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

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Zaney, Janie & Archie Ashworth

In a recent conversation with a friend, she had trouble recalling a couple of names of folks that use to hitch hike to and from Dequincy & De Ridder, Louisiana. One was a younger man and the other person was on up in years. She knew the younger man's name, the older man she had trouble with his name.
I was able to tell her that it was Archie Ashworth. That got me to thinking about him, his brother and his brothers wife. Archie had a nick name. It was Tosh. His brother was Zaney and his wife was Janie Perkins Ashworth. They all three lived in a small wooden house out in the woods. Everything else is told in the following story
The only other person that I know of that would fit that description is Archie Ashworth. Growing up my father and everyone else would call him {Tosh Archie}. In early fall and early spring, from where we lived on Bearhead you could see the smoke from the woods burning across Bearhead where Archie lived . My father would come in the house and tell my mother, Tosh Archie is at it again the woods are on fire.
If there was any one thing Archie was good at, that was setting the woods on fire. HHAAA That was also something most folks did in those days along with a {Dipping Vats} to help control the bugs and ticks on the cattle and other animals. This action was also done, to set the process in motion for the sweet green grass to come out faster. The cattle were allowed to roam free in the woods back then. By allowing this grass to grow faster and better, it cut down on the feed bill greatly.
You are so right about him hitching a ride to and from town. As you stated most trips were made for food and tobacco. My mother & father picked him up many many times. If he was headed back home, we took him all the way to his house across Bearhead. Only problem you would have by picking him up, it was hard to get him out of the car. He loved to talk and talk and talk.
While driving to town I guess I had eagle eyes at that age, I could spot him before anyone else in the car. I could tell who it was hitching a ride. He always wore a gray hat. Not a 10 gallon one or a straw hat. The top was round, so was the bib of the hat and it went around the hat completely. He also wore what I call a horseman's coat. I know there is a correct name for it, I just can not think of it at this time. His was brown and went down his ankles. The back was split up to about mid thigh.
One of the funniest thing I seen and I wish to this day someone would have gotten a photo of it. Archie raised chickens. You knew when he had a good hatching of chicks. When they were old enough to sell, Archie would be out there on the road hitching a ride. He would be standing there with about 6 to 8 chicken in each hand. He would tie the chickens by there feet, he then picked up and carried the chickens by their feet. That was a sight to see, him out there dressed like that and with 12 to 16 chickens hanging from his hands upside down and sticking his thumb out to catch a ride to Dequincy. Once there he made his way to the sale barn to sell his chickens. After he collected from his sale, he made it back to town to buy his monthly staples. Then it was back out on the road with supplies in a box, hitching a ride back to Bearhead.
I know this is getting long, but before i go, i want to say a couple of other things about Archie.
He never married. He lived his whole live with his brother Zaney along with Zaney's wife Jaine. The lived on the west side of Bearhead. They never had lights or running water. Just a Draw Well. They did have electricity near the end of their lives. They were the very last ones living on that side of Bearhead, until a man bought land down the road from their house. Beauregard Electric would not run lights to where he wanted to build his home. So this man went to see Archie, Zaney and Janie. He made a deal with them that if they would also take electricity, he would not only pay their light bill every month until they died, he would also have their house wired for lights. That took him up on that offer.
Once they had the electricity run to their house, some one gave them a TV. About the only time that TV was turned on, was on Saturdays. All three just loved watching wrestling. I am sure on Saturdays, if you had walked up to there hose. It would sound like a three man tag team match was going on in that house. One Saturday, as usual at the given time, they were at it again. Telling the wrestlers just what hold to put on another bad guy. Right slap dab in the middle of a match, poor Zaney was so worked up, he had a massive heart attack and died right there on the spot.
One last thing about Archie & his brother Zaney. Their father was Evans Ashworth. He is the man I wrote about on this blog site {My Redbone Roots}. He was the man that would race the horses on foot and beat them in a race.

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