AND LORETTA ADAMS
"Over on Cowan"
Grandfather Will & Grandmother
"Mamaw" always said "Where's
there's a will, there's a way; and I married a 'Will.' "
"Papaw" had a sawmill,
gristmill and made the best molasses you could find on Cowan Creek.
Be sure to visit
"The Farm Bell" page.
Little Cowan School
Daddy is the tall boy on the
right in knickers. The list below indicates that his brother, Kerney, was one of the teachers.
Another brother, Fonda, was one of the students as was a sister, Valma.
Also pictured are names that I think I recognize as Daddy's cousins who lived on
A complete list of names is
I have many pleasant childhood memories of "over
on Cowan." From Jenkins, when we went to our grandparents, it was "over on
Cowan." When the family gathered together, there was a very long table
spread with lots of good things to eat, much of it grown right there.
Going to Cowan, Kentucky to my
paternal grandparents was a special treat. We visited often and each trip was a
cherished one. The two-story house had a large front porch, screened-in back
porch and a “sun roof” on top of the front porch where Mamaw dried her beans and
The high hedge hugging the front
yard was always neatly trimmed to a boxed shape, a little higher at the entrance
gate and running the entire length of the large front yard. There were
lovely rose bushes, a fish pond near the back kitchen door, a tree by the right
side of the house that seemed to always have tree frogs. There was a path
down through the vegetable garden that led to the “outhouse.” Papaw’s
beehives were on the right side of the house and the apple orchard, tool house,
chicken house and other stuff on the left. This is the only picture we
have been able to locate of the farm house. If anyone has one they
would share, we would be happy to add it here. (Thanks, Marietta, for this
Selma (Crase) Cantrell, Marietta (Crase)
Ball, Mamaw Adams and Robert
Selma and Marietta are the children
of Daddy's sister, Wilma (Adams) and Ewen Crase (who took the picture).
At the back of the garden there were
haystacks to slide down (if Papaw didn’t catch you.) Above the haystacks on the
left (behind the chicken house in the bottom) was a hill with a portion fenced
off for the family cemetery, and beyond that grazing for the milk cow.
There I was between Mother and
Daddy as we neared the farm, and I was filled with excitement mixed with
anxiety. I knew I was going to remain there after they
went back to Jenkins without me.
If either of them had spoken one word of doubt about my staying, I would have
gone back home with them, as much as loved being with my grandparents, Will,
tall and handsome, and Loretta Adams, lovely and compassionate. Mother and
Daddy understood and didn’t say anything, letting me decide to stay or not.
Well, I would stay and have a memorably good time.
Some of the things have been
indelibly stamped in my “pleasant memory.”
My Memories of "Down on the Farm
Over on Cowan"
Walking to the mailbox across the
creek to get a letter from home.
Opening the letter and finding coins
taped on it to be spent at the country store.
Walking to the store with one of my
friends “up the hollow” and deciding how to spend the dimes.
Visiting with my “on the farm” girl
friends; Avis Boggs and Sarah Hampton.
Playing upstairs in the “big room”
and exploring the side rooms.
Being awed by Uncle Kerney’s library
upstairs in the room. I assumed they were his books
because he was a professor at Eastern State University (even wrote one of the
textbooks they used at the university). I love books, so it was one of my
favorite places to explore.
Drawing water from the well with the
cylinder bucket, setting it on the side of the bucket and pressing the release
lever; watching the water fill the bucket.
Stepping on the mint growing by the
well where water was regularly spilled and inhaling its fragrance and nibbling
Helping Mamaw churn the “seasoned”
milk and making butter from it.
And, oh, especially watching her dip
me a bowlful of the soft, white, fluffy butter before she “worked it down”;
digging a spoon in that wonderful stuff as if it were ice cream and relishing
its warm, creamy, unsalted goodness. Ummm!
Drawing butter and milk up in a
bucket from the square cooling well that sat near the water well and taking it
in to the large kitchen for a meal cooked on the wood burning stove.
Watching Papaw sweeten everything
that needed it with molasses. I don’t recall a meal that didn’t have molasses
on the table.
Gwenda said she remembered the honey
that Mamaw always had on the table. I am sure that the honey was included
with each meal also. Papaw would have robbed
his bees to get it.
Being allowed to feed cane stalks
into the press that squeezed the sugar cane “juice” out for the molasses
Running to the press while the horse
that powered the press was on the other side of its circular route, then running
back out again after it made its pass and was back on the other side again.
Watching the luscious foam form on
the molasses as they cooked in long narrow pans; with someone stirring, stirring
until it was just right.
Remembering that Will Adams had
the reputation of having the best molasses around. I know--Mother said I
got a taste when I was very young.
She missed me and found me on the screened-in back porch with my finger at the
opening of the keg of molasses. I had managed to turn on the little faucet
at the lower front of the keg and was catching the drip with my finger and
licking the slow moving molasses off my sticky finger. Good thing it was
Sitting on the back porch helping
Mamaw string and break beans to cook or to dry for "shucky beans".
Stirring apple butter with a long
hand-made agitator in the big black cast iron kettle.
Sitting at the long kitchen table
with the men and other kids eating when the family gathered at the Adams
homestead for visitations. The women served us and then took their time eating
and getting caught up on the latest news after we finished; the men gathered to
play checkers and talk, and the kids played in the immaculately manicured lawn
with dolls and whatever we had available.
Watching Papaw don his old hat with
a veil and work with his honey bees.
Playing in the orchard down near the
creek that had the best plums ever.
Catching butterflies that loved the
beautiful flowers in the yard.
And there were always chirping birds to
Playing with the farm dog (I think
it was a collie). Since dogs were my favorite animals, I wanted it to go
in the house with me, but it refused. Papaw had thoroughly trained it to
be an outside dog.
Visiting Aunt Becky Jones and eating her
biscuit and fresh-churned butter sandwiches.
Aunt Becky and Aunt Lula were
sisters and married brothers. They lived next door to each other "over on
Aunt Becky Jones told this tale on me.
She made me a biscuit and butter sandwich, because she knew that was my favorite
snack. Just to be polite, she said, "Honey, I don't have much, but here is
a biscuit with butter." My reply was, "You don't have much, do you?"
It was so humorous because she knew that was my preference. Maybe I was
trying to be polite too? I don't remember the incident, but I sure do
remember those biscuits!
Turning the huge grindstone that
kept Papaw’s and the neighbors’ tools in shape.
Climbing up in the loft over the
barn and gathering fresh eggs, then a trip to the chicken house where the
“conventional” chickens had left us their bounty.
Bringing “diddles” in when a sudden
storm flooded the apple orchard where the chickens scratched, hatched and called
home. Putting them on the open oven door of the kitchen stove in a box and
covering them to dry their feathers and hopefully save their lives.
Putting my pet “diddle” in an
oatmeal box near the stove at night to keep it safe and warm; waking up the next
morning to find that a rat had somehow got in the house and gnawed its way into
my little chick; crying over the loss.
The flickering light from the fire
in the fireplace in the large living room reflecting on the pictures on the wall
and objects in the room; feeling so comforted by the scene. A room softly
lit with indirect lighting still pulls up that memory.
Reading Mamaw’s “motto” on the
Only one life; it will soon be passed.
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Playing the pump organ and fussing
with my cousin who wanted to play it too.
The best memory of all was waking
up one Christmas morning, walking into the living room where the fire had been
stirred to a blazing light which exposed the most beautiful doll I have ever
seen named “Dixie.” She was sitting on a tricycle, but the tricycle was
only secondary excitement, Dixie claimed my attention and my love. She
became my constant companion who was lovingly put to bed at night under a warm
blanket and awakened as soon as I was and cared for during the day. She
was untouchable; no, cousin, you can’t play with her!
Riding the cow to the milk gap.
Using rose petals and “spit” to
“paint” my fingernails to shock conservative Papaw and then laughing while pulling them off
when I got scolded for polishing my nails (grin).
Crossing the swinging bridge that
led to the church and school. Crawling across when my big brother made it sway
up and down just as I got to the middle. You did too, brother, even if you
“don’t remember” it. Mother said you did it to her too! So there!
(That's OK, Bob. It's a wonderful memory.)
When we lived there a little while
during my first year of school, drinking water out of the ”community” dipper.
Using the outhouse behind the school which housed all grades in two rooms.
Driving across the creek to get to
the farm house. Rushing to move the cars left parked near the creek bank when a
flash flood gave rise to the “river."
Going to Mayking near Whitesburg
with Mamaw to a tent meeting.
Walking to Whitesburg (about four or
five miles as I recall) with Mother and Robert to have fun at the carnival;
riding the Ferris wheel was a highlight.
“Mud crawling” in the low part of
the creek on a flat rock and sandy bottom—in a wool swimsuit. Ooh, it
scratched! Wading up and down the creek, watching for “crawdads.”
Trying to find the tree frogs that
seemed to always be "singing" in the tree by the front corner of the house.
And many more lovely times!
Another View of the Farm House
This view appears to be from the
cemetery on the hill above the house. The house is in the center of the
picture. Uncle Ewen took this picture with his Brownie Box camera.
thanks to Marietta for the two farm house pictures! No one else seems to
have picture of the house and its surroundings.
From Letcher County "Mountain Eagle"
Aunt Lula is standing, first on left
Aunt Becky is sitting, first on left
Aunt Lula's family
Aunt Lula Jones' daughter and family
(I have forgotten her name, shame on me!).
Cousins enjoying time "down on the
Joyce Ann Wright (Elma's daughter), Ruby
Delores (Kelsey's daughter), David and Glenn Adams (Forest's sons), Robert
(Kelsey's son), Bill and Lester Craft (Valma's sons)
Gwenda's memories on the farm
Gwenda (Wright) Castle
remember sleeping on a featherbed at Aunt Valma’s. It was probably one of
Mamaw’s that I had slept on at Cowan.
Mamaw bought Patty and me a doll that someone
had made out of a sock.
Patty was a couple of years older than I, so she got to
spend the weekend with them when I wasn’t allowed to go. I was upset because I
was missing out on the fun things she was getting to do.
I remember Patty
coming home with her tooth in a little jar
she was proud of it.
had a habit of putting my hair behind my ears (Maybe she thought I could hear
her better?). I wouldn’t say anything, but when I was out of her sight I
would pull my hair back down.
She was always so understanding and would let me talk to her about anything.
I think the "farm dog's" name was Pal.
....Thanks, Gwenda, for your contribution!
(Gwenda (Wright) Castle is my cousin.
Her mom, Elma, was my dad's sister.)
Gwenda's Dad and Mom
Jesse Enoch Wright
Elma Urilla (Adams) Wright
think all the kids remembered the friendly dog. Lorinda said she
remembered playing with "Pal." I certainly remember it.
Gwenda remembers it to be a "Lassie" type dog.
Copyright Delores Adams 2/3/04
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