Written by Daisy Belle Harmon Thompson about 1980

Born August 9, 1900, in Waleska, Georgia.

Granddaughter of Joshua Harmon and Lemuel Jay Cook.


            Early in the 1800s four boys and one girl living in South Carolina were making plans to take a drastic step forward in an effort to establish and prove to themselves and others that they were young people with a vision - as well as a desire to succeed on their own.  Their names were Joshua, Henry, George, and Frank Harmon, and their sister Harriette - their lovely red-headed sister - making five in number.  Their parents had come to America from an English colony, probably Ireland, and settled in South Carolina.  They were among countless others who had left the mother country in search of freedom to worship God without the interference of government oppression.


            Grandpa Joshua Harmon was the oldest of the five, so he was chosen to be their spokesman and leader.  Sister Harriette, being the only female, naturally had the all important task of cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing, and mending, along with countless other duties that befell the poor female.


            Preparations were made.  They had to get a covered wagon, horses to pull the wagon, equipment, and provisions. They had to have plenty of food for travelling, as well as enough to last until they were settled.  Now, with everything ready for action, they compiled their few earthly possessions: packing first things first as they would be needed.  The wagon inside looked like a stuffed toad.  Everything was ready.  Now it was time to say goodbye to friends and loved ones.  This did not come as easy as they thought, but, determined to carry on, Grandpa Joshua climbed into the wagon with a cheery call, “All aboard.  We’re on our way.  Goodbye, South Carolina.  Hello, Georgia.  We are headed your way.”  Aunt Harriette occupied the seat with her brother Joshua.  Being the sweet, lovable person she was, she chirped up with a word of assurance, “We’re all for one and one for all.”


            As the heavily loaded wagon moved forward under the power of two beautiful horses, a gift from the parents of these youngsters, it was evident that the parents must have had confidence in these, their sons and daughter, that God would watch over them and be their constant guide - just as He had already cared for them, allowing good fortune from the time they had reached America.


            After several days on the road they felt sure Georgia could not be very much farther away.  Their expectancy and the rush to see just what awaited them over the next hill and around the curve kept them going.  Their dreams were becoming a reality.  Then they saw “Georgia Welcomes You” in large letters painted on a signpost just a few feet away.  It called for jubilant yells that perhaps disturbed the animals and birds.  After a few more days travel, these eager youngsters found themselves in the beautiful Salacoa Valley in Northwest Georgia.


            Carefully observing everything, they took plenty of time to make sure each one expressed likes and dislikes before fully deciding to stay there.  Finally, a vote was taken, and the likes won.  This area they had decided to call home was, and still is, a beautiful valley nestled within the last chain of the Blue Ridge Mountains.   It seemed as if the hills


were trying to form a cradle of protection for the valley.  There was Sharp Top Mountain on the north, Bird Mountain on the south, and Pine Log Mountain on the west.  The soil in this valley was very fertile, which assured good crops.  Everything seemed to be working to the advantage of the newcomers.  They found friendly neighbors ready to assist in getting them set up and ready for farming.


            Time seemed to fly by, weeks into months and months into years.  To Grandpa Joshua’s surprise, as well as Aunt Harriett’s and Uncle Henry’s, the other two brothers, Uncle Frank and Uncle George, announced one day that they had decided to see what Texas looked like.  Nothing had happened to cause the break in the group.  All had been peace and harmony.  The twosome just wanted to see more of the country before settling down to the domestic life the other two brothers seemed headed for. The western frontier was to be their next stop.  There they hoped to find the welcome mat out.  So they took off for the State of Texas.


            At first, very little was heard from the two brothers.  Finally, they wrote back to Georgia telling how wonderful Texas was.  They exchanged a few letters after that, but evidently Uncle George and Uncle Frank must have gotten very busy and did not have time to write.


            In the meantime, Grandpa Joshua and Uncle Henry seemed to be running a race to see who would get married first.  This was very evident to their sister, Harriette, who was a close observer on the sideline.  She was watching to see who would bring his bride home first.  Uncle Henry was the first to go courting, and from the first it was plain to see that the beautiful and modest Fanny Hobgood was the one and only girl for him.  Aunt Harriette had the task of preparing a wedding dinner for brother Henry and his bride.  The two had a lot in common.  Uncle Henry never spoke out of turn or before thinking.  He and his bride were very compatible, and really made a handsome couple.  She, so dainty and beautiful, and her husband, not so handsome, but very likeable.


            At the same time, Grandpa Joshua was calling on Aunt Fanny’s sister, Betsy.  They had been courting even longer than Uncle Henry and Aunt Fanny.  Betsy was known as “Miss Spit Fire!”  This was due to her quick temper.  Her temper would show, but soon she was a meek as a lamb, all smiles and chattering again.  Grandpa Joshua had plenty of temper himself, and it was not so easy giving in to her whims.


            The little house with the side room was not big enough for another bride and groom, so Grandpa built one large room nearby for his new bride and himself.  Aunt Harriette had the pleasure of cooking a second bridal dinner along with her favorite cheese straw stack, which was a table decoration as well as a tasty delicacy.  Grandpa Joshua took great pride in himself that he had won the hand of the beautiful Betsy Hobgood.  She was small and had real black hair and eyes equally as black.  Her complexion was flawless, and she congratulated herself for being voted the prettiest girl in the Salacoa Valley community.  Along with the beauty honor, she had another title not quite so enthusiastically cherished, “Miss Spit Fire,” given to her by her family.  (Here is a confusing ditty: “Two brothers and two sisters married, making brothers brothers-in-law, and making sisters sisters-in-law.  Their children were closer than half brothers and sisters.”)


            The once newlyweds of the foursome were soon established in homes of their own - with babies coming that completed the union of these brothers with their wives.  The pitter-patter of little feet along with jabbering little voices made a house a home.  Among Grandpa Joshua’s children,  along about the fourth or fifth in number,  was the pet of the


family.  He was named George (my Pa).  He won the title, because he was kind and agreeable.  He never liked to fuss, but was more on the peacemaker side.  He was not too tall or too short, rather stocky built, and had light brown curly hair, a cute pug nose, and was too pretty to be a boy.  His disposition was dignified and polite.


            The farming was improving, with tobacco and cotton the leading crops - with corn coming in third.  They were confident of the future, and Georgia, in general, was progressing rapidly.  The southern farms in the state were level and easy to cultivate, but the Harmons preferred North Georgia.


            There was talk of war in the extreme Northern States.  The North brought Negroes from England to work in factories for a small salary, but they did not realize Negroes could not stand the cold weather.  Southern planters bought the Negroes.  They thrived in the South and were an asset to the farmers.  They liked the warmer climate as well as the Southern people.  On a lot of the plantations, a member of the white family would teach the Negroes how to read and write, or they would read the Bible to those who were interested.  A group would sit in a circle in the big kitchen and listen to the reading of the Bible usually by their “Missus,” the lady of the house.


            Let us pass by a few years, not that things were not happening, but because of time and space.  To be sure, the Harmons never bought any slaves.  They were having a joyful time working and watching the children grow - and probably looking forward to another baby any day.


Insert.  Excerpt from an article “Slaves in Salacoa” taken from the North Georgia Journal, Autumn 1998:

Small manufacturing and agricultural enterprises existed in Folsom through-out the 19th century.  The Mosteller and Pinson families had grist, lumber, carding, and ginning mills run by water power.  The economy of Salacoa and its envirnons, however, was ultimately built upon yeoman agriculture.  The land did not lend itself to plantation agriculture, but was ideal for the production of hogs, corn, and wheat.  Despite this fact, there were some slave-holders in the area.  There was only one businessman in the Salacoa vicinity, however, which could have been considered a member of the “planter class.”  This was Felix Denman who owned 28 slaves in 1840.  William Wyley, who held 14, was the second-largest slave-holder in the community that year.


            It was reported that the North was keeping check on the South as to the progress and success the blacks were bringing to the plantation owners.  It was plain to see that production was improving.  They began to send spies posing as just another real American singing the praises for prosperity and giving thanks to God, as was customary here in this beautiful country.


            Again we will skip a few years.  The Northeners continued to pass through.  As time went by, the blacks began to change.  It seemed they were not as content as usual.  Disturbance among the blacks themselves was causing trouble for the farmers.  Finally, some of the older blacks told the story of how the strangers passing through were talking to the younger blacks telling them to rebel, quit working so hard, pretend to be sick, and fuss among themselves - just anything to cause trouble.  The Northern States were getting desperate.  With the growth of the Southern cotton and tobacco crops, it was plain to see the South would soon be a threat to the North.  They could soon build factories and produce just as well as the North.  These things were not realized by Southern authorities who were too busy to see what was happening and too loyal to their neighbor states to be-


lieve they could be so devious as to want to undermine their Southern countrymen.  What they did not know was to become public knowledge later.


            Harrett Beecher Stowe, a spinster school teacher, came down from the North to Look Out Mountain and rented a shack.  She explained that she was planning to write a book and that she wanted complete isolation and privacy.  Also, it would be time consuming, and she did not know how long it would take to finish the book.  Little did the people of Georgia know the book she was writing would cause the war between the North and South.  As mentioned prior to this, snoopers had been coming and going for a long time throughout the South.  They had been secretly talking to the slaves, stirring up hate between the Negroes and the plantation owners.  These spies told untrue things.  One was that the slaves were beaten with bull whips and chains, salt rubbed into their bleeding flesh, and then forced to sit in the sun.  Many more stories equally as cruel were told in this book.  Harriet Beecher Stowe made many trips through the South, but she always played it safe so that she was not suspected of being a calumniator.  Constantly news from the South continued to reach the North, telling these false tales of how the slaves were forced to work in the fields from sunup to sundown.  The slaves had been giving trouble ever since the North had interfered, but the punishment had been lenient.  To my knowledge, no bull whips or chains were used.


            The book was written within a brief period of time.  It was printed, and in an unbelievably short time it was being sold in the North.  The South came on strong, replying in a very firm and meaningful statement that the South would not take the false accusations that were made in this book.  Harriett Beecher Stowe’s book, written within the boundaries of a state in the deep South, namely Georgia, continued to exploit the South.  The South demanded that the author retract her statements.  They stated that the author had exaggerated in many stories and that some were “homemade lies.”  “Do this or expect drastic steps, steps we do not want to take, but will, you can rest assured.  The decision rests in your hands.”


            The North ignored the Southern States’ demand for fair treatment.  Taking silence to mean a refusal to communicate, the Southern States decided to defend their honor.  Before leaving to fight the war, the men from the Salacoa Valley appointed ten honorable and outstanding men, who were exempt from Army duties, to patrol the area.  They were given the name of Home Guards, meaning they were to patrol a designated area of twenty-five miles in case families needed help.  It was very comforting to women and children to know they had men who were their best friends that cared and would do their best to help in any way possible.  The families had the assurance of a watchful group of reliable men who had pledged their lives to husbands who were saying goodbye, perhaps for the last time.


            For some time the Home Guards were loyal to the pledge they made, but as time passed they became selfish and failed to remember their duties.  Their check calls that were so regular at first became far between, and there was less interest in helping the mothers and children.  The men began to harass the families.  They would throw their weight around as if they were taking over, and the lonely, frightened families were afraid to see them coming.  The original plan was for them to visit in small groups and by doing this more visits per day could be accomplished.  Instead, they consolidated, and all visited together.  Soon they began robbing and taking anything they wanted, from horses to food and clothes.


              The sudden change in the once-trusted Home Guards was unbelievable for the


women and children to see.  They witnessed completely reversed tactics in the men who were so helpful and loyal for the first two or three years of the horrible war. Instead of giving assistance to the families, now their calls were occasional and not to inquire if their services were needed, but to get food or anything else they wanted.  They even took quilts from the children’s beds or corn from the crib for their horses.  Then if a good young horse or mule was spied in a stall near the crib, they took it also.  They would ride these animals so fast and long, that many times a horse would be found where these heartless men had ridden it until it had fallen to the ground from exhaustion - and then they had shot it.  They would ride on with one idea in mind - to find another horse or mule in some woman’s barn, leaving her without any way to plow the fields to grow corn and vegetables for, not only summer food, but for winter as well.  The women would try to store potatoes, both Irish and sweet, in hidden places, but in some homes these men were known to force someone, usually one of the children, to show where the potatoes were hidden.


            When the men from the Salacoa Valley thought of their families, they believed their loved ones were being cared for by the Home Guards.  These renegades had made faithful promises to patrol the twenty-five mile circle through the valley, but things had changed.  The women and children became afraid to hear these riders coming as fast as their horses could run.  It frightened the smaller children to have these vicious men come in yelling or singing some old song not decent for anyone to hear, especially youngsters.


            The community of Sharp Top had left two men within the designated radius to continue with their regular professions.  One was a miller who ground corn to make meal, and the other was a shoe cobbler who made and mended shoes for the community.  Both men were exempt from military duties.  The Home Guards, turned killers, murdered these two men by hanging them to a tree limb in a public place - and they were left hanging there.


            Grandpa Lemuel Cook took this as a warning that he could be next.  He had fallen from a tree and broken his back, and he could never stand erect after the fall.  Going back a few years, Grandpa Cook had built a new house for his family - his wife Rebecca and six children: Elijah, Joe, Emma, Marguerite, Nancy, and Sue.  The family was moving from Gilmer County to the Cherokee County community of Sharp Top.  He was topping trees before moving his family to their new home when he fell and broke his back.  He lay on a plank for three months while his back was healing, but he was never able to stand erect and, therefore, could not serve in the Army.  He decided to start walking toward Chattanooga, Tennessee, hoping to get protection doing something at the Northern headquarters.  He reached Chattanooga and was given a job in the Federalist Army.  Yes, this gave proof that he had cast his lot with the enemies of the South.  He was paid a small salary and was saving it for his family, hoping to come in contact with someone from his section of Georgia who would bring a small package to his family in the Sharp Top community.  He found a person who promised to deliver the package.  The man kept his promise and delivered the package but failed to keep it a secret.


            A member of the terrorist gang heard that sixty dollars had been delivered to the Cook family.  They wasted no time in paying Grandma Rebecca a visit.  It was wintertime and snow was on the ground.  These men rode up yelling and screaming like mad men.  After dismounting, they divided up, and some came inside the house while leaving others outside to see that no one left.  They continued to yell and curse.  One man told Grandma Rebecca they had come after something and were not leaving without it.  “It’s the sixty dollars your old man sent you and these coughing towheads.  We also want the Barlow knives he sent for these boys, so hand it over.”  Grandma Rebecca refused to give them the money.   Those outside yelled, “Pile all the bedding on the floor and put a torch to it, and


we’ll keep her and them barking bastards in there and let them burn up together.”  Two of the heartless killers had pushed Grandma back between two beds and were pressing a pistol barrel against her chest.  After putting the bedding in the floor, one man was standing with a torch, when she told him if he would untie her arms, she would give him the money.  He untied her, and she gave him thirty dollars.  All the men went to the fireplace where the big logs made a glow to count the money.  Finding it was just half there, they started raving again and relit the torch.  While they were counting the money at the fireside, Grandma Rebecca dropped the remaining thirty dollars to the floor and put her foot on it.  They came back yelling, “Thirty dollars is missing.  We want it all!”  Grandma recognized a voice coming from outside.  It was the voice of her cousin.  Above the shouts he was saying, “Have you men in there lost your nerve?  Use that torch or we are coming inside and do it for you.  We will get the money and keep Marguerite, Nancy, and Susie in there where they can dance their farewell dance as the flames swallow them up.”


            She gave the money to the man with the torch.  Grabbing the torch from his hand, she rushed to put it in the fire.  Turning, she saw her eldest son, Elijah, unconscious on the floor in the kitchen doorway.  One of the men had thrown a rope over the joist in the doorway and had lifted Elijah off the floor until he was unconscious.  But he never gave up his Barlow knife that his father had sent in the package!


            Grandma Rebecca was so alarmed, she almost lost control of herself.  She examined him as best she could, but he was so still and lifeless that she could not revive him.  He was scarcely breathing, and his neck was bleeding and swollen.  After getting the coughing smaller children quiet, she sat by her son’s bed not knowing what would be the result of the hanging.  Her fear was that he would never talk again.  She waited and prayed he would hold on to life and that the new day would soon dispel the darkness that had brought such a harrowing experience to the Cook home that nestled at the foot of Sharp Top Mountain.  It was cold outside, but just the new day would be a change.  Uncle Elijah was restless, and occasionally he would try to move.  His bruised throat was sore and painful, but he had to force himself to get better, because he was his Ma’s right-hand man.  At last she caught the first rays of light.  And that told her finally the gloomy night would be replaced by the beautiful sun rays that would brighten the day and quieten the sick children, as well as restore her strength.


            Elijah slowly recovered.  His voice was not impaired too much, but throughout it all, he held onto his Barlow knife.  Would you like to know where he hid his knife?  Behind the big back log in the fireplace.  After the robbers left, Uncle Joe, who knew where it was, took the fire tongs and fished the precious knife out of the ashes.


Note: Not only did Elijah get his voice back, but when he grew up he even became a preacher of the Gospel.  He was ordained to the ministry in 1890.


            Not until the morning was far spent did Uncle Joe reveal what had happened to their beloved dog, Ned.  One of the outsiders had ordered Uncle Joe to “hold that d____ varmit, or I will blow his head off.”  Joe caught Ned by the collar and stood astride his beloved big collie.  Ned was not trying to cause trouble, but the children crying and coughing disturbed the dog, and holding him did not do any good.  One of the rascals shot the beautiful dog from between Uncle Joe’s knees.  He did not tell the family what had happened that night.  He knew the smaller children would not sleep if they found out that their beloved dog was dead.  All the family had loved Ned.  He had helped dispel a lot of gloom that seemed to overshadow the Cook family home, as he ran and played for hours with the children.


            The war was continuing.  News reached the families back home that the South was fighting to win, but they needed new recruits.  The North had the advantage since the Northern section was more thickly populated.  Also it had many factories and numerous other industries.


            The terrorists paid the Rebecca Cook home another call.  This raid was for potatoes.  They were hidden away in dirt hills with brush camouflage cover, but these men got one of the children to take them to the hidden potato hill.  They were afraid to refuse to do just what these once-gentlemen, but now monsters, told them to do.  They left very few potatoes.  They took the remainder of the meat.  Grandma had churns of lard, as well as several churns of honey.  These men took an ax and crushed all the jars.  Then with the ax handle they stirred honey, lard, and dirt (back then smoke houses were not floored) together until neither could be separated.  It was a total loss, both honey and lard.  These traitors to their promise to look after the families in that community yelled out, “Your breakfast is waitin’ for you in the smoke house.  Happy eating.”


            As mentioned earlier, Grandpa Cook left for Chattanooga to join the Army of the Northern States.  That is why his family was treated so cruelly by the Home Guards, as well as former friends.  Actually, there were men from a number of families in their community who joined the Federal Army.  Homes were divided.  Some family members joined the Southern Army, while others joined the Northern Army.  Grandpa Cook was put on the cooking staff when he reached Chattanooga and became a member of the Northern forces.  When the war was over, he returned home a staunch Federalist.  Subsequently, his two sons who were born were named Grant and Sherman.  This was proof of his loyalty to the Union.


            Time was slowly passing.  It seemed an eternity since the first battle at Fort Sumter, South Carolina.  As has been told, the South could not continue to take the insults passed across from North to South.  There were unkind stories about the struggling farm people, women who plowed oxen, and uneducated children in the South.  Countless reflections were daily heard.  A blunt and to the point warning was given to the Federalists.  They were told if they did not retract the statements and admit the accusations were untrue, the bombing would continue with all the vigor the Southern States could muster, and the South would be victorious.  As history shows, the demands of the South were ignored, as though to say, “It will be settled on the battlefield.”


            A good deal has been told of the suffering among the families back home.  Time cannot be given in this brief story to tell of the many other families that were treated equally as bad as the Joshua Harmon and Lemuel Cook families.  These two households were those of my grandparents.


            I was once asked the question, “How can you remember these stories and tell them as if they happened only a few years ago?”  My answer was, “If it had been your parents, I am sure you would remember.  These stories were told to me by my parents.  It is probably unbelievable for you to conceive that I am eighty years old, and these stories are still very clear in my mind.  As I am writing, I still go back to my days as a child seated by my Pa as he told the stories to me.  And a teardrop falls on my paper as I relive the years so long ago.”


            The story about my family receiving the news that Grandpa Joshua had been wounded in the Battle of Gettysburg was the hardest for my daddy to tell.  (Note: War records show that Joshua Harmon surrendered at Vicksburg, not Gettysburg, on July 4,


1863.)  It was days before any news arrived as to the extent of the wound or whether he would be able to make the long trip home.  All the family could do was to wait for news from his captain.  His wound was severe, but hopefully he could make the trip home.  Grandma Betsy was helpless, not knowing what to do or what to expect.  The older girls were such a consolation to their Ma.  They discouraged the gloomy thoughts and gave her encouragement that he would reach home soon.  And then they would nurse him back to that old Pa who had left home so well and strong.


            Then it began to dawn on them that he would not be safe in the house.  They were afraid the Home Guards would kill him.  Then Uncle Will remembered the big rock where the children liked to play.  It had a little room under it, and he thought that by digging to make the room larger, Grandpa could have a cot as well as room for a member of the family to be with him all the time.  The work was such a pleasure for these boys.  Uncle Will was in charge, with little brother George (my Pa) standing by to help.  Little George served as errand boy in case tools from the tool house were needed.  He would have them to the digger in a jiffy.  (Note: William Cecil Harmon was thirteen years old at the time, and his brother George was eleven.)  They were careful not to leave any tell-tale signs.  The entrance was camouflaged so perfectly with nature’s trees and stones that the traitors would not notice any change in the landscape, they hoped.  Soon they had everything ready for Grandpa, cot and all, in his hideout.


            George, who was eleven years old now, felt quite grown-up during these hectic times.  He believed that he could do something helpful toward making his Pa’s homecoming safer.  He had a plan all his own, and he did not want the rest of the family to know about it.  He confided in his brother, Willie, what he wanted to do.  There was a corral circling the barn with the horses’ stables and the crib where corn for feed and corn meal for the family was stored.  The posts were higher than the fence of the corral.  Little George wanted to build a seat on top of a post facing the road.  This way he could see any riders whose horses would be galloping into view.  Uncle Will thought young George’s idea was great for an eleven year old boy to think of.  They wasted no time in getting the project underway.  The seat was built substantially strong to avoid a fall, since it was rather high.  Next, strips were tacked to the post in ladder fashion.  This made it easier to get to the seat.  George later spent hours seated in that high seat watching for the Home Guards who always came unexpectedly.


            Finally the long silence was broken with news that Grandpa Joshua was on his way somewhere between Vicksburg, Virginia (Note: This should read Vicksburg, Mississippi) and North Georgia.  At least the silence had been broken, and hopefully he would be home soon.  Grandma Betsy kept all her fears from the children, but down deep she was a complete wreck not knowing anything for certain.  He could be dead.  All the consolation she had was from his captain.  He was wounded in the battle and was being sent home to recuperate.  She knew the care of a doctor would be necessary, but that was impossible, since the Home Guards were really making things harder than ever.  They knew the war had to come to an end.  The brave Confederate Army could not hold out much longer, but they were determined not to submit to defeat.


            Now Grandpa was finally home.  He was alive, but seriously wounded.  Grandma Betsy rushed him to his hideaway cave as quickly as possible, fearing someone would see them and report to the Home Guard.  His captain had sent him under the supervision of an army sergeant.  Helpless and frightened, she took over, God being her guide.


              Grandma could only thank God that He had at least allowed her man to get home


alive.  Grandpa told her just how it happened.  The battle had lasted for days.  There was one round of firing, and then close in where the dead and wounded lay, there was another round.  A bullet had hit him in the lower right chest, clipping the tip of his lung and passing on through his back.  What could she do?  His life was in her hands.  She had no medical assistance, only home remedies to treat the wound with.  The Home Guards were sure to find out he was home if there was too much activity going on at the Harmon home.  Grandma believed her husband had a chance.  He had survived the long and dangerous trip home.  Perhaps she could help him recover.  She knew one thing for certain, the wound had to be kept open and not allowed to close up.  It would cause inflammation.  Then too, the blood had to be kept cleaned from the wound drainage.  All she had was homemade salves and an ointment prepared from herbs and roots.  This was made from an Indian recipe and was used for cuts and sores.  But how chould she get the ointment into the wound?  It had to pass through his body in order to cleanse the wound.


            One of the girls had a Chinese silk handkerchief.  Grandma Betsy thought it would be less bulky, but how would she ever get it into the wound?  Then she had an idea.  She could take one of her knitting needles, make a little hook on one end and use it to pull the small handkerchief through.  She would saturate the handkerchief in the oily salve, hook one corner to the knitting needle and pull it through.  Next, how was Grandpa going to endure the pain of having that pulled through his body?  He was so weak from the strenuous trip home, plus the loss of blood.  There was just one thing to do, and that would be hard to get him to do, namely, drink enough corn whiskey to really knock him out, so that he would have no pain.  He was suffering, so he consented to do what she thought best.  Then too, this would give her strength to proceed with the treatment.  She planned two treatments daily.


            She waited until he was completely out, and then she proceeded with the first treatment.  She eased the knitting needle into the wound from the front and pushed it straight forward.  Luckily, Uncle Will saw the movement and caught hold.  Then Grandma pulled the handkerchief through Grandpa’s body, bringing with it clots of puss and blood.  She felt sure the wound was clear and free to drain.  Grandpa was in such a drunken stupor, he showed little awareness of what was happening.  Uncle Will was right there giving her support and telling her that there was not another woman living who could have had the physical strength she had just demonstrated.  Her reply was, “I could not have performed this without help from on high, and He will hold my hand as I continue these treatments.  And I believe if I do all I can, He will be with me to do the impossible.  With His help I believe our Pa will live.”


            The little dugout room would be Grandpa Joshua’s hospital room, with his wife caring for his every need possible.  It was hard to sterilize everything.  This had to be done at the house, where hot water was available, and then the sterile materials carried to his cave for the treatments.  Grandma Betsy knew how dangerously ill Grandpa was.  The sergeant who had brought him home had performed miracles in the care he had given him during the long trip home.  Now it was all left up to her to continue with all the treatments as planned.  She observed every detail about her husband, and from the moment he reached home, she was by his side.


            Aunt Molly, the oldest girl, took care of seeing that everything that touched his body was clean and sterilized for the treatments.  Grandma believed that each time there was less blood and puss on the ointment-saturated handkerchief.  This assured her that complications were less likely than at the beginning.  Also, he seemed to be resting more.  The one-time beauty queen of the Salacoa Valley had lost a lot of her “spitfire temper” as


well as some of her beauty.  She had tried to carry on as her husband did, but the once-gentlemen who were so helpful at first had stolen and carried provisions to their own families until at times milk and bread was their only meal.  The greedy men had stolen the potatoes down to the bottom of the potato hill.  So, the children would have to stir in the loose dirt searching for potatoes the Home Guards might have overlooked.


            Several weeks had passed since Grandpa’s arrival.  He had improved so unbelievably fast that it was hard to comprehend, but not to believe would have been impious.


            Now it was planned for Grandpa to come out of his little mountain hideout for the first time.  His birthday was just a few days away, and big preparations were being made for this important event.  Grandma and the girls, Aunt Molly, Aunt Frankie, and Aunt Roney, were planning the biggest birthday feast that had ever been served in the Harmon home.  Everything was ready for the big celebration.  The boys put Grandpa in a chair, disregarding his wanting to walk, to bring him to the house.  They seated him at the big long table exactly in his family seat that he had not filled for over four years.  Little George was seated atop his lookout stand, but, to be sure, he wanted to be eating with the family.  Grandpa insisted that someone go for him, telling him that maybe the terrorist riders would not come calling on this eventful day.  But he was wrong.


            The WHOOPEES were heard loud and clear.  The boys took hold of Grandpa to help him, but to their amazement, he ran out the back door.  The Home Guards came through the house and seeing the feast on the table, they knew for sure that Grandpa was home.  Their tip-off was true.  Joshua Harmon was at home.  They ran out looking for him in all directions.  One spied him running across the open field that was at the foot of the mountain.  He was going in the opposite direction from his hideout den.  They began shooting at him, but Grandpa knew he was out of range of the bullets, and he felt sure they would not follow him, since he was so near the deep-wooded area.  Grandpa stopped and yelled back, “If I had my old muzzle-loading shotgun I laid down at Gettysburg, I could beat all such d____ shooting as you have done!  So long, traitors!”  They turned, mounted their horses and rode away.


            George (my Pa) took all the blame.  He could have given Grandpa more time to get away if he had been in his lookout seat on top of the corral post.  But they all reminded him that it was Grandpa himself who had “his little man,” as he called him, get down from his watch and come to eat with the family.


            My Pa, George Harmon, was one of a group of horrified youngsters who had experienced several raids by the so-called Home Guards.  Grandma Betsy was deeply concerned about her young son.  He had horrible dreams and would scream out at night saying, “They killed my Pa.  I was not watching.  I let them ride in.  I was not on my lookout post.”  At times she could calm him by telling him it was a bad dream, but at other times he was very grief stricken.  It was pathetic to hear the cry of a small boy who had taken the responsibilities of a much older person.


            Finally, George realized that the war was over and his Pa was no longer hiding from the terrible Home Guards, but there in the house with the family.  What he didn’t know was that his Pa would probably never be strong again.  The wound he had received had left him disabled.




            Time passed, and the children were getting less apprehensive as days turned into weeks and no Home Guards came calling.  That fear was replaced with a contented, trusting, childlike faith that had overshadowed the nightmare of the horrible past four years.


            War news continued to reach back home.  The Northern soldiers were outnumbering the Southern soldiers, and there was no hope for new recruits to replace the Southerners.  It seemed the Southern men stood facing the enemy with more vigor than ever before, despite the fact that they could never win without new recruits.  A number of young men had joined in, but hundreds were needed to fill the vacancies left by the Battle of Gettysburg.


            Finally, General Robert E. Lee called his ragged and half-starved troops together.  They stood erect and listened carefully to each word that was spoken by their beloved general.  He told them, “You have demonstrated that you are the most heroic men who have ever fought in any war, regardless.  You have endured the hardships that soldiers face, but you are unwilling to surrender when outnumbered as we are.  I feel sure it is best to ask for a cease fire.  Those of our number who are not standing here today made the supreme sacrifice.  You would have made it if you had been standing where your comrades were standing.  So, let us admit that we are outnumbered but not defeated.  To ask for a cease fire is best.  You are hungry and half-clad.  Your uniforms are in tatters on your bodies.  Do not forget, the South will rise again, stronger than ever.”


            On April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee, Confederate General of the Southern armed forces, surrendered his exhausted army to U. S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia.  The other armies surrendered shortly, thus ending the most tragic war up to this date that Georgia has ever encountered.


            This conflict was started on April 12, 1861, and ended four years later, April 12, 1865, less four days.  Thus ended a war that cost more lives on the battlefield than any war in the United States up to that time.  Brothers fought against brothers, and sons against fathers, not knowing if their bullets felled a beloved kinsman.


            Back home, the tired and nerve-shattered wives waited for the return of husbands and sons, or at least some news that would give them hope - or would it be the saddest of all news that their brave men had paid the supreme sacrifice on the battlefield somewhere above the Mason and Dixon line?


            Months or maybe a year after the war was over and Grandpa Harmon was better, he had a big surprise for his family.  He had been thinking about something for a long time.  He wanted to establish and operate a shop in his own home.  This was an hour of decision for Grandpa Joshua.  He and Grandma Betsy had never kept secrets from each other.  Imagine the shock, as well as surprise, when he told her all the secret desires he had kept hidden from her.  It took time for him to decide just how he was going to tell her and when the proper time would be.  He knew it could not be a time when all the family was together.  They were careful not to talk about important affairs when the family was all around.  Yet, three of the boys were quite mature youngsters.  Will and George were lively young men, but not old enough to vote, therefore, making family decisions was a no-no for minors back in those days.  At twenty-one you were a man with all the freedom and responsibilities that might come your way.  You were expected to be able to meet each challenge on your own and to work out things for the best of all concerned.



            Grandpa told Grandma Betsy what he wanted to do.  Everything was taken into consideration, and, as was customary, Grandpa and Grandma together had to reach a decision.  The problem was he would have to take training in North Carolina.  That would mean nine months away from home at least.  The fee for the training plus other expenses would probably exceed what they could afford also.  But Grandma Betsy, the little mite she was, but full of pride, raised her voice with words of encouragement as she looked into the eyes of the man she had married some twenty-odd years before.  She saw a man who had almost come back from the dead, now regaining his handsome looks, as color returned to his once-painstricken face.  It had brought fear and hopelessness to her for such a long time.  She told afterwards how near she had come to giving up, but then she had added her faith with Grandpa’s that one day he would be well and strong again.


            Now it was time to tell the children.  They called them in, hoping it would not be too difficult for the younger ones to understand what was happening.  Their Pa would be going away, but not to war.  He would be learning to do something very important for the farmers.  He would learn to make more and better tools for the benefit of the farmers, not only in the Salacoa Valley, but throughout the whole section.  Farmers would use the tools Grandpa would be able to make in his own shop.  The two older boys especially were very enthused over the idea that their Pa would be important to all the farmers who had to go so far to buy farm tools.  They wanted him to make plans to go immediately.  Yes, they knew that the farming would be their first duty, and they pledged their efforts toward revitalizing the once-forgotten acres that had had to be left untended due to a lack of farming stock.  This livestock had been driven off by the men who in the beginning took care of the women and children when the need arose.  Even Grandma’s little horse she had called her own had been taken.  In the past she had put on her riding skirt, saddled and mounted Black Jack, and ridden off toward Canton to tend to business such as paying taxes and other things that called for a visit to the county seat occasionally.


            It was apparent that things were getting back to normal around the Harmon house.  The husband and father in this big house on the hill was going away to a trade school, and when he returned he would be an important man.  No one would be able to make things like he could and sell them to farmers, and this would make farming more productive.


            To the surprise of those in the family who had been doing all the planning, the young ladies started to rise up and speak their minds on the subject of their Pa going so far away for such a long time.  Aunt Molly chimed in and spoke her likes and dislikes on the subject; then Aunt Rona and Aunt Frankie backed their sister and said that they were upset.  “He is our Pa just the same as yours.  We are so glad he is well again and that it is not another war he is going away to fight.  We were scared, and now you know why we had to find out it was not war again.”  With a little coaxing, all was well up to a point, but there were no more family decisions, especially if it was about their Pa.


            The time finally arrived for the long trip to the railroad station where Grandpa would catch the train for Charlotte, North Carolina.  There he would be enrolled in a special hardware shop where he would learn how to make useful tools for the home and for farming.  This special training would take six to nine months of tedious work.  He would be taught, and then he would do the job over and over until it met the instructor’s approval.


            Grandpa reached Charlotte and worked hard for months.  He was hoping to reach all the requirements in record time.  His instructor congratulated him on being one of the most capable students he had taught in a long time, because he seemed to grasp each little detail.


            The family back home was just as interested in his progress as could be.  They were showing their love for their Pa by helping do all that they could and by cooperating in the farmwork.  They wanted to have the farm in tip-top shape when he returned home bringing with him that all-important plaque that would hang on the wall in his little corner office.  It would be self-explanatory.  It would tell the public just what this man could do to fill their needs.


            The family was overjoyed with the thought that within a very short time the head of the house would be home.  To be sure, each one thought to himself, “What can I do that will make Pa’s homecoming special?”  Each member of the family had worked especially hard, and a bountiful crop would speak for itself.  Grandma Betsy had put out maximum effort to keep everything progressing at a normal pace - or preferably above normal.  She did not realize that she was exhausted until the greater part of the rush farming was almost over.  Then she had reached the point where rest alone would solve her problem.  Uncle Will was quite a dependable young man, and he could take over and put the finishing touch on the crops, provided he would not make any important decisions without first consulting with her.  All was well with the crops so far, and this assured the Harmon family a bountiful harvest.


            The final letter arrived giving the exact date for Grandpa Joshua’s arrival home - also stating that he was shipping quite a big order of tools and equipment for his shop.  This brought excitement to the boys, more so than to the ladies, because they knew their assistance would be valuable to Grandpa Joshua.


            May we skip at least a year or so and then return to the Salacoa Valley where a small manufacturing establishment is in the process of opening a facility that will bring progress to the farmers not only in that immediate vicinity but hopefully in a large part of Georgia as well?  Tools were installed to build wagons and make plows and harnesses for horses.  Anything from wagons to screws, bolts, and farm tools - you name it - and Grandpa Joshua could make it.


            It was unbelievable how fast the news spread that a tool shop had been opened in the Salacoa Valley by an authorized and certified man who could make any kind of tool farmers needed.  Along with his license, he was qualified to make or build a lot of useful appliances for use in the kitchen, too.  This would be helpful to the housewives.


            Again we will skip several years and then take a peek at the Joshua Harmon establishment.  You will see unbelievable progress.  There are pieces of up-to-date farm equipment, more modern than was expected by the farmers.  One of these is a two-horse wagon that assures faster trips to markets.


            This man’s life’s dream had now become a reality.  His sons were a great help.  (Another son, Jimmy, was born two years after Grandpa got home from the war, and then Sam came along four years later.)  They could see how their Pa delighted in taking a piece of steel or iron and molding it into something useful, even sometimes beautiful.  Within a period of ten years, he was known practically throughout North Georgia and had customers patronizing him, and to be sure, he had a flourishing business.


            The farm did not suffer.  The once happy-go-lucky youngster named George was growing up, with all the appearance that he was going to be quite a handsome young man.  He was full of life, and he kept up his antics, playing tricks on different members of the family.  He loved the farm and took a great interest in having things properly done at the right time, so that meant new seeds were to be planted.  It was farming time again.


            All the children were growing up, and Grandma Betsy felt sure her advice and plans could be turned over to Uncle Will assisted by my Pa, George.  To be sure, Grandpa Joshua lent a hand in getting the tobacco growing, as well as some cotton and corn.  He still loved the farm, but his shop work was about all he could handle, especially during the spring.


            A period of several years passed, and the Harmon farming continued at high speed.   The shop was flourishing, too.  George, my Pa, will be referred to hereafter as Pa by me.  He had reached the ripe old age of twenty-one, and in those days young men were expected to get a job and save their money, hoping to find a nice sweet girl and get married.  This handsome young man had already found the pretty Emma Cook, who suited his fancies.  First of all, he must get a job, and jobs were not easy to find in those days.  He did know a Colonel Hutchinson, who lived a few miles down the road from the Harmon family.  The colonel owned several hundred acres of farm land, and he would have need for strong farm employees.  Pa did get a job working on this man’s farm.


            Colonel Hutchinson had ten or twelve slaves when the war was over.  He freed them and gave each couple one hundred and fifty acres of land.  Several were already married, but the others he coupled off, boy-girl, boy-girl, if they were old enough to get married.  He built each couple a small house and gave them some furnishings, a mule, and a milk cow.  He had to force some of the former slaves to leave him.  The little huts are still kept up by the present owners of this farm until this day (1980), or they were up until the last two or three years.


            This Colonel Hutchinson was considered one of the outstanding men in the South.  He was a great officer in the Confederate Army, who informed the North that the South would never humble themselves to the North’s boastful taunts that the South would never rise again.  Men like this colonel, and others just as eager to unite as a southern force, were determined to succeed.  And in an unbelievably short time, the North Georgia territory was seeing what cooperation could do.  The State of Georgia and the southerners were determined to surpass all expectations to live up to the pledge “to rise again,” despite the horrible setback that had brought disruption to almost every home in that section.


            It was at a Methodist camp meeting that Pa and Mama met.  After a service, a group of young boys and girls went to the spring for some fresh water.  Aunt Frankie, Pa’s sister, introduced her brother, George Harmon, to her new friend, Emoline Cook.  This was the most important day in their lives!  They met each other, and they personally heard the story of God’s love and the fact that He can change lives.  These two had no doubt that someday they would be man and wife.  Sure enough, their friendship gradually developed into a love that surpassed these two newfound friends’ admiration for each other.  Their courtship lasted over a period of three years.  The big camp meeting that was always held in August was the most important time of the year for this couple.  The campground was about halfway between the Cooks’ home and Grandpa Harmon’s.  It was about three miles distant.  At one camp meeting time Pa conspired with his sisters to ask Grandpa if they could attend the meeting on a day when their parents were not going.  It was agreeable, and the children were allowed to use the wagon, so all of them could go.  Things began to buzz in the kitchen.  They would need food if they planned to stay for all four services.  Soon a basket of fried chicken, delicious fried apple pies, pickled peaches, and other goodies were packed and covered with one of Aunt Molly’s homespun tablecloths.


            At the meeting, the young people from the surrounding area were made aware of the great truths of the Bible that these men of God were bringing.   The sermons were


especially for young people and those who were not Christians.  Something unusual happened on this special day.  The services were very spirit-filled, and many, especially women, were shouting and praising the Lord.  Miss Lotty Pittman was one of these.  All at once she just seemed to sit down in the straw.  Soon someone noticed and picked her up.  She was dead.  The family carried her to their tent, while a casket was being made in the Reinhardt Chapel Church.  She was buried the next day, but the camp meeting continued with a sense of God’s real presence in every service.  Later, it was said that Lotty told her family, as she was making jams and jelly and other foods earlier in the year, preparing for the ten-day camp meeting, that she was going, but something told her she would not return to her home where she and her mother lived.


            Pa and Mama did not get to see each other often now that the services were over.  I have often wondered if these two young people had thought about just what might happen when Grandpa Cook realized who George Harmon was - that he was the son of Joshua Harmon, who was wounded at Gettysburg.  Also, what Grandpa Harmon’s reaction would be when he learned Emma Cook was the daughter of a Federalist soldier who had served as a cook in a Northern camp - and still remained loyal to the North.  This I never heard mentioned.  Perhaps each family decided to leave it to the young lovers.


            Rogan, the family saddle horse, soon learned the way to Grandpa Cook’s home, as the courtship continued to show deeper devotion between the two.  It was during this time that Pa got into deep trouble for voting for a Northerner for president.  He had just turned twenty-one, voting age, a few months prior to the election.  Grandpa threatened to take a leather strap and teach him a lesson he would remember, but he cooled down, and this did not happen.  The man he voted for was General Ulysses S. Grant for president in 1873.  He had been one of the most tricky generals in the army.  By his association with dishonest men, Grant brought truth to the old southern belief that the general was a crook.


            We are going to skip about three years and pick up our story where Pa has worked two years for Colonel Hutchinson.  He was paid the agreed sum as promised.  This was fifty cents a day, which amounted to about $180 for a year.  He also got room and board.  Pa felt rich.  He was in love with a beautiful girl, and they were going to be married as soon as he could get things ready.  In the meantime, Mama was making quilts and other needed items to start housekeeping.  He had bought 150 acres of land and then built a small house, a love nest just for the two, even if it was not completely finished.  He had tried to get everything completed, but time would not hold up, and the wedding day was fast approaching.  What was lacking was flooring.  The two talked the situation over and decided that all that was needed was to lay about one-fourth of the flooring in the big room that would serve as a living room, bedroom, and kitchen.  They could put all their furniture in the finished area and hope it would not turn cold before they could get the rest of the work done.  The huge fireplace would give plenty of warmth.  Pa, with the help of his sisters, moved their few furnishings into the floored section of the house.


            The wedding day arrived.  The happy couple were married in the home of Rev. Milam Puckett, Methodist pastor of the Reinhardt Chapel Church at Waleska, Georgia, in the year 1875.  Little old Pa and Mama know that the membership of this small church included some very important southerners.  One was Colonel Joe Aster Sharp, as well as another outstanding officer, Captain Augustus Reinhardt.  And among the general membership were a number of men who had faced the Northern artillery, some suffering wounds, including Grandpa Joshua, and others less fortunate who had failed to return from the war.



            The Reinhardt Chapel Church was one of the few churches that General Sherman and his destructive colleagues had failed to burn on their sweep through Georgia.  It could have escaped destruction because it was small and built in a place so far away from the public’s view that they passed it by.  Sherman had made his march and left his destructive mark.  His plan was to destroy and to break the spirits of the Southerners, hoping they would give up.  Instead, it gave us a greater determination.  The young men, including Pa, said, “Our fathers fought, and a lot died.  We young can take up the fight to rebuild, and, with all working together, reconstruction will be sooner than we think.”  And so with one solid front, miracles happened.


            Now, may we return to the home of Pa and Mama.  George and Mary Emoline Harmon were married, and it seemed everything was in their favor if the cold weather did not come before Pa could get his needed flooring in and fill the open spaces so they could be snug and warm in the winter.  The first meal of the new couple in their new home was a big helping of sweet milk and good mush.  It was cooked in an open pot swinging from a hook in the corner of the big fireplace where a big bed of hot coals cooked the corn meal mush.  This mush was added to a bowl of sweet milk, and it was delicious.


            Pa had stretched $365 to the last few dollars.  He had a problem.  He needed money to buy a horse or mule.  Spring would soon come, and he would have to have something to plow with.  He had spent his spare time clearing away trees from several acres of land, and luckily several acres had been under cultivation already.  With a few more acres, he would have enough land ready for plowing and planting in the spring.  First a garden would be planted in well-prepared ground, and this would grow and produce food all summer.  From this, Mama would prepare food for the next winter.  She would dry fruits, beans, and peas, and they would store potatoes, sweet and Irish, making sure that they were protected by a heavy mound of dry dirt that would insulate them from the cold winds of winter.  All of this was foremost in their minds.


            Mama was also busy getting their new home beautiful and creating a homey appearance with a few pictures on the walls and new white curtains that especially added a charming atmosphere to their new home.  The fact was, the curtains were her own handiwork.  She had woven them herself and stitched them with her own fingers.  Pa was delighted over the fact that Mama could take a few little trinkets and some white curtains and change the interior of their one-big-room home.


            Spring was coming, with the birds serenading, and Pa knew he could not delay in getting a mule to break the new-cleared fields.  This would naturally take time.  Pa, poor dear, knew that Grandpa Joshua had the money if he would lend it to him.  “Well,” he said to Mama, “I am going to ask him to loan me $100 to buy us a mule.  All he can say is yes or no.”  He started walking the one mile to his Pa’s home.  A lot of fond memories, as well as sad recollections, raced through his mind.  He wasted no time making the purpose of his visit known.  Without any hesitation Grandpa said, “No.”  His reply was, “George, you know I have the money, but I feel it best that you be on your own.”


            Pa walked out of the home.  He was shocked in a way, but he admitted that it made him feel independent, and he knew of an old friend a short distance on down the road.  The old gentleman’s name was Joe Barron.  Pa found Mr. Barron and a neighbor out in the yard talking, and Mr. Barron remarked, “George, why are you out so early?”  Pa replied, “Uncle Joe,” (an affectionate name everyone called him) “I need $100 to buy a mule.  I have my land cleared and ready, but no mule to plow to make a crop and grow vegetables. 



I will give you a note and will pay you this fall.”  The reply was, “Yes, George, I will let you have the money, but I do not want your note.  Tom Findley has heard the conversation in case anything should happen to one of us.  He has heard the agreement and that is good enough for me.”


            While Uncle Joe was getting his long sheepskin wallet out of his pocket, he turned to Mr. Findley and said, “Tom, this boy would make a living if he was put on a rock.”  Pa said that right then and there he decided that with the encouragement of these two old gentlemen and the confidence they had in him and his ability, he could accomplish dreams that were challenging to even hope for.  They believed in him, and little did these two men know, they had encouraged a young man who would some day look back and thank his lucky stars that Grandpa did not lend him the money.  Later, he thanked his dad for turning him down.  Grandpa told him, “It hurt me, George, to refuse you, but I felt it best to let you prove your manhood.”


            “With that hundred dollar bill in my pocket I felt like a man who had found a friend who trusted me not only with his money, but he had refused to take my note,” Pa said.  “As it happened, Mr. Findley sold me a good young mule, and I rode it home.  Oh yes!  He did not charge me the hundred dollars.  He said to take twenty-five dollars and buy some farming tools and gear.  I could not get home fast enough to tell Mary Emoline about our good fortune.  We were so overjoyed.  We just danced all around and around, as her tears wet my shoulder.”


            We are going to skip a year and then look in at the young couple’s window before knocking on the door.  We had warned them with weird sounds and laughter, but once inside we were rather shocked at what was going on.  Pa was all enthused over a baby cradle that he was building.  Mama was knitting a little sweater that was so tiny her knitting needles got tangled together.  They were really excited that soon the two would be three.


            The happy day arrived.  A baby girl was born, and believe it, they were filled with wonderment.  She had red hair, and no one on either side of the family had red hair.  She was their pride and joy.  Grandpa wanted to name her after an old girlfriend in South Carolina.  Grandma Betsy did not like the idea too much, but Mama was fond of Grandpa, so she gave his first granddaughter the name he wanted.  The baby was christened Arilla Harmon.  She was born August 17, 1876, and now that there was a new baby in the house, they were doubly happy.  She was born just before camp meeting time at the big brush arbor that was told about in detail earlier.  Remember, my parents had met at camp meeting a few years before.


            Mama would carry little “Rilla” to the camp ground and put her on a bed in a friend’s tent, and she would sleep while Mama and Pa attended the services.  It was a distressing time.  Up until this camp meeting, everything was done in a worshipful attitude, but now the northern members wanted to rename the Reinhardt Church and have a northern minister.  About one-fourth of the members wanted the change.  It split the church.  The Rhynes, Edwards, Smiths, and a number of others took their letters out.  The Rhyne family donated several acres for a new church and cemetery.  The new church didn’t seem to prosper, and it was hard for them to get a minister.  This split brought about the name “Briar Patch” for the Reinhardt Chapel cemetery.  The northern group gave up on reconciliation with the remark, “Just let them alone.  We will just throw them in the briar patch.”  At that time, Mama said, there was a huge briar patch where the cemetery is now and right across from where the camp ground was at that time.


Insert: The old Briar Patch Church, United Methodist, has been recently redesignated as the Dogwood Hills Community Church.  It is located on the eastern edge of Waleska on Highway 140.


            We will jump over a period of years.  More babies have graced the home of the Harmons.  Florrie made her debut on October 4, 1878.  A son was next.  He arrived January 16, 1881, and this was a happy event.  He weighed eleven pounds and was given the name Freddy Arnold.  Pa was overjoyed that this new baby was a boy.  He remarked to Mama, “My, he will soon be big enough to go fox hunting with me.”  Time was passing so fast.  Nine years had sped by, and this couple could hardly believe that they were the proud parents of three lovely children.  Arilla was walking and talking as if she was twice her age.  She was Grandpa Joshua’s pride and joy.


            Now the one-big-room house was not adequate for a family of five.  Pa began to make plans for a much larger house.  He had been successful each year with bountiful good crops (and, oh yes, he paid Uncle Joe’s hundred dollars that fall as promised!)  Tobacco was a good price, and, in fact, every product he carried to market was sold.


            Let us turn our attention to the home of Grandpa Joshua and Grandma Betsy and see the changes that have been taking place in the big house on the hill.  First, we find that Aunt Frankie, Pa’s favorite sister, is among the newly-weds of the Salacoa Valley.  The happy couple will make their home in Adairsville.  Also, Uncle Will is expected to yield over his bachelorhood to take his longtime sweetheart to the minister’s home for the purpose of being united in matrimony.  He was so excited over the fact he was really getting married.  It gave Uncle Jimmy a chance to kid him.  Uncle Will did not take it too graciously when Uncle Jimmy asked him, “Will, if you have been in love all this time, why have you waited so long?”  The reply was, “I guess you will find out when you get in love.  It just has to be the right time and the real love.”


            Grandma Betsy, seeing her precious “babies” now grown and one by one getting married, felt that each one of them was taking with them a portion of her very heart.  The long war years prevented her from enjoying her children, as the times were so confused.  She felt that the children, like many others, did not enjoy feeling the freedom to enjoy being a child.  That fear of the roving men who made it their business to disturb and annoy lonely wives and distress the children had made life miserable for them.  The children grew up lacking the privilege of going swimming in the creek in the summertime, without the fear of riding robbers who might come calling and find Grandma Betsy alone.  This was quite a few years in the past, but Grandma Betsy often talked to Mama about her regrets.  She spoke of those times when she could see the fright in the eyes of Pa, who seemed to constantly have a tell-tale look of fear.


            Grandpa Joshua had built himself a name as an expert farm tool builder or molder.  In fact, he had the pattern or instructions to build whatever  anyone needed.  Several years had passed since he built his first turning plow that was the equal of one previously shipped in from out of state.  He kept his prices reasonable, and each article was guaranteed to give satisfaction.  There was no doubt that he was making money.  When he made a sale, he exchanged the currency for gold.  Only Grandma Betsy knew his profits were beyond his expectations.  His business was booming, and he was making profits from orders for special farm equipment coming from a widespread area.  This called for extra shop employees.  It was really remarkable how his shop had grown.




            Now, Grandma Betsy was greatly concerned about Grandpa’s health.  He seemed to be lacking energy.  He was not as vibrant as he had been.  She tactfully talked with him about slowing down, but her suggestions were met with this response, “I am fine Betz (his nickname for Grandma).”  But she knew him too well.  Her experience while nursing him back to health was still deeply imbedded in her mind.  Although seemingly he made a miraculous recovery from the bullet wound that clipped his lung, age could have caused a change.  Maybe the scar had formed a growth around the damaged lung.  Reluctantly, she put it out of her mind, because it seemed that he did not like to discuss his ill health.


            Now we will go back to Pa and Mama.  It seems that we have been on a merry-go-round between the Harmon homes and what was taking place over the past number of years.


            We left Pa in the process of building a bigger house.  Now we find that the house has been completed for several years.  More babies have been born.  Here are the new additions for the past several years.  Agnes Rebeka was born July 2, 1883.  Leila Florence (Note: “Florena” in family Bible) was born January 26, 1886.  Bessie Ardella was born August 4, 1888.  Ethel Marie (Note: “Magnolia” on grave marker) was born December 8, 1890.  It is not impossible that there will be more.  Ethel is the youngest at the present time, and her beauty exceeds that of any of the other girls when they were babies.  Her hair is a mass of long brown curls, and her eyes brown as chestnuts.  They captured the admiration of everyone who looked into those eyes that gave back a captivating smile.  She was the darling of the home and had the energy of a much older child.  She was only three years old and could run and play for hours.


            One night the younger children were running and playing from room to room.  Ethel fell, striking the back of her head against a bedpost.  She was limp in Mama’s arms for several hours, and she did not seem to realize what had happened.  It was hard for Mama to keep her awake.  She was so afraid that if her baby went to sleep, she would not awaken.  Finally, after several hours, she could not keep her from going to sleep.  Holding her throughout the night, Mama felt the little body was moist with cold perspiration.  Mama was deeply concerned and wanted the morning to come so that they could carry little Ethel to a doctor.  Suddenly she went into a convulsion that seemed never to end.  Pa went for the doctor, who was there in a short time considering the horse-and-buggy days it was.  He examined the little darling; raised her up and told them she had meningitis.  She lived for three days, but during this time she had so many convulsions that Mama asked God to take her home with Him and out of her suffering.  She quietened from the seizure and calmly fell asleep and was gone to be with Jesus.  In a cemetery in the Salacoa Valley is a little monument with the inscription “Ethel Magnolia Harmon, Now With Jesus.”  It was a sad home for quite a while.  She was so jolly that her laughter was not easily forgotten.


Insert: Several Harmons are buried at what is called the Hutchinson Cemetery on Cagle Circle just off the Salacoa Valley Road, west of Waleska, Georgia.  These Harmon burials are: Joshua, William Cecil, James T. S., Samuel J. H., Ethel Magnolia, and J. S.


            Now back to Grandpa Joshua again.  It would soon be time for tobacco farming to begin.  Grandpa Joshua was planning on raising a bumper crop.  His extra shop assistant would not be needed all the time in the shop.  Some of his best helpers had married, leaving Uncle Jimmy and Uncle Sam with the main farming business.  However, Aunt Molly was an expert on “worming” the big stalks of tobacco.  Sometimes there was more than one big fat tobacco worm perched on a leaf raising its head and gritting its teeth.  They did not bluff her though.  She snatched them off quicker than a wink, and on she went until


she either had her bucket full of worms or it was noon and time to eat dinner.  She would eat and then go back to picking worms off the tobacco plants.  She was very patient.  Not once did she say, “I give up.  It is too hard!”  Instead, she said, “Think ‘easy’ and you will find it so.”  She was fast!  She could work as quickly as two average people could “worm” an entire field of tobacco.  But still, that was all she would volunteer to do toward tobacco farming.  She made that very clear for several years, and she stuck to her word.  (Later, it will be told what an asset she was in grading the leaves as they were picked from the stalks.)


            It was a beautiful spring, and everything seemed to be moving exactly to everyone’s advantage until one day when Uncle Jimmy became ill.  The doctor pronounced his illness to be typhoid fever.  In those days it was a dreaded disease, and it frightened the other members of the family, because they did not know the cause of the attack.  Then too, the doctors knew very little about treatment.  They had learned two causes for the dreaded disease which caused high temperatures that soon weakened a patient, because his entire body was sapped by the high fever.  First, doctors knew there was a mosquito that carried the typhoid germ.  If a person was bitten by this type of mosquito, the blood was contaminated.  Second, they knew that water could have impurities in it that might cause typhoid fever.  If these impurities got into a spring or well, they could cause the dreaded fever.


            Uncle Jimmy continued to grow worse despite the doctor’s efforts to cool the temperature that was fast parching the once-strong and ambitious young man.  All the uninformed doctor knew to do was to keep cold towels, soaked in water drawn from the deep well in the backyard, on his body.  The water from the well was next to ice water, but the high temperature would soon warm the towels.  One after another was placed on his feverish body trying to break the fever, but to no avail.  Dr. Harden never left his bedside, still trying every technique from his medical training, but Uncle Jimmy’s fighting strength finally reached the point that he realized that God’s will was his will, and he only said “Farewell” and was gone.


            The family felt devastated.  Uncle Jimmy was always quiet and never complained.  Even when he became ill, he did not want to admit it.  Grandma Betsy was alarmed from the start.  As she sat there holding his feverish hand that almost burned hers, her mind swiftly filled with the miracle of his Pa’s recovery.  Now God had taken little Jimmy, who was about to celebrate his twentieth birthday.  He was always the smallest member in the family, and he had never grown strong and muscular like the other boys.


            It was a sad day when the family and friends buried him in the Salacoa Valley Community Cemetery not far from where he lived with his parents.  He was always obedient.  Never as a small boy did he ask, “Why must I do this?  Really it is not my duty.  Let George do it.  He can do it better than me.”  Perhaps he was right, but Jimmy gave every task his best, and it was always excellent.  Now he was gone.  God must have needed a good extra worker about twenty years of age by the name of Jimmy Harmon, and He called him to fill that extra special place in heaven.


            Back to the George Harmon family.  Again we will pass on, leaving behind a few years, and check up on some of the plans that have been hidden in the secret corners of Pa’s mind for some time.  First, he was thinking of buying more land in order to raise more tobacco.  It seemed there was a greater demand for good burley tobacco than for the other types.  Second, he was thinking about trying his luck in manufacturing tobacco on a small scale at first to see if it would be a profitable enterprise.   He had been successful in


growing an excellent quality of tobacco.  The prosperity of Colonel Hutchinson’s factory and his ambitious self-esteem boosted him to attempt it on a very small scale.  He had a building large enough to start, if he added a shed on the side that would accommodate a small press.  That would be adequate for a start.  Tobacco raised by farmers in his community, plus Grandpa Joshua’s crop, would be a sufficient supply to give him an idea of what it would be like.  Grandpa would be very valuable in helping to get the materials he would need, such as shapes to press the tobacco into plugs.  Also, the press would be no problem.  Perhaps only an extra order of iron would be needed to make the press and the huge round ball that gave sufficient weight to form a solid mold into shapes.


            Now he had to come up with the right formula for his tobacco product.  Choice leaves from the stalks were placed in wooden bins and sprinkled with Pa’s own formula, which consisted of so much of the following ingredients: brown sugar, licorice, peach juice, honey, and a small amount of salt.  He tested the tobacco as it went through the processing in the big wooden bins.  He would take the leaves out, twist them into firm twists and then have people who chewed tobacco test them and tell him what their taste buds revealed.  He asked for their likes and dislikes after the test.  Their decisions would go a long way in testing his formula.  Many tests were made before he got the right consistency of flavors blended perfectly, and he was satisfied with his formula.


            Now he was ready to set up the press and the thin wooden shapes that were made into standard plug lengths.  Each one held six plugs.  After being compressed for the exact time, a sharp steel knife was used to cut the tobacco that was still in the shapes into six standard sized plugs.


            His tobacco-making operation was now in full swing, and it was ready for the inspector who would be calling soon to check every little detail from the tobacco on the stalk to the formula used and the tobacco in the bins.  A government representative came to pay a call on the George Harmon tobacco manufacturing establishment.  As expected, he arrived on time with stamps, seals, and Pa’s private stamp that was to be used to put his personal identification on each box.  It appeared he was in no hurry to finish.  There was something intriguing about the setup and the aroma that was coming from the huge wooden boxes or bins.  He seemed to be fascinated with the method used to classify the tobacco leaves as they were pulled from the stalks.  He was coming for a resumé, and that was exactly what his report contained.


            One year passed.  It went swiftly, as if an invisible curtain had been lifted and the time was gone.  Let us try to find out more about the manufacturing of tobacco.  With the first year as past history, we find an encouraged man who feels there is a future for him in this field.  Farmers are harvesting their bumper crops of tobacco, and Pa is quite excited to see the sun-cured product being unloaded and stacked in the one big room where hired help is coming in to learn what it is all about.  The first year he only had jobs for about twenty people.  The manufacturing season only lasted through the three summer months after crops were harvested.  Now young girls and women were coming in to learn the art of grading the leaves as they were pulled from the stalks.


            This will give a better understanding of what took place after the tobacco was cut in the field.  The farmers had built racks in open, sunny locations, and they would hang the stalks across the racks to let them dry to a bright yellow.  Then the farmer would pull the leaves from the bottom to the top until both his hands were full.  Finally, he would take one long, strong leaf from the lot, put all the leaves in one hand and tie the butts together by wrapping the one leaf around and around until the leaf was tight,  then tuck the remaining


end through the under wrap to hold it securely.  When the tobacco was brought into the factory, it went through a sprinkling process to keep it from crumbling when handled during the classifying process.  Each leaf was then classified according to quality.  Three women were there to do the grading.  The first woman selected only the brightest leaves from each tied “hand.”  These were placed in a bin.  The second woman chose the next brightest leaves and placed them in a separate bin.  The third woman took the last leaves or “lugs” and placed them in a third bin.  Leaves placed in the third bin were used to make pipe tobacco.


            When the bins were full, they were ready to have the flavoring formula applied and the covers placed on securely for the coming-in-case process.  The women would then fill each “shape” with smooth, straight leaves to a depth that when compressed would be the right thickness for plug tobacco.  The pipe tobacco was flavored when formed into twists while still moist.  It was pressed in the same manner as the plugs, except that it was not cut.  A pipe smoker would take his knife and cut enough off the twist to fill his pipe.  This was a two-fold type.  If anyone wanted to chew it, they could, and quite a few people took advantage of a tobacco that could either be used in a pipe or for chewing.


            These three types of tobacco had brand names.  The twist was called “Farmer’s Friend,” and it immediately made a hit with pipe smokers as much as with mild chewers.  The second brand was called “Peaches and Honey.”  Its flavor was very different from the other brands.  The formula consisted of brown sugar, peach compound, licorice, and honey, with the peach flavor more outstanding.  Farmers had a special preference for this brand, so it was a good seller at country stores.  “Harmon’s Best” was the name given to the third brand.  This was made from the first quality tobacco leaves.  The brightest leaves were selected from the “hands” and placed in the bin for processing to produce “Harmon’s Best” plug tobacco.  This brand was flavored with specific measures and weights of brown sugar, peach concentrate, licorice, and honey.  This was the best seller, despite the difference in price between “Harmon’s Best” and “Peaches and Honey,” which was made from first grade tobacco also, but not all bright colored leaves.  It was the same quality, just a darker brown color that made the chew a little less palatable, because it was a little stronger.


            The factory was establishing a name throughout North Georgia as far away as Rome, where a salesman called every two months.  His means of delivery was a covered wagon properly equipped by Grandpa Joshua with shelves built two boxes high on each side.  Then there was space in the bottom for quite a number of boxes stacked against the shelves.  These boxes contained a mixed variety.  The salesman sold these boxes first.  Each box had its own government seal, as well as Pa’s own private stamp with his name along with the factory number and name of the brand.  The extra-special “Harmon’s Best” was exceptionally popular.  As was expected, it was selling better than the other two.  The salesman, Mr. Jones, kept a plug cut into several pieces to show there was no faking.  It was solid golden yellow throughout the plug.  The same demonstration was done with the “Peaches and Honey” brand.


            The business was growing, and this called for more room by the next season.  A rush order for thousands of feet of building material was placed, and carpenters were hired to build a two-story manufacturing building that would be needed to meet the growing business in the future.  Also, there was a huge curing building to be built, called a tobacco barn, where the tobacco would be cured or ripened.  Heat would be used, and the building would be kept dark.  This process would retain the flavor better than when the leaves were dried in the open air and sunshine, and it would only take half the time to ripen and cure the


leaves.  The leaves still had to be pulled from the stalks and tied in “hands.”  Then they were placed on tiers in the new tobacco barn.  These tiers were made from small pine trees.  After the trees were cut into six-foot lengths, the pine was split by ax and wedge to the size of a man’s wrist, and the tiers were put in the walls of the barn from one side to the other.  They were placed four feet apart beginning six feet from the ground.  The “hands” of tobacco were spread from the middle and put over the split sticks, leaving a distance between the racks so that heat could circulate.  When the barn was filled, it amounted to thousands of pounds of green tobacco that would come out a bright golden yellow.


            Now as to the heat system for curing the tobacco, flues were built along each side the length of the barn.  The flues were built with rocks and mud and braced all along with iron structures to strengthen the top of the flue.  Long pieces of wood cut to reach up into the flue were put into place, and then it was time to light the fire that would heat the furnaces and turn the tobacco a bright yellow as the heat dried the sap from the leaves.


            The big two-story manufacturing plant was completed and ready for an extra number of employees.  All of this was thought about back in the spring when Pa was planting a watermelon patch.  He had in mind some changes he was going to make when the new plant opened the first of June.  After everyone had learned just what his job was and had a pretty good knowledge of everything in general, Pa gave his employees a thirty minute recess in the morning.  There was another recess in the afternoon, with one hour off for dinner.  Twelve hours was considered a working day.  If he gave two hours for recreation and free time during the day, he believed that the employees would be refreshed.  They could go to the orchard for fruit or cut a juicy watermelon taken from a stack under the big shade tree.  If none of this suited them, then there was a croquet game in the front yard, or perhaps horse shoe pitching or a game of checkers.  And this was not all, but I will leave the rest for another time.  The employees would almost run to get back to work, and this was evidence that the “time out,” as Pa called it, was paying off.  Pa could see that his employees, relaxed and rested, appreciated their jobs and were willing to work a little harder.  It turned out to be the profitable thing to do.


            The new season was quite different, with new faces on all sides, but it was remarkable how the new hands fitted right in and soon were turning out good work - almost equal to some of the professionals who had been with the little manufacturing company since the first days.  There were now between thirty-five and forty people working in the factory.  The expansion had added so much more room for the extra amount of tobacco that it would twice exceed the output before the new addition.  The bins were three times the size of the first bins.  It seemed that Pa had reached that long-awaited dream of putting out a product that was everything that he had hoped for.


            He wanted to hear first-hand what the customers around the sales area had to say about his product, and so he would go out himself to check with the public.  He found it very encouraging.  The salesmen had not been exaggerating.  His brands were quite different and not too sweet.  He came back all enthused and told Mama, “We are on our way.”  He heard no complaints about prices, not even for “Harmon’s Best,” which had a sizeable price tag on it along with his personal guarantee stamp.  He was sure to at least double his output for the coming season.


            Now Pa could turn at least part of his attention to a valuable project that would meet an important need.  There were four young ladies and a son who needed preparations for their education.  The plan was to build a big room that would later serve as a kitchen and a



dining room for the house he planned to build eventually in Waleska.  He had bought three acres of land on Cartersville Street in Waleska.  He planned to build the large room with dividers for privacy for the boys and girls.  Carpenters were hired to rush the building so that it would be ready by the fall school opening at Reinhardt College.


            The room was completed, and furnishings and supplies were moved in.  This would be a home away from home from Monday morning until Friday afternoon for daughters Arilla, Florrie, Agnes, and Leila.


            Now that the tobacco manufacturing season was drawing to an end, the workers had their own crops to harvest.  They had cotton and peas to pick and syrup cane to get to a mill to be made into sorghum syrup.  There were also various other duties.  Within a few days the bins would all be empty, and the big heavy doors  would swing shut until the next summer.  The tobacco had been processed and packed in boxes for the salesman to continue to deliver.  There would be enough to keep him on the road until winter weather stopped his rounds.


            Quite often on Saturdays during the winter season, Pa and my brother Fred would pack a variety of each brand of tobacco and take off for a day’s journey to three or four country stores within a few miles of each other.  It was easy to make the round in one day.  On one particular trip they had to cross the Etowah River.  The bridge crossing the river was being moved upstream, because the road was being changed.  A ferry boat was used to tow traffic across the river while the bridge was being completed.  Fred was in his early teens, and he felt ten feet tall when Pa let him drive the team of mules.  He sat back with the lines in his hand, and occasionally he gave the big mules a slap with the lines to make them pick up speed.  He was doing such a good job guiding the team around the curves that Pa fell asleep.  Suddenly the team surged forth, and luckily Pa woke up and realized that the wagon was within three lengths of going off into the river.  If he had not waked up, Fred would have driven into the river carrying team, wagon, tobacco, and the two passengers as well.  Needless to say, these two travellers were in a turmoil, and they were overjoyed to see a ferry boat coming from the other side to safely tow their team and the covered wagon across the river.  It was not surprising to Pa to have Fred turn the reins over to him with the remark, “I don’t want to drive any more.”


            Pa had the opportunity to talk with customers and find out, to his great surprise, that he needed to expand his tobacco factory.  Men operating the stores he called on that day gave him the encouragement to enlarge his operation so his regulars would not be disappointed when they asked for a George Harmon brand, whether it was “Harmon’s Best” or the lowly “lug” pipe tobacco.  This was the most inferior brand, all dark, but it had a special treatment that gave it a good taste when it was smoked, and it left a sweet aroma in the room.  His tobacco products were selling.  It was this way in the towns as well as in the country.  He could hardly wait until the spring to get the seed bed ready!


            Let’s pass on for a few years and concentrate on the youngsters that we then referred to as “weekend family.”  They were doing real well in school so far - reasonable grades for some and extra good grades for others.  The president of the little struggling college was one of the highest qualified administrators in that section.  He knew every student by name: those living in the dormitories as well as those living in the little town of Waleska.  He was thinking of the youth and the necessity of a good education to meet the future challenges that would confront each boy and girl along life’s path.  He tried to instill in their minds the idea that among present students there were boys who, if they prepared themselves, could be leaders in the state and in the United States government.


            How right he was.  Years later a member of the graduating class of 1899 was elected to the United States Senate from the State of Georgia.  His name was Wade Fergerson.  He later stated that the encouragement he received from dedicated teachers at this little college and from special friends like my father gave him the determination to go for the top.  I have a letter he wrote to Pa asking about politics.  This letter was dated August 2, 1928.  He was asking if Hoover would carry Cherokee County.  This question was followed by the statement, “George, we need to do some housecleaning up here in Washington.”  He knew his old friend was interested in education and that deep down he was hoping that at least some of his children would have the determination to graduate from Reinhardt.


            Pa was halted between two opinions.  What should be done next?  Should he take his mind off tobacco long enough to plan the building of the house in Waleska, since Bessie and Sam were growing up and the little two-teacher school was unable to give services except to students in the lower grades.  It was not a hard decision, since the education of his children was foremost in his priorities.  He drew the plans and built the house - which included the big room that was already built.


            There were two stories with three bedrooms upstairs with large closets.  These closets were built inside the three gables that adorned the front of the second story facing the street and above the porch.  Also, there was a family living room and one bedroom downstairs.  Chimneys reached from the ground to the second story with fireplaces in each bedroom and a huge fireplace in the family room.  The fireplaces were built of soapstone that came from a quarry a few miles from Waleska.  After winter fires were no longer needed, my sisters would scrape the charred soot from the smooth interior of the fireplaces and put wild flowers and ferns inside them.  This made the rooms cozy and pretty.  There was also a big dining table that was an ideal place for studying and writing.  Above this table there was a big circular lamp hanging from the ceiling.


            Now that the house was completed, the girls liked their new bedrooms and nice roomy closets built inside the gables.  They were all excited with their new home.  It was the third two-story house in Waleska, and these young ladies were thrilled to be living in one of the prettiest homes in the little town.


            The town’s people gave it the name “Three Gables.”  It was painted white with chocolate brown trimming.  Luck seems to have been with the “Three Gables.”  It has passed down through quite a few owners, because I have kinda kept an eye on that special house.  I say special, because it is the home where I was born over eighty years ago.  It is still in excellent condition, considering the number of families that have called it home.  To look at the house through my eyes, I say, “I’m so glad that you have been lucky to have sheltered so many, young and old, and still look so great.  And oh, one other thing.  I have never passed by when you looked like you needed a new coat of paint, and so I give my innermost thanks to one and all.”


            It wasn’t long before more small shacks were being converted into homes where families could be together.  The Sharp brothers had the first grocery store in the town.  Later, they enlarged their building and added a dry goods section.  Dr. Moore, the town physician, erected a small grocery store at what was called Five Points; where Canton Road crossed Cartersville Road, with another road to the right going to Ball Ground.  His business was managed by Mr. Lewis, a man who had a son and daughter in school at Reinhardt Academy.  Next, a big booster for the little town was built.  It was a general store owned by W. A. Bearden and R. T. Jones.    Mr. Jones owned and operated the big-


gest general store in Canton.  Why tell all this?  It meant that people in the community could go to school there and also buy anything from a pencil to stylish clothes and shoes right in their own hometown.  Of course, they could also buy “Harmon’s Best” plug tobacco and “Farmer’s Friend” smoking tobacco, too.


            Pa had rented the old family home to a special friend who was supposed to be his assistant in the factory and also help with the farming.  And now it was going to be inconvenient for him to commute morning and night by horseback from Waleska to the tobacco factory three miles away.  Now he was thinking seriously of building a factory in Waleska.  He had room to build on the property on which he had built the house.


            He started to put the project in motion.  First, he drew the plans in every detail.  The sills and sleepers would be sawed from oak trees, and the framing and boxing would be out of forest pine growing on his own land.  It would take a rather large crew to cut the trees and get them to a sawmill located on the next farm.  He was jubilant over the thought of the setup he had in mind.  Now he had to sit down and figure out just what he needed to build the new factory.


            This sounds like a big undertaking for a man who never attended school except for six months.  Even then, the only book he had was the Blue Back Speller.  He could spell every word within the bindings of the speller.  The longest word was nineteen letters long.  It was “incomprehensibility.”  As the older children had learned how to read, they had taught their Pa reading as well.  Then as they advanced in arithmetic, learning the multiplication tables, he worked right along with them.


            During the time he was building the factory on the farm, he learned how to draw blueprints for a building, from the sills to the shingles on the roof.  He admitted it was not easy, but he was determined not to go through life handicapped in ways he could prevent.  He learned little by little and step by step.  He knew he had the ability to learn a lot from his building crew, and it seemed to be a pleasure for them to assist him in his determination to be versed in carpentry.  With the blueprints drawn, all he needed was the building materials.  The trees were cut and at the sawmill.


            We will leave the new building plans for the present and go back to the Salacoa Valley and see what was happening at the home of Grandpa Joshua and Grandma Betsy.  To our sorrow, we find Grandpa wasn’t feeling too well.  He was having to slow down due to fatigue, and Grandma Betsy was quite concerned.  He tried to reassure her it was just a case of spring fever, and he would soon be eating more and sleeping like a baby.  She knew it was more than spring fever and tried hard to pass it off as he wished her to, but remembering the war wound he received had given her cause for concern.  He continued to work in his shop, but he let a young man be hired and trained to do most of the work.  Grandpa could depend on him to practically take over, with very little help from him.


            Aunt Molly and Uncle Sam were still living at home.  Aunt Molly had vowed she was perfectly content to be an old maid.  She had said, “What would Ma Betsy do without me to help her with all the milking, washing, ironing, and all the big Sunday dinners?”  Sunday after Sunday the big crowds came expecting a big feast.  Mama used to tell about a funny thing that happened on one occasion.  It seems that Aunt Molly had cooked a big pot of fresh backbones and ribs, but the bowls were empty and folks were still eating.  Grandma Betsy got up from the table and sliced big pieces from the hog’s jowls that had been cooked to make press-meat.  This didn’t suit Aunt Molly at all, and she could be heard


saying, “If I live ‘til tomorrow, I’m going to souse-up my hog’s head.”  Every time anyone took a piece of the meat she got a little louder, but no one seemed to hear above the laughing and talking.  This was one of Mama’s special remembrances about Aunt Molly.  She recalled that it was a time never to be forgotten, because it was so funny.


            Winter was over now, and Mother Nature was trying to say, “It’s Spring!”  As people walked along the country road, the air was full of the sweet aroma coming from the beautiful pink and white crabapple blossoms, while the limbs swayed to and fro in the warm sunshine.  Aunt Molly would get limbs from the trees and decorate the “big room” (“living room” we call it now) on Sunday.  They never knew who would come on Sunday.


            Pa liked to tell about how he would tease his sister about getting married.  Once she told him that if he didn’t quit bothering her about men, she was never going to make him another pie.  She knew he liked apple pie, and she always made these for him.  She won.  Pa knew she wasn’t joking, so he stopped his teasing.  He loved his sister and would often say to others, “She is my special sister, but the other sisters don’t know it.”  During the war when the Home Guards would come calling with their loud cursing and going from room to room kicking over chairs, Aunt Molly would take Pa in her arms, pressing his head against her body and putting her hand over his other ear, shielding him from a lot of the noise.  And with her apron she obscured from his vision the horrible looking tramps.  It was easy to see that there was a bond between this sister and her younger brother.  He was only ten years old at the time, and she tried to protect him.


            Back home in Waleska, it was really spring.  Everyone was all excited.  Commencement at the college was just around the corner.  Students were getting ready by practicing plays, speeches, songs, and other things.  The public and parents would be invited to see the children perform.  My oldest sister, Arilla, was to be in the first program.  She was to give a comical reading using hand actions to bring out some of the funny points.  It was a hit.  She finished with cheers and laughter.  Her Mama and Pa watched and cheered as their firstborn stepped to the front of the stage and took a bow.  Then she walked off the stage, down the back steps, and into the arms of her soon-to-be husband, Albert Elrod.  Later it came out that her cousin Virgil Harmon had carried letters secretly from one to the other and played the central part in their courtship.


            When Mama and Pa reached home, they found a note she had slipped under the door telling them she was on her way to get married.  They were so stunned that they were speechless.  Soon the other members of the family reached home full of glee and pride, yelling for their sister and saying, “Didn’t everyone like her reading?”  Then they realized that something had happened.  Mama was crying, and Pa was sitting there without a word.  Mama handed Florrie the note, and she read it aloud to the rest.  It told that Arilla was on her way to be married.  She stated that she loved Albert dearly and that life without him would be unbearable.  She told Pa she loved him and Mama, but Albert came first.  She could not go on to school and risk losing him.  She expressed the thought that maybe the others would continue and graduate, and she ended by saying, “I love all of you.  Please forgive me.”


            This was a shock that left the family in turmoil.  Finally, Pa asked the others one by one if they knew of Rilla’s plans.  No one had the slightest idea that she was even in love.  He asked Florrie, her next oldest sister, and she replied that she was as surprised as anyone.  Pa’s response was, “Our family circle is broken.  I had such plans for our children, Emma.”  Taking his wife by the hand as she tried to smile at him through her misty eyes, he struggled to keep the tears from revealing his deep emotion.  Then he spoke


in a whisper, “Emma dear, it seems such a short time since our firstborn, a little redhead, came to bless our humble little home.”  Then the tears ran down his handsome face as Mama tried to comfort him, saying, “We have four more girls.  We must think of how fortunate we are.  Rilla made her choice.  Now we must give our love and trust to the rest and tell them we are expecting them to finish their education before considering marriage.”


            Then Pa said to the youngsters, “That was the purpose of building this house and moving to Waleska - to educate our children.  Your Mama and me hope you will listen to our plea and stay in school.  An education will prepare each of you for a better chance to find a place of leadership in life that will mean promotion.  Don’t you remember me telling you as children that giant oaks grow from tiny acorns?  Be an acorn, and when you walk off the stage, it will not be down the back stairs as your sister has done tonight, but down the front steps with a diploma in your hands that will qualify you to be a giant oak in your country, no matter what you decide to be or do.  You can use that diploma as a stepping stone for a life of usefulness and opportunities for young people that will be beyond your expectations.  You see your Pa is an example of the need for an education.  There were no good schools when I was growing up.  The Blue Back Speller was the only book I ever had.  I learned to spell, but what good is spelling if you can’t read?  But you see, six months was all I attended school.  When you learned to spell the words in this one book, you graduated, so to speak.  You all are teaching me, and little by little I am going to read, as I continue to let each one take their turn helping me to learn to do arithmetic, writing, and so on.  It will give you a good review to go back to your grade school years.  I hope you can enjoy it as much as I do.”


            Things at the house of “Three Gables” were almost back to normal.  The Harmons were trying to adjust to the vacant chair at the big table in the dining room.  (Oh!  I must add that this big dining table was a surprise gift from Grandpa Joshua as a housewarming present when the family moved into the new home in Waleska.  The top was made of heart pine.  The legs were handcarved and were made from heart pine, also, with a highly polished natural color finish.)  Rilla’s chair was moved out and the plates placed a little farther apart to fill the vacancy.


            Now that spring had come, the farmers were rushing to get things planted, especially the tiny tobacco plants that had to be transplanted into the soft loamy soil in the fields.  This was the most important job, getting these tiny plants to live.  Pa was trying to get back to his normal self, but his disappointment was easy to see.  He had very little to say, and Mama was trying to get his mind on the other daughters and their two sons.  One evening she said, “Rilla preferred marriage to an education.  Now let us cheer up and be happy again.”  Pa’s reply was, “I agree. We do have others to think of and love.  Now let us all work together, having no more secrets.  Will everyone promise?”  A big “Yes” promise went up.


            Nothing had been mentioned about the plans to build the tobacco factory at Waleska.  The spring was summer now, and Pa’s plans seemed to be bogged down from lack of interest.  Mama hesitated to ask if the plan was just on the drawing board or if he had postponed his plan to build indefinitely.  Finally, she did ask, and his answer was, “We’ll see how everything works out.”  He seemed to have doubts about something.  Was he thinking about crop failures that would mean less tobacco and less work for his employees?  She could only hope that her guess would be wrong.


            We have not been to visit Grandpa Joshua and his ever-devoted little Betsy for a while.  She has now become more concerned, as the days pass into months, at the changes


in Grandpa.  He has been losing weight as well as strength.  He seldom goes to his shop now.  He had built his shop below the house near a little branch of water in order to have it for the shop.  The branch came down from a big spring that was higher up on the mountain and came dashing over the rocks.  The water made music as it tumbled down, and if a person would take the time to stop and listen, it was beautiful.  But Grandma knew that walking back up the hill from the shop was too much for him.  Then too, he had to rest longer after the walk back to the house.


            The orders for tools were dropping off, but Grandpa didn’t seem to notice.  And his assistant would make it appear that he was busy when Grandpa was around.  He was trying to make his boss happy.  It was this assistant who talked to Grandpa’s doctor after he had examined him.  The doctor told him that Grandpa was a very sick man.  He said his illness was caused by the wound he received during his war days.  He knew something was enlarging in his right lung and that it would soon cause his death.  He didn’t want to tell his wife, but he believed she knew already.  He said, “She pulled Joshua through the bullet wound, but he was younger and stronger then.  We doctors don’t know what is happening inside, and even if we did, there isn’t anything we could do for him.”  The assistant asked, “Will you tell his son George right away?  I think the family should know he has only a short time to live.”  It was true; Grandma could see how fast he was losing in every respect, but he tried to make believe that he would soon be better.  He would tell them, “I feel a lot better some days.”


            Mama loved her husband’s parents.  They had accepted her as another special daughter added to the family, so the love was mutual.  She looked to her father-in-law for advice in counseling her girls especially.  She spent as much time as possible with him, and when she would leave to go home to see how the girls were getting along with the housekeeping, he would always say, “Hurry back Sissie (Grandpa’s pet name for Mama), I will miss you.”


            As he gradually grew weaker, it seemed his chest on the right side was so big it looked like he had a pillow under his shirt.  It was pushed up so that he could not turn his head.  His chin rested on his collar bone, and still he believed another miracle would come, and he would be well again.


            Grandpa accumulated a small fortune after going to school and learning tool craftmanship.  Farmers needed good tools to produce better crops, and they needed home appliances as well.  He would take paper bills and exchange them for gold at the bank.  He was rather shy about anyone outside the immediate family knowing of his success as a master farm tool maker.  Not even his devoted wife Betsy knew how much gold was in the sheepskin pouch he kept.  She told their children that he had tried to tell her several times, but she would put her finger over his lips, always telling him she did not want to know how much gold he had or where he kept the sheepskin pouch.  She just assumed it was safely tucked away, and when he was ready to bring it out, he would do so.


            Mama had to be home to help get ready for the summer tobacco manufacturing to begin.  The opening date was the first Monday in June.  Everything was ready, and each old employee had been notified.  This meant short visits to see Grandpa Joshua.


            The girls all took their usual places at the classifying bins with dear old faithful Aunt Molly at bin number one.  She took pride in the fact that she had the authority to keep a careful eye on down the line to the last bin to see that her helpers were on their jobs grading carefully.   It was a good opening.   The first week passed as if it had flown on


wings.  There were no hitches and no lagging, as would have been expected for the first week.  


            Mama had quite a job at home.  She missed the girls helping.  She had to do all the meal planning and prepare all the lunch boxes.  These had to be filled with a substantial variety of foods for working people.


            Everything in general seemed to be working out for Pa.  He had been deeply concerned about Grandpa, but to the joy of both families, his father had improved considerably.  Grandma Betsy contributed his improvement to the fact that he was eating more.  It seemed she had coaxed him into snacking between meals, and it had worked.  Speaking of snacking, the “factory family” was enjoying the usual “time out” periods.  Even though the Harmons did not live in the house, Pa had planted the watermelon patch so that the melons would ripen during the factory work time.  Fruit for all was in the orchard, and the croquet yard was set up for playing.  Everything was set up just like the last year.


            To everyone it was amazing to see that summer was almost gone, but Florrie was overjoyed.  The tiresome trips out to the factory and back home to Waleska were almost over.  Florrie said, “You bet I’ll be glad!”  The others didn’t speak their minds as she did, but that was Florrie.  Leila chimed in and said, “Florrie, remember we need clothes, tuition, and lots of other things.  We should be glad to help all we can.”  Agnes said in a low voice, “Shouldn’t we all be willing to help?  Don’t tell Pa how Florrie feels.  He is just beginning to be his old self, jolly and cheerful and joking occasionally, and I am so glad he is getting over Arilla.”


            Pa was expecting the government agent any day for his final inspection.  Instead, he received a letter from the inspector stating that due to the shortness of time until closing day for his factory, he was authorizing him to stamp not only his personal stamp, but due to the accuracy of quality of his tobacco, he was authorized to fill out the report using the government inspector’s blank.  Pa was to put the government stamp in the proper place and then use the inspector’s stamp to cancel the government stamp.  He was to mail the form back to the inspector in a self-addressed envelope.  The letter ended with, “Hoping you had a good season.  Respectfully yours, James Hordan.”  To be sure, Pa felt very proud of his trust.  But why shouldn’t he be trusted?  He had never had any corrections made by the inspectors during the years he had been manufacturing tobacco.


            The saleman had been rather slow in delivering, and several hundred boxes were still stacked in the factory.  This meant that Pa would have to be at the factory only on the days they started deliveries and when they returned.  Thus would give him more time to spend with his father.  It was a short mile to his house, and, back in those days, it was a nice walk.


            Back home in Waleska, school had opened at Reinhardt College once again, and the six Harmons, two boys and four girls, were anxious to see everybody.  It was like one big family with all the hugs and hellos.  Mama told me how funny it was just to hear what each one had done or experienced over their summer vacation.  Some things were funny, and some not so humorous.  Several had been working during vacation.  There were also new classmates galore.  The campus was covered with new faces, which meant new faculty members had been added to take care of the larger enrollment.





            President Sharp was overjoyed to see so many new students.  The enrollment was almost double that of the past year.  Captain A. M. Reinhardt, the founder of the little college, was a life-long resident of Waleska.  He founded the college mainly for mountain boys and girls.  Reinhardt was built in the “front yard,” so to speak, of the termination of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.  It could well be called “the jumping off place,” since a huge ledge of white rock abruptly ends the Blue Ridge Mountains at this point.  Many times the students would gather on the west campus in the fall and watch the beautiful rays of the sun as it set over the highest peak.  After the sun had said, “Goodnight,” and disappeared, the long golden rays seemed to reach up to heaven.  So the students would say, as they marvelled at such beauty.  This made a perfect setting for a Vespers Service of worship.  Then they retired to their rooms and books.


            Let us return to the house where all the activities of the Harmon family took place.  Years later, I asked Mama what it was like to have so many grown-ups around laughing and fussing - and how she got by without showing partiality.  She often told me, “It wasn’t hard to tell who was right.”


            One day she announced to Pa that she was going with him to the farm the next day.  “I want to see Pa Joshua.  I have something to tell him.  The girls can cook their dinner for one day.”  Sometimes she wondered if, as parents, they were expecting too much of their children, but they were normal, and why should she worry?  They were making good grades.  Mama had not told the girls they were going to have a little brother or sister.  She wondered how they were going to take the news.  Would they be glad or resentful?  Sam had been the baby, as they teasingly called him, for seven years.  What would her grownup children think?  But she had decided that Grandpa Joshua would be the second person to hear the big news.  The next morning she and Pa rode off in a new buggy.  The new buggy would be a surprise, but the fact that a new grandchild was expected was going to be an even bigger one.


            She found Grandpa sitting on the side of his bed when she walked in.  She went over to his bed and took a seat beside him.  Then she reached over and planted a big kiss on his cheek. It seemed to please him.  He looked at her and repeated his usual welcome, “Emmie, I’ve missed you.”  She gave him another kiss on the other cheek and told him, “I have some news, and I am wondering what you will think.”  “Tell me,” he said, “From you I bet it’s going to be good news.”  Without hesitating she told him he was going to be a grandpa again.  He looked surprised and then he replied, “I hope it’s a boy, Emmie.  We need some more boys to carry on the Harmon name.”  Then he stood up, taking Mama by the arms, and tried to dance around.  But he only made a few steps.  Mama got him back to the bed.  He was exhausted.  He was very weak but still seemed to believe he would get better.  Mama could see he was losing some of the vitality he had built up such a short time ago.  Grandma Betsy knew how much they cared for each other, so she made her presence scarce and let the day be a time for their togetherness.  The day passed as if it had been on wings.  Pa soon came for her.  He spent only a short time as the evening was far spent - and, too, he ate dinner with his parents every few days and got to visit with them.


            They started toward home, but Mama rode a long distance without any conversation.  Pa could see the change in his father too.  Mama seemed to realize in her second father (as she so often referred to him), there was pain he was desperately trying to hide.  She finally broke the silence with sobs that could not be avoided.  She was deeply saddened by the setback that had broken his lengthy period of improvement.  Her halting words were, “George, I’m not going to stay away this long any more.  He means too much to me.  It is plain to see that he cannot live much longer unless he gets relief from the pain. 


It seems to be a continuous agony he can no longer hide.”  Then she thought, Dr. Harden’s weekly call was only two days away, and perhaps he would add a little to his medication that would help him sleep more.  Grandpa thought sleep would take care of the weakness that was plagueing him, so he would rally again.  Whether he really believed it or not, he was probably just trying to cheer up the family.  After this, Pa left the clearing and the factory work to his assistant and spent more time with Grandpa.


            Fall had passed, and it was now the winter season.  And Christmas was just a few weeks away.  It seemed that there was an atmosphere of tension around the Harmon house.  Both Mama and Pa had an uneasy feeling that there was something wrong at school.  Something had happened, and someone had forgotten the pledge each individual made to not keep important problems or secrets from their parents.  They hoped their intuition was wrong.  But not for long, as their hopes were shattered when Fred came home one day from drill practice fuming mad.  He and his drill commandant had had an argument over Fred’s failure to follow instructions.


            Up to this point, nothing has been mentioned about Reinhardt College being a military school.  As has been told, the founder was Captain A. M. Reinhardt.  His desire was to encourage the building of small colleges across the country where young men could get an education, as well as learn preparedness in case of another war.  Boys and men would know the tactics of war at least to a small degree.  Those who had a little knowledge could be taught more easily and quickly by army men, and armies could be assembled within a few months for active service.  The commandant was an army captain who knew what it took to be a good soldier.  Perhaps Captain Reinhardt was thinking of the lessons of the Civil War when he asked the federal government for support.  Fortunately, it was granted.


            Anyway, the military discipline of the school was the reason for Fred’s disappointing his parents and the other members of the family.  Pa informed Fred he should be ready to accompany him to see just what the trouble was.  To be sure, Fred objected, but he was told not to slip off, or he would regret it.  Fred refused to go.  “I will quit school.  I am not going,” he told Pa.  But he was forced to go.  The instructor was very nice, adding, “I did not require any more from Fred than I require of each drill unit.”  Pa thanked him and told him Fred should have followed his instructions.  Then he said, “I stand by you as a student’s father should, when that student refuses to carry out drill regulations along with the other cadets in his company.”  So Fred, know-it-all as he had always been, preferred to quit school rather than admit he was wrong.


            “Again, Emma, another one of our children quitting school,” Pa said.  He gave his son an alternative, “Go back to school or get you a job, Fred.  My life was completely dedicated to my children and their education.  Now less than a year has passed, and another disappointment has come to me.”  Fred’s reply was, “Pa, you and Mama know I love you.  But I prefer to live my life as I choose.”  Pa commented, “It is too much to accept.  From now on, it seems a guessing game as to who will be next, Emma.”


            The next day Fred told Pa he could get a job on Grandpa Joshua’s farm.  Perhaps Uncle Sam needed another helper, and Grandpa would give him a job.  And he did.  Now there was another vacant chair at the table.  It seemed Fred’s presence at the table was not all that was missing.  He was the big brother to the girls, but Sam grinned as he waved goodbye and yelled, “Now I just have one less boss.”  But the girls asked Sam, “What are you going to say when you have to bring all the wood upstairs by yourself?”  His reply was, “If you get cold enough, you will be looking for the woodstack.  It’s just around the corner, back of the house.  It won’t be hard to find.  Ha! Ha!”


            If possible, seeing Fred quit school was a greater disappointment to Pa than Arilla getting married.  Fred was a son.  He was looking for a son with an education qualifying him to get a good job, marry a nice girl, and raise a family.  Mostly boys would be nicer, who would carry the Harmon name.  Pa had told Fred, “You are not twenty-one.  I could force you to go back to school, apologize to your teacher, and return to your classes.  But if you are not interested, you will be too stubborn to study.  So, go your way.  Just one thing, Fred.  You have broken not only your promise, but you have crushed my pride and wounded my spirit.  How can a father look to the future with the disappointment that two of my children have brought me face to face with?  A curtain of uncertainty has come between me and the future.  Beyond this curtain, a blank wall raises its ugly face.  Just remember, Fred, as you walk out that door, you are carrying your earthly belongings as well as a part of your Mama’s heart - mine as well.  Come back to see us occasionally.”


            A few months passed, and Grandpa continued to have periods of gaining.  Then the loss of appetite weakened him, seemingly more each time.  The spring season was fast approaching, and Grandma Betsy feared the change would be too much for her companion of almost fifty years.  Grandpa had decided to close the shop before the spring orders started coming in.  His assistant was not qualified to do all kinds of tool-making, and Grandpa did not feel he could guarantee work he had not supervised.  “Perfection” was his motto.


            Once more, back in Waleska preparations were beginning for the commencement gaieties just a month or so away.  The teachers now had so many more students to be included in the festivities.  Tryouts would be held, first to find singers for special programs, and students to give readings, and so on for other specialties.  These tests would give a basis for extra-special entertainment that up until now the public had had very little of.  The young scholars were all excited.  It was also something special for the new students.  The Harmon girls were all up in the air about what to try out for.  It had to be something they liked doing.


            Pa was interested in tobacco raising, so he spent more time over on the farm than usual.  He loved the quietness of the outdoor life.  He often told me about how he would sit down on a big oak stump near a bubbling spring that came flowing out from between two huge rocks as fast as his fox dogs could chase a fox.  He loved the musical sound this rushing stream made as it tumbled over the solid rocks, racing due north in the opposite direction from the river it would finally empty into.  Eventually, the crystal clear stream would flow into the muddy waters of the Etowah River.  My dad was like that.  He was an ardent lover of nature and the outdoors that held so much of God’s greatness, if people would only take the time to look for it.  Even the ornery tobacco worm was beautiful to him, but it was destructive, and so it had to be destroyed.


            Aunt Molly had been his fastest and best “worm catcher,” but now she had very little time for this, since Grandpa Joshua was requiring a lot more care.  He needed someone near to answer his call at any moment.  Aunt Molly carried on the management of everything, leaving Grandma near to keep him company and to give him his medicines.  Grandma Betsy realized he could pass away at any time, and it was showing in her careworn face.  Pa realized his brave and heroic dad was fast slipping away from his family, too.  He had fought his way back countless times, but this time he had lost some of his fighting spirit.  And it seemed as though a gloom was settling around the big white house on the hill in the Salacoa Valley.




            Spring was far spent.  Commencement had been the highlight for the surrounding area, but now the students had gone home, and things in Waleska were rather quiet.  Now the girls were out of school and could help around the house and give Mama more time to spend with Grandpa.  And this she did.  He was so happy to have her near, and the first thing he usually asked was, “Emmie, when is that new grandson going to arrive?”  Mama would reply, “A grandson would be nice, and George is anxious for it to be a boy, and so am I, but what if it’s a girl?  We can’t send her back.”  His reply was, “Oh, keep her.  We would not want to send her back.  Girls are sweet.”


Note: A discrepancy with dates should be pointed out here.  Joshua Harmon died in 1882, eighteen years before the birth of Daisy Belle Harmon in 1900.  This means that the infant referred to in the narrative must have been Fred Arnold Harmon, born in 1881.


            It was the day for Dr. Harden to come to check him, and Mama was so glad to be visiting her “Pa.”  Maybe he would find everyone was mistaken that Grandpa was no worse, but just had a touch of spring fever.  The doctor came and checked him and stayed to visit with Grandpa.  He reminded him that farmers would be needing tools.  But with a little sadness in his voice, Grandpa told him that he had closed his shop.  “You remember ‘Perfection’ was my motto.  I closed the shop since I can no longer be there to supervise and guarantee the work.”  The doctor was trying to cheer him up, but it seemed that Grandpa had yielded to the inevitable truth that the pain was getting to be more than he could endure.  Yet, still he hoped for a change.


            The family was stunned at the thought that their dad could not be with them but a very short time.  They were lost at the very thought of not having him around to advise them.  Later that day he seemed to come to life all at once, and Mama sat down on the edge of the bed and asked if he felt better.  He answered, “Yes, I do.”  Then he turned his head to the left side and was gone.  No more pain for one of the bravest men who ever lived.  Uncle Sam was first to break the silence.  He asked the question, “What will we do for someone to answer our questions or solve our problems?  Grandpa wasn’t God in any respect, but he knew right from wrong.  And to him ‘right’ meant being a friend to the needy and being ready to help build a better relationship in the community.  The Civil War wasn’t over in adjoining communities, but he tried to reason with the northern sympathizers.  He said, ‘Let us stand for unity,’ and it had its effect.”


            Grandpa Joshua was buried in the Salacoa Valley just a few miles from where he, his three brothers, and one sister first settled in Georgia.  Back then he had decided it was an ideal place for farming in the fertile valley, and the nearby mountains were excellent for hunting.  He had liked Georgia very much and had been successful there.  The War Between the States took its toll, but he worked hard and was soon a successful master mechanic, owning a shop equipped to build almost anything the public wanted.  He was successful to the extent that he had become, on his own, a rich man.  No one knew the contents of a sheepskin pouch where he kept his gold coins.  As his customers paid him in greenbacks or silver, he would have Grandma Betsy put on her riding skirt, and he would saddle Old Dolly and help her mount.  Then he would give her a package with an undisclosed amount of money to be exchanged for gold at the bank in Canton.  It was her own choice never to be told the amount in paper money or in gold.  When she returned, she would deliver the heavy package to Grandpa, and that concluded her duty.  Time after time, she made these trips to the bank in Canton.


            Knowing his past, after several years she began to see his once seemingly vigorous body become careworn and tired.   He felt tired more frequently, and she could see that


Grandpa wasn’t fooling himself.  Oftentimes he would try to tell her how successful he had been, but she would ask him not to confide in her.  By saying, “Not yet,” she later admitted she put him off concerning not only the value of the contents of the bag but where he kept it hidden.  After his death, she told their children, “I know you children believe I should have let him tell me.  I repeat, I always said, ‘Later you can tell me.’  One thing he did tell me was that it is mostly in twenty dollar gold pieces with some tens.  Also, I saw the bag several times.  It seemed to be about the size of a half-gallon bucket, and it was heavy.”


            The family was stunned to learn that the money earned from their Pa’s hard work was lost.  Each one had an idea where he could have hidden it, but when they searched, it turned out to be in the wrong places.  The word finally got out, and it spread like wildfire.  People came from far and near asking to help find the secret hiding place for a reward of just a few coins.  To be sure, the Harmons’ dignity was insulted, and they closed the door in these peoples’ faces, ordering them to leave at once.  That was about eighty years ago, and as far as the heirs know, the gold is still safely hidden where Grandpa Joshua, with his skillful hands, tucked it away three-fourths of a century ago.  It is still where he put it for safekeeping.


            The tobacco manufacturing had been left to the assistant pretty much of the time since the opening day that year.  Pa had just been in and out, because of the death of his father.  Now he had to make up for lost time.  There was not a single employee who had not made a special effort to do a better job during this time.  They knew that their boss was going through the saddest period of his life.  I remember Pa telling me that during that time of sadness he relived that portion of his life when he was only ten years old and spent hour after hour atop a corral post listening for the Home Guard’s horses to come running at full speed up the narrow road.  They knew his Pa was home, but they didn’t know about his hideout.  If they had paid an unexpected visit and seen a member of the family coming from his hiding place, they would have killed him.  He told me he would let his thoughts ramble through the nightmare of his childhood, and then he would feel so thankful for having such a Pa.  He could be proud.  And when he thought of his father’s refusing to lend him a hundred dollars, he spoke his thoughts out loud, “Thank you, Pa, for refusing to make the loan.”  When I asked why, he replied, “I was a man, and it made me realize it was time to show my ability to stand on my own two feet and not use my dad as a crutch.  It made a young man become determined to be the kind of person our country needed to rebuild our battle-torn southland.”


            After the sad reminiscing, we will finish up the summer season in the tobacco factory.  The tobacco year had not been good.  The weather had not been in favor of a bountiful crop, so the growers did not have the tall, full-leafed stalks they usually produced.  This cut short the output of the factory, so it was fortunate that the overproduction of the past year helped to make it possible to run the full season.


            The year was 1900.  This made twelve years, counting the four years with the small press and the twenty some-odd employees who had to learn everything from the first stalk of tobacco to the moulding of the first plugs that my Pa had been manufacturing.  A new building had been built.  The number of employees had more than doubled, and there was a press in use that would mold fifty plugs at one time.  Once again the tobacco season was over, and the doors to the factory were closed.  However, the delivery men were very busy making the deliveries before the winter season slowed their travel over the red clay roads of North Georgia.  When these roads were wet, it was almost impossible to travel, especially in a heavily-loaded wagon.   Pa was anxious to get as much to market as possible,  so he


could determine just what the factory’s profits had been for the season.  Then he could see exactly what his books would show when the auditor checked them.


            Florrie helped check the weekly reports, and Pa rechecked them week by week.  Yes, this self-educated man with only six months of schooling could handle figures from the smallest into thousands.  He used to say, “Do not say ‘I can’t,’ because I know you can.  If you have the desire and willingness, and the determination is there, you can.  I didn’t know how much four times ten was, but I learned by trying and I continued to try, and by studying along with my children I can do a lot of things.  I just didn’t give up.  English is my handicap, but I do not say, ‘I haint got,’ ‘you-uns,’ or ‘I’ve just sot down to rest,’ but it’s true, my English is bad.  I read a lot, and that helps me learn how to use words in everyday conversation.  My own lack of an education made it a must on my part to see that our children had the opportunity to get an education.”  “I was trying, and I intend to keep on trying,” he concluded.


            Christmas was not too far away.  The girls were excited over the fact that they were going to the big city of Canton to buy new material for dresses for Christmas parties - and perhaps new shawls to set off the beauty of their new dresses.  Each one was asking Mama for advice as to what colors and types of material to buy, when Mama said, “You girls come here.  I want to tell you something.  I am going to need some pretty white material, something soft and light weight.”  Their eyes widened in amazement.  “Mama, you mean we are going to have a new baby in the house?” they asked.  “Sam has been the baby for over seven years.  Now a new baby!”  They jumped for joy.  “A little baby to play with.  Aren’t we all glad?”  Then Florrie said, “No, I’m not glad.   You are not thinking of all those diapers.  Well, I am having no part in the diaper washing.”  Mama was in tears.  Her reply to Florrie was, “I will wash the diapers myself, Florrie.  Who knows, this angel I am nurturing in my own body at an age few women bare children could be sent by God to take care of me when I am old and feeble - I wonder if it could be true?”  Leila then asked for more specific details about how much material to buy.


            The girls bought everything they had planned to buy and came back home and started to cut the pretty material by the latest style patterns.  The pretty soft, white material bought for the new baby was folded carefully and wrapped in tissue paper and put in Mama’s trunk until a later time when she would sew it herself.


            The Christmas season was over.  The younger Waleskians had had a delightful holiday vacation, but now long faces could be seen on the Reinhardt campus, because it was time to get back to the books and hard studying that was expected of each student.  The professors made it clear that a lot of the students were going to fail if their grades did not improve.  Florrie knew she was one of that group, and she was furious.  Her English grades were just passable.  One day she came home very angry and told Pa her English teacher disliked her, and that was the reason why she was going to fail her.  She added, “And that’s not all.  I do not like her either.  She has her pets.”  Pa talked to his ill-tempered daughter, trying to get her to promise to study and keep up her assignments.  He told her, “”You will see a change in your English teacher’s attitude.  Give it a try and see.  Do this for me, Florrie, please.  Do your extra best for one week, and you may change your mind.  You know my dreams have already been shattered.  I believed each one of our children would see the sacrifice your Mama and me made when we left the farm and completed this house.  As originally planned, we would one day see each one of you walk off the Reinhardt College stage with a diploma.  Now a third child is about to add another wound to our hearts.  All has been said by us.  The rest is left for you to decide.”  The weeks passed, and Florrie reached her decision.  She came in, flung her books on the table, and said, “This is my answer.”  Then she turned and went upstairs.


            Plans to relocate the tobacco factory in Waleska were cancelled.  Mama and Pa decided to move back to the farm when school was out.  Mr. Fields had rented the house and farm with the understanding that he would be given three months notice if and when the house was to be vacated.  It was decided that it would be cheaper for the girls to stay in the Girl’s Hall on campus than it was for the family to live in Waleska.  So after commencement, a “For Rent or Sale” sign was hung in front of the house of “Three Gables.”  It did not hang there very long.  Dr. Fautner from Ball Ground bought the house and the extra lots.  The Harmons would be moving back to the farm, leaving behind shattered dreams and memories.


            It was somewhat of a surprise when the plan was announced to the family.  Really, Leila, Bessie, and Sam were the only three who planned to stay in school.  Agnes had developed a disease called stomach tetus.  Dr. Harden had diagnosed it and said it was extremely hard to control and cure.  She would have to stay on a very strict diet for a month or so, and maybe for years.  It was necessary for her to stay home, so the medication could be taken on time and meals carefully prepared and eaten four times daily.  Agnes was considered the best cook among the girls and delighted in cooking, but I was later told that she preferred playing with me, the new baby.  She would not let me cry.  I was only a few months old and so tiny that she thought it was terrible to let me cry or be neglected.  Sam was now a big boy and had very little to say or do with the new baby.


            Preparations were made for the move back to the farm.  Pa carried a lot of items as he traveled back and forth making preparations for the tobacco factory to open.  Perhaps the factory would open a little later than usual.  As mentioned before, a blight or rust had struck the crop a year or so earlier, and the farmers had decided to plant about half of their tobacco ground in cotton.  They were afraid that their tobacco crop would be cut short again.  Then too, prices for cotton had been much higher for the past year.  Sure enough, the blight struck the crop for a second year, and the beautiful, tall, wide leaves of the burley tobacco began to turn a sickly yellow, making them look like they were ready for harvesting.  Almost overnight, the rust struck fields of this choice tobacco.  Pa would not buy the rust stricken tobacco, but it was hard on him to have to check the plants of his friends and find the red, fuzzy mold on the beautiful leaves that had once gone into the “Harmon’s Best” bin - choice leaves that had helped make that brand so popular across Georgia, nearby Alabama, and North Carolina.  But the motto “Perfect” that hung on a plaque behind his desk was his standard.  Some men understood that he could not use the tobacco with a disease unknown until recent years, but others thought he should buy theirs regardless.  Pa explained that his honor was at stake.  Then too, he did not know whether the rust would be harmful to the users of the processed tobacco.  Farmers who had not planted some cotton were hard hit, and the season for the factory staff was shortened, but they used all the tobacco that was free of rust.


            Very little has been said about Grandma Betsy for some time.  Fred was living with her and making a good assistant on the farm, but Uncle Sam was not well.  The family doctor seemed concerned about him, but he would not admit he was sick, even though he had lost an unusual amount of weight within a short period of time.  His girlfriend Maggie had died from typhoid fever a short time earlier, and they had planned to be married during the time she was ill.  After her death, he told everyone he had no desire to live, and he died within a few weeks of her death.  It was a shock to everyone.  He had asked to be buried by the side of his beloved Maggie, and her family granted his wish.  Dr. Harden told the family he died from a broken heart.




Insert: Samuel J. H. Harmon is buried beside his brother James (Jimmy) Harmon in the Hutchinson Cemetery off Salacoa Valley Road.  There is no marker on the other side of Sam’s grave, which is on the edge of the woods.  Whether or not Maggie’s grave is there cannot be determined.


            This left Grandma Betsy and Aunt Molly alone.  Pa was left with the responsibility of making plans for Grandma and his dear old maid sister whom he loved so dearly.  Virgil, Uncle Will’s son, was given the big white house on the hill that had been the happy home of the Harmon family after the turmoil of the war years.  He promised to look after his Grandma and Aunt.  He was bound with a pledge to care for their every need.  He was warned that Grandma was still capable of making changes and decisions and that she was still in charge and should be consulted when changes were made.


            The tedious and time-consuming hours of moving were over, but it was a shock to Mama to find the house in a deplorable mess.  Mrs. Fields had known for three months that they had to be ready to give the house over in good condition.  Instead, the floors had greasy spots all over them.  They looked like pans or bowls of grease had been spilled all over two rooms.  If only someone had checked the house before they had moved, but Mama had felt sure the previous occupants would leave it clean.  So, only the stove and one table were set up in the kitchen.


            Pa had to take time off from his factory duties to make Mama a shuck mop, so that she could get the floors clean.  To do this, first Pa took a block of wood about twelve inches long and bored a lot of auger holes through it.  Then he pulled shucks through the holes and left them about four inches long.  Last, a handle was fitted securely into the center hole.  This mop, soaked in a tub of water and homemade lye soap, was used to scrub the floors.  They all sprinkled white sand on the floor and scrubbed over and over with the mop, and the greasy spots began to fade.  It took lots of water, but good old Sam kept his part of the bargain.  And after hours of scrubbing, it looked to Mama’s liking.  Now she had to rinse the floor until all the sand was flushed away and then let the warm spring air dry the floor.  One room was all she felt like scrubbing the first day.  The next day she would scrub the dining room and on and on, one room each day, until the entire house had been scrubbed from top to bottom.  Soon the whole house from the front door to the back was clean as a whistle.


            Agnes was the chief furniture arranger.  She could take the skimpy furnishings of an old time country bedroom and make it look inviting and cozy.  There were curtains on the windows that waved in the breeze and a pretty homespun spread on the bed with gay stripes or colorful baskets of flowers in the center.


            Poor little old me had really been neglected.  They said that I would stand in the old antique baby bed, handed down to the ninth little Harmon, and cry.  Then Agnes would take over and bathe me and wash away my tears that had gotten my curls all wet and dirty.  Soon she had me in snow-white clothes and my hair washed and brushed until the curls hung in ringlets.  They thought that the sudden change in surroundings had made me unhappy.  So with a little extra loving attention, I soon forgot the move, and everything was natural to me.


            The factory had opened with less than half the usual tobacco supply.  The salesmen were delivering stock held over from the previous year.  They were instructed to tell the buyers that perhaps this season’s supply would be the last of the Harmon’s brands.  Then they were to explain that due to the rust damaging the tobacco, crop farmers were not going


to plant tobacco the next year.  This news was a surprise to each buyer.  They could not believe that this was their final opportunity to purchase Harmon’s brands of tobacco.  After a period of establishing a good business, now the product would no longer be available.  These businessmen knew the quality of the products manufactured by George M. Harmon Tobacco Manufacturing Company.  They had had government inspectors say, “No need to tap this man’s boxes.  I have never found in his factory or on any display counter any brand that did not meet its standard.”  Hundreds of businessmen from the smallest to the wealthiest wanted to continue to furnish their customers this fine tobacco for years to come.


            One man had an idea to help the factory keep running on a more regular basis.  He contacted businesses that were regular buyers and proposed that the companies or small businesses band together to buy tobacco from the State of Virginia.  They would have the tobacco brought in by chartered railroad car and charge Pa only a small price, perhaps very little more than he was paying Georgia farmers at the factory door.  Those contacted agreed to see the man at the factory.  It would mean higher prices all the way around, but the buyers believed the product would sell regardless of the higher prices.  Pa thought it over very carefully and decided it would be a step in the dark that he was fearful to trust with no more capital than he had.  So he replied, expressing his appreciation and gratitude for their interest in his product and the desire to keep it on the market, “Truthfully, you have proven honesty pays off.  I have kept my motto ‘Perfection,’ and my product proved that this policy has been profitable.  But I’m sorry to say that as soon as my salesmen deliver the tobacco on hand, the factory of George M. Harmon will be closed.”


            To Pa’s surprise, for years to come, he would get a letter now and then from a former user of his product.  Then, too, he crossed paths with grateful people who had worked in the factory, and that was always a treat.


            Let us take an entirely new look to see what the plans were at this point.  Farmers were going to plant cotton and corn along with a lot of potatoes for the market.  Mr. Westbrooks was to be Pa’s foreman.  Now here is the joker!  Pa was making plans to go into the sawmill business.  He owned several hundred acres of hilly forest land where he could cut pine trees.  These forest pines were tall and beautiful and showed very few limbs.  Therefore, they would make good lumber with few ugly knots.  His sawmill was being installed, but how was he going to get the big steam engine?  It was eight miles to the nearest railroad station in Canton.  The engine was self-propelled, so Pa decided to have it driven from Canton to Waleska.  There were two small wheels in front with two high or tall back wheels with deep flanges that gave support to this big monster, so that it could be moved from place to place.  It had a capacity of fifty horsepower when put into action.  It would take time to travel the eight miles.  First it had to be filled with water, next with wood to make steam.  This would allow the engine to pull itself along the narrow, hilly road from Canton to Waleska.  Since it was new, care had to be taken not to get it too hot, or it would have blown some of the flues that kept the water flowing into the boiler that held one hundred and fifty gallons of water.  This machine generated power to pull its weight up Bird Mountain, which had to be crossed between Canton and Waleska.


            Now we will see how things were progressing around the house.  The little redhead was talking, but few words were understandable.  She used mostly sign talk.  Agnes was playing with me one day when Mama asked, “Agnes, how would you like to have a new baby to play with you and Daisy Belle?”  Mama said Agnes was shocked.  She looked up and said, “You are kidding.  You are too old for another baby.  You are in your forties.”  Mama replied, “That’s what Dr. Moore said, but he assured me it’s true.  He also said that it is a blessing.   This way my age change would be over and also the danger of loss of


blood.”  So a beautiful little curly headed boy arrived on January 13, 1902.  He was strong and did not fail to let anyone inside or out know he was around.  People would say, “My, he’s got strong lungs.”  He was named for one of the Harmon brothers, Frank, who chose to go out west and settle in Texas.


            We left the new project of sawmilling that was moving along nicely.  They had managed to get the big steam engine to the area selected for the big outfit that would consist of an up-to-date (at that time) sawmill planer and shingle mill.  On this spot, lumber could be cut to order for a house, from the bottom sills to the shingles on the roof.  But an early winter moved in and the crew who were cutting the trees had to quit.  The deep freezes had frozen the trees until you could stand and listen to them pop and crack when the winds blew.  The wind swayed the trees causing them to split at the heart, rendering them useless, but the men would not know this until the tree had fallen. Then they would find the whip-lashed center.


            Spring soon came, though, with its warm sunshine and rain that thawed the trees, and everything was ready for business.  The entire crew went through a few days of training just to make sure everyone was alert as to the dangers of tree cutting.  If one failed to move or do as instructed, it might cause an accident.  They were told to keep cool and follow instructions, and things would go like clockwork.  Two men were to ride the carriage that moved up the track with the log to the big saw.  The sawyer, holding the lever, would guide the huge log up to the saw, while applying pressure to force the saw through the log.  Then the lever was reversed, and the two men turned the log with cant hooks.  The sawyer then applied pressure to cut off a second slab, and so on.  A loggerhead was used to hold the log in place.  An off bearer carried the slabs away as they were sawed off.  This was done four times, and the log was ready to be cut into planks.  Each plank was cut exactly the same thickness.  The sawyer cut plank after plank until that once-big tree was in a stack several times its original size.  Then the lumber was stacked in a kiln to dry.  It remained there until it was thorougly dried by a fire built in a pit deep in the ground.  When the moisture was all dried out, the lumber might be used for weather-boarding on a home in Waleska, or perhaps it would be used to build a pretty farm home to replace a shack, where children could enjoy having a fine home and plenty of room for everyone.


            Pa was really happy.  He felt sure that he had found something constructive that was not only a way of making an income for his family but a means of helping his community by providing materials to build new homes.  These would bring improved living conditions, so that the future leaders of his beloved southland could grow up in a better environment that would bring pride and self-esteem to the thriving Salacoa Valley.


            Yes, it was a joy to sell a farmer the lumber to build an entire house - every item that was needed to build any size home - except the nails.  It was an exciting business.  But the noise from the saw was affecting Pa’s hearing.  This disturbed him.  The doctor told him he would probably have to give up the job as sawyer, because of the damage to his hearing that was already evident.  But he enjoyed seeing the planks drop one by one and pushing the carriage back for another log, and so he hated to reassign this task.


            Pretty soon, it was the talk of the community about how many new homes were under construction or already built and occupied by families who were much happier.  This was especially true of the children, who would ask, “Is this really our house, and can we keep it?”




            The decision was made. Pa had to turn the saw with all its noise over to Albert Elrod, his son-in-law.  Still, he found plenty to do in his little improvised office that he built some distance away from the noise.  His interest was in keeping all the machinery in tiptop working order and trying to increase production as orders were coming in daily.


            The changes in the appearance of the community were unbelievable.  All along the three mile route to Waleska, new homes with shade trees and flower beds could be seen.  All this proved that progress was on its way.  Also, several homes in Waleska itself were built with materials that Pa sold to builders.  One home in particular was the home of my sister, Bessie, owned and lived in until her recent death at age 91.  I don’t know just how old the house is, but it is at least sixty-five years old and in good condition.  It seems that if nothing happens to it, it will be there for some time to come.  Lucille Nicholson, Bessie’s daughter, lives there now.  It has four bedrooms, a living room, a dining room, and a kitchen.  There are also two porches.  This house was built by Mr. Rhyne, but he never lived there.  No one ever knew why he rented it and later sold it.  The house was ceiled inside with the fancy beaded ceiling.  Here is a fact.  There is not a single knot in the ceiling or weatherboarding inside or out in the entire house.


            A lot of time had slipped by since the family moved back to the farm from Waleska, and that little redheaded, spoiled brat who thought she should be entertained constantly had learned a few facts of life.  She had learned that she was not so important after all.  You see, there had been a new arrival in the Harmon home.


(The account, written about 1980, ends at this point with another mention of the birth of the last baby, Frank Harmon in 1902.)


            A few facts may be added here to fill in some details about the later life of the Harmons.  George Marion Harmon subsequently served as city commissioner and game warden in Waleska, Georgia.  He supported Reinhardt College and gave land to that institution.  He was a Methodist and a Freemason.  He and his wife, Mary Emoline (Emma) Cook were buried at the Briar Patch United Methodist Church, which is now designated as the Dogwood Hills Community Church.  He died in 1931, and she died in 1945.


            Of all the Harmon children only Frank finished college, graduating from the University of Georgia.


            Leila Harmon married John Silvey (“Dock”) Atkins.  They eloped to Jasper, Georgia, and were married on December 13, 1904.  Like all the other premature marriages of their children, the Harmon parents were opposed to this one also.  The first child of the Atkins couple, Roy, was born in 1906.







            Following are two letters mailed to Leila Harmon Atkins on March 29, 1934, from her mother and her sister Daisy Belle, on the birth of Leila’s first grandchild, Dicky (Richard Lee Atkins).  The letters show that good feelings were restored between the mother and her daughter.




My dearest Lila,

            O how old you must feel - grandma, ha! ha!  I hope “Jerry” (Geraldine Atkins) and the baby are doing well.  Tell Dock if I had hold of him, I would make him do what I asked him to do - have yours and his picture made and send me one.  I am so hungry to see him.  Congratulations to J. S. (Leila’s son and the baby’s father).  I know he is proud of his son.  Hope you are all well.  I haven’t been feeling so well for the past few days, but am some better now.  I have had another spell of upset stomach.  Give all the children my love.  Do hope Harmon (Leila’s youngest son, John Harmon Atkins) is well by now.  I was so sorry to hear of his accident.  Write us soon.

                                                                                                   Love and lots of it,



Dearest Leila and all,

            Well, the work proposition can “rest” until I write you a line.  I have tried to get caught up with my work so I could write you with a peace of mind, but - it seems that if I put off any longer something else will come along.  I know you want to hear from mama, and I should have written you sooner, but I neglect writing so often.  She is doing unusually well considering the shock she had two weeks ago.  The boys hall burned down, and you know what a fright it gave her.  It gives me a shudder to think about it.  At the time it burned, the wind was from the east, so you see that made it still worse.  As it happened it was not in the night.  I discovered it while the boys were at supper.  So everybody was on hand in a short time.  We can never thank the people enough for the work they done.  Men and boys were on the house fighting fire and others helping get our things out.  They said they believed there was at least a thousand gallons of water used on the house.  Several have told us that they would not have given one dime for the house.  I wouldn’t look at the house, but the men said the heat was so great until the roof would flame up in a dozen places at a time.  Boys would stay on top until they were exhausted.  Then others would take their places.  Everything in the house was carried out except the kitchen stoves and table.  They thought if it should go, they could carry them out in a few minutes.  Not even a picture glass was broken.  It started raining just before the danger was over.  You say mud, but I tell you I had plenty to wash out.  But washing them was a pleasure.  I was glad to have them to wash.  Bessie’s home was in danger, but the wind brought the live coals and flames over this way.  It was extremely hot over there, but their house did not catch but about once.

            I carried mama to the parsonage, and when it was all over, she didn’t remember one thing about it.  I feared it might affect her mind, but it hasn’t.  She had to stay in bed for several days but is up now.  Her back is still weak and hurts her some.  But she looks the best she has in three or four years.  I am going to do all I can for her, and if I should outlive her, I would have no regrets on my part.  Then, I don’t care where I go, but the farther from here the better for me.

            Bessie is still “blowing around like a paper bag.”  But the March wind has not lifted her yet.  She looks so bad.

            Bill’s baby has had measles, and Betty hasn’t taken them yet.  The little baby was right sick, but they did not hurt her so very much.

            My! but I know you must feel old, since you are grandma.  I know J. S. is tickled because it’s a boy.  Mama and me want to send it something in the near future.

            We were so sorry about Harmon’s accident.  I hope his arm will be all right, but it will be a wonder if it is, won’t it?

            Tell Dock hello.  I sure would like to see him, in fact, all of you.  Write us when you have time.

                                                                                                Lot of love to you all.

                                                                                                            Daisy B.