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

Saturday, October 27, 2007

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

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