The Memoirs of Martha Frances Caudill Brown
pages 7 - 19
Just a few feet above the yard where the rock wall stood the old log smoke house where the meat was kept after the hogs was butchered. I will describe the farm starting at the east side of the house. There was some large cherry trees and a very large oak and one of the old eastern cedars by the road that led to the old spring house which was a small house built of large logs built over the spring. Further out was a large nearly flat rock. Must have been an acre of the bare rock where my father and grandfather would thrash (pg 8) out the grains with flails. They would take small hickory wood poles and pound it about two feet from one end so it would easily bend. Having the other end about four or five feet long. They would lay eighteen skines (skeins or bundles) down with the head ends laping over and they would stand facing each other beating out the grain. After the grain was threshed then came the part when I had to help and I very much disliked it, especially if the grain was rye. One would take a large siene (or sieve) and fill it with the grain and chaff holding it high shaking (pg 9) the grain thru. While two others would take a bed sheet and with it fan or blow chaff out of the grain.
Just a little further north was a road that could be gone over easily with wagon and team that led to the field we called the two mile gap field. This was a place where the mountain was lower than on either side. The view from this field was wonderful. We could see the Old Stone Mountain, almost a solid rock and was said to be five miles around it. One side was high and steep with a few shrubry (?) trees in patches and the (pg 10) other side was so anyone could easily go up on it. The Dunkard people would go up on that mountain each Easter and take the lamb and have the feast of the Passover. There was another mountain in plain view of this same field that was called the Pilot Mountain. The wonderful thing about it was that on the top there was a cliff that was three hundred feet high and almost round. And someone had drove iron spikes in the crevices of the rocks and climbed up there and built a cabin and planted a peach orchard. (pg 11) My grandfather said there was about, as well as I remember, two or three acres of ground on top and was nice and level. From our field the cliff looked to be perpendicular.
Almost north from the old farm house was a large chestnut orchard which was the joy of we children when the chestnuts began to fall. And back of the chestnut trees was the field we called the Boiling Spring field. There was a spring in that field where the water boiled up like boiling water and the bottom of the spring was white gravel rock. The water (pg 12) was clear as crystal and seemed almost ice cold. This field was quite a distance from the house and we most of the time took our lunch after the crop was planted. And my father only used one horse to plow between the rows of corn.
I well remember one day we was working in this field and there was coming an electric storm. There was a lot of dead trees standing that had been deadened by choking a ring around them. It was very dangerous to be in the field as the lightning quite often would strike a tree and tear it up from top almost (pg 13) to the ground and limbs and trees falling from the severe wind which usually came with the electric storm. This time mentioned mother sent me to the spring to get the things we had carried our lunch in. I was running as fast as I could but tried to eat a piece of apple pie as I ran and got choked so bad I do not remember what else happened at that time. Many times we would be caught in those quick rain storms and hurry as fast as we could . We would get as wet as could be. And it all passed and the sun shining some times before we would get to the house.
On the west side of the house (pg 14) stood the old grainery and a big wood shed made by the roof extending several feet from the grainery. My father would haul wagon loads of black walnuts and put them up on the floor overhead of where the grain was kept. They would get dry and we did enjoy them in the winter time. On west from the house was a trail that led gradually up to the top of the hill where the family graveyard was. My grandmother (Jane Susan Wood Caudill ), my aunt Frances Gambill and my little sister Lydia which was only seventeen months (?) were buried there. Just below the graveyard was a plum orchard (pg 15) and near it was a grove of pine trees. We called it the pine thicket. The trees was so close together in many places a cow could not walk thru the grove. They were not over eighteen inches in diameter and smaller were most all straight and several feet to the first limbs. And the long needles had fallen until it was more soft to walk on than a soft rug. There was but very little undergrowth and it was a beautiful place to play.
On further south was a trail winding its way down a steep ridge down the mountain side over which I went to school. On that side of the mountain it was about one mile from the (pg 16) foot of the mountain to the house and about one mile from the foot of the mountain to the school house. I would have to leave school and start home if it began to snow. The school house was a framed building, just the siding, not even siding on the inside. The floor was about six feet from the ground at the lower side of the house. A small wood stove near the center of the house did not warm up the house only a few feet from the stove. The county road run just below the school house and a grove of pines most all around the school (pg 17) house except on the side next to the road. It was called Piney Grove school house. I went to school part of three terms. There was only three months of school each year-Dec., Jan., and Feb.. The work on the farm was usually all done for the season, the crops harvested. Then the children was sent to school. As a general thing those three months was so cold. The weather was so rough not much work was done. Only cutting and hauling wood for the two big fireplaces, and the chores. I am sure my school days did not exceed three months.
My clothes were all home made (pg 18) and hand made. In the spring of the year after the cold weather was passed, the sheep was sheared. The wool washed, picked and after it was properly prepared it was sent to the carding machine where it was made into wool rolls thirty six inches long. After all outside work was done, my two sisters would put the two big spinning wheels in the kitchen in front of the fireplace and spin the wool rolls into yarn. Then we would go to the Black Walnut trees and dig the roots and pound the bark off them. And it was cut in short pieces and boiled in (pg 19) the big fourteen gallon pot in several gallons of water. In that water or ooze, the yarn was put in and died. Mother would die some real dark, some medium and some light brown. She would get the cotton (?) for the warp (?) which was also colored with maple bark. When everything was in readiness, mother would put the big weaver loom in front of the fireplace in the big house described and the clothes was woven for the whole family. Winter clothes. The cloth for my father and grandfathers clothes was wove first. Then some yarn was died red, some blue, and different colors for the dresses, etc.. The striped-- (end of pg 19)