” As I was even then a young minister. Uncle Jim, who was one of the liveliest men we ever knew, and others showed us no mercy, but accused us of having gotten drunk and then of having butted the whole “windshield” out of the little wagon.
Those were great days back there even if some things did go wrong. They are today among our happiest memories.
In a later article we want to pursue our way to the funeral and the burial that followed it.
(To be continued)