The Blacks of Little Trammel
Part Three

by Mary H. Black
abt. 1928

Submitted by Claude W. Nimmo
Retyped for the page by Diane Payne & Danene Vincent

*Note from Claude Nimmo, the Blacks of Little Trammel, "was put together by Levi Wilson Black's second wife who he married in Salem, IL on Jan. 26, 1913. Mrs. Mary H. Knowlton Wilcox. She died on Dec. 16, 1938."

Part Three

Burials were very simple and inexpensive in that day. Ten dollars would pay expenses. Coffins were made of black walnut or cherry lumber in the coffins shape. There was much fine timber and many coffin makers through the country. The coffins were smoothed, varnished and lined with white cloth and for durability, far surpassed anything now, aside from a vault. When there was occasion for one, a neighbor taking the measure, would go to some workman and give the order, when ready he would go with team and wagon land would take it where needed and also convey the corpse to the grave. Not adding to the burden of sorrow by a heavy tax then. Good old times. Graves were dug two or three feet and finished with a vault. This was dug just the size, shape, and depth of the coffin leaving a ledge of earth just level with the top of the coffin. Lumber was then laid over, from ledge to ledge and the dirt thrown in. It was most usual to hold the services some time after the interment.

The Bell and Conyer places, were about the first settlings of the Little Trammel country. Old fields were there in the, 40's. These early pioneers cleared the land, lived their simple lives, planted the seeds of education and religion land laid down to rest, many of them in unmarked and now forgotten graves. Usually the only marker was a flat rock picked up set edgewise in the ground, at the head and a smaller one at the foot of the mound. Whose dust is in these graves, we know not, only god knows.

As mentioned before, George Black, the father of A. A. and E. W., died Jan 1867. A.A. and E.W. remained at home with their widowed mother. E. W. having met the right girl, Polly A Graves, they were married by the Rev. Thomas-Kaiser, March 18, 1869. A. A. married in the fall of 1869 to Sina Graves (first wife) and soon established his own home, leaving E W at the home place with their mother. In Feb. 1870, Alfred Lee was born and March 15, 1870, Eliza Black left the home where she had been so active, to enjoy the rest God gives the faithful. In Feb. 1872, Charles Morgan was born. Shortly after A. A. and E. W. moved into the woods upon the Andy Calvert place. When the family broke up, the house of home place in the division of the estate fell to Mary Black Davis. She sold to John Maggert of Smith County and he to the Braswell family in whose possession it still remains. So closes this chapter of the life of E.W. black. Here he grew to a sturdy manhood, has seen brothers and sisters come and go, had seen the pale faces of his own children in death. Here two sons were born. He had seen life come and go. Had learned some of the deep meanings of life. He left this home on the Little Trammel poor in goods but rich in the desire to live of honor in the eyes of God and all men. Let us walk out of this old home closing the door behind us. No more will the fires of welcome glow in that old fireplace or soar up its sturdy chimney for a Black. They are scattered and gone. Dust to Dust and ashes to ashes has been pronounced over them in may places distant from their children home.

The home in the Woods was a tact of land bought by A.A. and E. W. after dividing, each built and humble home, just little log cabins. E. W. moved to this place on his twenty seventh birthday, Dec. 22, 1873. A. A. Had taken possession of his home the previous winter. The family of E.W. consist of himself, wife and two baby boys. Here in a few months one of the greatest sorrows of his life came to him. In the Autumn of 1874 there was heard the voice of weeping in many a cabin home, "The voice of Rachel weeping for her children and could not be comforted." The destroying Angel passed up and down the hollows and over the fields and hills, and not satisfied with the sacrifice of the first born, he in some instances snatches every precious jewel from the homes. So it happened in this home. Little Charles Morgan, the baby, born Feb. 28, 1872, died Oct. 16, 1874. Little Alfred, after the death of his brother, would wander about the house about the house the house looking and inquiring, "Where is Charlie?" "He has gone to Heaven," the sorrowing mother would reply. "I want to go too," he would reply. In three weeks, God called him to join his playmate in the fields of Heaven. Both died of Diphtheria. Who can picture the grief in this lonely home in the woods? They were buried at Providence over fifty years ago, but an old grey haired man still remembers their innocent prattle and sees little Alfred with his tiny wagon playing at peddling about the door. Who can tell the despair of the mother as she left the second mound? Her companion became afraid he would have to use force to get her away. He said to her, "We have a home over in the woods and we must go to it; we can not stay here."

In October 1872, E W had found his savior, and how much needed him at a time like this. How long and lonely the days spent by the Mother while the husband toiled with axe and hope. "Men must work and women must weep; through the harbor far be moaning."

At the Calvert place, he spent four years of toil and hardship, the home to which this little family moved Dec. 22, 1873 (his birthday) was just a little one room cabin without even a porch. No clearing, no pasture, no barn, no crib, or outbuilding of any kind. The cabin was built by his own hands, and he split and made a foursquare pen for his horse and one for his cow. He cleared five or six acres that winter and finished fencing the first days of May when the woods were green and the weather warm. He plowed and planted, Having no pasture, the horse was turned out to grass when not at work. One Sunday after the corn was up, it (the Horse) was found with a broken leg. Without a horse the chance for a crop was poor indeed. But with Bird Graves and Caroll Cline, who each had a horse, he made arrangements to cut bushes out of their corn while they plowed his. Thus his crop was plowed once and a half over. He raised enough that summer to supply himself and sold to Mary Davis a year's supply and sold to others also. He bought a ninety dollar mare of S W Davis to make his next crop. The next fall after the two little boys died, Samuel Seton was born, Sept. 5, 1875. Four crops were made on this place. He sold this place to A J Calvert and moved to the A A Black place where Lona was born. The year 1878, was spent there.

Samuel Seton, born Sept 5, 1875 (Calvert place) died Dec. 9 1951 or Jul. 4 1955. Married Malinda F Cline (one son; John Patterson Black).

Icy Lona born July 27 1878--at the A A black place, just back of the home on the pike. Died of typhoid fever Feb. 23, 1899. Had married Keen. No children.

Araminta Born Nov. 20 1880 at the old watermill place. Died Jan 14 1961. Married T S Mandrell (four children, Velma Edens Pearson, William Hazel, Vada Lamb, Hollis Mandrell) Widowed; Married Will Witt.

William Bates Born April 8, 1883. Died Jan 21 1923 of T. B. Was on way to New Mexico and died on train a few minutes before reaching Sayre, Okla. Married Dora Durham (two Children, Iavalle Black, Woodrow Wilson Black).

Queen Pearl: Born Nov. 17 1885-died July 4 1963. Married Lytle Absher (one child, Alma Artis Fykes). Widowed, Married J A Graves.

Nancy Ann: Born July 4 1888-died of T B at Odin, ILL Feb. 9 1918. Married Lake Potts. One son dead at birth.

These last four children were born at the "old watermill place" south of and adjoining Fairfield.

On New Years Day 1879, he took possession of the old watermill place It was cold, snowy weather, and the family was not moved for several days. That night he spent at Jo Clines. The next day it was cold that the water could not be turned on the wheel and he returned to move his family. This place had been a part of the Sarver lands and was bought of "Black" Jerry Sarver by Squire Ed. Duffy. This Sarver was termed "Black" to distinguish him from another Jerry Sarver who was not a slave holder. Long before the Civil War, this family had operated mills along the little stream of water to grind meal for whiskey. There was evidences of two or three previous to the one built by Duffy. One was a tread mill operated by horses. In the old Sarver days, a slave looked after the mill. Later, in the days when Ed Benson was the miller, there had been a little store in a log hut in the bottom of the mill. He had been gone many years and Frank Davis, brother of the Dr. Davis, turned the mill over on that Jan. 1, 1879. The mill has been gone many years. Here E W toiled as miller for twenty years, raised his family, entered public life in a humble way as Magistrate, and labored in his master's vineyard as Sunday School superintendent, church steward and in all ways he could to advance his kingdom. After renting two years, he bought farm and mill in 1881. In 1882 he was elected magistrate and served two terms of six years. In 1898 he moved to Warren County, Ky. He bought a farm on Drakes Creek. While living here, Icy Lona died in 1899. In 1900, he returned to the watermill, and served again two terms as magistrate. 1900-1906, 1906-1912. In 1901, he traded his Kentucky farm for the J T Rippy farm just east of Fairfield.

In 1902, he bought the Rob Rippy farm and lived there until Dec. 1912. June 18, 1911, the companion who had shared his toils and trials passed to her rest. Jan 26, 1913 he married Mrs Mary H Wilcox, Widow, at Salem, ILL. Married by the Rev. Charles Peterson of the M. E. Church at the parsonage. Louise Tucker and Fanny Davis being present. In August 1916 he returned and built north of Fairfield. In Feb. 22, 1926 he moved back to the J T Rippy place. On Dec. 22, 1926 he passed his 80th milestone. His has been a long land useful life. He says he is glad his work is done, and done so well, that he is only waiting for a good time to slip away.

At the time of his conversion, George Troutt was also converted and out side the old Providence meeting house they struck hands and covenanted to live the Christian life to the end. One in who full assurance of his faith went to sleep to await the dawn of the day then the Lord of hosts will make up his jewels; the other is left a little while longer to sing as the evening darkens "I feel like traveling home," There'll be no dark river," and "He promised never to leave me alone." Jan 12, 1928.

Fairfield, Jan. 26, 1930

Post Script.

Growing weaker, his last trip anywhere was made to Portland, to see De. Moore, July 3, 1929. For three months, he had been failing in mind as well as body. The night of July 16th, his mind became clouded and like many other aged people in a similar condition he could not believe he was at home and his great desire was to find home. He fell asleep on Sunday Morning at 2:30, and sinking deeper and deeper in a coma, expired Monday at 6:30 P. M.. just as the sun sank in the west. August 12, 1927. Aged 82 years, 7 Mo, and 21 days, he survived his brother, A A , five months and ten days. Memorial services was held at the church of Fairfield by the Pastor, John Kelly, Bro. Ed. trout, of Hartsville, son of the friend with whom he had covenanted in their early manhood to live a Christian life, and Bro J. T. Rippy an old neighbor and friend. At the grave his remains was taken in charge by his brother Masons, while the August sun shone brightly as they bestowed their last benediction over his silent form. It is with a sad heart that to-day, the seventeenth anniversary of our wedding, I again take up my pen to write "finis" to what has been labor of love. Two years ago, he sat by my side as he delved in past memories for the materials for this sketch. Today I visited a lowly mound in Fairfield Cemetery to lay upon it a spray of evergreen in token of remembrance. His Last intelligible words to me are often in my mind "If you are ready, let's go" that is now my task, to be ready when the call comes. M. H. B.

(that call came December 18, 1938 about 6:30 A.M.)

You loved beautiful flower, I know:
So poor, that none I have to bring
To lay above your cold, cold breast,
As low you lie today beneath the snow.
No flowers to garnish the damp, red clay,
The fadeless evergreen, I bring
To place above your lowly bed,
In memory fond of our nuptial day.


Later notes, told by (uncle Nat) A. A. Black

The wet weather spring in the hollow across the creek from the house, The rain had raised the water in the creek and his mother had sent him across with a pail to get clear water from the spring. On his return the rail across the creek turned throwing him in the creek. But his mother was watching and waiting and quickly pulled him out. The Blindfold game--when Nat led Dick into a pan of lye, Dick was so young he forgot this.


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