Move to Neosho Missouri
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The next year we moved to NEOSHO [Not sure about the name of this place.] Missouri. Me and Dad and my older brothers worked on a fruit farm called the SOEAKMAN farm. We stayed up there until the fruit harvest was over then we moved back to FLINT. Dad rented a place from Rich BECK the man who ran the BECK store and Post Office. We were just across the creek from the water mill. Tony BECK ran the mill. He was a brother of Rich BECK. I was big enough to go to the mill several times a day by myself.
At the water mill, the place we lived in belonged to Roy BECK. Roch BECK’S boy. He was just a little older than me. We went to school together and fished a lot in FLINT CREEK. He lives on the same place now only in a different house. He lives alone. I have been up to see him 3 times and he has been down here to see me 2 times. He has a nice home and he does his own mowing. He makes a garden. His wife has been dead 2 or 3 years. Ava POTTS was our school teacher. She was raised down here at LOSTCITY. She boarded with us. She gave dad 10 dollars a month for board. I think she got 40 dollars a month for teaching. When I moved to TAHLEQUAH I heard she was up here in a TAHLEQUAH nursing home. I went up to see her. I told her who I was she said “I did not look like the little boy she used to teach.” I guess it had been 65 or 70 years since I had seen her. I went back to see her again and she had lost her mind. She passed away not to long after that. I went to her funeral.
While we lived there at FLINT. Roy BECK and I and some more boys were down in the creek bottom one day we were swinging on a grape vine off a bank and dropping off into the creek. I swung off and let down on a Water Moccasin and it bit me on the foot. I thought I had stuck a briar in my foot but in a few minutes I knew it was not a briar. I was not very far from the house. I don’t think I could have made it if the boys had not helped me. My folks done all they knew to do for me and it was not helping any. There was a young man there visiting my brother. His name was George BARNETT. He asked my dad why he didn’t take me to William STILL. We knew him but didn’t know he could cure a snake bite. He was a full blooded Cherokee. He could not speak English but could understand it. He lived about 3 miles up the creek from us. Dad put a team to the buggy and took me up there. He got some cucklebur leaves and mashed them up with something and applied them to the wound and chanting in Cherokee. He said not to let anyone look at it till the next day. I went home and slept about all night. The next day you couldn’t tell I had been snake bit.
One time when I lived on the Richard WRIGHT place my daughter was about 3 years old. I had dug potatoes and I had put them under a shed at the barn. We went up to PEGGS that night and stayed all night with my wife’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Yarborough. The next morning Mrs. YARBOROUGH went home with us. My wife and I were milking and Mrs. YARBOROUGH was looking at the potatoes and Pauline was with her and Pauline stepped on a snake. I grabbed her up and brought her to TAHLEQUAH to a doctor. The doctor done all he knew to do for her. On the way back home we stopped at PEGGS at her grandparents home. She never had stopped crying. I walked up to the store and was telling some men about it. Jim REEL said why didn’t you take her to Dick CHRISTIE. I knew DICK but did not know he could cure snake bite.
Jim said “I think he is over at the other store”. Jim and I went over to the other store and he was there. I asked him if he would go down to the house and doctor my daughter. He said that he would. He told me to get him some Star chewing tobacco. So I bought it. Dick, Jim and I went to the house he chewed some tobacco and rubbed it on the bite and said something in Cherokee in 5 minutes Pauline went to sleep and never did cry anymore. I had always heard when a snake bit anyone it would make the snake sick. When I went home that evening, I thought I would go out there and look where the snake bit Pauline. Right were she got bit there lay a copperhead snake. I killed it.
When we moved from Flint we moved 2 miles west into the mouth of 5 mile hollow. The hollow was 5 miles long and about a quarter of a mile wide. The hills and hollows were full of hazel nuts and huckleberries. The grass was hip high. The stock stayed fat off the tall grass. Dad had a lot of hogs that year. He had a lot of mule footed hogs. You never see none of them any more. They had a foot that was solid like a mule foot. I used to have some hogs that had waddles. There were 2 under their neck. They were about as long and had the shape of your finger. I never do see any more of them either. Any way dad and I were up in the hollow looking about for our hogs. My dad was ahead of me and I had lost sight of him. I run onto a old wild sow that had young pigs. She took after me. I was a running and hollering for dad. He heard me and started to come to help. He barely beat the old sow to me and he clubbed her on the back. There was a lot of wild game in them hills. There was a lot of deer and wild turkeys. Early in the morning you could hear them turkeys gobblers a gobbling. My dad was a race horse man. He was a rider, a helper and trained race horses. Philip Halpain raised a mule out of a eastern bred mare. Dad trained the mule to run. We kept the mule a lot. They used to have a two day picnic at Oaks and one at Little Kansas. A three day picnic at Siloam Springs Arkansas. Dad always went to all of them and he would take me with him. We was at Little Kansas at a picnic and dad had the mule with us. John BUCKHANAN had a cow horse [quarter horse?] that was pretty fast. Dad matched them a race. Run the mule against their horse. Run it down Main street. The mule out run their horse. When dad started to stop the mule he ran a way with dad and jumped in a man’s garden. When we moved from 5 mile hollow we moved to Gideon on the George SLAPE place.
I went to school at GIDEON to Austin Regan [name of school or teacher?]. Gideon had 3 stores, a black smith shop and a cotton gin under the hill. Tom NEEL [his brother] run one store and the black smith shop. Cal OGLE ran one store. W.A. HARRISON ran a store up on top of the hill. Uncle Lige WILSON run a store and the post office. The post office was in the store and Frank Still was the post master. Sam Wilson ran a grist mill. The school and cemetery was up there. There is nothing at Gideon now but a church house and the cemetery . My oldest brother [Charley NEEL] got married that year. [about 1910] he married Tilda [Matilda] DEAN.
I guess I have owned a hundred head of horses [over the years] but owned but 2 Jennies. Dad traded for 2 Jennies when he lived there at Gideon. He gave them to me. I was riding one of them one day and we had a white bull dog that would heel. One of my brothers put the bull dog after the Jenny. The Jenny threw me and I gave the Jennies back to Dad.
We moved from Gideon up close to Peggs at what is called Morgon Prairie. The place had a well but did not had very little water in it. There were few ponds for the cattle back then. Had to take our stock water every day. It was a two mile haul with a barrel of water for them. Every day we went to a spring called the Skilly Van spring. Peggs gets its water from this spring. Now there is a water pump there and a water tower. I went to two schools while we lived there. I went to Shilo and New Home was the closest school. Eva [his sister] transferred from Shilo to New Home and went there awhile.
I got my first horse and saddle when I was 13 years old. It was a little 3 year old mare. I rode her to town one day and before I got home I seen that she was sick. I got her home but she died that night. She had the colic.
When we left Morgan Prairie we moved down close to 14 mile creek on the Dewitt WILSON place. We lived on it a few years. I went to three different schools while we lived there. I went to Bethel, Shady Grove and Swimer school.