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The John Brown "Grub" Hudson Story
An excerpt from the Genealogy of the John Brown "Grub" Hudson Family
by Mirl C. Hudson

The Story of My Life
An autobiography by Mirl C. Hudson
    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3
    Part 4

The Story of My Life by Mirl C. Hudson (Part 2)

Mirl and Ruth HudsonPhoto: Mirl and Ruth Hudson.

On winter days when the snow lay white on the barren Ozark hills I would go out in the yard with a broom and sweep a place in the snow. Then I would throw cane seed there and the hungry snow birds would fly down and pick them up. Sometimes we would take a dish pan and prope it up with a stick with a string tied to it and get in the house by the window, and when the birds would light and start eating the cane seed we would jerk the string and catch the birds under the pan. Then at night we would sat by the fire place and poppe popcorn. We rosted potatoes. We made lassie popcorn balls. Hear was the life I liked.

One day a stray horse come to our old place, my sister said to me, Mirl, less you and me catch that horse and ride him to horney buck to night to meeting. There was a Holy Roller meeting going on up there, it was about six miles from the old place. We caught the horse and road it to the meeting the first Holy Roller meeting I was ever at. I dident know much about religion at my age, I was ten years old at that time. At that time the Holy Rollers was taking the country. When we got there that night the singing had just started. The old school house was full of people and alot out side. They were singing , I would not be denied, I would not be denied, since Jesus come and saved my sole, I would not be denied. And old brother Clyde, started shouting. He held his head up. He danced a pretty step across the front of the school house. Then he would shout "Woopee- Glory to God" and then he would jump higher and shout louder. Then others would joine in the fray. They cried for mercy. They wallowed on the floor. They talked in unknown tongues. Roseannie Cheneworth would say, K-N-O See K-N-O See. Some would say "Ding-Dong Pin-er-al. Ding-Dong Pin-er-al." Old Jim Hicks got saved that night; He throu his chewing terbacker in the stove and hollered out , God want have a terbacker chewer in heaven. He want have any slop jars to spit in or harths to spit on. There was mockery outside the house. The men was crousing and drinking. They would raise the windows and shove a big long pole in and gouge the morners while they were on the floor praying. Shoot there pistols near the doo. They broke up the meeting one night. And they left the country.

In the spring of 1911, we begun a new crop, One of our horses old Selim had got into the barn and eat too much chopps and died. I dont remember what become of the other horse old Nancy. Pa had baught a span of mules Jack and Pete. At four oclock in the morning we would roll out of bed, the moon would be getting low over ball hill. A few wippooorwills are calling from the hill tops. We would have the feeding and milking done befoe daybrake, then go to the house for brakfast, we could smell the coffee boiling before we'd get to the house. Mom would bring the coffeepot to the table and pa would pour us cups of hot black coffee. We eat breakfast. The stars still shining. That year we planted the new ground up above that barn in corn, and sowed some oats. And the corn begun to come up and was soon ready to plow the first time. In the morning while it was cool we would plow until ten O'clock. It was good to walk between the handles of a plow again behind the mule and watch the fresh dirt turn over. It was good to see the growing corn and hear the Caw-Caw of the crows winging their way in pairs from hill to hill and from tree to tree. It was good to hear the cackling of the chickins around the barn and hogs grunting for their slop and corn. This was life.

We had alot of early rain that spring and the weeds were growing faster than the corn. Then my dad would say the corn must come out'n the weeds. So we waded through patch after patch of corn until we were through the first weeds and had the corn clean. "Now", says my father, "the corn crop is just what you well as say is made. When we get it cleaned out the first time like that, we'll have no more trouble. We may hace to cut a few sprouts. And go over it one more time with a plow." The early corn in the garden was ready for rosten-ears now. We had beans and beets and youn corn. When we went to dinner Mom and Sis would have a big pan of cornbread and green beans, corn on the cob, sweet milk, butter milk. We would eat more corn than the mules, or it would only took six ears of hard corn apiece for them, and we8d drank a big crock of cool sweet milk at noon with the cream on it. We were brown as black-oak autumn leaves. I was stronger than I had ever been in my life.

The ground was now getting dry and the little white clouds that looked like a duck's feather up againce the sky would float out to space in the big sun-scorched simmering bowl of blue. "When you see that kind of clouds," says my dad, "You can look for a drouth." We had too much rain the first of of this month, my dad would say, and that was a bad singn. Drouth or no drouth, our plows must keep going. We started through our corn the sesond time. A trail of dust would follow us around the steep hill slop. It's going to be bumblebee corn, my dad woulud say, if we dont get some rain. A bumblebee will be able to suck the tassle with his tail dragging the ground. Each day the big white thunder heads would float across the big sea of blue. The dust would get in our mouth and noses. The bottum blads of corn start dying. My dad took the scythe and started to cut the oats. The oats was short but they headed fairly well. We hauled them to the barn. The corn has now been laid by. We have plowed it the last time. It's tood dry foe the weeds to grow. "Boys," says my father, "We are going to be up against it. Middle of July here and no rain; I see the corn up there above the barn has started tasseling and shooting. Blads dying at the bottom. Dying right up the stalk looks like it' ripe enough to cut."

September comes to the hills now. The leaves start turning on the oak, sassafras, maples. The corn is dying and the lazy winds of autuam moan through the dry blads of fodder on the steep hillsides. We do not have a good crop to look back on. Our crop has burnt to the earth. The corn is bumblebee corn. Ah, the rain comes now but it's too late to help. Our summer work was done.

My oldest brothher got married that summer, April 2, 1911 and he had built a bed room onto the log house and moved in with us. I can rmember the shiver-ree that night. My brother was looking for them and had plenty of candy and cigars for the treat. They gathered down in the holler about a mile from the house, but we could hear the hoofs of the horses coming up the hill. My brother said there is a purty good croud coming; They would always send a scouting party ahead inorder to get in the first shot, but that night my brother was readyy for them and as soon as the scouts got even with the house, my brother fired his old shotgun. You see it was the custom in the hills of the Ozarks, if the groom got the first shot he would not have to treat. On the other hand sometimes if you didnot treat they would ride you on a rail to the nearest creeek and give you a ducking. After my brother got the first shot the scouts rode on passed the house and wated about ahlf hour and slipped back on foot and fired three shots which was a signal for the main group to come up the hill. Here they come with bells, plowpoints, dishpans, got guns, pistols, circle saws, dinamite, and any thing that would make a noise. This went on for about thirty minets and my brother went to the door and called them it and passed out the candy and cigars.

Early in the spring of 1912 we moved back on the old Gniffy place below the mill. The owner had changed hands and had fixed the place up some, and brote in some modern farming tools, and it was mostely bottom land.

My father purchased a water drilling rig and drilled water wells when he was not farming. I attended school back at the old horney buck school. Millie Himphill was my teacher that year.

This is the year, (1912) I become interested in Girls. I liked most of them, but there was one I liked very much, although she was much older than I. She lived about three miles from our house at the head of the north fork of pine hollow. We would hold hands on the way to and from school. Her Father was a fiddeler and she played the organ. Her name was Jewell Judd, and I believe she was the best looking girl in school. She was tall and slinder blue eyes, long dark hair. Yes, she was tall and beautifull, with the trimness of a young pine, deep bosomed, with limbs full rounded, fairly tingling with the life and strength of perfect womanhood. She invited me to her house to a Square dance one saterday night. I told her I'd come if my folds would let me. I had an old guitar that I could play a little if it was tuned banjo style. I could also play the fiddle a little. My folks let me go, and when I arrived, they had all the funiture moved out in the yard and Old Mart Judd, was tuning his fiddle, getting ready for the first set. Jewell was at the organ and her brother Clent played the mandolin. Purty soon the music begun. The people was raring to go. The dance started.

First set

All join hands and around you go,
Danc to the tune of cotten-eye-Joe.
Do-See and a little more doo,
Chicken in the bred-pan a picking out dough.
Chase that goose around the taw,
Swing that gal from ar-can-saw.
Elbow Jim and elbow John,
The mules ranaway with the harness on.
A hickory log and a poplar stump,
A hole in the floor and everybody jump.

Second Set

El mend your left!
All at home, fall in line;
You swing your girl,
And I'll swing mine.
Right you are, Honey:
Go right and left.
I'll chew my backer and spit on the floor,
That is all and there an't no more.

This was my first square dance, but no the last. I loved the music more than the dancing. My Grandfather was a fine old time fiddler, My father could play the fiddle, my uncle Tom and uncle Jake was good fiddlers. My folks has told me that I played the fiddle befor I was five years old.

When the fred worms came to the top of the ground around the hog pen it was time to go fishing. We would dig red worm baigt and then go to the branch. I would take a minnow hook and bait it with a big fat worm and drop it in the water with a little thug. The minnows would fight over it before one could swollow it. We knew where all the good fishing holes were. We would fish all day long. The water was too cold to wade in at this time of the year. Sometimes we would go gigging for hog suckers. Hog suckers and white suckers were aful good eateing but was bony.

It was in 1912 I saw my first automobile. Me and dad was going to the mill to have some corn ground into meal. We saw this thing coming down the road likety-split. My dad grabbed my horse by the rains and pulled it off the road into the creek, behind some bushes so they would not get scared.

Then later on, that year there would be three or four automobiles come by on their wa to flat creek on a fishing trip. We would set up that night inorder to see them with the lights on. And I can remember I liked to smell the gasoline burning. It was something different. They would only come by on the week ends. We called them City Slikers or town dudes. July and August, is the months of Pic-Necks in the Ozarks Hill Country. They usually lasted from two to three days. And was held on the banks of the creeks or rivers, in a shady grove of sycamore trees. We would hitch the mules to the old spring wagon, Mother would fix a big box or basket of grub, cakes, pies, potato salid, green beans cooked with fat-back, fried chicken, and all the trimmings. Dad would take feed for the mules, and people would come for miles around, in wagons, buggys, horseback, and some would walk. Go early, and stay late. Some would stay and camp on the grounds. There would be marry- go-round, lemon-ade stands, ice-cream parlor, dancing platforme, games of chance, shooting galliers, fire crackers water melons, hot-dogs and hamburger stands. And all kinds of noise makers. There would be a bunch of old farm boys standing around grinning. The girls at the stands were shouting.

"All right--right this way- Win something each and every time, Come right this away, boys, and win something for your sweetie. Come on win a baby doll--come on boys dont be bashful! Come and spend a nickle-a-dime a quarter."

And on down the line the owners would shout, Ice cold limon-ade--made in the shade, sturred with a spade, good enough for any old made. Fice cence a glass. Some one would say, Ice cold chewing terbacco five cence a copy. Pea-corn and pop-nuts, five cence a bag.

I remember one time at the flat creek pick-neck, they had a big gang fight between the flat creek and the Cato and Jenkins boys. They got into it over some mountain due. They wre fighting with rocks, clubs, and baseball bats, chopping ax, knifes and any thing they could get their hands on. I saw one of them coming through the crowd with his arm cut from his shoulder to his elbow. Of feller got his ear cut off. It was the boodest fight I ever seed. When it was all over they all went to the creek and washed the blood off. Ane everone went on having a good time.

My Father and Mother was old Primitive Baptist (Hard Shells) and about once a year we would attend a three day Association. I remember traveling to Garfield Arkansas one summer in a covered wagon. We were on the road two days. The first night we camped at the head of flat creek near Cassville Missouri. From Cassville we followed the old wire road which led from Springfield to Fayetteville Arkansas. This road was mush used during the Civil War by Federal and Confederate Soldiers and bushwackers. It was in the fall of the year and I was wearing a new coat my father had baught me.

We arrived at the mout of the cave and all the dogs started barking and entering the cave. In a little while the three larger dogs came running out, but not old Fannie. Then we herd a scream and a yell that made the hair stand up on our heads. We started running down the hill, and came to a barbed wire fence, I dident take timb to climb over it instead I made a head first dive and went under the fence but caught my new coat near the coller and ripped it clean to the tail. We then went to the Judd home and Juell Judd the girl I walked to school with and liked seowed it up for me and we went home never to return to that cave again. Old fannie never come home for three days. We never knew what it was in the cave but thought it was either a Wild Cat or a Panther.

  The year of 1913 came and we put out an early crop. We planted about twenty acres of corn in the lower field all bottom land, and planted about the same amount of oats in the upper field next to the old water mill. After the corn was planted I hired out to the neighbor for .50 per day and dinner, dropping corn. I worked from sun up to sun down. Then come harvest, we had the oats to cut and hay to put up. We had a good crop of red clover hay.

My oldest brother Uda, and his family had moved to Arkansas that January, and I was the only help my dad had that year as my younger brother Dinkey had to stay with my blind mother. The fall of 1913 I took my first train ride from Purdy Missouri to Springdale Arkansas. I was then 13 years old. My dad hooked old Jack and Pete, the mules to the hack and and we drove to McDowell and stayed all night with cousin Minnie, and on to Purdy the next morning, where we boarded the train, Mother, Dinkey, Cricket and I. My brother met us at Springdale. We drove out to Sonora, and on to the farm on White river. We stayed a week. This was the farthest I had ever been from home. One day while there, Uda and I went down to the river and sat out a trout line for catfish. We bated the hooks with live minnows. The next morning we went back and checked the line and had cought two catfish one weighing 17 pounds, it was all I could do to carrey it .This was the biggest fish I had ever seen. After a weeks visit, we returned to Missouri by train. Dad met us at Purdy and I felt like I had been to the end of the world.

I remember the late fall and early spring, during a dry spell when the woods would catch fire, I would sat up late at nighe a watch the fire. Sometimes there would be four or five differant fires at one time. I remember one windy night when all of nubin rigde was on fire, from ball hill to horney buck. I always liked to fight fire in the woods. We would use wet toe sacks, shovels, rake, and sometimes we would have to bakc fire, to keep it away from the rail fences. Alot of the itme the fire would be sat by some one who had a lot of cattle to run on the range, by burning it off, the grass would be better in the spring. Each year they would be an election to vote stock up or stock out, Hog up or Hog out. If they voted stock up, then everyy one had to keep their stock inthe parstures and behind the fenced in range. There would not be so many fires that year. Sometimes they would vote stock up, and hog out, then they could have to keep the cattle, horses, sheep up but they could let the hogs run out on the range to eat the acorns.

In 1914, the war clouds were gatherin over Europe, and we began to read the newspaper of the events taking place and see the pictures of mobilization of troops, We become war minded. In fact that year at school we played war games. We first chose up sides and used acorns as bullets. It was not long until it was the Carney Branch boys agiance the Nubbin Ridge boys. We first started fighting Indian style, from tree to tree. Then we started bringing lumber to school to build brest works, that was pretty good pertection until they started using rocks instead of acorns. Then we started using slang shots, until two or three got hurt pretty bad and had to stop fighting.

1915-1916, The war had broken out in Europe, and we had moved to the old Farnham place down the holler about three miles. The place had run down and we had alot of work to do to get it ready to put out a crop. The winter of 1915, we had to replace the old rail fence with barb wire fence, cut sprouts, dug a storm cellar, cleared out a peace of ground for tomatoes, built a smoke house. There was some bottom land at the mouth baptist holler. it was a good shape, we planted it in corn.

This place was where I lurned to hunt and trap, Rabbits was 15¢ a peace. and skunk hides ran from a doller to five dollers, possums from 50¢ to a doller and a half. I remember one time setting a steel trap on the hill above the house in a den where there was a good sign of a skunk. I wend up the next morning and the trap ws gone, three days later I caught the same skunk in another trap on the other side of the hill and it had the trap that was midding still caught on one of the other feet. So I recovered my trap and skunk too. It was a total black skunk, no white except a spot in it's fore head. I sold it for nine dollers. This was a rare skunk, The more white in a skunk the less it was worth. A borad stripe was only worth about One doller, a narrow strip would bring three or four dollers. We sold the rabbits to the mail man.

The first time I went duck hunting I killed three wild ducks. I borrowed my uncle Jakes automatic pump gun, and went down on flat creek, and hid in a pa-pa patch near the creek purty soon three ducks lit about two hundred feet from me, Bang, bang, bang, Three shots three ducks. I had a good mess, so I took them home and cleaned them and we roasted them for supper.

One morning in the fall of the year, my brother (Dinkey) and I was checking our steel traps alnog the banks of carney branch, that we had sat the day before for Musk rats, when a flock of wild ducks landed all around us, there must of been at least fifty of them, they had no dought been flying all night, and had given out. We caught one each and took them home. I killed mine and mother roasted it for supper. Dinkey would not kill his, instead he cropped it's wings, both wings instead of just one wing and put it under a tomotato crate in the hen house. He was going to make a pet out of it. The next morning he went out and opened the door to the hen house and the checkings had turned the crate over and the duck flew off south to joine the other flock. If he had only cropped one wing the duck would not have got away.

I attended school that year back at the old Carne school, Weaver Carney was teaching that year. I would get up at four o-clock and take the lantern and go to check my steel traps. Milk the cows, carry in wood, eat brakfast, go to the tomato pach and pick sever crats of tomatoes and walk a mile and a half to school.

In the early spring I would make some spinding money by digging wild roots, suck as Golden seal, Black snake root, may-apple, sweetannis and other roots. The Golden seal was the most expencive, dried, it brought from five to seven dollars per pound.

The winter of 1916 was a hard winter, I had to stay out of school a lot to help my dad cut tie tember. we made and haulled lots of railroad ties to town that winter. that was hard work, but I was stout as a mule them days. i could pick up a railroad tie 6 by 8 feet long green oak, and put it on the wagon with out any trouble at all. We could hall from 18 to 24 ties on the running- gear of a wagon. It would take about two or three days to make a load and a day to hall them to town 14 miles away. We would get $1.25 a tie.

One sunday the Cope boys, Chaney boys, Carney boys, Jay Gooding, and Dinkey and I all went to the Arther cave to explore. We all met at the Cope farm, the cave is about a mile up the holler from their. We arrived at the cave by an old trail, the mouth of the cave is large and located on a rugged hillside. Old Fannie, my little white dog was with us and entered the cave with us. She would always lead the way. We only had one lantern and a few matches. We come to a narrow place where we had to crrawl for about fifty feet, then we come into a large room. We exploried that room and on into another room of wich there was two prongs one leading up hill and the other down hill. We took the one going down which was very narrow and stepp. we soon come to an opening and found a large cavity going streight down. We could not see the bottom and the only way to cross it was a small ledge around one edge of it. We dident quite know what to do however after talking about it for some time and checking the hole we found by throwing rocks into the cavity we could hear them roll down two or three hundred feet and them hit water; Old Fannay started around the ledge and went out of site,but soon returned so we desided to try crowling around the ledge. I do not remember who was carrying the lantern, anyway he dropped it and it rolled down into the cavity and hit the water, there we was in the dark, and we did not know what to do. We finley desided to follow old Fanney, my little white dog. She led the way and we finly made it out, We were a happy bunch of boys when we reached the mouth of the cave and saw daylight.

I remember when I was about eight years old, I sent of for some garden seed to sail to get a camera. The seed came in the mail and I started out selling garden seed. I had pretty good luck. The seed was from Henry Field Seed company, Shenandoah Iowa. I still remember the box camera they sent me. It was a Primo Junior Number One, Daylight loading Modal B, 2 1/4 X 3 1/4 Eastman Kodak Company. I did my own developing and printing. I still have some of the pictures and they have not faded a bit.

Sometime in 1916 we all had the smallpox but my dad, he never did takethem, we were pretty sick for a few days but never had a doctor with any of us. We caught them from my uncle John Summers, who got them in the Pit cher Oklahoma when they struck a new silver mine and the town was booming with people and the smallpox brok out there and my uncle was working there at that time came down to our place with them and dident know what it was.

It was in 1916 when I took my first automoble ride, I don't remember the modle or what make it was, the driver and owner was a preacher by the name of Carllile. My brother Aud was with him and stopped at the Carney school house where I was attending school and picked me up and drove over to the Flat Creek Post Office to make and arrangement for a debate bwtween Carllile and Davis Coons. Coons was an old baptist, and Carllile a Cambleite.

In them days all automible had a runningboard, and on sundays we boys would get on a steep hill and when a car was coming up the hill we would hope one the running board and rode to the next hill and jump off. We called it hoping cars.

The 29th of October 1916 I become 16 years old and became interested in Girls. This fall I was going to school and was in the fourth Grade. This was the last time I had a chanch to go to school. There was one girl I walked to and from school I was very much in love with. I will not mention her name to pertect the innocent. This was the first Girl I went with stedy. Her hair was long and black, Her eyes was blue as the sky, she had pretty teeth like pearls. She was beautyful.


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