The Dallas Journal, Volume 46, 2000 Page: 5
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Autobiography of Charles V. Compton by Don Raney
how hastily they obey the call, is to a stranger quite astonishing.
Then came hog killing time. That did not mean then, what it means now, the mere slaughtering of hogs so as to have
meat. It meant a get-together. Men, women and children were there, secondly it meant a feast. There was no recognized
limit as to the amount of meat distributed among the neighbors. The sky was the limit; if Tom liked back bones, they
were dealt out to his hearts content. If Sarah liked liver, there was no limit to the amount she could have. Of course, if
Silas wanted short ribs, whole sides were his portion, if the kids wanted pig tails, they were ready for delivery. If uncle
Cyrus wanted pigs feet, plenty awaited him. The smoke house fell heir to sides of bacon and hams and held these
delicacies, as a miser holds his gold, until saturated through and through with smoke. Then ham and bacon with red
gravy made feasts fit for a king.
Our part of Kentucky was blessed with big nut bearing trees, i.e. walnuts, hickory nuts, chestnuts and the best that
nature yields, chinkey pins. As a result, these forests abounded with coons, possums and squirrels which made it a
paradise for hunters who enjoyed wild meat and appropriated their furs for coats and caps. It is not my purpose to paint
that part of the world as a garden of Eden, for if there ever was a place where brave true men had to make their living by
the sweat of their brow, it was in Pulaski County, Kentucky. Money was almost an unknown quantity and a days work
was computed from sun to sun, but as a matter of fact, was from the morning stars until the fading of the twilight. The
daily wages, or what we now call the union scale, varied from fifty to seventy-five cents a day. For them, "Hard labor
spread its wholesome store, just gave what life required, and but little more."
Some of the social events of the natives in those good old days were the log rollings and quiltings. While a score of men
combined their strength and ingenuity to get the great logs from a purposed body of land to be used for cultivation,
about the same number of women would gather around the quilting frames to put together the various colors of material
they had gathered from far and near. As the day wore on, the quilt grew larger until the finished product was released - a
thing of beauty and a joy forever.
At noon, the big boys would come in to a feast that would make Belshazars look like a handout. They would laughingly
tell of their strength contests, of their foot races and their hop, skip and jump contests, that they pulled off for exercise
between struggles with logs. I am stating a fact when I say that men who had worn the blue and those who had worn the
grey at these gatherings, showed no evidence of ill feeling, a marked evidence of the "Brotherhood of men and the
Fatherhood of God." All seemed to see and know that they were in the union, incorporated as an integral part of the
At that time they had neither autos or airplanes, but they arrived at their destination just as quickly because they didn't
have so far to go. Old Uncle Ned was riding his old mule down the road when a new-comer overtook him and asked if
he had passed a man riding on a black horse. Ned looked surprised and said "I'se been ridin' on this road for thirty years
and I ain't never passed anybody yet." The man asked him how far it was to Tick Ridge. Ned answered, "It's a furr
piece, 'bout three pipes full."
Time moved on and at every meeting in the community the chief topic of conversation was the intended migration of
two old families, both in good circumstances, living in the midst of their life long friends and relatives. Moving to
Texas, a state the size of an empire, and they had not even decided on the place they would adopt as their home. With
no plans, other than to move to a place where they could give their children a better chance - where they could be free
from the temptations of drink. All seemed to know that this was the paramount thought of the heads of both families and
the cost of the sacrifice was disregarded. In those days (1879) communications and in fact, information from a distance
was scarce. We heard that parts of Texas was infested with snakes, so father had made a pair of hip boots for such an
Soon they began the sale of our stock, farming implements, the disposal of old relics and we had to give away our most
cherished possession, our little dog, Trusty. My father's nephew, Jake Bernard, a bright young man from Casey County,
Kentucky, joined us. He later returned to Kentucky for his old sweetheart, Sarah Jasper, who he married and they
located in Texas and raised a fine family.
We left Kentucky, bound for Palestine, Texas in 1879. Our family consisted of: father, E. D. (Erasmus D.) Compton;
mother, Martha Jane (Duck); Arizona Bell, age 14, William Taylor (Billie), age 8; and Volantus Green, age 6, who by
reason of being kidded about being "green by name and nature," changed his name to Charles Volantus. The Gossett
family consisted of Thomas (Joel Thomas), Saline (Celina Duck), and six children: T. B. (Thomas B.), Mattie (Mary
M.), Arizona, Charley (Charles Mercer), George and Marion Somerset.
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Dallas Genealogical Society. The Dallas Journal, Volume 46, 2000, periodical, June 2000; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth186859/m1/11/: accessed June 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Genealogical Society.