The Dallas Journal, Volume 46, 2000 Page: 14
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Autobiography of Charles V. Compton by Don Raney
In the interim, Charley, Billie, George and I, with our dogs, Doak, Dash and Watch were issued passes to the river
bottom and swimming holes. We were also permitted to appropriate to our own use the fruits of the haw trees, the grape
vines, the wild plum trees, and also the possum and rabbit reserves, the hollow trees and forked sticks to use in twisting
out the rabbits. When we entered our paradise, our first dash was for the old swimming hole and we were all virtually
naked by the time we reached the high bank where we made our first dive. Then for an hour or more we dabbled and
swam like ducks. Then came the urge for dinner, our common expression was "no rabbit, no dinner," but our
apprehensions were not grave.
We knew our dogs and the hollow trees. When they jumped the rabbit, he would elude the dogs by running through the
undergrowth to his hollow tree. We would, with the help of the dogs, soon find his hideout. Then Charley, our
champion twister with a stick with a small fork in the end, would insert the stick in the hollow tree. When the fork
would catch in his skin, the poor bunny was pulled down and made ready for our barbecue pit. The arranging process
would take place on a gravel bar at the waters edge and then we would build a big fire. Each diner would choose his
piece, pierce it with a sharp green stick, hold it over the fire until it was roasted and we would have a feast. In a few
minutes , we would resume our job of hunting. Often several bunnies were taken to our home after our day in the
It was mere fun then but we later found that it was very educational. Our tramps in the forest and near the rivers had a
meaning all its own. We communed with Nature and became friends to the birds, were familiar with the habits and
movements of fish, eels, gars and turtles, also when the trees and vines bloomed and when the trees bore fruit. We could
scarcely wait for ripening of wild grapes, black haws and red haws, a delicious wild fruit as big as small marbles. These
memories have since been a source of immeasurable pleasure.
The fall brought bounteous crops and, fortunate it was that there was, an immigration to our community from Kentucky.
Experienced hands were desperately needed on the farms and ranches. A schoolhouse was built on the northwest corner
of our land. Then a gin and a corn mill was built by Uncle Tom, south of our home in the Gossett pasture. Mr. Hatcher
aided us in finding a cane mill and boiler. We began purchasing more cattle and hogs and farming on a higher scale. We
set out an orchard, bought a carriage and new harness and had lightning rods placed on our house.
A beautiful snow white grey hound, represented to be the fastest in the county, was given to us. Mr. Mosely heard about
the Young boys giving us their fastest hound. He was quick to challenge us for a race, claiming that two of his five
hounds had never been beaten. The next week there was a heavy rain at night, and in the morning the farmers could not
get into their fields. The word of a rabbit hunt went the rounds, so all congregated at our home. Mr. Mosley, with his
three hounds, came down early and led the way to a slight slope just southeast of our farm. Fully a dozen men and boys,
some on horseback, led off.
Soon a big mule ear leaped out of the grass and led away like a streak with six dogs strung out in hot pursuit. Two black
hounds led our dog, Tip, by a length. On and on they ran, the head dog no more than three feet from the rabbit. The fact
that the rabbit ran on a straight line was evidence that he was an old timer. Mr. Mosely shook his head when they went
over the slope at such a distance. Then, five minutes later, they reappeared and were coming slightly towards us, and to
our delight, Tip was in the lead. On they came, until the men on horses were near them. Then the break came. When the
rabbit dodged, Tip and the others in the lead slowed down and the slow dogs behind cut across and were nibbling the
tail of the exhausted rabbit. Time and again I have seen like races, but I will never forget my first.
We had in our pasture a rabbit that apparently had no fear - he liked to tease the hounds. He would always shootout of
his nest a full fifty yards ahead and hold the distance. The dogs would chase him a mile or more before they gave up and
returned. Old Tip knew the rabbit and just passed him up, until one day Father and I were both riding a bay filly that
was a fast mover. We were coming from the opposite side and in the accustomed path of Mr. Rabbit, when he made his
usual high jump and led off in a different direction. He evidently didn't see Tip until he cut across and was in a few feet
of him. The race started in earnest.
It looked as though Tip had him but on and on they went, out of sight over the slope, two miles away. Minutes passed,
when we saw them circling closer and closer until they passed within a few feet of us. They both had slowed
considerably when, to our astonishment, the rabbit fell dead and Tip passed blindly by and dropped. We were on the
bald prairie, fully a mile from water. It was hot and getting dark so we had to leave, even though Tip was barely
breathing. We went home and were arranging to return for Tip when he came home. We showed him the rabbit, which
was practically stiff. He gazed at it and silently said" I understand."
14 The Dallas Journal
The Dallas Journal
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Dallas Genealogical Society. The Dallas Journal, Volume 46, 2000, periodical, June 2000; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth186859/m1/20/: accessed January 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Genealogical Society.