Tales and Legends of The Mt. Patrick Area

Written by Edna Liggin – March 1, 1999

A Logging Camp in 1918

Edna Jernigan recalls that as a child a logging camp situated where the roads fork today, and one goes to the Hog Pen. On the site were a row of shot-gun houses, two stores, a mule lot, and a railroad spur, used to haul out the logs. The stores were operated by Jim Tabor and Mrs. Farris (she later had a store in Farmerville).

Pearl and Charley Tabor lived in one of the houses. Edna Jernigan’s Aunt Laura and husband, Frank Matthews, were visiting from Chase, La. They all decided to ride the tram car on the spur, and this required much hand-pumping. As the tram car moved faster and faster, they approached the mule lot, and saw a wire fence they did not know was there.

All jumped off except Pearl Tabor. She wasn’t hurt, but the top of one of her dearly beloved new shoes was sheared off. Mrs. Tabor calmly sewed it back on with a fancy brier stitch!

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A legend of Jesse James once on Corney Creek, and burying money at Hopkins Bluff has come down through generations, saying people used to dig in the bluff for money. In the early days of Mt. Patrick, the home of Jim Lewis and Jessie McCallum was on the to Hopkins Bluff.

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Lottie Hutto recalls that as a child she attended a baptizing of Mt. Patrick youth in the creek at Lowery’s Ferry, and that for the first time she heard shouting and a woman, too! It was Josephine Tabor, whose daughter, Bertha, was among those baptized. After the ceremony, the girls were taken on the ferry across the creek, to a house on the other side where they changed clothes.

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Jim Lee had a way of trapping wolves. He dug a pit, covered it with twigs and leaves, and hung over it waste pieces from a hog killing. The wolves came after the meat, then crashed to the bottom of the pit.

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John Burl Tabor once found a hired hand had stolen peas from him. As the man plowed in the field, Tabor kept step with him, berating him for the sinfulness of stealing. The hired hand plowed faster, Tabor walked faster. Finally, the man cried, “I’ll go return the peas to you if you will only let me alone.” He did, too. This tale was told by the late Ernest Denham.

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This is a tale of yellow jackets on the mules on a return trip from a wedding. Chester McCallum was part of the Tabor family that went in a wagon to attend the wedding of Florence Tabor to Leroy Lee. They went in a wagon, up and down the “Porter” steep hills to the home of Henry Smith, Justice of the Peace, for the ceremony.

On the return home, yellow jackets were disturbed from their habitat by the dirt road, and swarmed all over the mules. The rest of the journey home was very fast indeed!

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Ben Rogers used to tell of how one night, he and his wife, Nita, visited Laura Matthews and children in the old Tabor house. They took John a sack of corn for his horse, Dan. It was a time of severe drought. On the way home, rain began to fall on Ben and Nita. “The Lord sent this rain because I took John some corn,” said Ben to Nita. He liked to repeat this story often.

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Lottie Austin who now lives near Lowery’s Ferry, recalls the legend of a dying black man, belonging to George Lowery, during the Civil War. As the slave was near death, he said, “If my body turns purple when I die the slaves will go free.” His body turned purple, so the legend goes.

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Fate Mabry was the cut-up boy at the “Pound Suppers” the youth of Mt. Patrick used to enjoy. The girls giggled and tittered at his wit. When Lottie Hutto was asked what was a Pound Supper, she replied the girls took a pound cake and the boys a pound of candy.

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Another social occasion was ice cream parties, involving whole families. Edna Jernigan recalls someone would go to Bernice, get 500 lbs. of ice, and the freezing in hand-turned ice cream freezers would begin. The tale is told of Leroy Lee seen to keep spitting his out one time. “I don’t like egg-shells,” he said. An indignant ice cream maker told him it was coconut.

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Bertha Fomby, now age 90, living in Bernice, remembers a miserable ending to a camp-out at Farris Landing on Corney Creek. They had a fine supper, with guitar and fiddle music afterwards. Quite a few kinfolks were present. Inez Tabor made history by going to her boy friend, Jack Rogers, with a jar of honey, and saying, “Honey, have some honey.” This was a dare from Tildy Elliott.

The next morning, a huge deluge of rain fell, ruining the breakfast just cooked. All who could crawled under the wagons to escape the rain. Most got wet.

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Leroy Lee came home from the U.S. Army to see his baby daughter for the first time. His sister-in-law, Ethel Tabor, also had a new baby. She thought of playing a trick on the returning soldier by presenting her baby as his daughter. However, Leroy’s wife, Florence, grabbed up baby Lorraine, and said, “Leroy, here is your daughter, Lorraine!”

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