THE JONES FAMILY (through this writer’s eyes)
We lived six years on the Dawes Place and 2 years in the Chickasaw Smith place. I remember John C. and I put grease in Glen Santee?s mowing machine seat.
I remember the time Glen Santee got Loyd and Wallace Abrham to steal his chickens. Loyd smelled a rat and didn’t go. Glen shot a shotgun and like to scared the daylights out of the ones that did go.
I remember Glen Santee’s mother and dad had a Model T car. It took them both to drive it. They sat close like two love birds; she fed the gas.
This is where we lived when Leo was born and died.
This was the last of the steam engines. We dug coal to fire the engine. This was the only time I remember using a steam engine to pull the thrashing machine.
Leather Head Smith followed the thrashing machine. He was sleek, bald headed. Dad said what made him bald was he walked under the belt. Uncle Art told him he would have to take a bath to sleep in his bed. He said he hadn’t taken a bath in thirteen years. He gave him a bar of soap and made him get in the pond.
Fat Thompson ran the water wagon. His dad ran the steam engine and the separator. We had 15 bundle wagons, two grain wagons, four pitchers in the field, two grain wagons. One man at the barn to helped scoop the grain. John C. and I carried water on a horseback, one two-gallon jug and one-gallon jug with a feed sack wrapped around it (burlap).
John C., Emitt and I went to Alluwe to take some chickens to trade for groceries. We stopped at a swimming hole, forgot the chickens until they were almost dead.
In Kid school, it was a one-room school. We had to go up front to recite our lessons.
In Bug Scuffle, it was a two-room school. Miss Nugent taught through the fourth grade and Claude Nugent from the fifth through the eighth. He was the most windy you ever heard. He would take those big girls in a cloak room and spend hours in there. We told on him and none of the boys passed that year. It was told he and Glen Santee changed wives one night. I don?t know.
Me and H.L. Sauntee got into a fight at school and Doris, his sister, threatened to slap me. I said, “If you do, I will knock the fire out of you.”
In Kid school, there was a boy, a bully quite a bit older than John C. and me. His name was Bob Parker. We teamed up on him and worked him over good.
Loyd and Bill Dick had a feud going. Loyd weighed probably 115 or 120 and 6 ft. 1 or 2 inches and Bill Dick weighed about 180. Someone egged it on until Bill Dick caught Loyd one night and grabbed his bridle and pulled him off his horse and gave him a good whipping. Loyd swore when he got some weight on, he would challenge him again, but he got the Holy Ghost and that ended the feud.
A neighbor boy got married and spent the night in his parents two story upstairs home. Loyd shot a hole in the roof by their window. They tried to make him pay for the repair, but no, that was my first cigar smoking, made me sick.
John C. and I went with dad one Saturday to town in Chelsea. Dad gave us 15 cents to buy a fishing pole each. Our cousin, Paul Jones, talked us into buying two ten-cent poles and taking the dime and buying a twist of tobacco (cottonbole twist). Sunday morning we went to Sunday School. On the way home, I made me a cigarette out of it; plus put a wad in my mouth. When I got home, I crawled up in the loft of the barn and was sick for two hours. I don’t know what we did with the rest of the twist.
John C. and I decided to make some sheep shower wine. It was just getting fermented when one of the girls caught us and told mom. She told us to pour it out, so we did, but drank all we could hold first.
John C. and I were supposed to take something to school for Biology class. We were picking tomatoes and found a rattlesnake. We put it in a bucket and put another bucket over it. Then we put it in a fruit jar and took it to school. We got praise from the teacher and envy from classmates.
On our way to Kid school, the roads were very muddy at times. Old man Woodson came along in his old Model T. We would catch hold of the back and all he could do was cuss and spin his wheels and neither one helped much.
John C. and I learned to swim in lightning creek. It was deep but narrow. Loyd and Emit threw us in and said sink or swim. Of course, we swam; that’s why we are still here.
On Chickasaw Place, we had neighbors that had an orchard of peaches and apples, with a rock fence around it about three feet height. It just happened to be on our way getting to our fishing hole. You can guess the rest. The fence was full of rattlesnakes. One night we got hungry for apples. We drew straws to see who would get the apples. Emitt and I got the wrong straw. When we tried to cross the rock fence a snake would rattle. I really think it was the Lord warning us, but we didn’t take the warning. We first backed off made a flying leap and over we went.
One day coming from fishing, hungry and tired and almost dark, we just happened to come through the peach orchard. We got our pockets full. Loyd saw a nice big one in the top of the tree. He went up after it, which put him above the worn stalks. The man of the orchard saw him and came to the tree with a shotgun. He just warned and let him go.
Fat Thompson was a windbag. He said his dad drove a motorcycle ninety miles per hour across lister ridges. His neighbor said Fat I don’t believe that, he said I don’t either, but that’s what dad said.
Earl Thompson would jack his old T model up (one wheel) to crank it then when it started and let it back down. He is the one who ran the thrashing machine.
One day us four older boys went fishing and on the way back our dogs, Old Touse and Collie, treed under the roots of a big tree. It was a coyote din. We found two baby coyotes. We took them home, but dad made us take them back.
One day we went fishing at night. We were all sitting on the bank fishing. I was on the down side of the creek. I heard something crossing the creek. I got up and got on the other side of the other boys. All at once something let out a scream that would make you hair stand on end. Our dogs wouldn’t get out from under our feet. I want you to know the fishing ceased and we wound up our fishing lines and went home. I think it must have been a panther.
When we lived on the Chickasaw Place, there was a half Indian and half Negro that lived over west of us who was a bronc rider. He wanted to ride Old Mike, our male mule. Mike put up a good fight but he lost.
We also had some folk who were our neighbors who were stealing our watermelons. Dad took a shotgun and waited in the cornfield around the watermelon patch. When they came to steal melons, he waited until they ate all they wanted then he stepped out with his gun and made them get a melon each and eat it. They didn’t want to, but did by dads insisting.
Dad put John C. and I with double shovels to plow the corn middles with two mares with colts. The corn was higher than your head. We ran down the corn middle then dodged over in another and the colts would come running knocking corn everywhere. We had fun until dad caught us.
Dad built a new out house and John C. asked to be the first to visit, but Orpha jumped in first. John C. got mad and threw an old disk blade in back and almost cut off the heal of her foot. She carried the scar for life.
Glen Santee had a pretty little blaze face sorrel mare and he challenged Charlie Dawes for a race. Charlie Dawes rode Old Queen. She was sixteen years old. Santee asked Charlie if he brought Old Queen crutches. Old Queen ran off and left his little mare. She was the only horse that could keep up with our Old Shorty. Shorty was a running piece of machinery .
On the Dawes place, dad had trouble with his sciatic nerves in his legs and couldn’t work. Uncle Harvey Dubbs came and worked the summer.
Us older boys used to opossum hunt, starting at Thanksgiving time; fur season didn’t open until December, but we opened it at Thanksgiving time but it was snowing by that time. We had Old Touser and Collie. Touser was a half black and tan hound and the other half bulldog. Touser was the fightingest dog you ever saw. A black man had a big bulldog and he came by our house, picked a fight. He said he let them fight a while, then he would pull them apart. They went down over the hill and when got over the hill his dog was plumb dead.
Dub Jackman was digging coal and set off a charge of dynamite and it didn’t go off and he leaned over the edge of the pit to see why it failed to go off, about that time it went off and blew both of his eyes out.
Mrs. Jackman had a big old tomcat and Dub and Rick put his head in a boat and fixed him where he wasn’t a tomcat anymore.
Beach Abram tried to hang himself, got on a bale of hay and tied a rope to a joist of the barn, then to his neck, kicked the hay out from under him but not enough to hurt himself. Someone found him before he expired, but when we saw him, his neck was black and blue and swollen.
We called Edd Bibles peanut thrasher. He would be plowing with a pocket full of peanuts, shelled peanuts in one side of his mouth and the hulls would come out the other side of his mouth.
Edd Bibles stacked hay for John Sharp a cattleman who had a big hay meadow. He used a hay stacker. You could run a buck rake up on the stacker and lift the whole load upon the stack.
We baled lots of hay, and stacked it also. We used the footfeed and baled about 8 tons per day. Then the autofeeder which had the big hood and was fed by the pitcher, then the lightening which was gas powered – about 12 or 15 for the autofeeder and 25 tons for the lightening press.
I remember dad telling me about baling hay out of the stock on the Dawes place and a black man he had hired to pitch for him. I got sleepy and he told the black man to take me on the shady side of the stack where I could take a nap, and there were rattlesnakes in the shade of the stack.
Clarence was with us during hay season and had a bunch of hedge apples and didn’t want anyone to play with them and had them all around him sitting down in the hay. Jess Watson, the black man, said ha ha ha big fat boy laying eggs.
When John C. started to school, he got a whipping every day so he came home one evening after school and ran across the field where dad was plowing and said, “Dad, I didn’t get a whipping today.” I tell you I got my share with Mrs. Pepper and Mrs. McCormick things tapered off after those two teachers.
At Vinita, there were three boys, the oldest I didn’t like and we were playing cops and robbers at lunch time. This boy was the robber, and I was the cop. I caught him and I was the judge and the jury, and I decided he needed hanging, so I put a rope around his waist. I threw the rope over a joist of the barn and pulled him up until his feet barely touched the ground. He stood it for a while then wanted down. I held him there for a while and finally let him down and ran out for home. When 1 got home, his mom had already contacted my mom and said all I had done. I told mom we were just playing. They lived about ? of a mile from our house. Their name was Brannom. There were three of them. On the last day of school, it was Friday, and I went home with a White boy. We had to pass Brannom’s house on the way to Whites. They didn’t do anything, but the next day was Saturday and on the way back, I was alone and all three of the boys jumped me, and the dad sicked them on. I got over the fence from them and kept them to my face and walked backwards. When they tried to grab me I caught them and threw them down, until I got far enough away from the old man then they left me.
We had a Christmas tree at Success school in Vinita, we drew names, and each one got one present, but I got 2 presents, and I thought sure I got a French harp, but it was only a corn cob. I think it was Lester Daniels who gave it to me. He was a smart elick, he thought he was grown.
One time they had a dance at their house. Loyd and Emitt supplied the music; Loyd, the fiddle and Emitt, the guitar. Lester Daniels got a quart jar of grape jelly and thought it was grape juice. He asked Floyd Lewis if he wanted a drink. Floyd Lewis turned it up to drink and it wouldn’t come out. Lester Daniels made out like he was half drunk and said hurry up and drink and Floyd said, “I can’t drink it, but if you give me a spoon, I might eat some of it.???
We use to dig our own coal for winter. We were working Old Mike and Jack together and Old Mike got spooked and jerked the slip into Jack’s foot just above the hoof, and cut it real deep. It was wintertime. We had to leave him out in the timber and bind his foot up. I remember Emitt and I riding Old Minnie, our old mare, to feed Old Jack. It was snowing so hard you could hardly see the way.
At Chelsea at chore time when Paul Jones was at our house, I shot Paul with a green persimmon with my bean shooter. He chased me for about two hours. I hid in the corn patch. It was about shoulder high, but covered the middles. I ducked down then change middles. Finally, he went back to the barn. I slipped back to the barn. I thought he didn’t see me, but he grabbed me and, oh my, what a beating I got. I never did like him.
John C. and I bought a single shot Stephens lever action rifle for $5. John C. said, “See that knot hole in the toilet. I am going to see if I can hit it. Dad was on the toilet. He said it came just over his head. He hollered and fell out the door. We thought it had hit him.
When we lived at Vinita, we would go by and get the Lewises and drive to Afton to church. There were Loyd, Emitt, Ruthy, Orpha, John C., Wes, Floyd Lewis, Clay, Gracie, Josie, Walter, and Dee. We would get back way in the night; it was 7 1/2 miles to Afton.
We went with Paulsons to horse creek to go swimming; the water was cold and deep.
I got a job herding cattle for Cornel Warner for a whole summer. Walter Lewis asked me if he could get a job, and we ask Mr. Warner. I rode a little blaze face sorrel, and he rode an old gray horse. I told Walter if he would trade horses with me, I would rope one of those yearlings. I roped it and it never did anything until I tried to take the rope off. Then I liked to never got the rope off.
John C. and I did quite a bit of stealing at Chelsea. I traded several marbles for a pocket knife. I didn’t have enough marbles, but told the boy I had some more at home. We lived 1/2 mile from school and went home for lunch. I went through town to go home for lunch. I stole enough marbles to finish out what I owed for the knife. John C. got sick and thought he was going to die. He confessed everything and that ended our stealing. Someone asked me if I repented. I told them no. I wasn’t the one that was sick.
John C. and I had a paper route when we lived between Vinita and Afton. We delivered the Sunday paper. We would get up early on Sunday and ride horseback to Vinita 7 ? miles, pick up the paper, deliver them 1 mile and 2 miles east of where we lived, a trip of about 21 miles. We would get through about 2 Sunday afternoon.
When we lived at Bug Scuffle school, we went swimming one Sunday afternoon. It was the 23rd of February, very warm for that time of year, but the water sure wasn’t warm. We didn’t say in very long.
One year when we lived east of Vinita, we made 2000 bushels of corn. It was in our agreement 1/3 corn and 1/4 cotton, and we were to get five cents per bushel to haul it to market. We got 13 cents per bushel for the rent corn, not much money.
Dad bought 2 cows and a big bull calf for $32. He bought a dairy cow for $15. The best milker we had, but my how she could kick. We had to use a pair of kickers on her to milk her.
We sold one of the two cows when we lived at Pryor. John C. and I walked 4 1/2 miles to Pryor and led the old cows. Dad said to try to get $15 for her. The cattleman said, “So, how much do you want for your coal?” John C. said dad said to try to get $15, if not take $13. The cattleman just wrote out a check for $13.
John C. and I used to look at our traps on our way to school. One morning we caught a civit cat. We got the scent all over us. The teacher made us hang our coats in the basement, which didn’t do much good, but we enjoyed it much.
Where we lived at Vinita, there were a bunch of rocks below our house where the road had been filled in. It was a good place for skunks. Mr. Sturdivant was catching a skunk pretty regularly. We were catching nothing. We decided to take one out of his traps. John said, “I’ll hold him up by his tail and you take the trap off.” We had heard they couldn’t throw scent unless their feet were on the ground. When he swung around where his hind end matched John C.’s eyes, dead shot, he dropped the skunk and hollered oh my; we still got the skunk. .
There at Chelsea lived at Ott Cork and he had a big pear tree. We go by there and fill our pockets full of pears. He had a brother who was one handed, had a hook for a hand – got his hand jerked off from roping a steer, got his hand tangled up in the rope.
In the church at Chelsea, I remember most of the men: Sy Guigly, Emerson Frits, Shorty Blackwell, Dutch Mason, George Rathfan, Hensel, Rathfan, Shorty Comikon, Ted Jones, Cliff Jones, Deck Jones, Huey Phillips, Ted Harold.
We had an old buggy and stripped it down to the running gears, took the tongue out, put a seat at the fifth wheel, tied a rope to the front axle, brought it back to the fifth wheel and run down hills with it.
When we lived at Chelsea, dad had pneumonia and we thought he was dying. He called us all in one by one and told us goodbye. Emitt was in Iowa shucking corn and he came home but by the time he got home dad was well. Some men came over from church and prayed for him. God had healed dad.
When we lived in Vinita, dad had some business in Chelsea and he rode Old Brownie, a little saddle horse we had. It was 22 miles and he made it in one day. When he turned him out, he kicked up his heals and ran off in the pasture. It was the same horse John C. and I used to peddle papers.
When we lived at Chelsea, Emitt, John C. and I worked in the hay for D. I. Brown who ran the mill. We worked all summer out northwest of Chelsea. Emitt, John C. and I pitched. Johnnv and I ran the buck rake and the sulkv rake.
In the fall of 1937, Loyd and I loaded all of our farming equipment on a hay rack and put some oats and hay on another wagon and started out for 4 1/2 miles south of Barnsdall. The first night we camped on the hill west of Clarimore. It was cold and frosty. We made a ring of baled hay, put our blankets inside, and put a canvas over us, and slept very well. The next night we slept in Alred’s barn north of Skiatook. Herbert Rabour brought Loyd a letter from Winnabell Lindsey. He sat up and read the letter by flashlight. We got home to the Chorett Place about two o’clock the third day tired and cold. Gilbert Raymond brought the rest of the family. He made a deal with dad to haul the cows and rest of the feeding exchange for one of the boys helping him the next summer. I don’t think it satisfied him with what we did.
When we lived in Barnsdall, we went to church where Gilbert Raymond pastored in the Ned Swift building and later in the building by the Ford garage! We had a good bunch of young people, about seven or eight of Parkers, Billie Eperson, four of Uncle Albert’s bunch, about fourteen of dads family, three of the Dobbs family, seven of Gilbert Raymond family, two of Sevens girls, and three of the Smiths.
When we lived south of Barnsdall, someone kept stealing our corn and dad laid for them with a shotgun, and it was Herman Jones and his girl friend. They said they were just going swimming. We never knew who were staling our corn.
The Kidds School burned down one year at Christmas time. The door swing inside and some men got drunk and got to fighting and got the Christmas tree on fire, and the people tried to get out a woman and her baby got again the door and they couldn’t get it open and she and the baby burned up. Someone broke out a window and escaped out that way.
When we lived at Pryor, every year we had a pie supper, and the proceeds went for Christmas treats for kids. We always had a play for entertainment. This particular time, it was about a large family, and they were fussing with one another. Someone said its about like the Jones family. Loyd said I can whip the guy that said that, but no one spoke up. There would have been a gang fight.
When we lived east of Vinita, we had to haul water for 3/4 of a mile east of where we lived. The well on the place where we lived was too salty to drink. The well where we hauled water from was sweet and plenty of it.
Where we lived was next door to Stardivants and one winter Henry Sturdivant came over and we got up in our barn loft and had a corncob fight. We chose sides and got in each end of the loft, put a bale to hide behind, and got about a bushel of cobs for ammunition. Henry was married, but just a big kid about 19 years old.
Every school we went to we had to walk 2 1/2 miles to school, anyway Success school, and Kidds school. Bugg Scuffle and Chelsea was only about ? of a mile, but dad and mom wouldn?t let us miss except when we were sick, and we didn?t get sick often.
Emitt, John C. and I were hauling hay over across the road south of where we lived on Chickasaw Smith’s place across the road. The Dawes boys came to see us. They had the measles; they didn’t come to our house. Of course, in time we got them too. John C. and I were in bed together; John C. got pretty sick, but I was only a little sick, but one night I gave John a rough time.
At the Sturdivant place east of Vinita John C. and I made some Mulberry wine, and we drank it before it got ready. It made both of us sick. I have never liked mulberries since.
Our brother Lee died when we lived on the Chickasaw Smith place. He was only about a year old; he was between Earl and Frank. I think he died of pneumonia; he was always sickly and cried a lot.
When we lived at Barnsdall, Old Mike and Liz were about 16 years old, and dad was working them, and they shied from a black stump that was burned and dad spooked them and they ran off with him, don’t guess they would ever quit running off.
When we lived on Chickasaw place, mom sent Emitt, Johnny, and I to Alluwe with some old hens to buy groceries for thrashing crew. We stopped off at a swimming hole for a spell, it was probably in July, very hot. We stayed a little long, and the old hens about died of the heat.
That was the last time we had a steam engine to pull the separator. It was a smooth power. You couldn’t choke it down, but you could choke it down and throw the belt, by putting the bundles in crossways.
When we moved to Pryor, we didn’t have any thing for horse feed, or cow feed. Mom had a bunch of laying white legorn chickens about two hundred. The eggs and cream from the cows we milked, fed the family and fed the chickens and animals. I remember tying the soles on my shoes with bailing wire. Loyd had a cow that lost her calf, and she finally died. We skinned the cow and sold the hide, and bought gloves with the money.
I went to work for Bill Malugen for about two months for $15 per month to get seed for a crop for the year. I think Johnny worked about the same time for Renfross up by the Dawes school.
We had a coal pit on our place. On the Chickasaw Smith place, we dug our own coal for our heat for winter and also for the thrashing machine engine.
Every year at Thanksgiving time, we waited for hunting season. It was not really opened until January, the first of the year. It seems thinking back that it always snowed at Thanksgiving time.
I remember Orpha and I would go from house to house and get orders for dishes and then go back later and deliver them. We were on horseback. We would get dishes for mom; it was the only way mom got any dishes.
One year Ruth, Orpha, Johnny and I sang a song together at school. It was ?The Great Speckled Bird.???
One time Ruth was to say a poem and all she did was twist and didn?t say a word, then bowed and sat back down. I think Loyd like to have beat the fire out of her.
One time Loyd came in for lunch, Ruth was cooking lunch; she was slow in getting it ready. Loyd began to ruff her around. Mom saw it and Loyd had to finish the cooking. I don?t think he liked it very much.
Emitt and I got into a fight in the cow lot. I called him a SOB. He politely set his milk stool down and came at me. I set myself and made a pass at him. My foot slipped, twisted my ankle ? that was the end of the fight, no licks hit. I walked on a cane for three months; that was at Pryor.
Dad gave John C and I three acres of cotton and at cotton-picking time, the bolls wouldn?t open up, and they wouldn?t buy unless they did. John C and I pulled the bolls and loaded the cotton wagon, all we could get on it. Then we cut a persimmon pole about 8 feet long and we opened the cotton and took it to the gin. They bought the load without any problems. We came home with our pickets jingling, but dad didn?t know about it. He would have kicked our backsides. Dad was always a straight shooter.