Memories of Pine Forest and Family

By Ruth Russell

Mom told me that I slipped out of the house nude with only stocking aound my neck and went to town [Pine Forest village--FRK]. Mom was very embarrassed.

Tioga (1905 - 1906)
I was 5-6 years old. I remember the children next door were always at our house
and Mama [Neeley Jones Russell] hated to send them home at meal time, but she
didn't want to feed them.

One night the school where Dad [Malcolm D. Russell ] taught burned to the
ground. It as about one block from our house. We had a front porch where Clyde
and I were watching. Clyde had convulsions, died, and was buried at Pine Forest
cemetery. They asked me if I wanted to see the corpse, and I said, "No, I've seen
him enough."

We moved to Pine Forest and lived in a two or three room house which was close
to the flour mill and two stores.  Back of the house was an old log cabin where I
played.  I was 6-7 years old then. We lived only a short distance from Aunt Dorma
and Uncle Tom's, so I went up there almost every day. One night one of the stores
burned, and I think Dad was one of the first to see it. I seem to remember gun shots
alerted the people of the fire.

Around 1910, 1911, 1912 we spent the summers at Aunt Dorma and Uncle Tom's house. Mom and children early in summer and Dad would come for a shorter time after teaching school. We went to Colorado nd California in 1913. After we got home, Uncle Tom and Aunt Dorma came to visit us. [San Angelo?]

More Memories of Pine Forest at the farm.
Some men came in wagons to pick peaches to take to Greenville to sell. They camped in front of the house across the road among some tall oak trees.  They had a camp fire after dark and I wanted to go over and see the camp. Uncle Tom took me even though Mom didn't think I should go.

Uncle Joe Minter was Aunt Dorma's brother. His wife was Aunt Jo (Joanna). I think she committed suicide by junping in the well. After she died, a daughter Rose (about my age or older, told Aunt Dorma about "bed bugs." She and I (Aunt Dorma) went down and the bed was covered. She got the wash pot filled with water and added something to it, boiled it; and killed the bugs.

Each day Aunt Dorma cooked a large amount of food, so if company came she would have plenty, and people always knew where to stop for a good meal.  It seems to me someone came every day.  She always said if it was leftover, the hogs would eat it.  Most of the food--fruit, vegetable, and meat were grown on the farm; plenty of eggs, milk, and butter.

Uncle Tom was considered a good farmer and made money, which he sometimes loaned to people who didn't repay.

When Uncle Mark's wife (Mom's only sister Myrtle) died, we went to the funeral from San Angelo (1911), and our Grandfather Jones was there.  He gave Uncle Mark's children some money, but not to me. As a child, I felt hurt, not realizing that it was because they had lost their mother (his daughter).

One time Granny took me down to the store and bought both of us a milkshake which I thoght was wonderful. (this must have been in Como where Aunt Dorma and Uncle Tom retired).

They used to have "camp meetings" (church revivals) on the grounds where the Methodist church was located. Many people came in their wagons to camp for several days--some even had tents. That was the only where I heard people "shout."

The Negroes would come and stay on the outside of the church. When the Negroes were freed after the Civil War, the white people gave them some land and they  formed a Negro settlement called Caney or Raney.  One Negro woman that I remember came to Aunt Dorma's to see us when we visited. Maybe she worked there at times. She would pick us up and show us that she was glad to see us. Her name was Dora, and seemed to be just older than Mom.

Aunt Dorma said that when the Negroes ran out of meat, they would come and ask for some.  She gave it to them but asked that they do some work as payment, probably washing clothes, etc.

When we canned peaches we sat under a big tree back of the house.  Some people peeled, others sliced in kitchen, and put sugar in and sealed them in cans and cooked finally in water.

Aunt Dorma had a plow that she would stike to call men to dinner. It was fastened by wire to a limb. One time the house caught fire around the chimney in the kitchen, and she used it to call for help, getting the fire put out without much damage.

One time Aunt Dorma, Moma, Earl, and I were in the buggy going to visit someone near Winsboro. Lightening struck a tree in the woods, which were on both sides of the road.  The horse fell to its knees.  We were scared, but the horse got up and we went on.

Aunt Dorma told me about making hats from leaves when she was a child. I wanted to do that so we found big leaves and I don't remember how we fastened them to make a brim, etc.

Peddlers came by selling various things.  I remember one time they bought several pieces of cloth to make me dresses, all were made exactly alike.

One day I saw and rode in my first automobile. One of Uncle Bob Minter's daughters married and lived in Dallas. He was in the insurance bsiness and was a "millionare" or become one soon. They had a chauffeur. I rode to the village from Aunt Dorma's and all the men who were playing dominoes or forty two on the porch of the store came over to see this car.

We used to go to Uncle Joe's house every day it seemed. Rose was older than me. John was about my age and Olvis (a polio victim) was younger. Uncle Gus lived across the road from Uncle Joe, but their children seemed to be all grown.

Dr. Minter lived in the next house. He had two girls that I remember: Grace and Prue; also two others were younger.

These random memories, which were written about 1970, are courtesy of Ruth's sister Frances Marie (Russell) Kelly (b.1921). Ruth and Frances are granddaughters of  Sarah "Sallie" Minter (b.1861-d.1886) and Edwin Jones (b.1857-d.1941). Sarah "Sallie" Minter was the daughter of John Thomas Minter (b.1837-d.1866) and Mary Craft (b.1842-d.1920). Ruth never married and spent most of her life as a school teacher. Those mentioned in Ruth's Memories are:
    Earl . . . . . Ruth's brother
    Aunt Dorma . . . . .  Martha Dorma (Minter) White (b.1858-d.1933), daughter of John Thomas Minter
    Uncle Tom . . . . . . . Dorma's husband, Thomas White
    Uncle Joe . . . . . . . .  Dorma's brother Joseph T. "Joe" Minter (b.1866-d.1912)
    Aunt Jo (Joanna) . . . . . Joseph T. "Joe" Minter's wife, Josephine "Joanna" (Turner) Minter (b.-d.1912)
    Uncle Mark's wife Myrtle . . . . . .  Neeley Hay Jones's sister
    Grandfather Jones . . . . . . . . .  Sarah "Sallie" Minter's husband, Edwin W. Jones (b.1857-d.1941)
    Bob Minter  . . . .  Robert Anthony Minter  (b.1851-d.1908), son of Joesph Thomas "Pappy" Minter (  )
    Bob Minter's daughter . . . . . Edna Elina Minter (b.1878-d.1961)
    Olivis . . . . . son of Joseph T. "Joe" Minter
    John . . . . son of Joseph T. "Joe" Minter
    Dr. Minter . .. . .  Guy Z. Minter, M.D. (b.1869-d.1915), son of Sylvanus Abner Minter (b.1834-d.1912).
    Granny . . . . Mary Craft, John Thomas Minter's wife