April 5, 1936

George Bennet Taylor and Martha Susan Springfield were married at her home on Military Road, north of Columbus, Mississippi, on November 17, 1870. I was born October 21, 1871 in the home of Grandfather Jesse Little Taylor eight miles west of Vernon, Alabama, Lamar County.

When I was one year old my parents moved out to themselves in a log cabin with few household necessities. Grandfather sold his nice large farm, moved to Vernon, built a nice dwelling and store and sold goods for several years. Father then moved to Vernon and worked in the store. When I was about three years old he bought 80 A. of land, 1½ miles southwest of Vernon, built a good log house with side rooms, front and back porches, a log barn and smoke house, cleared his land and fenced with rails. We had serious calamities including a loss of most all we had by fire. On a stormy afternoon, Pa and Ma decided to take a few things and sped the night in the new house which we had not moved into. Next morning when we went back, our old house, barn and smokehouse had burned in the night. I grieved most over my little specked hen that was sitting under the house. We also lost a horse which a neighbor borrowed and fed decayed corn. We had many doctor bills. We worked hard as we were in debt for all that we had, but were happy together and contented.

My first few days at school when five were to Dr. G. C. Burns, my great-uncle at Vernon. I went to five three-month schools in a log cabin in the woods: two of them taught by my mother, one by Aunt Hattie, One by Alonzo Guin, and one by Aunt Alice Springfield, mother's sister. I went to Prof. Jim Guyton, Prof. Black, Prof. William King Brown, and Prof. Oliver Roland Hood at Vernon. I walked about three miles (one mile alone) to Miss Alice Blackman two summer schools in an old dwelling on Jackson Highway.

I joined the Freewill Baptist Church at ten years of age during a union meeting held in the courthouse at Vernon by Rev. D. W. Ward, Paster of the Methodist Church. My Grandfather, T. W. Springfield baptized me with six other girls, four of them his own; also several young men were baptized all by immersion. It was at sunset in the branch on north side of Vernon in Oct. 1882.

I went to high school at the Vernon Academy. Programs at the close of schools lasted for a day and night. Recitations, dialogues, declarations and debates were given by the pupils. Hon. Neesmith and others made addresses. In a speaking contest I spoke "Curfew Shall Not Ring Tonight" and had Rosyola or German measles, and failed to receive the prize, "Tennyson's Works" which I wanted. My friend, Bell Bradly, won the book.

Teachers I had:
     Dr. G. C. Burnes (few weeks)
     Aunt Alice Springfield-few weeks
     Alonzo Guin-3 mo
     Prof. J. T. Black-4 mo.
     Mrs. M. S. Taylor (mother) 2 schools
     Mrs Alice Blackman Jordan-6 mo.
     Prof. Jim Guyton-3 mo.
     Prof. W. K. Brown-7½ mo.
     Miss Hattie Springfield (aunt)-few weeks
     Prof O. R. Hood, my last in 1889

I walked from one to three miles in all kinds of weather, if not too bad, to get this little bit of education. Father paid some of my tuition, $2.50 per month, by cutting and hauling wood for the three stoves in the Old Academy at Vernon. I praise God for my devoted Christian parents who were poor but left a far better heritage than wealth or fame. They now own a mansion in Heaven.

At sixteen I taught a little summer school for the community children at $1.00 per scholar per month, some of which I never received. I had a spell of chills and fever during the school and Father taught in my place.

At seventeen I secured license as my teacher advised me to try to teach and help my afflicted father. I knew I was not competent to teach any one, but I began a school five miles south of Vernon near Shiloh Methodist Church January 1, 1889. I had 56 pupils, all kinds of books and grades.

The building was a log cabin with log benches, no backs, a stick and dirt chimney, a bucket and gourd for water, sedge straw broom, and no blackboard. I boarded with Mr. and Mrs. Sam Loftis and little girl, Lou, in a two-room house. Third Sunday of January Father came to preach at Corinth nearby, but a rain prevented se he spent some time with me. He brought me some new gloves Mother had knitted and a pencil, and went home. Charles Clark Redus and Jace Robertson came also that day. The next week, Charles hired to Mr. Loftis to help with a crop, and took a horse to pay for his work. My school closed March 5 until June. I then boarded at Mr. Tom Nobles and finished school in September--five months for $85.00 and a small supplement to collect.

image The first time I saw Charles he was leading a song, "The Unclouded Day". I thought he, with curly black hair, was the handsomest boy I ever saw. We kept company some that summer. With other brothers at home, Charlie wasn't needed with their farming. There were no jobs to get, little for anyone to do except farm. Charlie wanted us to get married. I was more mature, and worried over how we would make a living, but I finally promised to be his bride. To get cloth for my wedding dress I rode horseback from 3 miles west of Vernon to Sulligent. From Pennington and Lampkin's Store I bought:
     10 Yards gray cashmere $2.25
     1 card buttons and thread .25
     5 yards print lining .30
     1 yard wigging .10
     3 yards braid trimming 1.05
     1 Lac & B pin 1.00
           Total $4.95

On November 6, 1889, Wednesday at 11:00 Charlie and I were married in my home, by Grandfather Springfield. He prayed a beautiful prayer and departed for his post office work in Vernon. We had a nice crowd and dinner, and went to Charlie's home that afternoon in his brother Gan's buggy. They had a nice supper and a number of people were there. We sang awhile and played games. Charlie and I were happy although we had nothing in worldly goods. At eighteen and nineteen we were too young to realize what we were facing in the future. We spent six weeks at his home and went to live with my parents to make a crop. Father gave us all we made, and rented some land himself to sacrifice for us.

I was offered $36.00 to teach three months with a little supplement. We moved near the Mill School, three miles south of Vernon. Sister Fannie, 15, went with us and she and Charlie went to school. He went when he could not get work to do. When spring was near school closed and we went back to Father Redus's for a few weeks and I rode 3½ miles with little Edward Redus riding behind me to finish the school. Here the building was a new log house with no windows. There were 30 or more pupils, some grown. We then went back home to gather our first crop, two bales of cotton, fifty bushels of corn and some potatoes and molasses. Again, we moved near the mill School. All that we had was a horse with owing fifty dollars of $100 paid for him, two cows, six hens, three geese, a sow and pigs. We lived in an old log cabin with no loft, no windows, no side room nor porch, and cooked in another cabin fifty feet or more across the yard.

I taught Mill School two months in winter and one in summer. We had no way to church 3 or 4 miles, except to walk, or I riding the horse and Charlie walking, but we were happy.

Charlie had a serious spell of bilious fever after having a bone felon on his finger.

We gathered our crop, paid rent to Mr. Bud Robertson and helped all we could when his wife died leaving two small girls. From here we moved to Mrs. Peggy Davis' to live in the house with her as she was alone. She had a good place to farm, but I shed tears to go there. She was strange and peculiar but I learned to love her.

In this log home our first baby was born. Little Floy Olga came on April 22, 1892. The next winter I taught three months in an old cabin in our back yard as there was no school in this community. I kept my baby in her little warm, hand-made cradle in the corner by the big rock fire place while I taught 25 or more country children and grown boys and girls. Some were older than I then twenty. The next winter I taught when Floy was walking, talking and eating dinner with school children out of tin buckets. Surely they loved my baby.

We made very good crops for four years, then Mrs. Davis went to live with her sister, Mrs. Collins, in Fayette, Alabama, the second year that we were on her place.

Our second baby, Edna Earl, was born June 24, 1895, Monday. That fall we moved three miles west across Yellow Creek to a little farm that we bought from Jim Bass. We were to pay $300. The house had one 16-foot room, side room, front porch. There was a nice little log barn with four stables. We built a kitchen, smoke house, wood shed, dug a well 65 feet deep, planted an orchard and grape vines, shade trees and flowers.

Lillian Oleta was born at the Bass Place on July 26, 1899. We lived here eight years and I loved it.

In a field east of our house was a little cemetery with eight graves marked only by stones. Charlie's Grandfather Ferguson, his daughter and her child were buried here. His Grandmother Ferguson was buried at Mt. Zion, across Yellow Creek. The waters were up when she died and she could not be buried by her husband. Charlie and I cleaned off weeds and briars and cared for the graves while we were there. I imagine it is being cultivated now. People were too poor to buy monuments during and after the Civil War.

image We then exchanged our place for an old water mill on Yellow Creek. Moved January 13, 1903. Bro. Daniels and others thought Charlie could do well with the mill and persuaded him to trade our little farm for the mill.

Our fourth baby, Little Lola D was born February 20, 1903 and lived only twelve days. She had pneumonia. Dr. B. F. Reed tried in vain to save her. She died March 4, 1903 and was buried at Mt. Nebo Cemetery. One night as I lay awake grieving over our loss, Grandfather Redus slipped in and sat by my bed. He said, "I knew you would be awake" and talked so kindly to me. He said, "We shouldn't grieve over the sufferings of our loved ones as one moment in heaven will repay for all they suffered. You will live to be thankful that this baby was taken before knowing the troubles of this world." He was a wonderful man. O! I loved him.

A hail storm April 19, 1903 almost ruined our garden. Charlie had rheumatism from working in water on the mill house. The mill broke down lots, our good horse, Dan, traded, and this was the hardest year of our married life. God blessed us though through it all. image

One day in April 1903, Father Redus came before breakfast and told me that he had a vision that he was ill and we were all around his bed. With tears in his eyes he said if that vision was like death he didn't mind dying. He didn't want to eat, but I begged him to eat a little and drink some coffee. On June 14, 1903, he had a stroke and didn't live long. He told his sons, "don't cry boys, let me go easy and happy." He was then living at the Rube Burrow's place. He was laid to rest in Mt. Nebo Cemetery near our little Lola D. Bro. R. H. Jones held the service. How we all missed him.

The mill place was exchanged for a little 60 A. farm and house Gan Redus built. We moved December 1, 1903. We bought a wood stove December 8 and the organ January 14, 1904. Flora Ellen was born July 27, 1904. We lived three years there. Charlie helped build the Maple Spring School but as people died, the school went down and we wanted to be near a school for our precious girls. We sold our little farm for $600 and bought seventy acres from Mr. Shaeffer Youngblood in Pickens County, Alabama, it was a part of Dr. Agnew's place, for $1,000. We paid $500 down and moved here December 11, 1906. Arriving at 8:00 P.M. all so tired and cold in four wagons.

image Tommy Redus and Carver Shelton drove our cow and two heifers, riding horseback some and walking some of the 25 miles. Floy was 14, Edna 11, Lillian 7, and Flora 2½ years. Charlie was 36 and I 35. We had only three rooms, no loft, no ceiling, no smoke house or chicken house, only one small crib, no well shelter, no middle door shutters. I told God if He'd let us get out of debt I'd do my best for Him. We built fence, well shelter, smoke house, side room, kitchen, dining room and back porch. The rooms were ceiled and finished, a wagon and pair of mules and a surrey were bought. More shelters, barn and tenant house were built. We set an orchard and paid for all in several years even though the boll weevil hurt us and others.

Charla Mae was born September 6, 1910 and Georgia Louise came March 21, 1913. I was then 42. Charlie helped build a school named Liberty in 1910 near where old Liberty Academy was before the Civil War. Floy went to Livingston and became a teacher. The others were going to Liberty under Miss Edna Sheffield, Miss Ethel Hodo, and others.

Floy married David Lee Lawrence April 10, 1914. Edna married James Belton Youngblood May 2, 1915, both married at home. Lillian married Ivy Chalmers Atkins October 9, 1917. Ivy was called to France in the spring of 1918. During World War I, Oleta was born November 7, 1918. Peace was declared November 11, 1918. Whistles and bells sounded all over the country. When the men making syrup near Tom Youngblood's heard the whistles they knew peace had come. Mr. John Atkins, with three sons in service, shouted and threw his hat into the air. They were so happy. Charlie came home to dinner and cried for joy as he tried to eat.

Charlie carried a covered wagon to transport children who lived too far to walk to Liberty School.

On February 1919, we all went to Andrews Chapel Church in our good surrey. Our pastor, Bro. Hartsfield was sick and didn't come, but Mr. George Youngblood taught a good Sunday School lesson. I sat by Charlie the last time at church. He took flu and pneumonia after being caught by a cold rain. Dr. G. E. Spruill and Miss Chappel, nurse, tried hard to save him as we all prayed. God called him on February 16, 1919. He talked of going, told me he loved me and he wished he could have done more for me, that our married life had been sweet. He said, "Stand by the Church. I haven't done much for the church but it has meant everything to me." He said, "I am so proud of our girls and all our family., Bring them and come on and we'll have a long talk with our blessed Lord." The service was held February 17, by Bro. Hartsfield using Psalm 1 and I Car. 15. Uncle Woods Springfield, Jim Youngblood, Mr. R. D. Cooper and Prof. J. T. Smith sang "I've Been Redeemed", a favorite song. I prayed God to spare me to raise my little Louise 6, Charla 8, and Flora, 14, to be grown. I trust that our family will so live to all get to heaven and be together again some day.

After writing many letters we got Ivy discharged from the Army. He came in May 1919. Oleta was six months old when he first saw her. He worked the farm which his brother Lewis had started plowing for him. In the fall, he, Lillian and baby Oleta moved to Stansel, Alabama. How we missed them!

Floy and David's little Mildred went to Heaven December 18, 1921 and dear, good, David followed her in about four months, April 24, 1922. Floy came near going with Typhoid Fever for long weeks but God spared her to rear her three sweet children left.

My dear mother died July 19, 1926, and Edna and Jim's little Alice went December 4, 1926. Edna's health broke and for 15 years she was seriously ill. We thank God that she survived several operations including brain surgery and is well again. She's a wonderful person.

image image My father Rev. B. B. Taylor died January 13, 1929 so I am an orphan and a widow tonight. We've had many operations and illnesses, but God has been with us and blessed us wonderfully.

Flora and Jimmy Richards were married June 20, 1931. Charla Mae and Fulmer Hill were married July 11, 1933.

Flora, Charla Mae and Louise finished Liberty High School. Floy, Flora and Charla taught for a number of years. Louise won two medals at graduation. She began work at Seminole, Columbus, Mississippi, January 1934.

Jimmy and Flora moved into the house with me. I thank God every day for my six precious daughters, and five sons-in-law who are noble Christian men, and for my loving grandchildren. I love them all so much, and trust that we may make an unbroken family in Heaven. I pray God to help them to know Christ as their personal Savior and I hope that they will be able to do more for God, the Church, and our world than I have done. I'm proud and thankful for my family. My daughters are so good, and all my sons-in-law and grandchildren are so sweet and good. I pray right now that God will bless and save us all. Our help must come from God. I asked God to help all my babies to be useful Christians, and I feel thankful that each one tries in some way to do what they can to help make a better world. I hope and pray that my grandchildren will seek the hew birth and make a good fight for they'll have temptations I've never had. I hope our whole family are a praying generation and will make a happy landing as we pass, one by one.

March 29, 1954

When I came into the Frank Redus Family November 6, 1889, I felt very strange in a home I'd never seen. I had only met the family a few times at Shiloh Church. I tried to be a faithful daughter-in-law and loved them for they were my own husband's people. I enjoyed hearing them tell of the past for I have always liked history.

Father Redus' mother was Abbie Elizabeth Molloy, his father was Henry, a local Methodist preacher. Their children were Frank, William, Thomas, Dale, Lydia and Chelnissa. His last wife was Jane Nealand and their children were John and Henry Wood. All moved to Arkansas except Father and Mother Redus.

The Civil War came and southern men called "Tories" brought terror and death forcing men off to war claiming they had authority. They came in the night and at gun point carried Father Redus. They didn't want to give time for him to put his shoes on, but Mother Redus told them he was going to put on his shoes. He was not heard from for twelve days, and they feared that he was dead. He was in jail at Fayette. From there he was taken to war, leaving Mother Redus and small sons, Jim Henry and Gan. She had to plant and plow corn, made enough for bread. She said they often had just buttermilk and cornbread. Father Redus was captured and carried to Long Island. The Yankees were good to him, but he worked on a ship until his feet froze, so he suffered from that. He was a true Christian of the old time religion, died of a stroke June 14, 1903.

Father Redus' two uncles, Jimmy and Miller Redus were hanged by the Tories because they thought they had money. Uncle Jimmy was alone at the old "Grandma" Ward place. Mr. Moses Denman and a black man went next day, cut the rope and took his body down, burying it in his garden on planks. Later he was moved to Mt. Nebo Cemetery. A note on a tree by his body said "Death to anyone who took him down." Mr. Denman, a brave man, risked his life to bury him. The same night Uncle Miller Redus was with his two girls at the old "Combs" place and he was hung also. Lucy and Jennie were threatened as they tried to hold their father. One Tory slung one of the girls off the porch by her hair. One girl stayed by his body while the other went and got Sis Pennington to go miles in the night to get help to take their father down. Most all of the men were gone to war. Mr. Pennington was hanged. Mr. Guin and wife found him hanging in the woods. I can remember both Lucy and Jenny Redus. They married Penningtons and brought their families often to Furnace Church.

This is as was told to me by Father and Mother Redus. Their graves, with our baby Lola, are in the old Mt. Nebo Cemetery five miles west of Vernon, Alabama.
Grandfather Jesse Little Taylor (January 5, 1809, May 28, 1896) was born near Raleigh, North Carolina. He was married three times but had no children by the first wife. The second wife was Beatrice Bedoy Taylor. Their Children were: Nancy Elizabeth, Martha, Joshua Bert, Bedoy, Mary Liza, Stephen, James William (Minister) and Thomas Jefferson. They had seven children to die when small and are buried at Friendship Church Cemetery eight miles west of Vernon, Joshua Bert, Thomas J. and Stephen all fought in the Civil War, had holes shot through their hats, but came home safely. Grandpa's third wife was Margaret Burns. Her brothers were Dr. Caruthers Burns and Sam: sisters were Jerome, Melvina Harriet Ellen and Sarah. Margaret Burns was my Grandmother as her children were George Bennet (father), Nancy Ellen (m. Malloy) and Amanda (m. Calvin Lawrence.) Grandpa Jesse L. is buried at Macedonia near Sulligent. (His grand and great-grandchildren placed a marker to his grave in 1965). Grandma Margaret is buried near Hamburg, Arkansas.

Grandfather Thomas Walker Springfield (June 6, 1825-August 26, 1903) was English from South Carolina.  He was a Freewill Baptist Minister who organized Springfield Church near Vernon,  A life color portrait of him hangs in this church (1971).  He was first postmaster at Vernon.  His father was Thomas Springfield (July 15, 1766-March 21, 1845) of the Carolinas.  His wife was Laodicea (Dicy) Langston (May 14,1766-May 23, 1837) who was a Revolutionary War heroine.  (A plaque honoring her stands at Travelers Rest, S. C., given by D.A.R.)

Grandfather T. W. Springfield's brothers and sisters were:  Aaron, James L. Moses, Henry, Elizabeth, Ephrim, Sarah, Hugh, Martha, Laodicea, Nancy, Bennett, Solomon Langston and Willis.

Grandfather married Emily Calloway Woods (October 12, 1830-May 3, 1918).  They married November 25, 1847.  Her parents were Thomas and Judy Woods.  They had 11 children and reared 8 orphan children.  The Woods are buried at Shiloh Baptist Church, Lamar County, Alabama.

The children of Thomas W. and Emily were:  Dr. Thomas J., Martha Susan (mother), Jimmy (minister), Woods (minister), Elizabeth, Green, Hattie, Alice, Emma, Buelah, and Lula (twins), and Walter.  This large family were teachers, doctors and ministers.  All were intellectual and great singers.  Aunt Hattie was engaged to be married to Dr. Hollis, but died of arthritis at age of 27 years.  Aunt Lula never married:  was a milliner in New York, Colorado, Kentucky, Virginia, and Texas.  Died in Birmingham with her nieces and nephews caring for her.

Rev. George M. Hall was our pastor at Andrews Chapel in 1914. While visiting in our home he told about a protracted meeting Dr. Slaughter once held in a country church where there were rough boys and young men who cared nothing for the church. Brother Hall was only a boy then. He attended this meeting and soon found out that crowds of boys were engaged in something secret in the woods. They kept going and coming until he, through curiosity, learned that they were selling and drinking liquor. He was very much upset and troubled but didn't know what to do. The meeting dragged on for several days with no apparent good done.

One morning Dr. Slaughter called for prayer. These wicked boys sat on the back bench. Dr. Slaughter prayed saying, "Lord, I came here to hold a revival. I've preached hard and no good has been done. I've got nothing to do except preach, but I am going to quit and go home unless you want me to stt. There are boys here who are ruining other boys and ruining this meeting. Lord, if they are not going to repent and quit their meanness, Kill'em, kill'em, right now, Lord!"

At that time a flash of lighting and a clap of thunder! The church was on fire! Those boys fell on the floor, women screamed, and children cried, but Dr. Slaughter kept on praying. Bro. Hall said he got close to Dr. Slaughter for he didn't want to die by himself if destruction came. The leader of the gang took a chill and soon was dead. After his funeral every one of those boys gave their hearts to God and united with the church. The fire on the church was put out and such a revival had never been known at that place.

This is a true story and I want to keep it as it was just one instance of this man's great faith. He had many varied experiences during his wonderful ministry. He was pastor of Andrews Chapel when we moved here in 1906.

My old country church surrounded by trees and a large well kept cemetery.

A walk in it to the graves of our loved ones and friends remembering "Precious, in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." 

Going into church we shake hands with our good pastor and wife, friends and neighbors, then enjoy the church school hour, the sermon, songs, and prayers. 

We go home for lunch and wait for afternoon visitors and other family members who usually come after going to their churches. 

Since I am old, feeble, and cannot attend regularly I enjoy my easy chair and a good radio sermon and songs, my Bible, and the "Progressive Farmer", the best magazine of all.
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