The Dallas Journal, Volume 46, 2000 Page: 15
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Autobiography of Charles V. Compton by Don Raney
No race tracks in America, with renowned horses, could equal the scene of excitement of a string of grey hounds closely
chasing a mule ear, of equal speed, in a life or death race for ten or more miles. Often the rabbit held a straight line until
the leading dog was exhausted and gave up the chase. The rabbit, by dodging, could make good time when only one dog
was after him, but seldom had any luck when pursued by a string of dogs.
These races were a great sport with some of the old Texans and were a revelation to newcomers. While, there were
others who got their thrills out of coon hunts, the old calling horns and the response of the coon hounds that would
come bounding in from different directions. No musician has ever struck a chord that can compare in beauty and thrills
with the music of the hounds as they come, barking and bounding over the hills, in response to the blare of the hunters
horn, when they strike a hot trail or tree their game. In the fall of '82, when I was nine years old, the coons began
sneaking up from the river bottom and helping themselves to Uncle Tom's corn. This was a sweet story for old Uncle
Ike Low, who was on intimate terms with every coon dog in the county. He could make his horn carry as far as a train
One Monday at supper we heard his horn, and it seemed like all the blood hounds from the penitentiary had been turned
loose. We ran down to Uncle Tom's, just as Uncle Ike pointed to the corn field. Old long-eared "Rock" led the pack. In
less than five minutes, he let out a yelp that was followed by a dozen more. Uncle Ike said, "They've found it!" meaning
the trail, and he was off like a kid. We followed him for nearly a mile to the timber. The dogs were circling a big tree,
splitting their throats. Uncle Ike said, "He's up there, but he will be hard to get." He told us to build a big fire so we
could locate him in the tree. Soon we had a real bonfire and could see Mr. Coon in the forks of a top limb. Chunks of
fire thrown around him seemed unnoticed.
A volunteer to climb the tree was answered by Charlie. We boosted him to the lower limbs and gave him a long pole.
Soon he had Mr. Coon jumping from place to place, lower and lower then to the ground. All the dogs tried to get hold
of him at the same time. Like a flash, he would break loose from one dog and make a lunge for another. Finally, he
pulled the old coon trick, broke loose and jumped into a deep hole of water nearby. The dogs followed him but they
were helpless. When they would nip at him, he would get on their heads and they would have to swim to land. Finally,
the coon reached the bank across the river and ran up a small tree, just a jump ahead of the dogs. We all waded across,
built a fire and soon dislodged him but in this second round his pep was gone, so the pack made short work of him.
I am the only living witness to testify to the trials, tribulations and hardships, through which our families so bravely and
uncomplainingly passed. Also, to the bright, happy days that followed like a benediction. Nor can we overlook the very
significant, the all important fact that more than thirty years elapsed before there was a death of any of the fifteen who
came to Texas together in 1879. In all of that time, there were very few calls for medical assistance. Seventy-five dollars
would have easily taken care of our health and accident expenses.
Mr Lutrell and his fine big family rented a part of our farm. Brother Billie and Martha Ann Lutrell became childhood
sweethearts and were married several years later. This romance lasted to the end of their lives. The Rainwaters
purchased a home near Taylor and had a large and interesting family. They intermarried with other Kentuckians and
have contributed to the thrift and morals of various parts of Texas.
My parent's plans, to move to Taylor and send Billie and me to school, were fast maturing. A home was purchased
there and our labors on the farm were confined to our vacations. Father had purchased another farm near Taylor, a part
of which he rented to a talented kinsman from Kentucky, who would today be referred to as a sick man or an alcoholic.
He and others who knew the motives that prompted our moving to Texas, had similar motives and without a single
exception, have lived sober and useful lives. As a matter of fact, few if any of the immigrants or their children who
came after us were intemperate.
As in the old days in Kentucky, the Kentuckians came to our making of"sorghum molasses," just as they attended the
log rollings back in the good old days. The cane crop was fine. We tilled about two acres near our house each year. On
the appointed day they all came. Some set up the cane mill or crusher, others excavated for the boiler and arranged for
the fire, while others stripped, headed and made ready the cane stalks which were loaded in wagons. The mill started
very early in the morning. A few hours later the big boiler was filled with cane juice and soon the golden foam would
begin to rise. That was the danger point, for neither the old nor the young could resist that golden foam which was
dipped off and wasted if not eaten.
The Dallas Journal 15
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/m1/21/: accessed July 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Genealogical Society.