Memories of Josie (Lamb) Lewallen

Billie Harris - Jun 21, 2009

Josie was my dear grandmother - a good Christian woman with never a bad thing to say about anyone.   In the Lamb genealogy (on the internet now), I included her memories of her childhood and I'm posting them here in case any of you would like to read what took place in that family 100 years ago.   There was a tablet she had written on but not all the pages were there so you'll notice it ends rather abruptly.   After her memories below, I've included a little bio on her.   A wonderful woman I'll remember dearly for my entire life.



     By Josie Lamb Lewallen, 1957

(The following are transcribed from her notes and words spelled as she had written them.   Transcribed by Billie Harris 1997.)

Time is so different now to what it was when I was a child.   Seems almost like a new world we are living in now.

In the early nineteen hundred most people farmed for a living and all were in about the same boat - POOR.   In those days we knew nothing about living room suits and easy chairs.   Some few had to sit on boxes or nail cags.   There was no electricity, no water in the house, had caresen lamps for light, wood cook stoves and heaters or fireplace.   Most all chimneys were made of mud.   We were a little more fortunant than some.   Ours was brick.

This fireplace holds many memories.   When I was around six yrs. old one morning when father and three brothers had gone to work and mother had gone to milk two or three cows, I decided to do a little expermenting.   Mother had scoloped paper on the mantal and matches on a small shelf under the mantle so I thought would light the scaloped paper and see how quickly could put it out.   There was a bout three inch crack in the inside wall which was covered with paper and a large meror hung over the mantle.   The second I touched the lighted match to the paper and before I could say scat, that paper had burned of the mantle and went right up that crack and burned the string that held the miror and down it came on the hearth and broke in a million pices.   I ran out on the porch calling mother and said the miror had fallen.   She knowing something was rong came runing to the house thinking if the house was on fire she would dash her milk on it since we had no water except as we carryed it from a spring or creek.   When she got to the house the fire had gone out and I was awaiting a good thrashing.

My first recolection father, mother, three bros and I lived in a two room house.   I was four yrs old.   Father was building a new house.   My brother Tom was walking the floor joice, fell and hit his head on the corner of one.   Cut a big gash on his head.   He carried the scar to his grave.   Mother had bought me a pair of shoes.   I can remember carring them around.   Was afraid we would move and leave my shoes.   In those days children got one pair of shoes a year.   I can remember going barefoot till Christmas.   My mother made her thread and knitted our socks and stockins.   I remember crying many times because those wool stockins were stinging me like yellow jackets.   Remember crying all the way home from my grandpas one morning because my legs were stinging so bad.  

In those days people farmed for a lifelyhood, seldom bought anything to eat except sugar, flour, soda and salt.   Father growed cane and made our syrup, raised our meat and lard, peas, beans and corn.   Would shell the corn, take it to a gris mill, have it ground for our corn bread.   We had cows and chickens so had plenty of milk-butter and eggs.   Ground coffee was unheard of then.   We bought the coffee bean unparched green for 1 or 2 cents a pound.   Mother put it in the oven to parch it.   We had coffee mills.   Was a box hoper in the top with a crank.   Would put the box between knees to hold _____ hopper with coffee, and grind away.   Most always wake the family.

Soap.   We had a ash hopper built out of boards in a V shape and filled it with ashes from the fire place during winger.   In the spring we would start pouring water on the ashes.   It ran through and came out lye.   When would get a pot full, mother would take meat scraps put in the pot of lye and boil till it jeeled.   It was never hard enough to cut in bars so would pour in barrels and had enough to last till next soap making time.

We knew nothing about a washing machine.   All we had was a rub board and battle block.   On Monday morning could hear that battle board ringing a mile away.   The block was cut from a large log and the battle stick whittled out of timber with a long handle and a paddle.   When had something real dirty, would wet it, put it on the block and some of that good old lye soap and start beating with the paddle, turning the garment as you beat them.   Came out of wash clean and fresh.

Our wash place was near a little creek.   One Sunday my uncle and family came to visit us.   Two of my cousins and I went to the creek.   Got one of mothers wash tubs and proceeded to make a boat out of it.   We got it out in the creek.   The water was about knee deep.   I was first to take a ride in the tub.   The two cousins got hold of the handles on each side and started up the long hole of water.   I was enjoying the ride till sudenly I found myself on the bottom, wet from top to bottom.   We went into the woods.   I pulled my clothes off, rung the water out of them.   Just about the time I started to put them on, my brother Mack who was hiding in the woods, yelled I'm going to tell pa, but after all I got out without getting a whipping.

I like to look back to my childhood days and think of the great times I had.   Guess I was somewhat of a tom boy because I had to play with my two older brothers.   We played in the creek catching craw fish and would cut down small saplings, trim them leaving stub limb to put our feet on.   We called these tom walkers.   We would walk up and down the creek on them.   Often we would fall down and come out wet as a drowned rat.   We played on till our clothes dried.   Mother couldn't watch us all the time.   We got through without any serious accedents.

May 1905 our crops were growing nicely.   Started raining on Saturday morning and by noon the little creek was coming over the hill.   In a few minutes water was under the house.   Father decided was time to leave the house and go to the barn which was a few hundred yards away.   The water was knee deep when we left the house.   Was gloomy for a short time because all branches were swiming around us but our worries were soon over.   Water began to receed by the time we got to the house, the water had gone down past the house.   When the water went down, the crops were gone.   Father and boys built fence all day Sunday to protect what little crop that was left.   In those days there was no such thing as wire fences.   Fields were fenced with rails split from logs.

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Born 6 miles north of Delight.   Had 4 brothers and sisters.   One brother and sister, twins, died       March 1906.   Mother died March 1906.   Father married in March 13, 1907 Ann Ward Halaway.   She had three children at         one married.   There were eleven family and all worked hard and had good living.   Father was a farmer and good provider.   After crops         laid by he would           Highland peach orchard and camp and pick peaches.   At that time       acres were in

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put them out of business.   My step mother and we children stayed home to take care of things.   We children went to school three months before crop time and the crops were gathered.   We were a united family.   Seldom was there a discourging word.   My step mother was a wonderful woman and just as good to we children as she was to her own.   She worked hard to feed and cloth a big family.   She did all the sewing, canning, and some of gardening.   She didn't like horses in the garden because they tramped things down.   Dad would usuly pull the plow and she plowed.   Sometimes when dad wasnt there, Dessel and I pulled the plow.   We were like two balking horses, one would pull, the other lag back.   I can remember how hot we'd get.   Looking back, I rejoice over the good times we had together.

We never worked on Saturdays or Sundays.   Was our rest and play days.   My dad made sorgum syrup and used skimmings to feed his hogs.   He put them in a barrel with water and some times would ferment but dad knew just how much to give them.   One Saturday dad, mother and girls went some where to spend the night and left boys home to feed hogs and take care of stock.   So they decided to have some fun by making the hogs drunk on the fermented skimings.   When they would drink trough full, the boys would give them more untill they began to stager and fall over, kicking and squealing.   They had been but they didn't tell dad what they had done for a long time.   The hogs got over their drunk before he got home.

Mack and Gilbert joined the Army 1915 at the same time and were separated and never saw each other again.   Mack went to the Philippen Island and was on ship going to Germany when the armistic was signed in 1918.   World War One.   Don't remember where Gilbert went.   He came back to California and married.   Mack came back to Boston Mass. and married.

We moved from Suck Creek near the rock house to Little Wolf Creek when I was 2 years old into a little 2 room house.   That was in 1898.   Effie was borned there Mar. 4, 1900.   Dad built new house about that time and Eva was borned there July 28, 1902.   My earlyst recolection we were moving into the new house.   I had a new pair of shoes I held onto them till we left the old house.   Was afraid they would be left.   Many time I go back in my childhood days and think how great it was.   We never had things like children have today   We played with stick horses, tom walkers, and many times would go find frogs and young lizard and make horses of them.   We made playhouses and flying jennys.   I've seen kids almost get their heads knocked off by those things.   Some kids couldn't ride them and made them sick going around.

We always looked forward to Christmas.   We hung our stockings by the fire place so Santa wouldn't miss us when he came down chimney.   I rember the last time I hung my stocking.   Didn't want to.   I said wont get anything but mother and dad insisted I hang it.   Next morning I had a big china doll, first and last bought doll I ever had.   I was happy.   I kept it till though I was too grown up for dolls and gave it to a cousin.   We had apples, oranges and candy at Christmas time.   Also firecrackers.   Kin folks would get together Christmas eve night, enjoy shooting them and when we didn't have fire crackers, dad would shoot his shot gun two or three times just to have a loud noise.   We enjoyed life different to what they claim to enjoy today.

When I was about seven years old and grandpa and grandma Lamb came to spend the day with us, it was hot and had to carry our drinking water almost quarter mile.   Mother sent me to get some cool water.   When I stooped to dip my bucket in water a snake fell out of a tree into the spring.   I ran up the path and looked back.   That snake was coming right behind me.   I ran faster than ever run till got out of bushes.   I don't know where the snake went.   I didn't look back any more but went to creek.   Got bucket of water.   My mother detected it wasnt spring water so I had to tell her the whole story.   I was from that time afraid to go to the spring.

In fathers and mothers early married life, father drink.   One time father went to Wild Cat Springs, got drunk on wild cat liquour and didn't come home.   Aunt Mattie Wingfield and mother went hunting for him and found down on the road side.   Couldnt get him up.   Mother got a pine knot and pounded him till sobered him enough to get him home.   Next

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Josie was born about one-half mile from what was called the "Rock House", huge bolders all together, located five or six miles north of Delight up the Caddo Gap Road, and about three miles from Josie and Garlon's old home on the Strawberry Road.   Mom and Ruby said they went to the Rock House only two or three times in their lives, but the boys would ride horses there looking for lost cows.   There were, from what I've been told, a number of rattlesnakes in the area.

Josie went to the Hopewell School, located northwest of Delight, finishing only a few grades.  

She was about 5'5" tall and of average weight in her younger days but as she grew older, she shrunk in height and was stooped.   She had an olive complexion, high cheek bones, and her eyes were slanted slightly (as were several of her siblings), leading us to believe there was considerable Indian blood in their veins.   When she went into a convalescent hospital at Nashville, Arkansas, in her late 80's, she became bedridden, only getting around in a wheel chair.   At that time, she put on weight, her voice became high pitched, had a hearing loss and her hands became arthritic.   For many years prior to that, she was afflicted with a shaking head, which may run in the family.   I've been told that her dad also had the shakey head and hands, and that Ab Kelley, a relative, also had it.   One of her children, Juanita Eudoxia Anderson, inherited the same shaking and it started on her when she was in her 30's.

Josie loved going places.   When Ruby and Gordon   (her daughter and son-in-law) went to see her, or when Mom and I saw her, in the convalescent hospital, we took her for rides to Delight and she loved every minute, especially when she saw her neighbors and friends and relatives.

She was a devout Christian.   Her Lamb family had all be active in the Church of Christ at Delight so when she joined the Baptist Church with her husband, her family became very upset and practically disowned her for a while.

She worked hard from early dawn until dusk at night, in the fields, gardening, cooking, milking cows, feeding chickens, gathering eggs, slopping pigs, canning, washing dishes, washing clothes, bringing in firewood, making soap, raising her children - and the list goes on and on.   I remember she always seemed to move fast, but then there were times when she and my grandfather would sit in their rocking chairs relaxing at the end of the day.   They never worked on Sundays and had usually fixed meals for Sundays the day before.

Josie had one of the best dispositions of anyone I have every known.   she was always cheerful (I attribute that to her religious beliefs) and never talked bad about anyone.  
She died October 11, 1987, in a rest home at Nashville, Arkansas.   She is buried at the Delight Cemetery next to her husband.