Lodwick (Uncle Lodwick) Vaden was born in Smith County, Tennessee, on January 29, 1817. At this time he is 8 years of age, a hale, hearty old gentleman of wonderful vitality. He married Miss Nancy E. Dowdle when he was 23 years old, in the State of Mississippi. By this union ten children came to them, whose names are as follows: Miss Mary, married Alonzo De Spain, and are located in DeLeon, Comanche County; Woodson, married Miss Martin; Miss Sallie, married Piney Welch, a prominent well to do citizen of Hopkins County. Miss Judie is yet single and resides with her aged parents, to whom she is devoted. She is a bright, interesting lady, and has by her kindly disposition and noble qualities of heart, gathered around her aged parents home many encouraging and admiring friends. Miss Nannie married Thos. Wood, a kindly disposed and worthy gentleman, a farmer and taxpayer of the county. Mr. Vaden immigrated to Hopkins County in the year 1845, just one year before the county was organized. He has been a citizen of Hopkins County for 57 years. There were only a few people living in the county when he came to it. The families who were here were the Hargraves, Hopkins, Brandon, Wren, Barker, Abb Neatherly, Lindleys, Millhollands, Burckhams and a few others whom he cannot recall. They were not a sufficient number to organize the county at that time. Mr. Vaden was at that time a young man full of bright hopes for the future. That future has passed and now he is quite an aged gentleman. He has followed farming and stock raising all of his life. His upright character and his manly qualities have endeared him to a wide circle of friends, he has weilded a wide influence for good. He has ever been highly respected and very popular among all who know him. He has lived to a good old age and can lay down the burdens of life in the county of his adoption amid the primitive scenes that marked its early settlement. Abb Neatherly has just died.
When Mr. Vaden came into the territory it was an almost tractless wilderness. The settlers lived from off the wild game that was to be found everywhere in the country. They had no mail facilities nearer than 30 miles distant, there were no schools, and what preaching was heard, was done in the small cabins of the pioneer settlers. Water was used from the creeks and lakes and the family supply was hauled upon slides and ox carts in kegs and barrels.
Shreveport, Louisiana, and Jefferson, Texas, were the markets for supplies. Oxen were used in freighting to and from these points. It usually required three and four weeks time to complete one of these trips. Six and seven yoke of oxen were hitched by means of a yoke and log chains to a freight wagon and were driven and managed altogether by a long whip lash and by a motion of the whip stock. The driver of one of these long trains of oxen would talk to his team, having each ox in his team named; it was strange how readily they became educated to his training. ” Woh come broad” meant in plowing, haw. “Gee back” meant the reverse. To stop, the driver would place himself on the left side of his tongue yoke of oxen, for which ,was always selected the largest oxen in the team, throw up his whip stock and lean his body back and repeat the words “woh-w-o-h w-o-h-e.” This was called in an early day, “speaking in the United States language to ox teams.” These ox teams were never fed, but were necked together by means of a short grass rope and the left hand ox hobbled, this process of necking and hobbling was proceeded with until the entire team was necked and hobbled. A few large bells were tied around their necks and then they were turned loose upon the range to root for their living which they always got in that day, as the grass grew luxuriantly all over the country. On one occasion Mr. Vaden was out hunting for game with his flint and steel gun, it was on a damp day, his dogs had found a large black bear and had trailed him near to Mr. Vaden in a dense thicket. He attempted to shoot the bear, but the powder in his priming pan had become damp and his gun failed to shoot. He was very much alarmed and left the place hurriedly and was not disturbed, only mentally. There is an unseen hand that guides and protects the good. It has been Mr. Vaden’s custom for several years to cut out the timber of one acre of ground and prepare the land for the plow, he is still able to do this work. Recently he rode on horseback to his county seat, Sulphur Springs, a distance of 16 miles, transacted his business and re-turned in the evening to his quiet home, situated in the timber near the waters of Sulphur creek. He is conversant with the ways of the world and stands ready at all times to make allowances for the faults of others. He is a devout member of the Christian Church and for 65 long years has lived up to its teachings. He has ten great grand-children.