July 16, 1953
Transcribed by Janette West Grimes
Editor Has 62nd Anniversary, July 8th
Ye editor has passed another milestone on the one-way road that leads from the cradle to the grave. This event, (which)* was birthday No. 62, took place on last Wednesday. The editor of the Times was born on Wednesday morning, July 8, 1891, at the foor of Mace's Hill, on the west side, on the side of the old Fort Blount Road. He was the firstborn of his parents, Thomas Morgan [Dopher] and Etta Ballou Gregory. On our father's side of the house, we have a lot of hill billy blood in our veins. Our mother's folks were once slave owners and had quite a lot of what some called aristocratic notions. They were generally well educated for their day and time, while our father was not able to read and write until he was 21 years of age. At that period in life, he had to go to Carthage, the county seat of Smith County, and sign his name by mark, which so embarrassed him that he resolved to learn how to read and write even at that age. He accomplished his aim in this respect, although his pronunciation of some words would hardly be permissible to go through the mails if word sounds could be mailed. As we have heretofore related, the writer taught his father, his "Pappie," to him, all that he ever knew about arithmetic. As we have recently said, he had but little trouble learning how to add, some greater trouble in learning how to subtract, and never did learn how to divide. We were 29 years younger than our father, so he was about 40 years old when he learned the meager things of mathematics at the hand of, shall we say, "mouth" of his 11-year-old son.
Our parents were as unlike as any two we ever knew. Our father loved the hills and their people. Our mother did not like the hills and wanted to leave them for the flat lands of Texas. Our father was a born musician and had a good voice for singing, but our mother never sang one line of one song from our earliest recollection to the day of her death, which occurred on Sunday night, November 24, 1912. Our mother was a book worm in a measure; our father read but little except the newspapers. Our father was perhaps the closest observer we have ever known, versed in all the ways of all the wild life about him, a crackshot with the old-fashioned, cap-and-ball rifle. He was the best forecaster of coming weather we ever saw. On the other hand our mother had virtually no knowledge of the things of nature and often made blunders that evoke a laugh or a sarcastic reply from our father. But she was possessed of the most remarkable memory of any woman we have ever known, being able without recourse to written records to tell the exact date of birth of practically all the children in her section for miles around. She also remembered what she had read. She was soft-spoken while our father had a strong and sometimes harsh voice, although he was gifted to singing and musical talent. Our father was the "straitest" of all men we have ever known. Our mother was as good and kind as any woman we have known in our more than three-score years. But when necessary, she could rebuke with withering scorn. She was a fine conversationalist, while our father, although very polite, was somewhat timid. Anyway, we feel that we had just about the best "Pappie" and "Mammy" that any boy ever had. God bless their memory and help their first-born to be a worthy son of as worthy parents as we ever knew.
On our birthday members of the editor's family and the church at Mt. Tabor presented him with a nice lot of gifts totalling perhaps $50.00 in value. We also received the good wishes of a number of our friends. We wish to express our sincere and heartfelt thanks to each donor and each well wisher.
The editor is in fair health and for this he gives thanks to the God he has tried to serve for nearly 44 years. He is still able to put in 100 hours of hard work each week. His memory is not what it has been in the past, but we are thankful that it is as "useful and handy" as it is. We are fairly strong for our 62 years, being able to shoulder and carry a load of 120 pounds without too much shortness of breath. We do not mean to boast in anything we here say. We do not know of any infirmity that we have which is of a fatal nature. For this we again offer thanks to our God.
At 62 we still desire to go on and not slacken "in the traces." In every-day language, we have no desire to quit work and take out. We still find life interesting and quite inviting. So we plan to do our utmost to live and carry on. There are so many things we want to dao that we are sure we shall not be able to accomplish half of them.
We are now 18 years older than our poor, tired "Mammy" was when she folder her weary hands and left her ten children. Life for her was hard indeed. Without any of the modern-day, labor-saving devices brought to this generation, she carried water from a spring 130 yards from the house, did her own washing, largely by hand, did practically all the sewing for a large and increasing family, did her own cooking, preparing three hot meals each day for years and years, and bearing a child every two years until Albert arrived, her tenth child, who was born in 1909. Truly she had a hard time.
The writer is now about ten years older than his dad was when he "quit the walks of men" and left us to return no more. We thought that he was a very old man when he was 50. Now we do not feel nearly as old as we thought "Pappie" was when he had lived half a century. He, like our mother, had a very hard time and wore himself out all too soon, for his 10 children whom he loved with as great affection as any man we ever knew. God bless the memory of both our parents, and grant that some day their three sons and seven daughters may join them in the great summer land of bliss. Two of the number have already gone, Albert, the youngest son; and Anna, the fifth daughter.
We extend our thanks to the friends of the years gone by, and to those who have helped in any way, we say big and loud, "Thanks a million."
Transcriber Note: *Label over word looks like (which).