L To R, Josh Perkins, Elmer Willis, Solomon Doyle, Mae Ashworth Willis, Nora Ashworth Griffin, Shelby Ashworth

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Thomas Ashworth Murder

Thomas Ashworth, I was never able to meet, due to the age differences in our birth. He was my wife's Grandfather. He was born 4/17/1893 and died 10/27/1933. He married Lonie {Dyal} Doyle, 6/25/1892 to 10/15/1963. Both are buried at Goodhope cemetery in Juanita, La. South of Singer, La.
Ever since I was a small child, I have always been fascinated with tales of the older generations in my family and others. Most of all, true mysteries and fact's covered up, hidden or kept from the younger generations for what ever reason.
The murder of Thomas Ashworth is one of those family mysteries that I was fascinate with some twenty eight years ago when I first met my wife and her family.
Erlene, her mother Bertie Mae Ashworth Griffin, was Thomas and Lonie's daughter. With life as we grow older, one thing is certain, your hair will turn color, your sight dims, hearing is lost, along with your most precious thing, you have your memory and it starts to fade. Either to the point of no return or the aggravating just remembering parts or bit's and pieces along with just remembered here and there.
The problem we faced was that Bertie Mae and others in the family could not remember why this man wasn't prosecuted for this murder. When I was first told the story of what happen to Thomas, at the end of the story. It had left the same burning question in my mind, "Why wasn't this man prosecuted for the murder"?
Twenty eight years ago all any one could remember about Thomas's murder was this. He and his family was living in Merryville, La. On October 28th 1933. Thomas was sitting on a curb side in front of the Simmons store with many other men from Merryville waiting for a ride to work. This is when he was hit in the head from behind by a much younger man, Thomas knew the young man and knew him well. Thomas died the say day.
With me, as usual, that story was embedded in my mind and was to remain there with a promise to my wife we would do what we could to find out the facts about what really happen.
Through the years, any and everyone I was introduced to in my wife's family, I would in time get to the story of Thomas, along with the questions as to why the young man wasn't prosecuted and just what started the hatred between the two men. Most ever response was either they did not know or what they did know, it was along the same lines as to what Bertie Mae could remember.
As usual, life went on. We lived in different places, I would never say I had forgotten the story or my desire to locate the truth. As stated above about the slow process of things happening to one's body, while at times, my life was in the section where "MY Mind Was Slipping" HHaa
Then all of a sudden, it seemed as if technology exploded with the force of a nuclear bomb. Then the most amazing thing came along {Personal Computers}. I never in my life thought I would be able to operate such a thing. But it worked out great.
This is when I became addicted to genealogy. It seem as just over night. We straighten out family trees that had been so mixed up and Oh so wrong in other places. Then we were introduced to the Genealogy Library on Pujo St. in Lake Charles. This is where we found most of what we were looking for in the story about the Thomas Ashworth murder.
The story was front page headlines in a newspaper of that day named "The American Press". The story it printed tells this story.
The paper reported that the two families had a feud dating back one year. Lindsay Conley, Thomas Ashworth's brother in law,had built a fence across the only road leading into and out of the Calcoats home place. Claiming he owned the land. The Calcoats took the matter to court. Conley lost the trial, was made to take down the fence and serve thirty days in jail. Which he did.
Some eleven months later Thomas Ashworth was jumped one night at a rail road tressel near his home, he was severely beaten. He blamed the two Calcoate boys for the severe beating. Which of course they denied knowing anything about.
About a week later Thomas Ashworth caught Joe Calcoat by himself and beat him. It was reported, he had beaten him so severely, that Calcoat wasn't expected to live till the next day. He did live and the following Friday is when he slipped up behind Thomas and hit him in the head with a piece of manifold from off of a Ford vehicle. Thomas died at two thirty that evening.
The following day, the Beauregard Parish Coroner J. D. Frazer, M.D. held a inquest {Coroners Jury} over the body of Thomas Ashworth. Those on the jury were, Dr. F.R. Frazer, Dr. J. A. Knight, J.D. Ruston, T.B. Meadows and A.M. King. All men were from Merryville.
At the Court House in De Ridder we found a copy of the witnesses testimony that the Coroners Jury heard. Testimony was taken from the following witnesses, Noah Hennigan, Aubrey Williamson, J.H. Eaves, Joshua Smith, J.D. Mayo, Luckey Marze, Mrs Mae Deason, A.F. Miller, H.E.Carens.
The verdict of the Coroners Jury was that Thomas Ashworth came to his death by the hands of one Joe Calcoat.
The American Press reported Joe Calcoat was arrested and held over for trial.
Finally after 73 years. Most of the answers have been found as to what happen. But wait. Not all questions were answered.
In checking with the Court House and the District Attorney Office in De Ridder, La. There is no record of any Grand Jury returning a True bill of murder or any No true Bill either. At the court House, all that was found was the testimony of the witnesses to the murder. There is no record of Joe Calcoat being charged with murder. The statement of being arrested and charged was from The American Press. There was also no recorded of charges being dropped.
The facts of Joe Calcoat was this. He was never prosecuted. He was turned lose and lived in Merryville for the rest of his life. He took up the profession of cutting hair for a living. [Author's Note: This same man cut my hair when I was a child of about 9 or 10 years of age.} He lived into his eighties. I was told he died by committing suicide in his barber shop one morning, by drinking a bottle of poison
While it is some what a relief for my wife and her mother to find out what we did. I still have that burning desire inside to know the "REST OF THE STORY", as Paul Harvey says.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Twins & The Twist

Back in the mid sixties, Rock and Roll was going strong. There was a very famous song that had a dance along with it by the same name. The record and dance both was made popular by a singer by the name of Chubby Checkers. All the younger people were doing the dance. I am sure most everyone recalls that song and dance.
Even though the Twins [Collis & Collin Clark} were a lot older than the teens in that day. They wanted to keep up with the new things that the younger kids were doing .
The Twins were in Dequincy most of the day that Saturday, drinking a few beers and visitings with their friends. They always drove a maroon looking Ranchero. They also carried their rabbit hounds with them most every where they went and I mean every where. I do not recall who was with them that day. But they had a driver with them. They decided to head back to Singer. The distance from Dequincy to Singer is around fifteen miles.
Along the way, that very song {The Twist} came on the radio.
They preceded to argue who was the best twister [Dancer} out of the two of them. Well arguing wasn't going to settle anything. Nope, that just wouldn't do it for the twins. They had had just enough beers in town, to settle this along side of the road, They got out of the truck and here they went. They started Twisting up a storm. Can you just picture that. Two men about fifty years old, drinking, with a driver and a truck full of rabbit hounds on the side of the road just Twisting up a storm.!!!HHAA That wasn't the only funny part of this story.
The funny thing was this, when that song ended, they had the driver judge the contest. The driver would tell them just which one had done the best job dancing. After they had loaded back into the truck and headed out for Singer again. After about two minutes of driving they would start arguing again about who had won the contest. It didn't matter who the driver sided with, the other one would claim he was cheated. So the only fitting thing to do was stop and have another go at it. When another song started up on the radio {Didn't Matter What Song Or Type}, they would twist to it. Then the same thing would happen again and again. They just had to stop and twist some more. HHaa!!!
People say it took them almost three hours to go just fifteen miles.
I can testify to this story. My mother, my sisters and I, had been to Dequincy that morning and on the way back home. We passed these three doing just what I've described here. That was one of the funniest sights I can remembering seeing. My two boyhood hero's on the side of the road doing "THE TWIST"

Granny Griffin At The Movie House

I never knew this lady in the picture. The lady in this story is my wife's Grandmother on her fathers side. Her name was Della O'Connell her 3/17/1885 to 1/8/1973. Everyone called her {Zillie} She was born and raised some where in the Starks, Vinton area. Her father was T.D. O'Connell Born abt 1867. Her mother is still unknown at this time. Family history is that her father came to the Starks area working or looking for work and he was said to be from Michigan.
Della married Charles W. Griffin, 8/16/1882 to 6/5/1950. His death certificate states he was born in New Iberia, La. Charles and Della lived in Merryville, La. Along with 10 kids
Their first child was a son named George W., 11/20/1908 to 12/18/1989. This was my wife's father. Her Grandmother Della was a very down to earth type of lady. Had lots of kids and even more grand kids. She never was much into the newer things in life at that time. She was from the old school as the saying goes, that's the way she kept it.
That was until Merryville finally took a big step up in the world with a new picture house {Movie Theater}. It was a very thriving town in the 1930's and 1940's. With A barber shop, drug story, three or four sawmills, printing shop and to top this off a train depot with passenger train service. They had most comforts of life at that time.
When the Movie picture house made it's grand opening. Business was fine as they say. If you wanted to see a movie you had to get there early. No matter what day of the week it was. There was always plenty of folks in line to see the movies.
Most of the folks loved the Westerns. These movies got top billings and was in high demand.
Seems everyone in my wife's family had made a trip or two to the movies. One task that ever one attempted, was to get Granny Griffin to go and see a movie. She wanted no part of it. Didn't need it and could never see any sense in just why anyone would waste their time going there.
Some way or another, someone convinced Granny Griffin to go and see this western that was playing at the movie house. When she decided to go, she took my wife along who was at that time only about four or five years old and her brother Willard who was just a year younger. Add along to that about two or three more family members.
As luck would have it, they arrived there late and every seat was taken except for the very first row. That is where they settled in at to watch the show. Granny Griffin had never seen such a thing. about half way through the movie someone asked Granny Griffin what she thought of the movie. She made the comment that it so amazing, so "Real".
At that point in the movie, way in the back ground. There was a bunch of Train Robbers chasing the train on horse back, trying to stop it and rob it. As the movie went on, the train kept picking up speed, getting faster and faster and started running off and leaving the robbers. The nest thing Granny Griffin knew the train was right at the very front of the screen.
This is where the fun started, Erlene said Granny Griffin sprung up out of her seat, threw her hands in the air above her head and screamed at the top of her voice, then yelled, RRRUUUNNN, RRRUUUNNN, it's a train and it's going to run over us. Erlene said the only thing she remembered next was ever single person in that movie house was standing outside and was in a panic mode. HHHAAA
After every thing settled down, everyone started talking about what happen. Everyone agreed all they ever heard was a scream and the word RUN. And run they did, everyone of them.
Needless to say, Granny Griffin never stepped one foot into another movie house for the rest of her born days.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Whooping John Dillons

I have explained in other stories that there were a lot of pranks and gags pulled on a lot of people before my time and when I was a kid, by numerous cousins, friends, neighbors and the truth is just about every body. It seemed at times that is all these folks lived for. Most of them were very, very, humorous.
Uncle Mack Clark was no exception. He was one of the best at this type of humor. His favorite thing was making up names for most anything. Be it animals, people, things folks did, just about anything, he had a funny name or saying for it.
Uncle Mack was my Great Uncle {2/10/1908 to 8/21/1977}. He was he son of John Charles Clark and Minnie Irene Perkins Clark. I was just six years old and in the first grade and we were out of school for the Christmas holidays. My father always took me out hunting with him. His favorite pass time was hunting deer. He either hunted alone or with a group of men. When hunting with a group of men. The men would decided which section or block of the woods they would run the dogs in. They did that in order to jump a deer and have the dogs chase it. The men {The Men Were Called Standers} would line up around the section of the woods we would be running the dogs in. They would space out about one hundred yards apart. Once the dogs jumped the deer, it had to cross in front of the men lined around the block of woods. The men then attempted to kill the deer right there. If they happen to miss and the deer and dogs got over into the next sections of woods, the race was on, using you pickup, you would try to head off the deer and dogs. Trying your best to keep them out of the Sabine River Bottom. If the dogs got into that bottom, some times you would never see them again.
This one hunt was with a bunch of men. The dogs had jumped a deer and had gotten by all the standers. My Father got into his truck to try and head the dogs off before they got into the Sabine River bottom. Uncle Mack and I went along with him. My father had stopped the truck to listen for the dogs, to try and locate which direction they were headed. Off to our right was a big marshy piece of land that was standing in water. Right in the middle of this marsh stood two tall looking gray cranes {Birds}. Feeding on what they could scoop up out of the water. Well I had never seen birds like this up close. I asked my father what type of birds were these? Before he could answer, Uncle Mack said, boy, you don't know what the name of those birds are? I told him no sir. He told me they were called, "WHOOPING JOHN DILLONS"
Well he said it, so it had to be true! Surely my uncle would not lie to me. We then went on about the business of trying to catch the dogs.
With the holidays over with, it was back to school. My first grade teacher was Mrs Walker. She asked all the kids what they had done during the holidays. Well I just knew I had the best story. So when it came my turn to speak. I told her I had went hunting with my father and that I had seen my very first "WHOOPING JOHN DILLION."
She claimed that she didn't know of any such bird. I told her I knew there was such a bird because I had seen it and Uncle Mack told me what it was and that was it. I talked about that bird all day, because at the end of the day she sent a letter home with me, to my mother.
She stated to my mother the story I had told about the bird and what it was called. And if my mother didn't mind would she please come by the school and explain just what in the world was A "WHOOPING JOHN DILLON.
That still bring a smile to my face to this day whenever I think about this story. I thank God every day for a memory like this, to be able to recall these stories that my ancestors told and had a very fun time doing it.
My ancestors and these stories mean the world to me. I guess that maybe, that is why I've never had a problem with depression or being depressed such as a lot of people seem to have in today's world. Stories like this keeps a smile on my face and loving memories in my heart and mind most all the time.

One On Me

I just realized, writing these funny stories about my ancestors, that I would also have to include a few funny ones about me as a child to be fair to the others, that I have written about.
Growing up on Bearhead, there were certain things you did. You never said no or I don't feel like it. If you ever did talk back like that to any adult, that was an automatic Butt whipping. More on that later.
One thing most everyone did on Sunday, was go to Sunday school and Church. Our family Church was and still is as far as I am concerned, is the Singer Pentecostal Church in Singer, La.
I imagine I was about four. when this particular event happen. At the end of Church services, the pastor would announce what activities would be taking place in the coming week along with the number of folks in attendance at Church that morning. Along with the amount of money taken in when the offering was given.
The announcement at the end of services this certain Sunday, the pastor stated that the following Saturday evening, there was going to be a "HOBO STEW" at the church and everyone was welcome.
For those of you who do not know what a "HOBO STEW" is, that is where everyone in the community or church got together. Ever family would bring something to add to a big black kettle . Potatoes, meat, onions, it didn't matter what you brought, it was all added to the pot and cooked. The women cooked and prepared the food, kids played games and the men would gather and talk about what was happening in the community and swap old tales.
But when I heard the announcement this Sunday, It scared me to death. I was terrified. I didn't want to go to that "HOBO STEW". I wasn't going and that was it. I was scared to death for the next week. It affected me so much, that even at that young an age, I knew better than to ever talk back or tell my parents no, about anything. Then the dreaded evening got there and way to fast for me. I kept making excuses as to why I didn't want to go, didn't feel good, sick stomach, fever, fainting spells, my flat top wasn't cut short enough, I was out of the "Butch Grease" we used on our flat tops, Old Age, my teeth was falling out. Any excuse, any at all, to keep from going to that "HOBO STEW".
My mother finally asked me what was wrong, I finally fess up {For you Youngsters, that means to tell the Truth} to my mother. I was scared of going to the cookout, because they were going to "COOK UNCLE HOBO".
As you know from a few other stories here, I had a GG Uncle name Lexlie Ashworth and everyone called him HOBO. I just knew they were going to cook him. All week long I had the vision in my mind of him being put into that black kettle and cooked. HHHaaaa

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Real Food In A Great Era

Where do I start? I guess if someone asked me to pick my favorite meal or food, I would have to pick everyone of them. The very first, that comes to mind, Fried chicken, rice and gravy, black eyed peas, with water, milk, tea, or cool aid. The water came from a well in the yard and the milk came from a milk cow, hand milked at that.
Squirrel, Deer, Rabbit. Either one of them stewed down in gravy, with rice and a baked sweet potato with a ton of butter and the gravy of the squirrel poured over it, with corn bread or home made yeast biscuits. We loved this so much, my mother tells everyone that to feed us four kids and her and my daddy, she had to have at least a dozen squirrels to cook, in order to fill us all up.
Fried white perch,brim, goggle eyed perch or cat fish. ToledoBend and the local creeks and ponds supplied all of this we needed. With french fries, pork and beans and raw onions. Got to have the onions with the fish, period. Added to this would be corn bread or home made hush puppies.
We also would have what was called Hobo stew's. The way that worked is this. The whole neighborhood would gather and everyone brought something different, meat, potatoes, vegetables. It was all cooked in an old black kettle pot. When done ever one would gather and eat and visit.
We were really living high when we got fried frog legs that were gigged at night by my Daddy and Grand father Blackie and also my Uncle Billy Wayne Baukman, on Gum Slew or out at the Old River, The Dumps or Wide water.
Hog Head Cheese, Cracklings, Crackling Corn Bread, Pickled pig feet, fresh liver from a butcher cow, cooked in a gravy with onions. Boiled chicken feet and boiled pig tails and ears. Fresh peas and butter beans, muster greens, turnip greens, squash. You name it, we grew it.
I had mention yeast biscuits a few lines back. That was one way to get your rear end tore up fast, and that was to slam a door or run through the house and make those biscuits falls. You payed dearly. There was always home made biscuits, with home made butter and served with either mayhaw, blackberry, or dewberry Jelly. Also pancakes, with either home made syrup or the old Stein Ribbon Syrup that came in a yellow can.
One of the better things you could have while yet living out in the woods or sticks as they said back then, would be what I call country junk food. Most ever bit of it was either from a vine, tree or bush. It was in abundance in the spring and some of it didn't make until the fall. Here is a short list of what we had, blackberries, plums-red, yellow and purple, dewberries, mayhaws, huckleberries, muskydines {Wild Grapes}, watermelons, cantaloupes, peaches, pomegranates.
As kids our main drink then was cool-aid. I'll never forget when my mother brought home a Popsicle making kit. All it was was a plastic ice tray with plastic sticks. You made your cool-aid and filled the ice tray up and put the plastic sticks in it and put it in the freezer. When it froze we had our home made Popsicle. We only went to town on Saturdays mostly. Everyone looked forward to that. We went in a truck most of the time, because there was usually three different families in the one truck. Our mother would put us kids in the back of the truck and the grown ups sat in the front. If and I say, IF, there was enough money left over, we would all be treated to a hamburger or a cheese burger and a cold drink. Our favorite place to stop was at the North Side drive inn in Dequincy. It was on high way 27 north, right on our way out of town of Dequincy. It was owned and ran by the Brown Sisters. If I remember right, the burgers were either twenty-five or thirty-five cents and cold drinks were a dime. Later own another place we came to like was the old A&W in De Quincy. Our favorite thing from there was the Root Beer. Boy that was good!!
Other place's that had good food was at the old Panther Den {Drive Inn} in Merryville. Some of the best burgers you could ever eat. When we went to Deridder, there was a drive inn, some called them a frosty, on the right as you came into De Ridder from Singer. Right across from the Old School and next to the Baptist Church. everything there was good. At the old shopping center were Wal-Mart was first at, the had a food wagon or food cart as they called them then. Here you could get the very best Corn Dog ever made and cooked. Never found one better than that to this day. Then there were the fresh made doughnuts in a shop across the street from the KCS railroad track. There isn't a doughnut made today that could ever come close to bening as delicious as those were. I may be wrong, but I think the name of that place was called Daylight Doughnuts.
Then there was the best part of going to De Ridder and it didn't include food at all. We could never leave De Ridder without making our parents take us by the old Coke-Cola bottling plant. That was high teck back then. They had a big picture window {Plate Glass} in front of the building. Our mothers would pull up and park there and we were amazed to be able to watch those coke bottles going around and around, then being filled and capped.
Today, cardiologist would die if they knew folks ate this type of food everyday the way we did then. While I couldn't eat it ever day now, I would still say, filler up about three or four time a month still. If it could be made as well today as it was then and tasted as good.
By writing this little story, I see now I will be going to bed hungry tonight.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Maw, One Tough Lady

This is just another short story about Maw. As I stated earlier, She was Married to Rufus Edward Ashworth "Buster". They had six children. My Grand Mother Estella was one of their daughters. I was blessed to have been able to known her for 16 years. She is the source of most of my memories about our ancestors and most of the stories I can remember to this day.
Her father and mother was Josh and Granny Bet Perkins. She was one of about 17 children. The time in which they lived was hard, very hard. Through the conversations I have with my grand mother almost daily, I have learned a lot more about her, than what she would have ever spoke about herself.
The very first thing I learned about our ancestors is that you never heard them complain. Never. They knew what they had to do to survive and they just did it. Period. They were also the hardest working people I have ever known.
My Grand Mother told me that her daddy always had a job that he worked at. Everything that needed to be done at the house, was what Maw took care of . Everything from washing clothes, milking the cows, butchering animals, plowing and raising a garden. plus raising the kids.
I got the title of this story about Maw, from I imagine the most horrible thing that a parent would ever have to do. They had three sons and three daughters. One of their son's had went fishing down on Bearhead creek not far from their house. The kid wasn't back at home when he was suppose to have been. Maw went looking for him. She found him at a bridge that crossed Bearhead creek. He had had fallen into the creek and drowned. She got into the water and pulled him out and packed him all the way home. On her way back home she had to pass her sister's house. She went through the woods packing her dead son, to keep from getting to close to her sister's house. I never could understand why she went out of the way to get past her sister's house. My thinking at that time, if I had been her, would be that I needed all the help I could get at that moment, so why avoid her sister's house.
I asked my Grand Mother about this and she told me that her mother knew her sister had many other problems on her mind at that time and that Maw did this to avoid upsetting her even more. That had to be the most horrible thing she ever had to do in her life.
Maw was a small person. She wasn't much over five feet tall and weighed around one hundred pounds if that much. If someone asked me what is the first thing I remember about Maw, it would have to be "Barefooted". I do believe the only time she wore shoes was when she went to church and to town. Other than that she was always barefooted.
I got off the school bus at her house one very cold winter day, because my mother told me to, so I could get her fire wood in for the night. Back then, that is all the heat we had in those days, and that was a fireplace. When I got off that bus, there was Maw in a sleeting rain with ice every where on the ground, gathering up pine knots and oak fire wood, just as barefooted as ever.
When she and I went digging for snake root in the woods, barefooted. When she worked in the garden, barefooted. When she milked the cow, barefooted. When she was just sitting on the front porch doing nothing, barefooted. And if it is true about how they dress you when you die, then there she was ,again on 11/23/1974, barefooted then to.
There will be a lot more on Maw and others in other stories. But in closing this one, I just want to say, that everyone that knew her loved her and she loved everyone she ever knew. If only people cared about one another now as they did back then. This world would be a lot better place to live in.

Mutton Snatchers

Maw had two brothers. Their names were Sullivan and Arthur Perkins. Most family members, just called them Uncle Coop and Uncle Sub.
Now if there was ever a special meal that everyone in the family loved. It would be Mutton,or in other words a young sheep.
Uncle Coop and Uncle Sub loved this meat as did most everyone else did in those days. Only problem was that they got there's free of charge. Or as others would say they got it at a five finger discount. They stole or just borrowed them one could say.
This story really happen. Years ago, in certain places in the woods around Bearhead/Singer and the surrounding areas. The people, that had animals running in the woods, {This was called free range}, build what they called dipping vats.
The way people did this, they would dig a vat in the ground and cement the bottom and sides of it. It was wide enough for a cow to walk through and just deep enough for them to stick there head up out of to breath. They would let it fill with rain water, then add chemicals to it. They would then gather all their there live stock up and drive them through these vats to "Dip Them". This would take care of ticks and other bugs they would pick up from roaming the woods.
There was one rancher that had nothing but sheep. He had so many, that to keep track of the ones that had already been dipped, when the sheep exited the vat, he would mark them with a red + "Cross" so he would know that that certain sheep had been dipped.
Well Uncle Coop and Uncle Sub figured this man had so many sheep he would never miss a few head. But that old Rancher could sense one sheep was missing out of 500. He caught on to those two taking his sheep. He had the law brought in and they caught my two Uncles taking this mans sheep. They asked the two why they had been stealing that mans sheep. They replied that they didn't know that those sheep belonged to that man. Further more they said those sheep were free sheep. The law asked them why they thought those sheep were free for the taking.
Coop and Sub replied, that since things were so hard to come by back then, "it being the depression and all". They just figure the "RED CROSS" had brought the sheep in and turned them loose for the people to eat. The law men asked them just what in the world made them think such a thing? They said that ever ever sheep had a "Red +" on them. So they had to be from the Red Cross!!!
Needless to say Coop and Sub paid for the sheep. HHaa

Friday, October 26, 2007

Uncle Hobo Ashworth

In this photo,sitting is Minnie Ashworth Droddy, behind L to R Rufus Edward "Buster", Lexlie "Hobo" and Charlie Ashworth.
My GG Uncle was known by all as Hobo. His real name was Lexlie Ashworth. He was born 6/10/1892 and died 6/5/1974.He was the third child of Amos Owen Ashworth and Mary Heard.
He had the calling as they say from a young age to be a preacher. He was a Pentecostal preacher as was his son Homer and Grandson Samuel "Sambo" Ashworth. Three of the most honest, God loving men, I've had the honor of knowing.I remember him well.
One thing I was told, showed me just how dedicated he was to his faith and his Lord. He was working, "Logging", around Merryville, La. and staying in a logging camp there. After he had worked all day logging, on Wednesdays, he would clean up and eat. He then would walk to Singer, La. The distance from Merryville to Singer is 10 miles. This time period I am talking about was between 1910 and 1920.
He would preach that night, then walk back to Merryville that night and go to work the next day. He would make the same trip on Fridays. He would preach that night then walk on to his home on Bearhead a distance of four to five miles. Then walk from Bearhead to Singer and back again on Saturdays and Sundays and after the service Sunday night , he'd walked back to Merryville again that night to be ready for the next work day.
When the church was in Revival back then. I can remember as a child when a revival would last 4 to 6 weeks. Seven nights a week for weeks on end. He still did this during those times as well.
I imagine there wouldn't be many in this day and age to do such a thing. As my ancestors use to say. We have all just gotten to soft.

There Goes The Twins

These two are my favorite two to write about, Collis and Collin Clark. They were something else. When ever you seen them coming, you knew there was going to be plenty of fun.
Someone once asked me how I would describe them? I thought a second and said I would put them on the same level as Red Skelton. The famous comedian in the 1940,50's,60's. They were for ever telling some kind of a joke or pulling a prank. I never ever knew of the two hurting anyone person. They worked hard and played even harder. The love rabbit hunting and the beagle hounds they used to run the rabbits. They also loved to fish and cook.
Here is one of the funniest stories everyone use to tell on them. They were having a dance in De Ridder, La. on Saturday night and the twins had missed their ride to the dance. They were sitting in Singer, La. in front of Mr. Grants old store having a few swigs from a bottle, and they heard the train coming. It was going through Singer to De Ridder. A distance of some 16 miles.
They both said, there is our ride to the dance. A ride back tonight will be no problem. Because there was always some one from the Singer/Bearhead area at all the dances. So they jumped up and hi-tailed it across the road to the rail road tracts. They ran along beside the train and finally caught on to an open top box car. It was just turning good and dark at this time. Well they climbed up and over the top of the rail car and dropped down into the rail car.They said as their luck would have it, the bottom of the of the rail car was out, so they wound up running all the way to De Ridder!!! HHa

Have You Whipped Your Okra Latley?

When this story bubbled up from the depths of my mind. At first, I said this has got to have been a joke. But I checked with my Grand Mother Estelle and sure enough, the old timers really did this and it worked then and it still works to this day.
My G Grand Mother ,{ Maw}, was known for doing this. She passed the info on to all who would listen. I'm just guessing that it is an old wives tale.
Every once in a while, when a person would plant their garden. One of the things almost everyone planted,was okra. Sometimes the Okra would make a beautiful plant, but never would bloom or put on okra.
Maw told every one who had this problem at one time or another. The way to make the Okra put on blooms and produce, was this. Maw would go and cut her a switch, and she walk through through the okra patch and just whip the hell out of that okra.
When she got through whipping the okra it would look like a shredder had went threw that patch of okra. She would whip that okra like nothing you ever seen. But low and behold, sure enough,the okra would put on blooms and produce like crazy. Sounds odd as anything, but it does work. Try it and see.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Old C.V. Logging Camp Fight

The three men in the photos to the left were in this fight. Top L. is Austin Ashworth, 2nd man is Josh Perkins and the third is Owen Ashworth.
There has been many accounts written about this all out fight and killings. In most accounts of this story, there were numerous false statements stated as the truth about what happen.
The first report of this fight was written in a paper of that day and time. The name of the newspaper was the The Galveston Dailey News, dated Aug. 6 1891. Two of the most read accounts of this fight between the Redbones and the Whites in Beauregard Parish, was written at first by Mr. W.T. Block. A very well noted historian of the Southwest Louisiana and the Southeast Texas area. Then by Don Marler. He is an author on the subject of Redbones. He has been researching and studying them for years. Being first captured by their mysteriousness as a child.
Mr Block accounts of this fight came mostly from old written articles from different newspapers that reported small accounts of just what happen for this fight to take place.
Don Marler was able to find a written article in a Lake Charles paper called {The Lake Charles Post} from that day and time with the story. The fight took place in August 5, 1891.
Both accounts of the above authors were riddle with false statements, which was no fault of theirs. They were merely reporting what they had found in doing research on this fight.
In today's world with the ease of researching with a home PC. I and others in my family did uncover other facts from that fight. Added along with family history and tales we have been able to get a better account of just what happen that day.
I wish to add here, as I did in writing this story for the Dequincy News back in Dec. 13th 2006. That with the telling of old stories and history. What you hear and the facts you get on these old tales depend on who is telling the story. It is common knowledge that humans will add and pad a story, certain ways to make it fall in line with just what they believe happen.
First, the fight was first called a Calcasieu Parish Tragedy, Next came "The Bearhead Massacre". I believe the title "The Bearhead Massacre" was added to help increase the sale of books. The name for this fight has always been call the old C.V.Logging Camp Fight. I am sure the reason for this name is because it happen in the very logging camp known by those letters, C.V.
The first fact is this. The fight did not take place in the community known then and now as Bearhead. This fight took place in a small community named Smokey Cove. Some six miles from Bearhead.
The fight did happen in the old C.V. logging camp located on Locke-Moore Lumber Co. land. It merely started this way.
There was a foreman named Hooker Morris, he asked one of his crew hands, just where the hell were those Dam Redbones? Their job was to drive the oxen to skid the logs out of the woods. For they had not shown up to work that day. Mr. Morris was either new to the area or just did not realize that you never spoke about these people that way or refered to them as REDBONES. The REDBONES hated that name and would defend themselves at all cost to avenge being called that. This is what got the anger brewing in the REDBONESthat day.
Word got back to the group of men {The Redbones} that Hooker Morris had made that comment and he had refered to them as REDBONES.
This led to the men gathering up a group lead by Austin Ashworth. They went to Hooker Morris house and call him out. That told him to come out for an ass whipping and to leave the country and never return. Of course he refused. He was then informed by Austin Ashworth, that they would lay in wait for his ass. They then rode off.
The next day, a Sunday morning. Hooker Morris and seven others went to Dupree LaComb's saloon to get whiskey. As they arrived at the saloon, they came upon about ten of the REDBONES. At that time Jesse Dyson {He Was With The REDBONES} emerged from the saloon and made a statement and reached for his gun and was shot by Jesse Ward, he had sided with the whites in this argument. He died some hours later.
It was at this point when all the shooting and killing took place.
This part of the story is from my family history that has been passed down through the generations about the fight. My two GG Grandfathers were in this fight. They were Owen Ashworth, brother to Austin Ashworth. My other GG Grandfather in this fight was Josh Perkins. He lived right near the saloon.
The first stories had Owen Ashworth and a old man named Seth being killed in this fight. That is not correct. Owen and his brother Austin survived the fight and died years later. Proof of that is that Austin died many years later and was buried at Goodhope Cemetery near Singer, La. My GG Grand Father Amos Owen Ashworth also lived a few year longer. He died abt. 1897 or 1898. He died at Angola State Prison here in Louisiana and is also buried their. That also was the same thing that happen to Josh Perkins. He lived until 1933 and is buried at Goodhope cemetery.
The family story of Josh was that he was sitting on his front porch watching what was about to take place. When the shooting started it is told in our family history that he had his pipe shot out of his mouth and others say he had on a western neck tie. The ones that look like tied shoe strings. Some say it was this that was shot off his neck.
He told everyone that he stayed and fought until he ran out of bullets. They found one man dead under Josh's front porch. He was credited with killing four more of the others.
Story has it that when he ran out of bullets he took off running with the other men hot on his heels. The only way he got away from them is that when he got to Beckwith creek, he jumped it from one side to the other. The stream itself is small. It does have high banks and is today about 15 to 20 feet at places across it. So he must have been one hell of a broad jumper.
This is just a brief story of what has been passed down through the generations in our family about this fight. There are many other names from both sides in the fight that was in this fight. Some were killed and lots of others were just wounded.
I have never been able to find or speak with any of the ancestors of those other folks, so I won't go into detail about what the papers printed about their part in this fight.
In another newspaper of that day out of Lafayette, La. They gave the following information on the aftermath of the killings. In the Lafayette Advertiser dated 8/19/1891. A grand jury in Lake Charles, La, had returned true bills of indictment for murder against 10 people in the fight. they were Josh Perkins, Dempsey Dial, Austin Ashworth, Louis Dupree, G. Hooker Morris, Rufus Mouton, Olly Gleason, Jesse Hilton, Wm. Yellott and James Baggett.
No one knows just what happen to these men about being charged in these killings. The reason for that is that the Courthouse in Lake Charles burnt to the ground around the year of 1912 and most all records kept in the courthouse were lost forever. The records of any trial or the dismissing of charges being in those records.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Twins & The World Vamous Violin Player

This story is of two of the funniest people I ever knew in my life. Talk about practical jokers. These two were the best. Their names wee Collis and Collin Clark. Everyone who knew them, just called the {The Twins}. They were identical twins until the day they died. They were very hard to tell apart.
I tell everyone they were my boyhood hero's. They lived life to the fullest and loved ever minute of it.
Back in the day as the older people would say, They had traveling music shows. That made there way through the south putting on shows where ever they were able to.
These shows included such folks as Ernest Tubbs, Kitty Wells and other who were just getting into the music business. {I am not saying those two ever put on a show in Singer} this is just an example of the type of entertainers who wasn't famous at all, at that day and time and who would be putting these shows on.
When a group stopped and put a show on in Singer, the show was usually held at the Singer High School auditorium. A week or so before the show, There would be fliers posted through the communities advertising who would be in the show, cost of admission, time, dates and such information as that. The shows would feature mostly Country and Gospel music. Most of the artist were just starting out and would play anywhere they could to get noticed. The cost of the show would be anywhere between twenty-five cents to seventy-five cents. The next show was set for the next Saturday night at the school. The main attraction on this show, "Was a man, whose name no one remembers", who was suppose to be a world famous Violin Player. Boy, when the Twins heard of this, they were excited. They had never seen or heard of anyone who was "World Famous" anything. Saturday, the night of the show finally arrived and they were all set to go to the show. So, off they went. The show went on as planned.
The next morning, when everyone was up and having there coffee. Some one asked the Twins how the show went and did the World Famous Violin player live up to his billing ? They replied the show went well, except for the World Famous Violin player. Everyone asked them, what happen to his part of the show. They asked did he even show up ? The said Oh Yes, he showed up, but all that fool did was play a "FIDDLE" all night long. He never did play a dam violin. HHHHAAAA

The Naming of Singer, Louisiana

I am sure there are lots of stories about how Singer, La. and other local towns and communities got their names.
This one is what I was told by my father and G Grandmother about the naming of Singer.
Most folks know that the railroad had a very tremendous part in most towns around here being started. A few towns and communities are still here to this day. Then others never materialize.
They say one day when the train was passing through what is now Singer, La today, it was pulling a rail car full of Singer Sewing Machines. One of these crates fell off the train and busted into may pieces. The name Singer was printed on the outside of the wooden boxes, this was the only piece of the crate that wasn't broken into many pieces. As legend has it, someone pick that piece up and nailed it to a tree and it's been called Singer ever since.

A Beautiful Sound

This story here is my favorite one of all and it is the truth. I experienced this myself and it was so Beautiful.
First a little background about this subject so you might be able to picture this yourself. One thing about my ancestors,is that many of them where God Fearing People. When I say they went to church, they went to church period. Ever time those doors were open they were there. Sunday school, Church Sunday night Wednesday Night, Saturday Night, Weddings, Funerals, Cook Outs, and Revivals. They were there.
There were two members of my family that were totally dedicated to the Lord. They were my Great Uncle Lexie {Hobo} Ashworth and his son Homer Ashworth. Both were Pentecostal preachers. Lexie was the son of Amos Owen Ashworth and Mary Heard Ashworth.
When these two prayed, they prayed prayed. It wasn't a one or two minute prayer. It ran into hours and hours. Sometimes as long as three and four hours. This story is about one of those times. This story is about Homer Ashworth.
He lived just up the road from my G Grand Mother Lonie {Maw} Ashworth. She was Homers Aunt. As a kid I spent a lot of time with her. One cool fall evening she and I were sitting out on the front Gallery ( Front Porch)talking and passing time. There was a lull in the conversation and it was so peaceful. All of a sudden I heard a sound coming from the west side of the house. It started out low and as time wore on, it began to get louder and stronger. By that time I knew it was a persons voice I was hearing. I just could not figure out just who it was and what exactly what it was they were saying. I ask Maw, What is that noise? She said be quite son, that is Homer. I asked her what was he doing? She said, He has found him a stump or a fallen tree and is using it for an Alter. He is Praying and talking to the Lord. That was the very first time I had ever heard a person praying that way.
He was in that swamp for a good three hours. When he was through he walked on down to Maws and sat and visited with her and I. When he got there, he was happy. Grinning from ear to ear. I had never seen one person so happy.
I personally believed that if you offered him the world and everything in it, he would have turned it down, because it wouldn't have made him any happier. For him, having the Lord, he knew beyond a doubt, he needed nothing else. He had it all.
I just can not, to this day explain, just what sort of a feeling that was going through me at that time listening to Homer. But I can tell you, there is no other feeling like it in this world. Just sitting there listening to a man Praying and talking to his God. I hope everyone will one day be able to experience, the very same feeling and experience that I had that day.
That is why to this day I say "That is the most beautiful thing I have ever heard in My Life".

Monday, October 22, 2007

Granny Bet

My GG Grandmother was Elizabeth Manerva Perkins. Her father was Stephen Perkins and her mother was Penelope Windham. She and my GG Grandfather Jousha {Josh} Perkins were married about 1885. She had one child before this marriage and Josh had five children by his first wife. Together Granny Bet and Josh had eight kids. Counting all the others, there were 14 kids between both of them.
Granny Bet was born on 3/17/1860 and died 8/6/1948. In those days, that was considered a very long life. after Grand Paw Josh died in 1933, Granny Bet came down sick with a case of the flu or something. It must have made her feel under the weather as they said in those days. Some of her kids finally put their foot down and insisted she go to a doctor.
She was totally against this. She had never seen a doctor in her life. She had given birth to all of her children at home. With no problems. It was just a fact of life, that in those days, most sickness was taken care at home. Mostly from hand me down old home remedies. Some worked well, some did not. Others just made you wish you were dead. HHaa
Returning back to Granny Bet, they loaded her up and off to the doctor they went. I can just imagine this was a very odd experience for her. Having never seen a doctor before, I am sure at first she kept him at arms length, until things got comfortable between the two.
The doctor was amazed that she was in such good health. After have given birth to all those kids at home. The living conditions they had to endure were very harsh also in those days. Along with all the back breaking work which everyone endured. From the youngsters to the oldest. From the time you could walk, you had some type of chore to do daily. No exceptions.
At this point the doctor was asking Granny Bet all about her life, the hardships, the different sickness she had encountered through out her life, just the standard medical questions of that day and time. He was having some what of a time communicating with Granny Bet. For over the years she had grown real hard of hearing. He had started asking her, when she was sick during her life, had she ever been bedridden. She did not quite hear or understand what he had asked her and she asked him to speak louder. He attempted to ask the question in a louder voice. He said, I just wanted to know if you have ever been bedridden???? Granny Bet thought for just a moment or two. She looked up at him and with a serious look on her face, she said, why yes I have, plenty of times. She then smiled a sly smile and looked at the doctor again and told him this. Doc, to tell you the truth, even two or three times in a buggy. HHHaaa
Everyone in the family that knew her swears this is a true story.
In telling these old stories of these folks. There is one thing that is confirmed time and again for me about a wish I have had all my life. That wish being, that I would have been able to just meet and sit and talk with these people of mine for just a week. Just imagine the history and details of the different stories and tales we have heard that has been told over and over. We could have learned the truth to. I would be willing to bet, that the truth wouldn't be far from the way we know the stories today.

Maw {Aunt Lone}

The greatest thing I hope to accomplish with this blog, is not only being able to tell you of my ancestors and their stories, but also in doing so, With photos you will be able to see just who I m speaking of and what they looked liked. It makes all the difference in the world as far as getting to know someone you never met.
The lady in the photo is my Great Grandmother. Here name was Lonie Perkins Ashworth. She was born 6/8/1891 died 11/23/1974. She was the daughter of Jousha {Josh} Perkins and Elizabeth Manerva Perkins. Elizabeth was know to everyone as Granny Bet. Lonie was known to everyone as Aunt Lone. To all her Grand kids and Great Grand kids, she was merely Maw Maw to us.
I was so blessed by God and honored beyond belief to have known her for the first sixteen years of my life. There is of course the love I have for my mother. The love for my wife. Along with my sisters, Grand parents and all other family members. There are all different levels of love with them. But with Maw, the level of love there has never been match again in my life by anyone.
I would be sitting here for days, typing and describing just what I was taught by this lady. So I will be talking about Maw a lot through the days and months to come. Just in writing these few words about her it has brought smiles and out right laughter along with tears of joy. Tears, that I thought as a grown man I never would shed. Sort of took me by surprise, but in thinking, it just shows me that even though she has been gone for the last thirty three years, she still has and commands such a hold on my spirit and my life.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Still Correcting Lies

While I have been looking forward to my very first post here at my new site. It is rather sad I am still having to correct and post my proof to a number of lies that is being assembled and posted daily about my cousin and I concerning the history of our people. Our people have been labeled "Redbones, The Mysterious People of Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas". More on their history and endeavors of trying to live an isolated life later.
This last weekend, Oct. 18, 19, 20Th. Another organization by the name of the Redbone Hertiage Foundation held a research conference at the library on Pujo st. in Lake Charles. While they do have elected officer and other elected members . Most of the lies and misinformation from this group is put out by Stacy Webb, President, Gary J. Gabehart and Alvie Walts.
To list just what unstable messages, taken out of context comments, half truths and misleading suggestions they have written, posted, adding to the list rumors started with no proof or foundation of any support for them, in just the last five months would take hours if not a couple of days of any ones precious time to prove them wrong with mountains of evidence to support ever dam lie or vicious rumor they have started.
Here are just a couple of the statements they have made lately to show you how they work. Here is one by Gabe Gabehart about the conference that took place the last three days.
Gabe makes it sound as though there were serious enough threats made by someone, that prompted the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff dept. to post armed guards.
The truth is below, in a letter that I received from Mrs Ursula Jones, Associate Director, Calcasieu Parish Library about the matter of security at all libraries in Calcasieu Parish. She states below.

Thank you for bringing the information concerning the Redbone Heritage Foundation Conference to our attention.
On the matter of the "law enforcement personnel" on hand - The Library does employ Sheriff deputies to provide security for the public and the staff; however they are hired by the Library, and they are governed by the instructions the Library gives them.
Ursula Jones, Associate Director Human Resources and Adult Programming Calcasieu Parish Public Library 301 W Claude Street.

Gabe also had put the following out about pre paying or paying dues or fees at the door. Along with the statement that seating was limited.
Once again, the truth from Mrs Jones is as follows.

We have contacted the group that booked the room and reviewed our meeting room policies with them. They have agreed to follow the Library's meeting room policies removing all publicity information related to registration fees, selling of books, etc.
In addition, any meeting held in one of our library meeting rooms is considered "open to the public". That means anyone has a right to attend the meeting.

My friends this is just a start. There will be many, many more lies and half truths that will be exposed here and proven here. What really makes this so fun and funny as hell exposing these folks. Is this, most of the proof I use to do this, comes from there own lying lips.Stay tuned.
Along with that I also will be adding old family stories and photos along with just what life was like growing up on Bearhead and being raised by my ancestors , The Redbones of Southwest Louisiana.
Note To Stacy & Gabe. Stacy, nice wig, but it didn't work!! HHaaa Gabe, tell Peggy hello and I am so sorry for missing her birthday Sept 17Th this yr. Just busy I guess.