Lost and Found Writings of The Ozarks – Volume #1
In the Ozarks stories have to be told, and thank the Lord someone wrote down their memories of childhood for us to read. Stories of hardship and daily life here in the Ozarks. Below are excerpts from some of those stories…dropped in unedited just the way they wrote them. This is the first of future posts I’ll provide from “The Lost and Found Writings of The Ozarks”.
From Floyd Jones – Taney County from the 1890’s to the early 1900’s
“If some one wanted to make a trip to springfield they would ride a freight wagon. There were no labor orginations, no insurance, no sales tax, no income tax, no interest, no carrying charges, no gasoline, oil, or tires to buy, no cash for house rent, no preachers salleries to pay, no church buildings to build and maintaine. It was indeed a simple life; no one trying to keep up with the Joneses.”
“When we got to springfield we stayed at a wagon yard where we could put the team in the barn and cook and sleep in the camp house for ten cents. You could get a large steak at the resterant for fifteen cents. We always tried to get into springfield early enough the second day to load up and be ready to start back home early the next morning. The road was rough up and down steep hills and bad mud holes. When we were heavy loaded we would dobel [double] team on the hard pulls, leaving one wagon and putting four horses on the other one, pulling it up the steep hill or bad mud hole then going back after the other one. We carried horse shoes, horse shoe nails and tools. If a horse lost a shoe he couldent go far without getting lame. We carried piecis of Boards to nail on the brake blocks as it dident take long to wear one out and a good break was a must. We had some trouble with wagon tires becoming loose in hot dry weather. If a tire should run off the wheel would very soon break to peaces, then we had to load it on a passing wagon and take it to the near est blacksmith shop and have it rebuilt. We carried soft pine wedges to drive under the tire and we drove them through water when we could or poured water on the wheels to tighten the tires [by making the wood wheel swell].”
“People living in the White River bottom suffered far more from malaria and chills than those living on high ground. All the river bottom farm houses were on the bluffs for that reason. The doctors traveled on horse back caring [carrying] ther medicine with them, which was mostly calomel,2 quinine, castor oil and sweet spirits of niter to reduce fever. They also carried mustard plasters and other blisters. They had no stetiscopes to listen to your heart or fever themometer or nothing to test blood pressur. No one rarely had heart trouble and no one ever heard of high blood pressure; no one had appendicitis. Some probably died with to but it was called something else. There were no vccins [vaccines] only for small pox. There was no dyptheria. Children died with memberans [membranous] croup which might have been dyptheria.”
“Most children got one pair of shoes each year [although] some went bare foot all the year. The boys wore heavy boots. They were a problem to get off and on. We used a boot jack to pull them off. We used oppossum grease to keep them soft. We all went bare foot in summer. Our feet would get so hard we could run over the rocks. Our only trouble was briers, thorns and stone bruises. We generaly had a toe nail or two knocked off stubbing them aganst rocks.”
“We had two big home made beds and a trunnel [trundle] bed that rooled [rolled] under one of the large ones in day time. Mother had a spinning wheel. She carded and spun cotton and wool yarn and knit ted all our stockings and gloves. She made all our clothes by hand. We had a smoke house where we stored our meat and lard, a barrel of sauer kraut, a barrel of sorghum and a barrel of pickles. We stored potatoes, apples and cabbage and turnips in the ground.”
“I have saw father load his old rifle with powder and cotton, fire it against the wall, pick up the cotton and kindle a fire with it. We dident can vegetables, we caned [canned] fruit in stone wear jars, sealing it with sealing wax. We dried peaches, apples and pumpkin. There was always a tall cedar churn sit ting by the fire place with milk and cream getting ready to churn. We had plenty to eat, soda butter milk biscuits1 or corn bread, plenty of vegetables, ham and sorrel gravy, bacon or sausage, country but ter, wild turkey and venison. We got it from the smoke house instead of going to the store. All we bought at the store was sugar, green coffee, shirting calico, blue dinham [denim], a three hundred pound barrel of salt onc a year for salting the stock and cur ing the meat, lead, shot, powder and gun caps for the old muzzle loading guns. We also bought plow points, horse shoes, wagon tires, chains and hames for harness.”
If you happened to have stories from your family and want to share them don’t hesitate to drop me a note, we would love to have your families memories included in these installments. Email me here.