Lake County: Full of history

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My father was Will Bargery and my mother was Addie Shull. We lived at Hathaway in a house on land that my grandfather, John Bargery bought when he came to Hathaway from England in 1872. My grandmother was named Sarah.
When grandfather came to America he came up the Mississippi, first stopping at Memphis, but he wanted farm land so he came on up the river to Hathaway.
Grandmother was expecting their second child so she waited until it was born then she traveled to America with her two children, Annie and John Harry, and with grandfather’s brother, George Bargery and his sister Lillian.
Uncle George and Aunt Lillian came up to Hathaway but they decided to go back to Memphis to make their home. Grandfather built a house on his farm for his family but when a water came out he found he had not built it on the highest ground so he moved the house to the higher place.
My father was only one year old when his father died and left his mother with 5 children.
She managed to keep the farm together and farm it. Later she married again to Absolom Sams.
Mr. Sams helped raise the children and run the farm.
My father was the youngest child in the family and he began more and more taking over the work of running the farm as Mr. Sams, and grandmother were getting old, at least he thought they were old. Seems like people “aged” younger in those days than they do now.
Papa was 19 and Mama was 16 when they married in 1899.
They moved into a little house there next door to grandmother.
When it was tine for Knox, my brother to be born, my mother went over to grandmother’s so grandmother could take care of Mama and the new baby. So Knox and everyone of us children were born in the house our father had been born in.
After grandmother died 25 Fed. 1905, Papa bought the other heirs out and built onto the old homeplace and we had a right nice big home down there.
There were seven of us children, Know (his real name was George Albert) was born 23, Oct 1900, then me. I was born 9 March, 1903, then Robert.
He was born 2 June 1904, Lorene was next. We called him “Soup”. She was born 19 July, 1908. She married Autman Holder. Russel Ray was born 2 March 1911. Woodrow was born 25 Feb. 1918 and Legatha is the baby. She was born 14 March 1921. She married Dalton Feasel.
We were all raised down at Hathaway. My grandparents on my mother’s side lived on a farm adjoining us. They were Robert Alexander and Mary Ann Shull.
When we were growing up each of us children had certain chores to do. I mostly helped my mother with the house work and cooking. By the time I was 14 years old I could cook a meal by myself.
There was wood to bring in, water to bring in, water to pump, and feed to put out for the mules and cows. The cows had to be milked. I could even milk a cow. It took all of us to do the chores. The boys did the field work.
The water came out often. Sometimes two of three times a year. It seldom got under the house. In 1912 and 1913 the water got real high and we had to move into our barns. All the barns down in District Number Six were on a high mound, because the water got in our house. We kids thought it was fun, but then we only stayed there a few days and then we moved to Cauthersville.
In 1927 the water got real high. I was married at that time, but I was still living down there. The water got in my house, but by then my dad had moved their house to the higher ground and it did not get in their house, so we moved in with Mother and Dad.
When the water left the house it wasn’t too hard to clean the house if you got to it right away before it got dry. Water would still be around the house and you could take buckets and dip the water up and clean the silt out of the house without too much trouble.
We were living at Hathaway and it was a nice size village with church, school, stores and such, but Reelfoot was a much bigger town. It had several stores, a big dollar store, a post office, cotton gins, 2 hotels, a millinery store. Mr. Miley Russell even had an undertaking establishment there.
All of the store were high off the ground and there were wooden sidewalks also built high off the ground. They were built from one store to the other.
We didn’t know much about Ridgely. There was never any need for us to go there. Reelfoot was a much bigger town than Ridgely. Anything we couldn’t get in Reelfoot we just went across the river to Caruthersville.
There were doctors in Reelfoot but some people would have a doctor that they especially liked in Caruthersville, so some people would go there and the doctor’s in Caruthersville would even come to your house. There was a ferry boat to cross the river on. Mules pulled the ferry boat. There were in the center of the barge and the team of mules would go around and around to power the boat.
The town of Ridgely did not begin to grow until Reelfoot started caving into the river.
The merchants moved their stores back from the river bank several times before they gave up and decided to move out.
The railroad had come through Ridgely, so some of the merchants moved their stores out there. Some of them moved into Tiptonville which was the county seat.
Mr. A. E. Markham was called “The Duke of Reelfoot.”
He owned a drugstore and was a druggist. He and Mr. Talmus Markham both moved to Tiptonville.
I went to school at Hathaway. We would start to school in August and go to the last of September then turn out for cotton picking. We would start back to school about the latter part of October, or the first of November, and go until the last of May.
It was tax supported, one room school. We had a good school. At recess we would play games, play ball, and play mother and daughter. Lois Kennedy (She later married Nullye Rice) was three years older than me. I’d always be her little girl.
Her parents were living near us at the time. One Sunday Lois’s parents had gone to Caruthersville. The backwater was out and a bunch of us were boat riding.
Someone jumped out of the boat and it threw Lois into the water. I started screaming and hollering. Monday at school they were teasing me about it and Lois said, “Well, she didn’t want her mother drowning.”
In the summer we had a music teacher. His name was Mr. Palmer. He came over from Caruthersville and taught singing at the church house. He taught us to read music, shaped notes. The school was twice a week, one hour each session. It lasted six weeks.
When I got old enough to go with the boys, I never cared about but one boy. He was in my school and I always liked him. His name was Horace Alford. Then his family moved away to Gibson County. He kept drifting back to Lake County to visit. We never corresponded. When he came back I still claimed him for my boy friend until I hooked him!
I almost didn’t get him.
There was a girl up at Mooring, she played the piano. A preacher, Bro. Boswell, from Mooring, came to Hathaway to hold a revival and he brought the girl to play piano.
Horace got to going with her. It would make me mad every time I’d see her with him because I was just 15 and my Daddy wouldn’t let me go courting with boys. Well Horace and this girl were fixing to run off and get married after church one night and Brother Boswell found out about it so he carried that little lady home and I was really glad he did.
Horace’s parents were living in Gibson County, but they still had a farm here. His brother had married my aunt and when Horace was down here he would stay with them. I’d have a good excuse to go see my aunt and, of course, see Horace.
We went together about 2 years. We did our courting walking down to the river on Sunday afternoon like all the other boys and girls did. We would have a good time all together. No drinking, no dope, and no sex before marriage.
Just good clean fun.
We were married at my cousin’s house. She wasn’t really my cousin but my aunt reared her and we called ourselves cousins. Her mama was Vada Hicks and she had married Buck Carlton and he was a
cousin to Horace.
On Sunday July 13, 1920, Preacher Wood married us. Horace didn’t have anything but one $5 bill. He gave it to Preacher Wood thinking he would give him some of it back but the preacher stuck the whole $5 in his pocket. We didn’t have honeymoon. Five dollars was a lot of money in those days. We had six children. Edith Belle was born 18 May 1921.
She married Phillip McGinnis and they live in Ridgely.
Lavelle was born 13 Sept. 1923.
She married Ivan Ward Van Blaercum. They live in Arizona. Farris, our only son, was born 12 Sept. 1925. He is married to Sue Phillips Davis. They live over in the hills out from Troy.
We had one child that only lived a little over a year. We named her Billie Sue. Doris was born 6 March 1927. She married William Simpson. They live in Memphis. Our youngest child is Joan. She was born 30 July 1936 at Hickory Ridge. All the rest were born down at Hathaway.
Joan married Fred Stanfill, Jr., and they lived in Memphis. Horace passed away 21 August 1970.
I think one of today’s problems is parents. They turn their children loose too young. They let them drive a car by the time they are 12-14 years old, and give them too much money to spend.
In my day we only had a horse and buggy and we didn’t go far in it. I thought back then that my parents were too hard on us, but I look back and know they were not.
If I could I wouldn’t change one thing about my life. I had good parents, they provided well for us, taught us moral standards, and in general gave us a good life. I have tried to do the same for my children.
Horace and I bought our home here in Ridgely in 1945, but Hathaway will always have a special spot in my heart. This past year on the 4th of July we all went down to the old homeplace.
There is nothing at all down there any more. After the levee was built it was easier all around for everyone to move out of the overflow area so no one lives down there anymore.
The old home burned in 1985. My nephew, Gary Holder and his wife Mary fixed up a picnic area where the old home was. They keep it mowed and have it fixed up real nice. There is lots of sand in places on the old farm. The river washed it there in 1972. Gary and Mary and their children take these three-wheelers, as they are called, down there and ride the sand dunes on them. Well, I never had been on one but I rode my first one while we were down there the 4th for the picnic.
I really enjoyed riding it. I was 84 years old at the time, but I guess you could say I was young in heart when I was riding that -wheeler.
I still enjoy life and good health. I am able to keep my home and live alone. God has truly blessed me.

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