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Growing up in Warren

The Way It Was

An old oaken chest sat where it had been pushed out of the way against a wall, in this unused room. It had been there since I left home some fourteen years ago. We had never been allowed to open it when I was a child but I knew the treasures that it had held. As a child, peering over my grand fathers shoulder, I had seen old English shillings, other coins and stamps dating back in the 1800's. Stacks of old papers and letters, carefully tied in bundles with string. It brought back a flood of memories. Even though my grand father had been dead for twelve years, I was a little apprehensive about opening this chest that had been forbidden me as a child. Pushing childhood memories aside, I rolled back the top of the desk. It was empty, except for an old 44 Starr Colt that my great grand father carried in the Civil War, and a bundle of papers, tied with string. Some one had plundered the old chest of it's valuables and probably sold them at a smidgen of their value. I called my mother and pointing at the almost empty chest, asked “what happened to grand Pa's treasure?” She replied, ”Over the years, the house and chest was never locked, so any one could have taken them.” “The house and chest is still never locked. Suppose they take what is left.” I said. She studied for a moment, then said, ”I will lock up the old gun and if you want what is left, take it.” So I took the old papers home and kept them in a box designed to keep cigars fresh, thinking that this would protect them. There were some 200 letters written in the 1800’s depicting the joys, hardships, and what the people did at that time. I showed this material to my grand children and they insisted that I tell what happened in my life time to put with the old letters. This book will cover events and the life of the people from mid 1800’s to present. Most of it takes place in Warren County (formerly Bute County) where it’s height of prosperity was reached prior to and directly after the Civil War. When rail roads were being built, Warrenton (the county seat) declined to have a railroad close to the town. Instead the railroad was built 3 miles from town and the town of Warrenton built it’s own private rail line out to the main rail road. With this arrangement, sleep was not disturbed and traffic was timed according to their wishes. Before the Civil War it was an attraction for tourist who visited the nearby hot springs. There were balls and gala events such as the debutante ball, horse racing and socialites from the north. Today there is not one medical doctor in the entire county. In the area that I lived, there was no electricity because the power company said it was not cost effective to put the lines in. Still there has been major changes. Electricity is there now, tractors have replaced mules, automobiles replaced horses and the progress made in communications, transportation and technology is still hard for me to comprehend. Children of today find it easier to deal with because they are growing up with it. When I was young and a new work saving idea was proposed I would look at my grand father and ask “ Why didn’t your generation do this”. He would explain that most improvements came about gradually. First, there was a need, then and idea, which needed money to put into affect and last it had to be sold. He laughingly reminded me that one of the hardest selling jobs ever was the refrigerator. Why, the people would ask, did you need an expensive refrigerator when the ice man delivered ice to your door daily? My grand father smiled and said “You see things differently because you have the advantage of hind sight, but at that time the only answer is ”that is the way it was.”

My grandfather, I thought, was ancient . In reality he was 76 years old when he died and I was 12. He welcomed we children who sat with him and listened to the stories of the old days. He knew the “Uncle Remus” stories and King Arthur's myths, but best of all were the stories of our ancestors. He made his grandfather, uncles and aunts come alive as if they still lived next door. Sometimes, when he was especially enthusiastic, he would open Noah's Ark. Noah's Ark was a very old oaken chest, hand made to dimensions that would fit under a buggy seat. No one knew exactly how old or who made the chest. My Great grandfather carried it under his buggy seat during the Civil war and he had received it from his father. There had been an ancestral genealogy there but it was loaned out and never returned. The Hilliard’s were traced back into England to the 1500’s, having arrived in America in 1634. Our earliest ancestor, Cicily Reynolds, arrived in America in 1610. She came over on the ship Swan, August 10,1610 at the tender age of 10. Cicely may have been a friend of Governor and Lady Yeardley - Temperance Flowerdew, who became Lady Yeardley, arrived in America at about the same time as Cicely Reynolds. One of Sir George Yeardley's first acts was to grant a patent of land at James City 10 Dec 1620 to Samuel Jourdan of Charles City in Virginia. Gent. and ancient planter "who hath abode ten years Complete in the Colony" and to "Cecily his wife an ancient planter also of nine years continuance." Cicily had married, first a man named Baley, then a Jordan and last Captain William Farrar. progressing through several generations of Farrar’s until Judith Farrar married my GGGG grand father John Bowden. Their daughter Sarah Bowden married my GGGG grand father Thomas Hilliard. Thomas and Sally Hilliard were buried in the old Hilliard cemetery not too far from home. Their children, grand children and most of the following generations were also buried in one of the three cemeteries at this locale. When my grand father Henry Hilliard died in 1937 I was 12 years old and very impressionable. We carried him to the cemetery ( Mount Auburn Church cemetery), neighbors dug the grave, neighbors lowered him into the grave and covered him over, and I watched my beloved grand father depart from me for ever. Family members then walked around, pointing out graves of past generations of our family, and relating stories of the past. It was a sequence of events firmly etched into my mind that would remain throughout my life. Each succeeding generation had stored their documents, business papers and even love letters in the old chest. It had been a carefully guarded heirloom. So on the special days when my grandfather decided to open Noah's Ark, we children gathered in a semi circle on the floor to wait in wonder and apprehension as he rolled the lid back. Reaching into the chest carefully, as if he was putting a crown on the kings head, he would select a document and from it a story flow. The Hilliard (named Henry) man who jumped into the muddy Mississippi river to rescue people when the steamer sank, only to be drowned himself from fatigue in the end. Stories of how our ancestors arrived in the early 1600's and the hardships they endured. My immediate family has lived in an area Less than 100 miles in diameter since then. When people ask why we never left this area, I simply ask why should we. I can think of no better place on Gods green earth, as my daddy used to say. It is only fitting that I pass some of these stories on and add my generation to it. The stories are true and probably similar to thousands of others who lived during this period. It will serve as a record as well as entertaining and although some of it appears far fetched, it was indeed, the way it was.  

A Beginning

I am told that I was born on a Saturday evening at six o’clock May 16,1925 in Granville county, a few miles from Oxford, North Carolina. Although I was too young to remember much about this home, there seems to be an imprint in my mind of the surroundings. Something that can't be recalled specifically, yet I am a part of the surroundings. There were vague memories of Cozart's, Harris and other neighbors but I couldn’t attach any faces, so I made up mental images of them. Mr. Cozart was a big black bearded man who would go dark in the face, with a scowl, if irritated. Mr. Harris was a little fat twittering fellow with quick movements. My earliest memory that I could recall specifically was at age 4, when we moved from the farm in Granville county to Norlina. This was quite an ordeal for a four year old and was firmly imprinted in my memory forever. The desire to move off the farm had been in my daddy's mind for a long time. Papa was six feet plus tall, and muscular from working all of his life on farms. My mother, in contrast, was four feet and eleven inches tall. She was always firm about the extra eleven inches. Oddly I remember that her shoe size was number five. They were a congenial couple, never angry with each other nor critical of each other, at least in front of us children. At night when every one had gone to bed there would be quiet conversations between he and my mother. "Alma", papa would say, "you know that every year we work our fingers to the bone and when we settle up with payment of fertilizer and groceries, there is little left. After we buy the children winter shoes and other little necessities the money is gone. Next year we start all over to do the same thing again. Mama's reply was always pretty much the same. "I'll have to leave it up to you Charlie, you have kept us in food so far." “I have been looking around for a job that is better. I hate to make a big change but I’m afraid that I will have to eventually”. Papa said thoughtfully.

 A Little About the Family

At this time there was only seven in the family. Namely, my grandfather (Henry Hilliard ), father ( Charlie Hilliard), Mother (Alma Hilliard Hilliard), oldest brother  (Williard Hilliard), next oldest brother (Mack Hilliard), oldest sister (Lucile Hilliard), I (Charles Hilliard) and my next brother (Henry Hilliard).. Grand Father had Infantile paralysis as a baby, they said, and his legs never developed beyond a child's in size. He folded the small undeveloped legs up against his stomach and fashioned a quilted pad that he sat on. Straps were attached to the pad and cris-crossed over his shoulders to keep his legs folded up against his stomach while he walked on his hands. He had handcrafted wooden slippers that fit under his hands to protect his hands on rough surfaces. He would extend his arms far out in front then lounge forward between his arms and land on his seat. A distance greater than a normal step each time he made the movement. Having always walked on his hands, he had developed huge muscles in his arms and hands and could move faster than a normal walk. It was a cold, blustery winter afternoon when everyone stays inside and there was no work that could be done outside. The crop had been harvested and sold and Papa had settled up all of the debts and taken his share of the money. He had gone into town to look around for prices on our winter shoes and to get some groceries. The groceries would consist of black pepper, sugar, and salt, as we grew every thing else that we ate. Occasionally papa would splurge and bring back fish to cook. On this particular afternoon, mama was in the kitchen fixing milk for my baby brother, Henry. Willard and Mack were busy making a bean shooter, while Lucile sat on the floor cutting out paper dolls. I sat in a corner observing the others. Every one's head jerked up when we heard the rapid drumming of horse hooves. Papa usually drove in at a leisurely pace and took his time unharnessing the team before coming in the house. This time the horses were in a run and papa didn't unharness before coming in. He just tied the horses to a post and bounded in the house beaming. Mama took one look and said "Charlie, you got us some fish. Papa said " that's not all, I got me a job with Carolina Power and Light company" "Where Charlie?", Mama asked "and when do we have to move? "We move to Norlina, "Papa said " but I work wherever they send me. We will be stringing telephone wire, putting up telephone poles and such." "When do you start work?" Mama asked. Papa replied, "One week from Monday I'll be working at my new job. No more failed crops and I'm paid every week, so we will know what's coming in. "Oh lord," mama exclaimed, "we don't even know where we will live and only a week to get there. "Oh yeah, oh yeah "papa replied, "I have found a nice house in Norlina and we can move in this week." "Charlie, that's impossible" mama said, "you couldn't have gone to Norlina and back in one afternoon. That would be forty miles round trip" "Well, I  haven't actually seen the house. A fellow that works with CP&L told me about it. He knows the owner and will fix everything so we can move any time" papa replied. I looked at Mack and Williard. They had forgotten the bean shooter and were listening intently to what was taking place. Lucile had stopped cutting half through a paper doll and was watching. This was a totally new event for all of us. I watched them to get a clue as to how I should react. All of this time Grandpa had sat next to the fireplace with poker in hand, slowly stirring the ashes in the fireplace. Papa finally turned to grandpa and said. "What do you think Pa?" "Well son, you are making a living here but it seems that there is little chance of doing more than that. If the job you want is equal in pay and a chance for advancing, then it appears to me that you should chance it. Life is a gamble, not much guarantee in anything, but I think it worth the risk. The final decision lies with you and Alma of course.” “Then I’ll do it”, Papa promised and with that we knew it was all settled. The next morning mama started packing. There wasn't much to pack, but anything breakable had to be packed very carefully. Mama took the dishes and anything glass to put in burlap fertilizer bags. She always saved the fertilizer bags, washing and putting them away for just such a need. Between each piece she carefully placed a piece of paper or rag to prevent breakage. The furniture would be placed on the wagon later and tied with rope, after putting blankets between them. Williard, Mack, Lucile and I spent the time searching every nook and cranny of the house and yard so as not to leave anything. Grandpa sat and watched the proceedings with a suggestion from time to time. Moving day finally came and everything was loaded on the wagons. The fire was left burning in the fireplace for warmth until we were ready to climb aboard. The last one out would douse the fire with water and throw the bucket in the wagon. "All right" papa called "put the fire out and climb on the wagon. Alma, you, papa and the children get in the second wagon. It's going to be cold, so push up together and keep those blankets over you". I walked from the house to the wagon on ice, slipping down once and cutting my finger. My younger brother, who was only two, was carried in the arms of my mother. At four years of age, I was too old to be carried. My older two brothers and sister would have teased me and called me a baby. Then too, my mother was pregnant with another child. We moved on two wagons. It was cold with ice and snow covering the ground and this trip would be twenty odd miles. We wrapped in blankets in the wagon, with only our nose sticking out. Cold would still creep in and your breath looked like thin trails of smoke. We sat with our backs against one another, pulling the quilts around our legs and over our shoulders. The cold still seeped in and there was a little cold draft of air whenever anyone changed positions. The men took turns running along side the wagon to keep warm while another would drive the team, then they would switch positions. The ground was frozen hard with ruts cut by other wagons in the mud. The wagon wheels would run along on smooth ground, then drop abruptly into a rut, shaking us with a sharp bump. I leaned over the side of the wagon and watched the wagon wheels turning slowly. Frozen frost had raised the red dirt up about three inches and the wheels left little lines of white icy crystals in the tracks. I watched the lines made by the wagon wheels as they got narrower and narrower until they almost met before disappearing behind us. We were not allowed to sleep because they said we might freeze and never wake up. Even with that fearful thought it was sometimes hard to keep my eyes open as I listened to the monotonous creaking of the harness leather. Fields on either side were bare of all vegetation. We were the only living things as far as the eye could see on all sides, and there was no sound except the rumbling of the wagon. Rows of corn in long straight lines stood still as we inched past them at a snails pace. I mentally pictured the people that planted the corn, sitting somewhere by a warm fire and how I wished the journey would end. We were leaving the farm behind and would live in town where my daddy would do public work. He was going to work for Carolina Power and Electric Company. I listened to the quiet conversations about white collar jobs and no more failed crops, but didn’t understand. This was 1929, entering the great depression, and people were restless. I had heard them talking about people in far off New York. A place called Wall Street where people jumped out of windows and committed suicide when they saw savings lost. Where hungry people were standing in long lines waiting for a bowl of soup. Previously affluent people, reduced to waiting in long lines for food to stave off the hunger in their families. It was a time of humiliation, fear and desperation. I had listened to the talk by the adults and ventured to ask my father about it. "Papa,” I asked “why do they kill themselves and why are they so sad? Are we poor papa?" Papa replied, "We are as poor as a church mouse, but since we never had any thing, I guess we don't miss it. They have had it all and can’t stand the thought of loosing it and starting over. It would be too much change for them”. I didn't understand why we were poor and happy yet those people were poor and miserable. I thought, It really isn't what you have, but what you think you have, which makes you happy. I snuggled down deeper into the blanket and wondered what happened to the children who were left by the people killing themselves. Grandpa had been left when his father was killed in the civil war. Whenever I was bored, I would sit beside grandpa and ask him questions about when he was growing up. Grandpa was an only child. His father, Thomas Dandridge Hilliard was killed in the civil war. He and his two brothers went to war for the confederates. Of the three brothers, only John lived to come home. When grand pa’s father was killed, he and his mother were left alone. He had neighbors and kin folks but that wasn't like saying that he had a daddy at home. Then his mama married Mr. Ab Flemming. Later he would have two half sisters and half brother. When he was a child he didn’t make the long journeys to school, as his two half sisters and half brother did. Instead he took their books as they finished them and studied at home. His two half sisters' Aunt Emma and Vivian Flemming finished their education and started teaching school at age seventeen. They taught for forty years. Without formal education, due to not being able to sit in the class rooms, my grandfather didn’t teach as he had always wanted. He wanted to be like his father. Grandpa had an old oak chest that we called Noah's Ark. Sometimes grandpa would open Noah's Ark and show me the old papers handed down for generations by his family. Past generations had been plantation owners with large holdings and a comfortable living style. He would laugh at the luxuries purchased by these families and compare it to our situation now. I could readily see that his ancestors were highly educated and wealthy but I couldn’t comprehend why he didn’t inherit some of it. There were bills of sale for slaves and letters of instruction from his father on caring for them while he was away fighting in the civil war. There were records of purchases each year by the family which clearly demonstrated the wealth, so I decided to follow the records through chronologically to find where the wealth ended. First I took his fathers 1850 census which would give me the amount of land owned. This showed his father John owning 968 acres of land in Nutbush township, Warren County, NC. (His grand father Thomas lived close by with 1488 acres).  I then checked on his wife’s parents to find that they too owned a large estate and noted papers where slaves were divided when her father died. Another interesting note showed that slaves could be rented annually.

In the 1870 census, Eugenia is at home with son so she did retain the estate and she has a James Holloway acting as forman of the farm.

At this point I could see that the wealth was inherited by the wife (Eugenia) whose husband was killed in the Civil War at age 33. She later remarried to Abington Flemming at still a young age as shown on the 1880 census. Therefore the wealth passed to Ab Flemming due to marriage laws at that time. This was all a child's method of rationalizing and probably not even close to the truth. The North occupied the south for two years following the war and therein is probably the answer.

As shown on the census, my grand father (Henry Hilliard) was 16 years of age and living with his mother, Eugenia, Mr. Flemming ( her husband now) his children and house servants. This is where wealth stopped as my grand father never inherited anything. I then realized that laws at that time was such that males owned everything and made the decisions. I also noted that my mothers great grand mother was smart enough to get around these laws. She made a legal document secretly, when she married , describing how she wanted her property handled and had it witnessed etc. Her husband never knew of it until after her death. I will show it here for interest in legal matters. My grand father liked to talk about his father (whom he never remembered) who was killed in the civil war. He was especially proud of his father being a teacher and still had the original Teachers Certificate and papers showing his pay for teaching. I had many questions on why men would go to war and get themselves killed. I couldn’t understand why people went out and killed others, leaving the little children with no papa’s. I thought about a conversation that I had with Grandpa earlier. “Why did your daddy go and fight in a war” I asked. “We had to protect ourselves” he would answer. “We didn’t go north looking for trouble, they came down here after us.” "Why would they want to go to all that trouble.” I pressed. “Well, they had factories and a lot of shipping while we had mostly farms. They wanted to make the rules and have us follow them." He said matter of factly. “But I thought it was about slaves” I said. Grand Pa smiled, “That came up after the war was already in progress. They needed something to fire the peoples imagination and give them a cause. Pretty smart of them too.” Actually, they wanted a law that would prevent the new south western states from owning slaves because the cheap labor would be too much competition for them. It was late in the war that the idea to free all slaves came about”. “How did the people work the fields if all of the slaves left?” I asked He laughed heartily and said “Let me read you a letter and you will understand”. With that he begin to read this letter. This letter was written to my great grand mother, just after the Civil War (1869), by Lucie Hilliard, her niece.

“How could one person own another" I would ask. He would become somber with thought and say " It is hard to understand now how anyone could have done such things. At the time I was a child and believed what I was told. It was thought that blacks were not fully human and didn't have a soul. They were considered just a notch above other animals. He selected papers from Noah’s Ark that contained bill’s of sale for negroes that his family had owned. One family owned 22 slaves. My grand father seemed embarrassed by the revelation but still wanted me to have the facts. I guess the idea was promoted through greed for cheap labor. As I grew older I began to question this idea and eventually concluded that it was wrong. I was glad that they were all freed." After these explanations, he would change the subject. His father had been a teacher and was granted, one of the, if not the first teachers license in North Carolina, dated 1853. This certificate had been kept in Noah's ark along with the death letters and enlistment papers, Which I would examine in great wonder. His father was twenty-one when he received his license. Old receipts dating back to the mid- eighteen hundreds would list the family names of his students alongside the fees paid. Fees were $9 to $12 each for school session. Sometimes, before he married, he would board in one of their homes. Grandpa would relate the stories told to him by his mother about his grandfather and grandmother Hilliard. Although his grandfather told him that he didn't believe in any human enslaved, the family owned quite a number, which he rationalized by saying that some one would own them if he didn't and at least he treated them well. He would read the bill of sale for slaves and I would wonder if those people could feel the misery that I would have felt, had I been them. I once asked Mr. Riggin about this, feeling that he might know since he had been a soldier in the civil war. Mr. Riggin said that they didn't feel the way white people feel and I shouldn't worry about it. Mr. Riggin was 100 years old at this time and I guess he didn't worry much about anything and he was certainly too old to start making changes. I didn't believe what he told me because the black boys that I played with felt pretty much the same as I. Grandpa was proud of his name and would tell me never to do anything to disgrace the name. He said that his grandfather told him the same thing. He said that his grand father, John Hilliard, took care of peoples legal work and spent a lot of time in court making sure that they were treated fairly. Even without the use of legs my grandfather was not hindered. He had tremendous strength in his hands and arms. He walked as fast on his hands as we kids could trot. My grandfather would throw a line over a limb and pull himself, hand over hand up to the limb. He would then hold himself up with one hand, while making the tie around the limb with the other hand, fashioning us a swing. Chinning himself with one arm was easy for him, but I never saw any other man that could do this. He could be riding on the wagon and on reaching a gate, swing down from the back of the wagon, open the gate, let the wagon through, close the gate, and then catch the wagon. He would grab the back of the wagon and swing himself back up onto the wagon without the horses stopping. When we played wrestling in the yard, he could take the strongest and hold them down like a child. In younger days my grandfather kept books for a tobacco warehouse. Now he only stayed at home and told me stories. The trip moving had taken all day and I was running out of things to keep my mind occupied. Suddenly papa said " we are coming into Norlina. You will see your new home in a few minutes."

Our New Home

We had finally arrived and turned into the bare yard, driving right up to the porch to make unloading easier. “Everybody out of the wagon” papa summoned. Mama took us children into the house before anything was unloaded. When the door swung open, everything was bare and cold and made a hollow sound when we talked. It was hard to imagine that I would like this place. Mama found the coal bucket and with some newspapers had a fire going shortly. We stood close to the stove and warmed while the men brought in furniture, placing it over the house. Some new neighbors dropped in with hot food and we ate while they set the beds up. Now that I was warm and had a stomach full, I could see possibilities to the house. It was a better house than the one that we had left. In the boys bedroom there was a large wooden star in the corner where the wall and ceiling met. I would go to sleep every night looking at that star and never find out the meaning of why or who put it there. The next day my mother was up early, tidying up and placing things around in the house that were left from the night before. We had arrived so late in the night that I hadn’t seen the outside before going to bed. As soon as I had eat a fast breakfast, I rushed outside. Being winter time, everything was drab and colorless. There were no green lawns and very few people had green shrubbery. Yards were bare of grass and swept with a broom made from dogwood bushes. Small dogwood branches were cut and tied together with corn twine, then the leaves were pulled off and you had a durable broom. Brooms for inside the house were made from broom sage, gathered in the fields and tied together with corn twine. Floors were usually made of wide pine boards and had to be scrubbed with a lye bleach to keep them bright and clean. Our fire place had a rock hearth that we kept white with white wash. White wash is a mixture of water and white clay. At times we also used white clay for upset stomachs and diarrhea. A little white clay followed by some scraped apple seems to help either diarrhea or upset stomachs. The house was looking good now, with everything clean and in place.

This new home, in Norlina, sat in a little community of nine homes, the farthest being a quarter mile away. Our house was centrally located in reference to the other houses. If you started from the business section of town, you would walk down a long street, cross under the railroad and turn right unto a dead end road. This dead end road ran parallel with the railroad tracks and was about a half mile in length. About midway this road was a short street to the left with three houses. We lived in the corner house. To our right on the dead end street lived the Nance's, some three hundred feet away. On the road to our right in the front of the house lived the Phillips, Luke Spain, and the Stegalls. To our left on the road lived the Newman's, and further over the hill the Pridgens. Bordering on all sides except the railroad and entrance was forest. Being cut off geographically, we seldom saw any one except the neighbors. A large field, some five hundred feet wide, separated our street from the railroad. Our house sat in the corner of the road and street intersection and directly across from the little railroad shack. Needless to say, all streets were dirt streets then. This large field was the neighborhood's play ground. It was flat with gray dirt that didn’t stick to the knees of your pants like the dirt in the ditches along side the streets. Ditches along the street had red clay that was hard to scrape from your pants, especially when wet. There was plenty of room to play ball, fly kites, or just socialize. The school was only a mile and a half walk and of course there was no traffic. A mule and wagon might pass occasionally, during the week days, hauling corn or wood. On Sundays you would see a surrey, or buggy, carrying families to church. If you ever saw more than four vehicles, you knew it was a wedding or funeral, but this was a busy place compared to where we had moved from. Occasionally, a wave of homesickness would come over me for my old house. At our old house we could go weeks and see no one but the immediate family. There was no other house in sight or hollering distance. Around the house had been little fields where tobacco and corn was planted. Closer to the house was our garden spot where mama picked the vegetables to cook. The house was made of wooden planks, row over row and sat on brick columns. Under the house was open and a good place to play on rainy days. When it was hot, the doors would be open and I could see through the house to the fields and watch papa working in the tobacco. I missed the familiar sounds that went with our old house. Chains rattling when the bucket was lowered into the well for water, the cow mooing while waiting to be milked and the soft murmur of the tall trees as wind passed through them. The home that we moved from had large oak trees in the yard. We picked up acorns by the bushel for the hogs in autumn. There were flying squirrels that climbed high in one tree then jumped to sail like a glider plane to the next tree. I missed the quiet loneliness of the the country. Here, in our new home, every thing seemed to be bunched up. There was no place to be away from everything. The railroad ran through the middle of town, and businesses were located on both sides of the track. I don’t know which came first, the railroad or the town. On one mercantile store hung a huge pair of overalls, as an advertisement. The overalls were about fourteen feet tall with a sign saying “The Biggest Overalls in The World." At the entrance hung a fan, turning lazily to keep flies from entering the store. The door was propped open when the store was opened each morning and not closed during the day. As you walked in the grocery store, you stepped around a barrel of pickled pig feet to get to the counter. On the end of the counter was a circular hoop cheese with the top off and a knife beside it. The aroma wafted up and your mouth would water. Sitting beside the cheese was a bucket of horehound candy and if that wasn’t enough, there was a box of licorice right beside it. If you had any money, they had you. We didn’t, but sometimes we traded hen eggs for candy, one for one. We did a lot of bartering back then and used what little money we had for taxes and clothes. A cash register was next and had a clear place around it so you could rest your elbows on the counter when the cash register was totaled. This cash register was like the one in the grocery store across the street. A customer would make a choice and lay it on the counter to be rung up. Now, the clerk would prepare to add the sale. He rubbed his hands together, licked the fore finger on his right hand and meticulously punched in each figure with that one finger. Then with a sigh, he reached over and pulled the long lever of the cash register. The cash register draw slid open with a loud gong and everybody in the store knew you were rung up. The cash register was not used for charge customers. Charge customers would gather up their needs and lay them on the counter. The clerk would thumb through the files, from a long box, locating the correct name (and to see if the credit was good), then sticking a little piece of paper between the files to hold the location until he had written up the customer list. A little book was used to write down the purchases and tally up the total with that sheet being torn out and carefully placed in the file. The paper marker would be pulled out and placed beside the box for the next customer. Sometimes a person would pick up a piece of candy and say ”put it on my bill." It was all based on the honor system. It seemed to work pretty well, most of the time, but I heard about the son of another grocery store owner who would go into the store at night and add a few purchases to several customers' bills, then take that amount from the cash register. He later became a lawyer. We only made purchases at this store when the other store didn't have the stock. The other store had pretty much the same layout, except behind the cash register was a wall with shelves from ceiling to floor. Down about four feet from the ceiling was an iron rod running the entire length of the wall. The rod was threaded through a ladder with wheels on the bottom of the ladder so the ladder could be pushed up and down the floor to reach tall shelves. In the back was stacks of wash tubs, cans of lard, scrubbing boards (to wash clothes), bags of flour, Octagon soap boxes, and household utensils. A pot bellied stove was in the center of the room. Like all stoves then, this stove had a raised wooden rail around it filled with sand for cigarette butts. An empty lard can served as the spittoon, with sand about half full to keep down spatter. On the far wall hung the bolts of cloth that women used to make clothes. Somehow the bottom roll always reminded me of my mother. It had a white background with little navy blue dots. Norlina was protected by one policeman, Mr. Carter, who had only one eye, but he never closed that one eye to any shenanigans. We children liked to be around him because no one would bother us if he was close.

Beside the railroad tracks and across the field was what we called the coal shute. There was a tall water tank and huge piles of coal. Beside the water tank was a little shack where the attendant sat between trains being fueled. A large Negro man sat in the railroad house and would swing a long chute filled with coal to load the trains. He would swing the chute back from the train before all the coal was emptied, spilling coal along the tracks so that we could pick it up for our winter heat. Norlina, at that time was a railroad town of some stature, what with having a turn table for trains. A train could pull its engine onto the turn table and with a great meshing of gears the entire turn table, with the train engine on it, would slowly turn one hundred eighty degrees. The train would then hook up to the freight cars and be headed in the opposite direction. When it rained, the turn table would hold water like a giant pool, with the water deep enough to go wading. Around the pilings were large bull frogs and occasionally we saw a snake. It was a great place for a boys with a sling shot hung around his neck and a pocket full of smooth rail road rocks. We boys would sit up on the hill above the turn table and watch the trains as they swung around in a large arc. Occasionally we would slip up to the engineers cab and have a look around. A box of torpedoes and a box of fusses were always kept in the cab. Since they were plentiful, we usually helped ourselves to a few of each. Torpedoes were used by the railroad men to alert oncoming trains. When one was laid on the rail road tracks, the heavy wheels of the train would explode it with a loud bang. We took the torpedoes and broke them into smaller pieces that we placed on a big rock. We would then crawl onto the roof and drop another rock on the piece of torpedo, exploding it. The fusses were made with a spike on one end, to stick in the ground, and a removable sleeve on the other end. The removable sleeve could be slipped off and turned to rub against the end of the fuse, igniting it. Fusses burned with an intense white light that was visible for miles and were very hot. We didn’t play with either very much because if our parents caught us, our goodies were confiscated real quick. All trains were coal fired and the heavy smoke settled on everything in its path. Being a fact of life, with no remedy at the time, no one seemed to notice. In fact it was a helpful excuse for us boys that always seemed to be dirty. The depot was an interesting place to sit and watch the activity. The benches were always covered with a layer of black soot, which had to be wiped off before taking your seat. From a good vantage point on a bench, you got to watch all the activities that went with rail roading. When a train stopped very long, the oilers would go around with a big squirt gun, shooting oil in every crack he found, it appeared to me. The fireman would tidy up the pile of coal and check the water and pressure gauges. Conductors just seemed to walk around looking at their watches. Brakemen stood on the step between trains with one foot on the step and casually hung the other leg out in the air, looking back and forth, up and down the rail road tracks. The engineer was supreme. He just sat up in his cab, smiling at people with an occasional wave and adjusting the long bill on his cap. I couldn’t imagine anything being equal to that job. “ Williard call the children in, your daddy is going to take us down to see the new train come in” Mama exclaimed happily. “ Mack, Lucile, Albert, Henry, you all come on in. We are going to see the new train come in” related Williard, my oldest brother. My oldest brother had elected himself caretaker since papa was away so much and sometimes he could be real bossy. When we were ready, Papa marched us all down the dirt road to the rail road station, which was about a mile and a half from home. We arrived before the train and found a choice place where we could look down the railroad tracks for about a mile. “ Here she comes” Papa yelled. I was looking between papa’s legs and I could see the train getting larger and larger as it came in. “ Get back from the tracks” admonished a railroad man “ the steam can hit you if you are too close”. We backed up a bit and watched as the train screeched to a stop. “ Look at that thing” papa said “ No telling what it cost”. “ Could we go on the train and look” Mama asked. “ No. They wouldn’t allow that but we can see most of it from the outside anyway” Papa soothed. We walked up and down the track, peering under the train and through all the windows until we were satisfied that we had seen everything, then with papa carrying Henry on his shoulders we headed home. When the modern Silver Meteor was introduced on our rail road line, every one in the area went down to the station to look it over. It was a beautiful train. It would be a beautiful train today with its silver gleam and sleek lines. Here was the ultimate train, it was said, with sleeping quarters, dining cars, and even a drawing room. As with anything new there were some exaggerations. Luke Spain said that the train was so fast that when a salesman leaned over to kiss his girl good bye, he kissed a mule three miles down the track. The train itself was huge and its weight was beyond my comprehension. When all things were in order, the conductor would wave his arm to the engineer and step up between the trains. With a loud hiss of steam and a cha-cha-cha, the wheels would spin. The engineer would let up on the throttle and give a little less power. Slowly this time the train would go cha---cha---- cha and ease off without spinning. Sometimes oil would get spilled on the track and the train would spin even with less power. When this happened, sand was poured on the track to give friction. As the train moved off each railroad car would make a separate jerk as the slack was taken up. Different trains had different personalities according to the rail road men and they spoke of their trains as they would living things. I know the whistles of different trains were unique. I doubt that you could find a native of Warren county who hasn’t stopped whatever he was doing to listen to the train whistle as the train rumbled through. One particular engineer is a legend with his whistle. As he passed through Warren county he played a tune on his whistle at each crossing. We would pause in the fields and listen when his train passed playing “How Dry I Am." It went like this, How Dry, How Dry, How Dry I Am. After many years of hearing the whistle it was eventually stopped by some executive in upper management. It was an excellent public relations gesture on the part of the engineer but some executive in a higher office probably thought it frivolous and after many years of enjoyment, it was not allowed anymore. There were some sad stories connected with deaths on the rail road tracks. Many animals were killed, particularly at night, when the head light caused the animals to stop in fright on the tracks. A large iron sweep was made onto the front of the train and called the cow catcher for this reason I guess. Tales of spirits walking the rails in search of something not completed is a familiar story. Some were not figments of the imagination nor just ghost stories. I will tell you of one that I observed many times and in the company of my friends. The Stegalls had a little dog named Sparky that wandered too close to the tracks with its puppy. The train ran over the puppy while the mother dog sat and watched, helpless. There after whenever that particular train passed, Sparky would sit and literally pour out it’s heart in anguish with long howls. It made no difference if the train schedule was changed or if that train pulled different cars, Sparky only howled for that particular engine. While playing in the field or whatever we were doing, we always stopped, out of respect, and waited for the little dogs grief to pass before continuing.

Depression Days

My mother frequently had us take the kind Negro man at the railroad shack food, especially on holidays. He couldn’t leave the shack to go after food. He would have had to go home anyway, as there were no restaurants. He was a kind elderly fellow who obviously liked children. He always addressed we boys as Mr. and our first name. He called me Mister Albert and my sister Miss Lucile. We called him Uncle Jack. One day I asked papa “ why does uncle Jack call us children mister and miss? Nobody else calls us that.” ” Papa replied “I don’t know how to tell you exactly, but the feeling is left over from the slave days when the white man thought the blacks were inferior. When I was a boy they used to argue about whether a black man was fully human or not and whether he had a soul. Now, when you think about it, they have never treated women equal to men either, black or white. Do you think your mother inferior?” No sir, I replied quickly, ”ain’t nobody going to talk about my mama.” "How about the blacks” my papa asked. “Uncle Jack is as good as any body” I replied. “Is that why blacks come to the back door and white people come to the front door” I pursued. “It’s the same idea “ papa replied “but I don’t want you to mention it to Uncle Jack because he understands how you feel and it will only remind him of the injustice of it all. ”I still couldn’t understand why it wasn’t just simply corrected and made up my mind to treat every body the same. This was the simple reasoning of a child and I would learn later, as I grew older, just how complicated lives can be. What people are taught as children, whether right or wrong, never seem to change completely. This was the time of the 1929 depression. From our house across the field, hoboes would be seen on the freight trains, like little toys in the distance. When we were playing in the field they would stand and wave as the train passed. Almost daily we would have a hobo come to our back door and ask for food. They always wanted to do some work for the food, like splitting kindling for the stove. These hobo’s, for the most part, were not bums. They were people who had been put out of their job by the depression and were broke with no place to go. They would sit and tell of their home, family, and how they had to leave for lack of food or jobs. Later the railroad management tried to stop hobo’s from riding the rails. They would hire men that were called railroad bulls to kick the men off the trains. We had hobo’s stop to have their hands bandaged where railroad bulls would stomp their fingers to make them let go of the ladders on the train. The hobo’s then started jumping off the train before it reached the water chute and walking around town before jumping back on, as the train left town. Most were not going any place in particular, just moving and looking for anything that was better than what they had left. This was the great depression and people who did service work were hit hardest. In the country you could grow food, hunt, or fish for meat and generally live off the land. At this time over one third of the population farmed, but of course that left two-thirds who had to buy, beg or barter for food. There were no provisions to take care of people in dire trouble. No social security, no welfare, no high rise poverty housing with air conditioning, no free counselors to tell you that you were really happy, while you listened barefoot with an empty belly. Most people had pride and compassion for their fellow man, but help was more of a one on one situation with no fan fare. The nearest thing to today's welfare was the poor house. The poor house, as it was called, was a house where destitute people unable to work were kept. There were no luxuries for these people. No transportation was afforded them to go anywhere and nothing provided to break the boredom. They were clothed and given food, existing until death finally claimed them. It was also demeaning to have a relative in the poor house. I remember some people coming to our school, when I was in the first grade. They were from some government agency. They placed a little package of cloth on each student's desk and told the students that it was for the mothers to make them some clothes. When I got home with it, my daddy turned me around and headed me straight back to school with the cloth. He said “I don’t want charity from the government, they’re the problem to begin with.” When I got back home my grand father settled me down for some further advice. He said son, ”in this world, the only person you can depend on is yourself and the sooner you learn this the better”. “Another thing for you to remember,” he said, “there are two things that you seldom see in this life, an honest politician or a religious minister." I thought that he just wanted to get something off his chest, so to speak, because I sure didn’t know what he was talking about. I have found over the years however, that what he told me had a lot of truth in it. But, not having known anything different I still enjoyed life. No one had any thing to speak of, but we shared what we had. At my age, it was the only life I knew. The Nance's raised corn and sugar cane, keeping us in molasses and corn bread. The Negro at the coal chute let us have coal for heat. He didn't exactly let us have the coal but arranged, in his way, to make it available. Trains would stop at the coal shute for fuel and it was Uncle Jack's job to fill the train bin with coal. He would swing the long coal shovel over the train and fill the bin, but before the shovel was empty, he would swing it back along side the railroad track and spill coal along side the train. This spilled coal was our heating fuel for the winter. Since trains were filled several times a day there was plenty of coal for our little community. Papa butchered beef after work hours and sold it around town. What he didn't sell, we ate and sometimes had some left over for the neighbors. The Nance boys would get fruit and vegetables from the refrigerated trains (when they could get a door pried open) while the train was refueling. This was a main thoroughfare rail from the north to the south and fruits were shipped from the south to the north routinely. They only took what we could eat before spoiling. There was no refrigeration so the fruit didn't last long. They were pretty efficient at opening the doors and it seemed more like a trip to the store than stealing. There was considerable rationalizing about having to steal to eat. If you sneaked around at night and took something that people needed, that was stealing and pretty honery. Now if you took something in the daytime, that wasn't harmful to anyone, that wasn't stealing. That was considered taking and everyone knew that the railroad was stinking rich. Asparagus grew wild around the train turn table and we collected it like arms of stove wood. Apple trees were abundant and we gathered enough apples to last from one year until the next. We peeled, sliced and spread the apples on the hot tin roof to dry. My mother made the best apple jacks around. Irish potatoes could be dug from friendly neighbors gardens (sometimes at night) and saved by spreading and sprinkling lime on them. We ate potatoes daily in one form or another. I liked them for breakfast, fried with a corn meal batter and gravy made from milk. Mama made biscuits every meal. I never tasted store bread or loaf bread (we called it light bread) until I was about twelve years old. Occasionally we would have yeast rolls. Yeast rolls were a little different in each home. Families had their own yeast cake, which they nurtured year after year in a little round cake. Breaking off a little piece from the original cake, whenever they made rolls. In times of a catastrophe, like a dog getting the original cake, they would have to start all over again. They would borrow a piece of the neighbors cake to get started. Of course you put some thought into which neighbors yeast you borrowed, because different yeast cakes from home saved yeast had uniqueness of it’s own. Some being much tastier than others. Flour for biscuits etc. was bought by the barrel or large cloth bag and stored in a wooden barrel. To buy flour meant a trip to the mill. The wagon would be brought out and the riding seat placed up front. This was a wide board seat, a narrower board for the back, and curved iron slats under each end for springs. Adults sat on the seat while we kids sat in the back of the wagon so we could drag our feet in the dirt. Mills are exciting places to visit and watch. Water running over the dam, pushing the big paddle wheel round and round, just running on and on without stop. To sit, watch and listen, is hypnotic. Time stands still as you watch something that has no end. People gather on the banks to fish in their spare time. There were some people who always had spare time. The boys would skip rocks across the pond and catch frogs around the edges. On the inside of the mill there was a steady, rumbling, grinding of the two large stones as it chewed the corn between them. The floor was slippery from the fine flour dust and felt good to our bare feet. People sat around on bags of corn talking about the hard times and how Herbert Hoover had made a mess of things. I remembered what my grand daddy had told me about politicians and I knew Herbert Hoover was a politician. I just didn’t understand why they allowed one man to cause so much misery. Another thing that I wondered about, was, where was all this misery that they continually talked about? We certainly were not miserable. Well Mr. Roosevelt is president now, so there. At our turn in line, the bag was filled and tied with corn twine, then heaved onto the wagon. It took most of the day to buy a bag of flour and get it home.

Wash days are on Monday

Have you thought about how we kept clothes from such a large family clean? This was always done on Monday. Early Monday morning mama built a fire in the back yard and set a big black kettle on three rocks over the fire. She then filled the pot with water to just a little over half way from the top of the kettle. Next, she whittled little shavings of soap from a home made bar into the water. I stood and watched the pot until little bubbles started popping to the top of the water, then I would run and tell mama. A load of clothes was brought out and dropped in the pot. Mama would then go back inside while I took over. My job was to keep the fire burning and to punch the clothes down. A paddle, which looked like a cut down oar to a boat, was used to punch clothes. This was a pretty important job for a seven year old. I watched those clothes diligently, punching anything that boiled up, back below the surface of the water. I don’t know how mama knew when the clothes were ready from inside the house, but she did, and came out with a big wash tub. Placing the wash tub along side the kettle we would fill it with clean water. Mama had to take the clothes out of the kettle, with a long stick, because I wasn't tall enough. She dropped the steaming clothes into the clean water of the tub so I could punch them a little to rinse them. Next, the clothes were taken from the tub of clear water, piece by piece and the water was wrung out. I was not strong enough to do this either but I would catch one handle of the tub when she finished, and we would take them to the clothes line. Mama had a bag around her waist with clothes pins in the bag to hang the clothes on the line. She would take a clothes pin from the bag, places it in her mouth, drape a sheet over the clothes line, then take the clothes pin from her mouth and fasten it over the sheet. I never could figure out why she put the clothes pin in her mouth first but there had to be a good reason. When we were finished there was a clean smell in the air. You could look around and see other neighbors clothes on the lines and hear ours flapping in the breeze. Mama said that we were only half through now and the hard part was ironing. It took an adult to iron clothes, but I watched through the kitchen door as I sat on the steps. I thought that I might need to know some day but certainly hoped not. First mama took some cedar bows and rubbed the iron over them to make the bottom of the iron slick. Then she sat the irons on the stove. It looked like hard work and you could burn a hole in the clothes right quick if you didn’t pay attention. She used two irons so one could heat while she used the other ironing and then she would switch irons. Picking the iron up from the stove she would lick her finger and tap it to the iron. If it made a little spitz sound, it was just right. If it didn’t she would put it back on the stove until it was right. I could tell when the spitz sound was right every time. She ironed the collars first, then slid the point of the iron under the collar and down the front. As the iron would come up off the board, her other hand would be turning the shirt to a new position. She ironed rapidly with little loss motion. She would have to stop and fix dinner before she finished, so the irons would be placed on the back of the stove, handless sitting upright. Later, after eating and every thing was put away, she would finish ironing. This was an all day job, although some other jobs would be slipped in while the clothes were drying. We made all of our soap and that also was an all day job. The same big pot that was used to wash clothes was also used to make soap. Out in the back yard, the pot was set on three big rocks and a fire was built beneath it. Fat was placed in the big pot and simmered at a steady temperature until liquid. Lye was then stirred into the pot with the same wooden paddle that had been used to punch clothes. A steady punching of the concoction to prevent air bubbles in the soap was continued until the correct consistency was reached. When the mixture is at the right consistency, the fire is removed from the pot and the mixture poured through screen wire into pans. The screen wire removed the uncooked fat and debris. Different people used different pans or molds so soap had characteristic shapes. The odor, shape, and color depended on what was used to make the soap and the expertise of the maker. I never saw any home made soap good enough to write home about, but there again, if you never used store bought soap you couldn’t compare.  

Social Life

Sometimes we walked the railroad tracks up to my aunt Carry Hilliard ( wife of my father’s brother, Thomas). This was only about two miles and we knew she would make cookies for us when we arrived. On the two-mile trip back, when no one was around, we would climb atop a railroad car. At the end of the car is a brake wheel that keeps the train stationary. By trial and error we found that with a long stick inserted through the spokes of the wheel and one of us on each end of that stick, we could pry that brake off. Down the slight grade the train rolled and when we were in sight of the railroad shack, we just twisted that old stick good until the train screeched to a stop. Then climbing down the side of the train, we would hit the ground running, across the field until we reached home and safe haven. North, up the street from our house, in order, lived Kay Phillips, Luke Spain and his sister, then the Stegall’s. Now the Phillips were not interesting, as they were always away at work. The Spain's didn’t work except in their yard and wouldn’t let us children set foot on their property because we might mess something up. They were continuously snipping bushes and raking the yard. People didn’t want grass in their yards then. Yards were hard packed dirt surfaces that you raked with a broom made from dog wood bushes and tide together with corn twine. Luke Spain got quite drunk at times, but never disturbed anyone. We could peep through the fence and see him digging holes all over the back yard looking for money he buried. When Luke returned from World War one he was given his mustering out pay and what had been owing him while he was over seas. After receiving the money and while a little drunk, he buried the money in the back yard for safe keeping. After he sobered up he could never remember the spot that the money was buried, so in his spare time he dug holes in the back yard looking for the money. He never found his money and died some forty years later, still trying to remember where it was buried. A white picket fence down the entire front of Luke's house kept us kids out. The white picket fence was about three feet high, painted white, with a line of missing paint about waist high where we clicked our sticks as we ran past. In the next house lived the Stegall's. The Stegall's had a large family with only one girl, Margaret, and as I remember, three boys. The three boys were Leon, Clifton and Thelbert. They were constantly feuding with the Nance's, our other neighbors who lived on the street that ran along side our house. The two Stegall's boys, that I remember best, was an older boy Leon and his younger brother Hubert. Hubert was my age and we used to discuss how the feud was progressing. Once Hubert and I watched Leon load his shot gun. About an hour later he took the gun out and forgetting that it was loaded, sat it on his toe. He absent mindedly pulled the trigger and It blew his toe off leaving a neat little hole through the floor. Hubert and I searched under the house, but never could find the toe. We then took the empty shot gun shell, and you know, it fit in that hole perfectly. I thought it was right pretty with the brass top shining. It kept the cold air out and was probably a reminder to Leon to keep the other toe hid from that gun. The neighbors (the Nance's) who lived on the street running along side our house had a large garden which butted up to the back yard of the Stegall's. Now, the Stegall's raised some chickens. Those chickens dearly loved to scratch in that garden and would scratch and peck until most of the seed had been dug up. The Nance's put out salty dough to kill the chickens, which it did. The Stegall's returned the favor by slipping out one night and pulling up all the garden vines and stacking them in the middle of the field. This might sound like ill feelings in the neighborhood, but it really wasn’t. We all would go down together to the Nance's on Saturday night and listen to him play the autoharp. With little shiny metal things on every finger of one hand and the other fingers on the key board he would pick and strum. It was the first music I had ever heard. I would listen until my eyes felt as if they had sand in them before closing. I would wake up in my bed the next morning. This stopped when my daddy bought a Silvertone, battery run radio. Everyone started coming to our house on Saturday nights to listen to the country music. Being the first radio in the area, and I might add the only one, it had to be installed properly. We had to go out, select the tallest pine in the area, skin all of the bark from the tree and nail it to the tallest corner of the roof. The antenna wire had been nailed to the pole before raising it into position. Then we hooked the antenna wire to the radio. Having no electricity or electric sockets to worry about, we could place the radio any where we chose. It was only played from about seven until ten and then only on Saturday nights. We couldn’t afford to buy batteries because money was one of the least plentiful commodities.

There were two stations that we could pick up clear. Nashville, Tennessee and Cincinnati, Ohio. Both were country music stations. I don’t know why, but we sat in a semicircle where every one had a view of the radio. We watched it the entire time that it was playing and of course nothing that you could see ever changed. The children sat on the floor or played quietly in another room. Children were treated quite differently when I was growing up. No child was allowed to contradict a parent. If papa had said the sun won’t rise tomorrow, I would have disagreed mentally but I would never have said I don’t agree, not aloud. If children were present in a group of adults the children remained silent unless asked to speak. To all adults we said yes sir or no sir and addressed them as Mr., Mrs. or Miss. We observed privacy more in those days, being careful never to ask personal questions. No one spoke of family affairs outside the family and if you spoke of other peoples private affairs you were called a gossip. You didn’t wash your dirty laundry in public. People were much more conscious of having a good reputation and most business matters were sealed with a hand shake. Discipline was administered to children in the form of a good switch. Most people would disagree with this today, saying it was cruel and inhumane punishment. I can say from experience that the children didn’t look on this punishment as cruel and inhumane. We felt that we got just what we deserved. The next time that we were tempted to go against a parents instructions, such as staying too late at a friends house, we weighed the results against the benefits. Then, as now, you had some sadistic fathers that abused instead of punished. Neighboring men usually took care of this quietly and secretly. This would be looked on today as vigilante work and wrong, but it was effective and it was permanent. Law enforcement officers were very few per capita and were seldom ever called unless you saw a burglary or crime in progress. A good fist fight between two men was not considered unlawful, if it was a fair fight. It was considered a disgrace for anyone to pull a knife or show a gun in a dispute. It was truly a different world. There were considerably fewer people, transportation was slow, and drug problems were unheard of.  


©2006 Charles Hilliard. This book is not public domain. Charles has generously allowed us to post it for the benefit of Warren Co. researchers.  However, it is still in print and can be purchased online or in a number of bookstores.   I honestly think that many of us with Warren Co. roots will want to buy a copy to pass to our own children to give them of sense of "The Way It Was".   Any republication or reposting is expressly forbidden without the written consent of the owner.  Last updated 08/29/2007