The Richmond Register

May 23, 2013

Disease, thieves were all part of life on the farm

By Carol Prewitt
Register Columnist

NEWBY — Wm. Hensley and Nora Whitaker moved to Maple Grove Road when their daughter, Zona, was 5 years old.  They raised hogs, turkeys, chickens and tobacco on their farm.

Zona grew up and married Wm. Mack Ross. And they were blessed with two daughters, Edith Mae and Etta Marie.

In 1918, a flu epidemic came across the land, and Mack took sick and died leaving, Zona with the two young girls to raise. They moved from Paige Hill to Maple Grove to live with Hensley and Nora, her parents.

Hensley survived the flu, but his lungs had been weakened. He contracted tuberculosis and died four years later, leaving four females alone

Farm life continued and Nora, like many farm wives, always fed the farm hands the noon meal. To call the hands in, she would stand in the yard and blow a fox horn (really a conch shell). There was always a wash basin and clean towels on a shelf on the kitchen porch for them to wash up. Hats were always removed in respect and a good meal was enjoyed.

Sometimes at night, Nora would hear a commotion outdoors and know that someone was in the chicken coop stealing the fattening hens or climbing the trees to get the chickens that roosted there. Sometimes they would be after a bit of coal or the corn in the garden.

She was known to come out the kitchen door with a lantern in one hand and a shotgun in the other. She could throw the shotgun up to her shoulder and fire with one hand. 

Once, the thieves got mad at her for scaring them and cussed at her, which only made her more determined. She went back in the house and got a 32/20 rifle and shot clean through the smoke house where they were hiding. That night they left with only feathers. The chicken stealing stopped after that.

Little Buck (son of Edith Mae) thought it was good fun to make it look like the thieves had been there. He once got into the coal pile and made a well so it looked like coal had been taken. The he dropped a few chunks on the ground out to the barn where he knew his grandma Zona would see them as she went to milk the cow. Another time he climbed into the corn crib and just stirred it about so they would think someone had got in and took some.

Great grandma was a little partial to him, but I bet he wasn’t her little darlin’ at those times.

Congratulations go out this week to Tim and Jessica (Rose) Renfro on their marriage. They traveled to Tennessee with both families and had the ceremony in a beautiful cabin setting. Jess was beautiful in her full-length gown. Proud parents are Jerry and Brenda Rose and Beverly Renfro.

Contact me at carolsnewbynews or 625-0355

Happy Birthday to my son, Chris, who turned 42 on May 20.