Story about the Davis Chapel Area

 

The following letter was found on the http://groups.msn.com/Traditions/oldletters website. I have copied four out of the eleven parts which tells about the Davis Chapel area and have highlighted the parts that mentions different members of Louis' family. The complete story is located at Charles Legge story

Charles William Legge was my grandfather - my dad's father.

Part 1 Green River, Wyoming January 17, 1941

I was born on March 17,1869, on the William Bishop place 4 1/2 miles southwest of Sardis, Mississippi.  He was my maternal Grandfather and one of my first recollections in life was sitting on his knee and trying to spell out the letters H.O.W.E. on the old original sewing machine that my Grandmother owned.  They said I was only 2 years old, but I can distinctly remember it. 

William Bishop was born in Georgia in 1811 and came to Mississippi about 1841.  He died in 1883.  My grandmother's maiden name was Permelia Ann Jeter and was of Irish descent.  She was born in Georgia in 1824 and died in Mississippi in 1905.  They were married before coming to Mississippi.

My father was Herman James Legge - a Baptist minister well known all over North Mississippi.  He was of English descent, in fact, a full blooded Englishman, having been born of English parents on the Island of Trinidad, near the coast of South America on December 31, 1848.

My mother was Fannie (Frances) Virginia Bishop before her marriage to father which occurred on December 17,1867.  Of Irish descent, she was born near Sardis, Mississippi on May 15, 1850.

They began keeping house in a little frame building of 2 rooms in what we called the "woodslot" near Grandfather's house.  The house contained 1 room, a porch facing south and a shed room on the north side used as a kitchen.  The smokehouse and a large grindstone was on the south side of the smokehouse.  To the west was the horse and oxen lot, containing crib and stables for the stock.  Just on the right of the gate, leading to the lot, was a tobacco barn, and near it , the henhouse.  I describe my early home minutely so you will better understand what happened later.

My next recollection was going to Sardis in Gradnfather's old carriage to have my picture taken.  When we came to the Railroad Crossing, trying to spell out the sign, "Look out for the Locomotive".  I couldn't quite get the long word and had to have help in spelling it.  They tell me I was just 3 years old at the time, but I take no credit for being blessed with a good memory as I don't remember when I learned to spell words, it was a natural gift.  When I was 7 or 8 years of age, I was in the spelling class with boys and girls that were nearly grown and generally stood at the head of the class.

And now, I come to one of the tragic events of my life.  I was not quite 6 years old, but I can remember each detail as if it had happened last week. It was the custom, or habit, in those days to cut the tops from tall trees and the incident I am about to relate happened on February 1, 1875.  Dad was a strong, robust man of 26 years with what you might call an iron constitution having scarcely been seriously sick a day in his life.  That morning he said he was going to top a tall post-oak that stood on the north side of the garden palings.  I remember mother telling him to be careful and his reply that there was no danger.

That morning, he took his axe, went to the tree, climbed it and started to chopping.  Mother told me she thought there was a nest of hen eggs under the crib and asked me to go with her, crawl under and get them.  Dad was up the tree chopping about 75 yards north of us as we went to the crib.  Uncle Bill Bishop was at the house sitting by the west window writing  a letter.  I found the eggs, about 15, and gave them to mother who put them in her apron and we started to the house.  Dad was still chopping in the tree.  When about half way between the crib and the gate, we heard a crashing sound, heard the top break and come tumbling to the ground.  At the same time, we heard Dad say, "Oh, Lordy", looked and saw him falling through the limbs to the ground, which he struck with a dull thud.

We rushed to the house and told Uncle Bill that dad had fallen out of the tree.  He went for help and when we arrived, he was lying on the ground with one leg doubled under him across a new fence rail, the worm of which he and his hired men had lain the day before.

I suppose I should explain what is meant by the "worm" of a fence.  The fences in those days were built in zigzag fashion and the worm means the first rails laid on the ground as a pattern on which a fence is built.

The top of the tree in falling stood up on the limbs with the butt in the air.  We found dad lying across one of those new rails with one leg crushed the width of the rail, about 4 inches, but that was not the extent of his injuries.  His lungs were shattered and he had the asthma to the day of his death about 40 years later.  The doctor said that accident was a contributing cause of his death.

A crowd was there by that time and they had a quilt and lifted him on it.  Strange to tell, as they passed that tree top, it fell over and the butt missed his head by less than 12 inches.  Uncle Bill said it looked like that tree was determined to kill Jim before he got away from it.  Mother said afterward that she did not know what became of those eggs.

They got him to the house and Doctor Kinchloe came and set his leg, but set it crooked and afterward had to reset it.

Dad had two hired men, George Collins and Lon Tyler, who made a crop for him that year.  I distinctly remember Dad sitting out under the shade of trees that summer making cotton baskets and having me hand him the materials.  The crippled leg was afterwards two inches shorter than the other and caused him to walk with a limp.

Great-grandfather Bishop sent word to the doctor not to take that boy's leg off if it could be helped as it was better to be a cripple than have one leg.  He said afterward that he was glad Great-grandfather sent that word as at one time the doctor thought he would have to amputate it.

The tree from which Dad fell measured 42 feet to the place where he sat chopping it.  The reason for his fall was he was sitting on what is called a sap limb and the falling of the heavy top caused the trunk to sway back and forth and his weight to split off the limb,   throwing him to the ground.  He said he had presence of mind to throw the axe away from him.  When he was able, he cut the tree down saying the next tree he topped would be about 3 fet from the ground.  He cut the tree into firewood and I remember hauling it to the house on my little sled. My Great-grandfather was David Bishop, one of the  first settlers of Mississippi having come to that state from Georgia about 1841.  He lived on the Memphis and Panola Road about a mile west of us.  He was considered well-to-do and owned many slaves, but the war spoiled all of that.  He lived in an old fashioned log house built in the form of an ell with hall and porch.  It was a very substantial house and one of the first built in Mississippi.  He had  a private graveyard just east of the house where a good many of my ancestors now lie buried and also many of my wife's people are buried there.

I remember him as a tall, white-haired old man.  He was born in Georgia in 1789 and died in Mississippi in 1878.  Grandfather Bishop built a new house in front of the original log house in 1874.  It was frame construction painted pure white and plastered on the inside, with a hall between and a large front porch with 6 large white front columns to it and I remembeer old Great-grandfather coming to visit and how he would lean his chair against one of those columns with his walking stick between his legs and talk to us. My life was uneventful in my youth.  I was only a poor country farmer boy, raised in the country where there was plenty of God's free air and sunshine.  My parents had nine children, six of whom are now living.  I was the eldest, then my brother Henry David, born March 31, 1872, Sister Jessie L., now Mrs. L. M. Harlan of Manila, Ark, Sister Bettie Virginia, now Mrs. Fred Bourland of Manila, Ark, born December 26, 1877, sister Addie Lou, born in 1879 and died one year later, sister Addie Lena, now Mrs. Ed Bourland of Manila, Ark, born March 1, 1882, Brother John Wright, born July 10, 1884 and now lives at 542 Cambridge Ave., Memphis, Tenn, sister Alice Pearl, now Mrs. C. M. Towles of Manila, Ark, born August 22, 1888, Sister Blanche, born March 9, 1892 and died one year later.

Well do I remember when as a barefoot boy in the country the pleasure I experienced working on the farm during the week and on Saturday evening, Henry and I, together with a cousin, Sidney A. Faulkner, went down on the lakes about 3 miles from home fishing.  Those were happy days, in fact, Dad who had to go off preaching nearly everey Saturday, used to tell us that if we worked hard during the week, he would let us go fishing on Saturday afternoons.  Somehow he found out he could get a good deal more work out of us by making that promise. 

I don't see how he lived as long as he did, considering the hardships he went through.  Those were the days when there were no automobiles and I have known him to work hard on the farm all the week and on Saturday morning leave early and ride horseback or go in a buggy or cart and go 30 to 35 miles in order to keep his appointment to preach at 11 o'clock that day and of course, he had to preach on Sunday, get his dinner and ride home, sometimes arriving near midnight and up the next morning in the field by daylight.  This happened not once a month but at the end of nearly every week.

I have risen many a morning, fed his horse before daylight when it would be sleeting, snowing or raining, caught and led it up to the porch so he could mount without getting his feet wet.  I have gone with him several times to his appointments.

At this time, 9:30 am on the morning of January 20, 1941, I have paused in the jotting down of these memories to listen over the radio to something that never happened before in the history of the United States of America - the inauguration of a president for the 3rd term.  The pomp and ceremonies attending the induction in office of Franklin Delano Roosevelt was heard as clear and distinct as if I were present and his inaugural address was thrilling and inspiring.  May God grant him health, wisdom, grace and power to guide the "Ship of State" safely through the dark days ahead in our country's history.

My life through the first 14 years of childhood was that of any other poor country farmer boy.  About this time, I remember two painful experiences that happened to me.  I was plowing in a patch of young corn near the house one day after grandfather's death and we had moved down there.  It had been a dry spell and there were lots of hard, dry clods in the field.  I kept using my bare toes to flip the clods off the young corn and I noticed before night, my toe began to itch and get sore.  I had one of the biggest bone felons on my big toe that I ever saw in my life.  It rose, burst, and turned wrong side outward before it got well and the only way I could get any rest at night was by sleeping with my foot propped on the footboard of the bedstead.  To get any relief in the daytime, I had to pour cold water on it to take the fever out.

Another time, we had been down to Uncle Norman Dorr's to tell them goodbye as they were going down to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi to stay awhile for his health.  We got back after dark, unhitched the horses and led them to the lot.  Dave, then a young colt about 6 months old, had gotten in the wrong stall.  We punched him with sticks, but he wouldn't come out.  I said, "Look out Henry, I'll get him out".  I went in the stall, caught him by the tail and swung him around to the door.  He dashed out and made for his stall, me still clinging to his tail.  Just before he came to his door, he kicked me in the face.  It broke my nose and I saw plenty of moons and stars dancing before my eyes.  His hoof struck me on the bridge of the nose breaking it so there is still part of a bone that nearly stops up my left nostril.  Mother had warned us about those colts and she came to the lot to see what was the matter.  I was holding my hands over my fact with the blood covering them.  I said, "Yes mother hereafter I'll mind you.".  She has laughed about it since, my promising to mind her after it was too late to do any good at that time, but that is the last time I have caught a colt by the tail.

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