Thirty years of stories have been fun; more to come 2010-12-22 / County News
In early 1980 when I began writing for the Diboll Free Press my school teaching had finished and there was an abundance of time in my days. I
discovered many stories just waiting to be told. It was time consuming, but oh so interesting to listen to some of my elders who had lots to tell and each
delighted in having a captive listener.
Recalling some of whose stories I captured, it seemed many had passed on to their great reward. Some of those deceased who shared their past with
me were a great uncle Sam Trinkle, who was a wood craftsman, carpenter and a ferrier (one who shoes horses); Irl and Katie Burns, our rural mail
carrier for years; Earline Johnson, who baked and decorated cakes for all occasions and had little training; and Bessie Pinner, who raised a family
during very hard times. Her children were Joe, Punk, Bob, Jim, Tommy, Faye and May. Today all are deceased except Bob.
Nearly all the people I wrote about were in the latter years of their lives. Jim Jones, who lived most of his life at Shawnee Prairie and farmed was 90 when
I visited with him. He had been planting acres of peas for years to sell to folks who needed them for canning or putting them in the freezer. That year he
was in a wheelchair so his son Earl and a grandson Harold Jones planted peas for him. Folks came from as far away as Houston and Dallas to buy as
many as 20 bushels of peas per family. He was very upset that he was unable to take care of his fields of peas. He was typical of older folks who really
want to work and can’t while too many younger people who are able to do so sometimes won’t.
Another unusual person was Isom Cryer who pieced quilts. I know there probably are lots of men who sew and who like to piece quilts but the only other
one I have known was the late Cornel Williams who was the father of one of our classmates. Isom had lived by himself for many years since the death of
his wife and after watching his sister put a quilt together he decided he could do that to occupy himself during the cold winter days. After the first quilt top
was constructed of tiny scraps he made many more beautiful bed covers.
Isom was also a wood craftsman and made lamps, tables, ax handles and gun racks. It was not unusual for him and his sister to can vegetables that he
raised. One year they put up 500 ears of corn that they fixed as cream style. That was unimaginable to me because it is a time consuming job.
Another article was about Pearl and Floyd Nerren who had lived most of their 60 years together by what was known as “the beef trail”. Pearl had heard
many stories of cattle being driven from Louisiana, and lower parts of Texas to Kansas, through here. Her Grandma Jones had a beef stand along the
trail where the cowboys could let the cattle rest and there were beds for the men.
Her Grandma Jones had listened to so many stories about “out west” that she decided one day she wanted to go west. So with children, their belongings
and driving all their cows they went west. She and her sister rode horseback and got the group as far as Milam County before grandma decided she had
seen all “out west” she wanted to see. They sold all the cows and came back to Shawnee Prairie to spend the remainder of their lives. Mr. Nerren said
he had seen years when cattle sold for ten and fifteen cents a pound. Their daughter Jimmie Lee and Carl Havard still live near the Nerren home place.