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

Monday, November 12, 2007

Grand Paw Josh Perkins

Josh was born Oct 6 th 1852, if I am correct. He was a son of Isaac and Francis "Fanny" Goins Perkins. He is my G Grand Mother {Maw} Father.
He was first married to a lady named Hannah Perkins. They lived around Fields, La. They had three sons and two daughters. By doing genealogy we have just recently found out that Hannah did not die. In, I think 1910, she was listed as living with one of their children around the Fields area.
He next married Elizabeth Minerva Perkins. Everyone knew her as "Granny Bet". I think they had 9 or 10 kids together, with Granny Bet having one daughter named Della before she married Josh.
Grand Paw Josh was a dark complected man with straight black hair. Very dark complected, and rather tall far a man in those days. As far as anyone knows the only work he ever did was working cattle drives. Two things everyone knew beyond a doubt about Josh, is that he loved to play domino's and he never went any where and I mean any where, with out his hat and his rifle. They say most folks called him an outlaw. The reason for that is this, back then, folks were so poor they almost never had any money, but Josh always had a little money on him. People claimed that only folks with money were outlaws. Money was so hard to come by, if you had any, you were automatically a outlaw. Being, outlaws were the only ones with money of any amount.
Granny Bet was a very fair complected woman. With blond hair and blue eyes. She did as every woman did in those days, she stayed home and raised the kids and run the house. An interesting note about their kids. One half of them took back after Josh, dark complected with coal black hair. The other half were light complected with fair hair and blue eyes. Josh and Elizabeth ancestors have been traced back to North and South Carolina and even into Tennessee. The same trait with Josh and Granny Bet's kids being half dark complected and half light complected, ran in a lot of the families of this area in those days.
Josh once lived on Bearhead in three different places we know of. He had a little shotgun house as they say. He live directly across from where his daughter Lonie {Maw} lived. Between her house and the Mayhaw Island as everyone knew back then and still today, that Mayhaw island is still there.
When he was on a cattle drive and the drive came close to home. They would stop at his house and bed down for the night. He would be riding at the head of the cattle drive. They say when they stopped and bedded down at his house on Bearhead, the end of the herd of cows stretched all the way to where the present day Old Fields store sits today. That had to be one massive herd of cows. Because the distance from Josh's house and the Fields story is a distance of about sixteen miles, as the crow flies, as the old saying was in those days.
There are countless stories that have been told about Josh. Which as most stories goes, they were more likely half truth and half fiction. The one thing everyone agreed on was this. He was a person you never wanted to cross. My Grand mother who was fifteen when he died, has told me many times he was a very good person. But at the same time, you never wanted to get on his bad side. Other of his Grand sons have told me of the stories that were told about the number of people he had gotten into fights with that he and others had killed. In a lot of these tells, a lot of these killings took place on these cattle drives he worked on. He had told one grand son who had asked him what they did with the bodies of the ones they killed, so no one could find it. He told him if the killing took place near a river, once the killing had happen. They would cut the man open in front from the top of the chest to his waist and fill the body with sand. Then the body would be thrown into the river. The body would then sink from the weight of the sand and the river did the rest by covering up the body with sand that was washed along in the flowing river water. He said that they had thrown a lot of the ones they killed into the Sabine River. This river is the border between Louisiana and Texas. It flowed right next to what was called Redbone country back then. This is the area where my ancestors has lived for some 200 years now.

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