index page or memoirs page
This narrative of life on the
farm in Benton county, TN was sent to me by the author ( 88 years young)
with hopes the younger people now researching would get a glimpse of his
"yesteryears" Due to TN/USGWP policy of not putting living people's names and
addresses online, I have "whited" out the part with his name and
Anyone that would like more information or contact, please contact me.
Owner W. M. (Mack) Thompson
The Thompson farm was located in the Cedar Grove Community about 7 miles south east of Big Sandy Tennessee on the Raspberry road.
I dedicate these memories to *Beatrice my sweetie and my Sons Alfred, David and their wives and to all my Sisters, Nieces, Nephews and mostly to my Mother & Dad. I love all of them.
Life on the farm in the early part or the 20th century.
written in the 80th year of my life.
By William F. Thompson1195 Leawoodt. his, TN 38122
In the twilight of my memory my thoughts go back to the early years of my youth and on through my retirement years. The people of my era had different values that to many may seem a little tiresome in these more permissive times my generation had a different code of conduct discipline and frugality. With the though that once the teenage years was over the serious grown-up years would begin. In my adult years after my marriage to Beatrice my sweet loving wife which gave me two wonderful Sons Alfred and David. All that I every done and all my thoughts was for my family without them my life would not be fulfilled. I have had a wonderful contented life and at the end my thoughts will be my God and my family, my family, my family.
Living in Germantown Tennessee
1924--1928 on a 25 acre farm. (Near Memphis TN)
My Dad said the country was heading for a depression; he wanted to move to a larger farm where he could raise most of the food for his family so we packed all our belongings and moved to Big Sandy Tennessee.
Trip from Germantown Tenn. To
Big Sandy, Tenn.
Big Sandy is about 150 miles from Germantown
That’s a long trip for a T-Model Ford. We left Germantown about 5 o’clock a.m. the day of the trip. We had two T-Model Ford trucks and one car; it took most of the day to make the trip. Highway 70 was under construction so we had to make several detours. We finely arrived in Benton County on 69 highways about 5 miles
cross-country on some bad muddy roads to our farm. It was no way we could get there with the trucks on those muddy roads so dad hired 3 Farmers to take their mules and pull the trucks and car to Holden Berry’s home in the Cedar Grove Community. That is where we were going to rent a place to live. It took 2 mules for each vehicle to pull them we finely arrived at our destination.
First winter in Big Sandy 1928.
We rented an old store building across the road from Uncle Holden Berry's home (we called Mr. & Mrs. Berry Uncle and Aunt out of respect).
That winter the weather was extra cold and that old store building we were living in wasn’t all that warm. One morning we woke up and there was about 18 inches of snow on the ground. No school that day. Uncle Holden got up early that morning and shoveled a path from his house to the store building where we were living and down to Clouds sic] house (Uncle Holden’s son) and to the barn.One day I was in the barn lot and this old Rooster was bothering me so I picked a water soaked corn cob and threw it at him and broke his leg Aunt Emmer threaten to whip me but she didn't. We had stewed rooster that night for supper.
All that winter Dad and Uncle Holden would go to our farm which was about one half mile away and cut logs and carry them to the saw mill and get lumber made from them to build our home.
First year on the farm 1929.
At the start of the year in early spring we had enough lumber to build our home so we told all the neighbors that we were going to have a working that’s when neighbors would come and help build your house. All the men worked on the house and all the women would bring the food, they had a long table and had it loaded down with food. When dinnertime arrived every one was hungry and ever one enjoyed their dinner. By quitting time which was about sun set the men had the house finished enough so we could move in. It took Dad most of the year to finish it.
Dad didn't know too much about farming with the help of Mother (she was raised on a farm) and the County Farm Agent he because a good farmer.
In the fall of the year after most of the crop was gathered Dad decided it was time to build a barn. He cut logs to build it we had a working and all the neighbors come over by the end of the day we had a log barn.
In September we had an addition to the family a baby sister mother and dad named her Martha Ellen I sure was proud of her and loved her very much. I had 3 sisters Frances (my twin sister) Lois and Ellen, I was the only boy. I love all my sisters. We had a good year built our home, the barn and an addition to the family and had a fair crop I would say not much money but very happy and well fed.
The farm was located about 2 miles from Cedar Grove school house it was a one-room school with one teacher and about 15 pupils.
Mother told Dad that she thought the 2 miles was to far
us kids to walk so dad bought a horse an a buggy for us to ride in, when we
would get to school I would tie the horse to a tree and that’s where he would
stay all day. When school let out to go home all the children would ride with us
they loaded that buggy down. This lasted about 6 months then we started walking.
I went to Cedar Grove school 3 years and finished the 8th grade. I have a lot of
good memories of that time.
Trucks and Cars.
When we arrived at the Farm from Germantown we had no use for the 2 trucks so Dad sold them to Claude Berry he used the 2 trucks for traveling around the county as a traveling picture show he would charge .10 cents to watch the movies.
Dad kept the car and used it a few years in the summer but in the winter it would be to muddy to use. The car set in the front yard a few years and when the big Depression come we didn’t have the money to keep it running so we moved it to the back yard it stayed there a few years looking bad and rusty then we finally moved it behind the barn it stayed there a while then Dad sold it to a junk dealer that was just before world war two the junk dealers was selling all the scrap metal to Japan they were making guns and ammunition out of it so you could say that our old car was shoot back at us by the Jap’s. Kindly like coming back home.
The Farm had 252 acres of land about 200 acres was woodland and about 52 acres in land that we cultivated. It was located in the Cedar Grove Community about 7 miles south east of Big Sandy. We grew several crops cotton, corn, sorghum, soybeans for hay, field peas, and sweet potatoes and always a big garden with all kind of vegetables.
Most every winter we would clear some land to enlarge the cultivating land that we needed we also had about 30 acres of pastureland fenced in for our cows, mules, sheep, and goats. The goats kept the bushes in check by eating the buds off the bushes so we wouldn’t have to cut bushes every spring.
A typical day on the farm would start around 4:30am. Each morning Dad would get up start a fire in the cook stove (we used wood in the stove) then Mother would get up to cook breakfast then Dad would go to the barn to feed the mules so they would be ready for a hard days work plowing in the field. When Mother had breakfast ready they would get me out of bed to eat. After I eat breakfast I would go to the barn to put the gear on the mules then I would head for the field for a hard days work plowing. Around 10:30am Dad would come and give me a break so I could rest. This was after he had helped Lois milk the cows and helped Mother some. Then every body would go to the field to chop the weeds and grass out of the cotton or corn we would work till sun set. Mother would leave the field a little early to cook supper. After supper we were ready to rest and then go to bed and get some sleep then get up the next morning and start all over. It was very hard work and long hours but we always seemed happy and we were always well fed.
In the summer when the weather would
get hot and the sun would want to set you on fire we would get in the field and
start working before sun-up and work until around 11 o’clock. We would then go
to the house and rest under a shade tree. Sometimes we would make a pallet and
take a nap under a shade tree. We would go back to the field to work about 2:30
p.m. and work until dark. Back then there wasn’t any air-conditioning and we
didn’t have a fan or electricity. Sometimes when the nights were hot I would
One day after we ate lunch we were ready to go back to the field (I always rode a mule to the field) Frances wanted to know why I always rode the mule and she had to walk. I told her she could ride if she wanted to. She couldn’t jump up on the mules back so I led the mule beside the wagon so she could get in the wagon and get on the mule. She jumped on the mule and it scared him that mule started bucking and threw Frances about five feet in the air. I never had any more trouble with Frances wanting to ride the mule again.
One more story about Cedar Grove where I went to school it was about 2 miles from our farm and the other direction was Sulphur Creek School. The Cedar Grove clan and the Sulphur Creek clan didn’t get along very good together. We lived about half way between them so I tried to get along with both of them.
One year at Christmas at Cedar Grove we had a Christmas party and a tree. We were having a play; I forgot what my part in the play I had. I was in the middle of my part when everybody started hollering and screaming, “The Sulphur Creek clan is here”. They were fighting with the Cedar Grove clan. They were fighting with knives and guns. I don’t know if anyone was hurt very bad but it sure broke up the party.
“MULES AND HORSES”
We always had from one to as many as three horses and mules to plow with. There was an old horse trader that lived down near the Tennessee River, which was about 5 miles. He was one of those traders you hear about one that could beat you in every trade. Dad not knowing too much about mules and horses at that time usually got the bad end of the deal.
One mule we brought home had something
wrong with him. We would put him in the pasture to eat grass, which would help
on the amount of corn we fed him. That mule would pick a tree out and start
walking around it. This would go on all day. It was taking too much corn to feed
that old mule so Dad decided to take it back to the horse trader. We hitched our
horse to the buggy with that old mule hitched behind the buggy and took off.
We got there about dinnertime; Mrs. Lindsey invited us to eat with them.
I recall one time when I was in the field harrowing the plowed ground. I noticed Jude was going along without me guiding her. She would get to the end of the field, turn around and move over the right distance and go to the other end. I decided to see if she would do that without me following. I went to the edge of the field and found a shade tree and sat down under that shade tree until Jude finished harrowing that field. One smart mule wouldn’t you say?
One winter we were cutting some logs
down in the mill town hollow. It was in a swampy place and the ground was so
muddy and soft that it took 4 mules to pull the wagon loaded with logs.
One day we had a load of logs coming out of the swamp and Old Jude was hitched next to the wagon with another mule on the other side of the wagon tongue. Two more mules were in front hitched to the tongue. Jude stepped in a hole and caught her hoof behind a big tree root. The other mules kept going. I thought they were going to pull Jude’s leg off. She always walked with a slight limp after that. Dad would always rub her sore leg with horse liniment.
We had to haul our water about a half-mile from Holden Berry’s well. We hauled it in a 50-gallon barrel on a ground slide pulled by Old Jude. When I filled the barrel with water, I would get Jude headed toward home, then I would cut across the field to the road and wait for Jude. That barrel filled with water was heavy and hard to pull. Jude would go for a few minutes then stop for about 2 minutes to rest and then take off. When Jude would get to the road that went to our house, she would turn. Ellen, my sister, would ride on the slide behind the barrel sometimes.
After a year or so Dad decided to start selling cream to help with out income. Dad bought 2 or 3 milk cows. Over time we had a herd of about 6 or 7 cows. We would save some of the female calves to build our herd. The job of milking went to Dad and Lois. When the milking was over it was run through a separator. (A separator is a machine that separates the cream from the milk)
We would put a bucket with the cream in it down in the well to keep it cool. Once a week a truck would come by over on the main road and pick our cream up. We would have the cream in a 5-gallon milk can. I don’t know if we made very much income from selling the cream because it cost a lot to feed all those cows. The family used all the milk we had left over. We sold some of it for 10 cents a gallon. The rest of it was fed to the hogs.
In the spring the pasture had wild onions growing everywhere. The cows liked to eat them and that made the milk taste like onions. It wasn’t very good to drink. Mother would always have a bowl of onions on the table and told us to eat some onions and the milk would taste good. It worked.
“HOGS AND HOG KILLING”
We always had several hogs on the farm to furnish us with meat to eat. We had a sow, which would have a litter of pigs each year. When that sow had little pigs, she was a bad hog. One day I went to see the little pigs. The old sow came running toward me with her mouth open. I’m telling you those teeth were big and ugly. I took off running and jumped over the fence just before she caught me. “Boy was that close.”
We would put the pigs in a pen and feed
them with all the corn they would eat until they became fat and large around 200
pounds. On a cold morning around the first part of November, we would have a hog
killing. Some of our neighbors would come over and help us. We would slaughter
usually 2 or 3 hogs at a time. We had to heat some water in a large iron wash
pot to the boiling point to scald the hog so we could scrape the hair off. Then
we would gut it and cut it up into hams, pork chops, bacon and all the other
For breakfast the next morning we would eat brains and scrambled eggs. Some good eating wouldn’t you say? Don’t Yuk it until you have tried it. That’s all I’m going to say about brains and eggs.
This would be a good place to write a story about the old black wash pot. That old wash pot was used for a lot of things. It was a large pot it would hold about 10 gallons of water. When Mother would use it to wash our clothes she would build a big fire under it and get the water boiling then put the clothes in the pot and boil them while she would be jobbing them with a long stick. We used it to heat water to scald the hogs to remove the hair when we would have a hog killing. We would use the pot to cook the fat from the hogs to make lard. We also would use it to heat water to can vegetables. One fall we had a lot of sweet potatoes that Dad wouldn’t sell because they were so cheap so we used the pot to cook the potatoes to feed the cows, hogs, dogs and other animals. That the story of the old black washing pot.
(that when they get the urge to hatch eggs for little chicks) she would put
about a dozen eggs under her. In a few weeks we would have baby chicks running
around the yard. Sometimes a chicken hawk would fly over looking for a baby
chick for dinner. Mother would take the 12-gauge shotgun and point it up in the
air where the hawk was flying and shoot at it.
We had around 25 sheep each year in the early spring we had a lot of young lambs being born. Some of the ewes would have twins. We would feed the lambs all they would eat to get them ready for market. When they were ready, we would take them to Nashville to sell. Every 4th of July, we would have a picnic at Sulphur Springs about 3 miles from the farm. Several of the men in the neighborhood would go there the day before and dig barbecue pits. They would barbecue lambs and goats all night. The next day the whole neighborhood would come and eat barbecue lamb and goat. Everybody would go home happy and well fed.
The buck sheep we had was a bad dude. He liked to butt anyone who came in the barnyard. I think Frances and mother got butted down. I was in the barnyard one day when that buck wanted to take me on. He backed up and put his head down and here he came. I had a stick in my hand about the size of a baseball bat. When he got to me I stepped out of his path and came around with the bat and hit him on his head. I like to have knocked him down. He shook his head then went to the back of the barn lot and turned around and looked at me. He never bothered me any more.
“CHICKENS AND THE PEDDLER”
Mother would always tend to the chickens. In the spring she would save all the eggs and when a hen would set
One of the crops we grew was
sweet potatoes. We usually had around 2 acres, which produced around 100 bushels
or more. We had to have a place to store them so Dad went to the woods and cut
some logs to build a sweet potato house.
The walls were built with logs with 6 inches of sawdust between the outer and inner walls so the potatoes wouldn’t freeze. Sometimes when it would get cold in the house, we would go to the sweet potato house to keep warm.
One year the market price of sweet potatoes was around 20 cents per bushel. Dad would not sell at that price. We were selling our potatoes to a company in Chicago. They would put a boxcar in Big Sandy. All the farmers would fill the boxcar. The train would take the sweet potatoes to Chicago.
That winter, most every Saturday, we would take a wagonload of potatoes to Camden and peddle them to all the stores and houses. We would also eat a lot of sweet potatoes that winter. Mother would cook them in a dozen different ways. I recall she would make sweet potato biscuits. We also fed some of the sweet potatoes to the hogs, dogs, and cows. We would cook the potatoes in the large black wash pot for them. That winter everyone started calling Dad Tater Thompson.
“GROWING AND MAKING SORGHUM”
This is the sweet subject. We would
grow several acres of sorghum and make around 30 or 40 gallons each year. Mother
would use sorghum as a sweetener in some of her cooking. She could make some
good taffy candy. Boy that was good.
In the fall of the year before frost we would cut the sorghum stalks and haul them to the sorghum mill. The mill was located on the Sulphur Creek Road about 3 miles from the farm. We also had to haul enough wood to cook the sorghum. To get the juice out of the stalks, they were put thru some big rollers that were turned by a mule going around and around. My job was feeding the stalks thru the mill.
On the morning we were going to cook sorghum, we would get up around 3 o’clock a.m. and head for the mill. The sorghum was cooked in a long pan about 10 or 12 feet long and 5 feet wide. While cooking the sorghum, the scum would be skimmed off and thrown into the skimming pit. A skimming pit was a hole in the ground about 4 feet deep.
One morning, when we arrived at the mill a lot of leaves had fallen from the trees and covered the ground and the skimming pit. Everything looked the same. I was running around like a young boy will, guess what? You guessed it; I fell in the skimming pit. Boy was I sweet that must be why I am still so sweet. That’s what Beatrice tells me.
Every summer for a few years on the 4th
of July, we would go blackberry picking. The blackberry patch with a lot of big
berries was about 4 miles away in the hills near the banks of the Tennessee
River. On the morning of berry picking day, Dad would hitch the mules to the
wagon and we would take off. Mother would fix us a picnic basket. We would
celebrate the 4th of July picking blackberries. All of us would pick berries
except Ellen. She was a small baby at that time. Mother would make a pallet
under a shade tree and she slept until we were ready to go home.
Mother would make jelly, jam, and blackberry cobblers. We would have enough jams and jellies to last thru the winter. Boy those cobblers were good!
On Saturday, once a month, we would
shell about 50 lbs of corn and take it to the gristmill to get cornmeal made.
Saturday morning Dad and me would go to the corncrib to shell the corn. I was shelling corn when I uncovered a big long chicken snake. I was ready to kill the snake and Dad told me not to do it because the snake would eat the mice and rats, which always ruin a lot of corn.
After we got the corn shelled, I would put the corn in a big sack and throw it over the mule’s back. I would jump on and take off to the gristmill. The gristmill was about 4 miles across hills and hollows to Way. Way was a small settlement with a store, grist mill, saw mill, blacksmith shop and a ax handle mill, There was about 15 to 20 people living in Way.
One winter when we were ready to go to the gristmill about 4 inches of snow was on the ground. I decided to hitch the mule to a homemade sleigh to make the trip to the gristmill. When I was ready to go Frances my sister said she wanted to go with me. I told her to come on let’s go.
We were having a sleigh ride over hills and hollows on the way to Way. We were riding along having a good trip when it happened. The sleigh hit a deep rut in the road and Frances fell out of the sleigh. She didn’t get hurt. We had a good trip, had a good time, and arrived home with our cornmeal.
We had enough cornmeal to make corn bread for another month. We also fed corn bread to my hound dogs.
I always had 2 or 3 hunting hounds. I
would hunt rabbits, squirrels, possum, and skunk. A lot of the meat we eat was
the rabbits and squirrels I caught. During the time President Hoover was in
office we called rabbits “Hoover hogs”, that was the only meat that some people
had to eat during the Depression.
The possums and skunks that I caught I would save their skins and stretch and dry them and sell the fur to a fur buyer (Odie Cagel) who would come by on his horse every 2 weeks. That was the only way I had to make some spending money.
I hunted mostly by myself. Sometimes I would get Dad, Lois or Ellen (my sisters) to go with me. One night when Dad was hunting with me we had been hunting several hours and decided to go home. We came out of the woods to the Ridge Road. I started home and Dad started the other way I asked him where he was going he said, “I’m going home”. He went his way I went my way. In a few minutes he hollered and told me to wait for him. Dad never was very good at directions.
Sometimes when I was ready to go hunting I would invite some of my friends to go with me. We would have a possum hunting party. I would get the Parker boys, Walter and Moses, my sisters Lois and Ellen. We didn’t catch very many possums but we had a good time.
I have always enjoyed hunting. When I moved to Memphis in 1955 I hunted in 4 or 5 states. A good hunting dog must have a pleasant voice; to the hunter it is one of the chief elements of a truly happy hunt. Hearing the stirring voice, understanding the direction the coon has taken and the way in which he run about the woods, and having a full evening of enjoyment by hunting with a beautiful voiced hound.
What greater thrill can a hunter experience than hearing those notes ring over hill and valley ending with the different tone of voice calling the hunter to come, come, come. What hunter can’t close his eyes and hear the lovely strains of hound music floating across a valley or stream. Surely no man-made music can light the fires of imagination or bring a greater thrill of delight than can a hunter’s best friend--his hound.
“GOING TO TOWN”
The towns that we would go to was
Camden or Big Sandy. Camden was about 10 miles and the county seat. Big Sandy
was about 7 miles. We would go to town every 2 or 3 weeks to buy groceries and
farm supplies. We also would take our cotton and farm products to sell. We
usually would take our cotton to the cotton gin in Camden.
When we would go to town, it would be an all day trip. We would start early in the morning and sometimes we would be after dark getting home. The trip in the wagon was slow and those old mules wouldn’t walk very fast.
One winter the roads were so muddy and ruts so deep, the axle of the wagon would drag the ground. Two mules were unable to pull the wagon. Dad and Mr. Anderson Berry decided to put 4 mules to the wagon. They made it to Big Sandy and back home okay. Dad bought enough groceries and supplies to last us until spring when the road would be better.
When dad went to town he would always buy some chocolate drops (about a pound) and bring them to his children. I always looked forward to that treat. Today when I buy chocolate drops, I think of those times.
“DAD AND SPIDER -- ME AND THE WELL”
One afternoon dad was working in the barn when a black widow spider bit him. Mother told him he should go to see the doctor. He said no little spider bite would hurt him. After supper he wasn’t feeling too good, so he went to bed. Along about midnight he was in a bad way, he was cramping and very sick. Mother woke me up and told me to go get the doctor. I got on that old mule and took off to Big Sandy, about 7 miles. When I got there, I woke the doctor and told him what happened and asked him to go to our home. He said no and gave me some medicine for dad and I raced back home. I made a fast trip to Big Sandy and back home but it was about daybreak before I got there. Dad was feeling better, he took the medicine and the next day he was okay. That sure gave all of us a big scare.
Now about the well and me. For the first year we had to haul our water from Uncle Holden Berry’s house. That was a hard job and it took too much time. Dad decided to dig a well. We built a windlass (a windlass is a round beam upon which is wound a rope attached to the object to be lifted) to draw the dirt and rocks out of the well.
We were getting along very well, we were about 15 feet digging thru rocks and we stopped for a few days. When we decided to start digging again, there was about a foot of water in the well. Dad sent me in the well to dip the water out. I rode the bucket down and started sending the water up in the bucket. I was down there about 15 minutes when I began to feel funny. I told dad that I wanted to come up. I got on the bucket and started up and passed out. Dad came down in the well and tied a rope around me. Mother and granddaddy Aikens pulled me out and laid me on the ground. Mother had to get dad out of the well in a hurry because there was some kind of gas in the well. That is what made me pass out. When dad got out he started working on me. After a few minutes, I regained consciousness. If granddaddy and grandmother Aikens hadn’t been visiting, I don’t know what would have happened because I don’t think mother would have been able to get dad and me out of the well. That was a close call for me.
“MOTHER & DAD and the depression”
Effie Mae Thompson & William Mack Thompson
Dad was born in the year of 1891 in Newborn, TN. Mother was born in the year of 1892 in Louisville, MS. They were married in the year of 1916. I always thought they had the pioneer spirit. Dad was always moving trying to find a better place to live. He made several moves and finally settled in Big Sandy, TN.
I recall that it seemed we moved back in time about 15 or 20 years. Dad and mother were hard working people and raised a wonderful family, which they loved very much. I recall the sacrifice they made sending all their children to high school. Sometimes mother would do my chores so I could go to school. She always said she wanted me to get a good education. All this sacrifice was made worse by the Depression of the early years of the 30’s to the early years of the 40’s.
The Depression started in the year of 1929 after the stock market fell. The economy started going down and never recovered until World War II in 1941. Those were hard years. We didn’t have much money, but I always thought we were better off than most people in the neighborhood. We didn’t have much money but we had something a lot more important, love, happiness, and plenty of food.
I would say our best friends was the Parkers, Mr. & Mrs. Parker and their children, Moses, Walter, and Polly. They lived about one mile over near the main road.
Mrs. Parker would help mother with her work sometimes and mother would help Mrs. Parker. Mr. Parker would come and visit almost every week. I recall he smoked a pipe. I don’t recall what kind of tobacco he smoked, but when the wind was blowing the right way, we could smell him coming. We would holler, Mr. Parker’s coming. We always enjoyed his visits.
Walter, Moses, and myself ran around together a lot. We would go to the swimming hole on Sunday and cool off and get a good bath. We would roam around from one community to the other. Sometimes we would walk over 10 miles. We also hunted for bee trees. When we found one, we would cut the tree and get the honey. Boy that was good. As for Polly, I thought she was a sweet girl. I never told anyone but I thought of her as my sweetheart. The Thompson family treasured the friendship of the Parker family.
“GOING TO HIGH SCHOOL”
Mother and dad always wanted to send their children to high school. It would be a hardship on them because of the Depression but they were willing to do it. The high school was in Big Sandy. We had to ride a T-model bus to get there. We walked about 3 miles to the bus stop in all kinds of weather, sunshine, rain, sleet, snow, and storms. (Reminds me of the U.S. mail.)
One winter while at school it began to snow. It snowed all day. By the time school was out the snow was so deep the bus couldn’t run. We took plan one, Frances stayed in Big Sandy with some friends for a few days. As for myself, I was going home. I walked those seven miles in about a 5-inch snow it was a cold trip, I finally got home.
I went to high school for 3 years, stayed out one year, then went back and finished. The reason was Frances had to repeat the junior year and mother wanted us to graduate at the same time.
“JOINING THE CCC”
(Civilian Conservation Corp)
The CCC was one of the programs that President Roosevelt had in the New Deal program. The CCC camp usually had about 200 boys living in barracks run by the Army. The every day work in the fields, woods, and parks was usually run by the Park Department and TVA. The pay was $30 a month. $25 dollars was sent home that left you with $5.00 that doesn’t sound like very much but during the Depression that was big money. The $25 that was sent home helped the families to make ends meet and buy food.
I enlisted in the CCC’s when I was 18 years old. I went to Adamsville, TN. stayed there 1 year and 6 months. I went home and finished high school and after graduation. Then I enlisted in the CCC camp in McKenzie TN. They had a program for boys that had graduated from high school. They would let them go to Bethel College in the morning and go to the field in the afternoon to work. I went to college one year then the camp moved to Bolivar, TN. After we got there I was on the survey crew. We had a good supervisor. His name was Mr. Rogers. When I was discharged he helped me get a job with J.P. Smalley in Bolivar TN on a survey crew. I was in the CCC for 3-½ years (1½ yr’s. Adamsville, 2 yr’s. Bolivar). In 1941 I enlisted in the U S Navy . Served for four years through World War II. After the War I never went back to the farm to live.
He lost his beloved Beatrice two years ago and she lies sleeping at Ramble Creek Cemetery near Big Sandy, in Benton County today.