Written by Edna Liggin
May 4, 1978
(Author’s Note: This is the third in the series of articles of families living near Lowery’s Ferry on Cornie Creek. These families are the Austins, Youngbloods and Lowerys.)
Living in the area today are two sisters, granddaughters of Daniel Lowery, who grew up on Cornie Creek near a place called the Simmon Hole. These women are Mrs. Cumi Moncrief and Mrs. Liss Holdman, and their parents were Joshua Lee and Kitty Lowery Youngblood.
Their home was a little up-hill from the Simmon Hole. Legend has it that a huge persimmon tree stood at this spot on Cornie Creek, hence the place named Simmon Hole. It has been a favorite fishing spot for generations.
What was life like for these girls on a farm alongside the creek at the beginning of the 20th century. Gone were the isolated rugged days of their pioneer ancestors, yet to come were the days of good roads and cars.
“Did you notice how I’ve swept the leaves out of my flower beds?” asked Cumi Youngblood Moncrief when we visited her. We were amazed that a women confined to a wheel-chair, living alone, could do this. Her home, high on a hill, commands a splendid view of Highway 2, curving through the trees.
“You plant peas on April 20th.” Mrs. Moncrief told us. “As to keeping the cut-worms from cutting down tomato plants, wrap them in a funnel of paper before you set them out”.
“We raised cotton, corn, peas, peanuts, sorghum, and sugar cane.” Liss Holdman told us when we visited her. “We had a syrup mill and made our own syrup.” She told us that their farming land extended right down to the creek, with one section call the “long field” at the edge of which Benjamin Lowery has a place to land a boat.
All was not work for Liss, Cumi and the boys. “Lots of times we’d quit work, taking our fishing poles we kept handy and catch a mess of fish for supper”. Sometimes, Benjamin Lowery would take them up creek to Lowery’s Ferry for a boat ride, Liss related to us.
The land the Youngblood”s farmed was homesteaded by Lee Youngblood near the Simmon Hole and included four forty acre tracts. Oswell Youngblood, grandfather to Cumi and Liss, had five acres on both sides of the road going to the Simmon Hole.
“What did you do on like the Fourth of July or Christmas?” we asked Cumi. “We had fish fries at the Simmon Hole” Cumi told us promptly. We thought, how very fortunate to live on the edge of the most popular recreation spot in that day!” “Christmas was no big thing.” Liss told us. “I remember Johnny Pearson gave Cumi and I our first dolls. I was eight years old”. She told us the Pearson home was near where the Deason Roach home is today.
“We had parties and dances.” Cumi told us, recalling that Ben and Ellis Lowery, her cousins, made the music. At this point we thought of the fine musical instruments made by Andrew Austin. “Jack Rogers played too” Cumi told us. “I sounded the organ for the guitars and fiddles. I remember one time Laura Tabor, who had already gone to live with the Butlers came back to visit, and we had a square dance at our house. She enjoyed it.”
The two girls walked to Patrick school, along with girl friends, Lottie and Georgia Green (the Green home being where Frank McIntosh lives today) Other girls they remember as friends were Florence, Inez and Bertha Tabor and Isora Wainwright. Cumi remembers John Porter in the last class she attended at Patrick. Liss remembers as her teachers, Mrs. Geordie Holloway and Buelah Moore.
Mt. Patrick has always been Cumi’s church, though after marriage to Mr. McDougle she lived in Crossett, Dean, Spence and Huttig. Liss has been a member of Pisgah Baptist Church for many years.
Free rural mail delivery was already in effect as Cumi and Liss grew up near the Simmon Hole. Cumi told us and Liss wrote Florence and Bertha Tabor every week. What about the boy friends we wondered?
THE FAMILY OF CUMI AND LISS
Many generations of Austins, Lowerys and Youngbloods have lived since Daniel Lowery settled at Lowery’s Ferry over 125 years ago. The heritage of life on Cornie Creek is part of the growing up of Cumi and Liss, granddaughters of the Daniel Lowery.
Cumi was born May 9th, 1897. Two years later, on November 23, 1899, Liss was born. Of the ten children born to Lee and Kitty Youngblood only four are living today. Cumi and Liss have two brothers, Brooks and Hiram Youngblood.
“Jack was the oldest and died of pneumonia.” Liss told us. One infant was buried near the home, one at Shiloh, while Jack, 11 years old Edith and John Lee, killed in a car wreck, are buried at Patrick Cemetery.
The most tragic death of all was of Kitty Lowrey Youngblood when Liss was age fourteen. The memory of her mother’s death is most vivid in her mind today. Her mother had been visiting her sister, Bet Austin, making some shirts, when she took pneumonia from exposure. Lee Youngblood survived his wife for many years, living for a time with his father, Oswell, then Cumi lived with him. Lee and Kitty are buried at Patrick Cemetery.
There was not a grandmother for the girls, as neither Cumi or Liss remember but little, if any, of Rachal Lowery or Tempy Youngblood.
We asked Liss about the blacksmith skill of her father. She told us he had a kiln in which he made his own coal for the smithy, and that he once worked as a smith in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The shop was on the same side of the road as the house.
How handy it must have been for a farmer to leave his smith work with Lee Youngblood and go down to the Simmon Hole and fish awhile, come back with a mess of fish and pick up the finished work.
The first home burned after Cumi and Liss were grown but Lee rebuilt. This second house has been torn down, but the side is easily identified by passers-by to the Simmon Hole to fish. “Were the steep ravines and woods always just like that?” we asked Cumi. She told us this was always the background to their home. Liss told us the home of Oswell Youngblood, nearby, also burned.
Besides farming, fishing and blacksmithing, another type of work that went on in the childhood of Cumi and Liss was logging. Leon Austin told us of Bob Tabor and his mules hauling logs up to the creek for them to float down to Monroe. We now hear of the long forgotten time of the railroad bridge across Cornie!
This was a tram railroad with a dummy engine that came down from a mill at Huttig, Ark. to haul the Cornie Creek logs. What fine specimens must have been hauled. The consensus of the older people is that this dump was built up with manual labor and wheelbarrow and spanned Cornie Creek just below the Simmon Hole.
Cumi remembers workers at times living in tents near the bridge, down in the “lower field”. She told us one Polly Braggs was a cook and such a good cake maker. Kitty Youngblood had her come up to their house to bake cakes. Did the Youngblood children find this logging operation near their home exciting?
In time to come these motherless girls grew up. Cumi married Wheeler McDougle January 31, 1917 and they lived in many places. The children are Mary Lee Ray, Margie Ray, and Homer McDougle. She has six grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. Later she married John Henry Moncrief, who is buried in Patrick cemetery.
Liss first married Jim Gray, who died of influenza. “The same year Jack Rogers died.” she told us, bringing to our minds how close together were the deaths of Jack Rogers, his wife, Inez, infant girl and father. Later, Liss married Ed Holdman, World War I soldier, on August 18, 1920. He died Sept. 25, 1975 and is buried at Patrick cemetery as their son, James Holdman. Liss today has living three children, Johnny, William, and Inez Kelley. She claims 13 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.
THE FIRST YOUNGBLOODS
Cumi has always known that her father, John Lee Youngblood, was born in what was later the Gene Buckley house at Shiloh. This date was Sept. 11, 1861, the time of the beginning of the War between the states. Lee’s father, Oswell, was at that time working in his blacksmith shop in Shiloh.
Later, Cumi says, she remembers her Grandfather Oswell living with them and dying a very old man. Youngbloods, she says are buried atop the hill of the Shiloh cemetery. However, Lee Youngblood, who died Auguast 29, 1942 is buried at Patrick cemetery.
We do not know when Oswell came to Union Parish, or if he and Austin Youngblood were brothers, but they were among the first settlers. It was on October 19, 1851 Oswell Youngblood married Tempy Key, daughter of Neal Key who had a sawmill across Cornie. Later, Austin married Martha Mitchell on August 13, 1856 with witnesses James Ramsey, Tillman Porter and John Mitchell.
Oswell Youngblood, born in Georgia, was 26 when he married 15 year old Tempy Key, born in North Carolina, according to census records. He established himself as a blacksmith at Shiloh before the war, at a time when land was being cleared, farms started and homes built. Blacksmithing was a very much needed. Were Youngbloods blacksmiths back in Georgia?
We have seen a few land conveyance records that mention Youngblood’s Shop. However, by 1856 Oswell had bought land from C. A. Byram for $350.00 and the next year 160 acres from J. L. Youngblood. Who was this J. L. Youngblood? We find a note in which a Mollie Morgan of Madison, Co., Tenn. appointed J. L. Youngblood as her lawful attorney in February 1878.
A study of the 1860 census shows us Oswell and Tempy have a family of five little girls. Two of them, age 10 and 8, born in Georgia we speculate as being relatives, members of the household, as was common those days. S. J., in all probability Sarah, to marry Benjamin Lowery. Daniel’s son, was 7 years of age.
Tradition has it that Oswell Youngblood left Shiloh to join the Confederacy, but was recalled as needed in his shop at Shiloh to shoe mules and horses for the army. This he did and according to his cousin, Ellis Lowery, charging ten dollars for each animal.
By 1870 Oswell and Tempty had a household of five girls, Sarah, Samantha, Myra, Lizzie, and Martha, while the two sons were Joshua (Lee) and Joseph. The next year Oswell bought land for $550 from Thomas Lowery that began at the corner of James Patton’s place by Jess Tubb in the village of Shiloh, by W. H. Buce, Steve Williams, John Bucher, Dr. Booles, J. R. Clar and John Williams.
Besides Sarah marrying Benjamin Lowery, Cumi told us neither of her father’s sisters, Lizzie, married Henry Bevans. Cindy was married to a Jones, while a third married a McGinnis (their daughter, Maggie, marrying Larkin Lowery).
WHO WERE THESE YOUNGBLOODS
Who was Henry Youngblood? He is the oldest recorded in Union Parish, who, according to the 1850 census was born in Georgia in 1795. His wife, Ailsey, was born in 1797. In the 1850 household they had three children – Frances, Isaac, and Wade, all born in Alabama. Were Henry and Ailsey parents to Oswell and possible Austin?
Austin, who had married Martha Mitchell, enlisted in the CSA, Feb. 2, 1861, and died at Monroe April 24, 1942
Who was Abraham Youngblood? He could have been the son of Henry and Ailsey and possibly a brother to Austin and Oswell. In 1850 he was age 25 and married to Caroline Skinner, age 18. Abraham died Feb. 16, 1897 and Caroline Youngblood May 24, 1899. These were the years in which Cumi and Liss were born.
After the death of Abraham and Caroline, their son, George, petitioned that the estate of his father, Abraham Youngblood be divided. This consisted of 240 acres and real property valued at $400.00. George Youngblood was appointed administrator with securities given by John F. Grafton and Richard Moore.
Included in the personal property were: cows, shoats, a wagon, sewing machine, chairs, clock, bee-gums tubs, smoothing irons, andirons side saddle, table, stove, giblets, chickens, corn, bedding, grindston, spinning wheel, billows, anvil, all worth $112.50. The property sale was held Nov. 12, 1899. W. J. Thaxton bought the wagon, J. C. Feazel articles, H. E. Copeland two shaots, and W. W. Everett the side saddle.
George and Caroline were the parents of eight children, J. T. Youngblood, W. S. Youngblood, J. W. Youngblood, George Youngblood, Sarah Everett, Palestine Breed, Mrs. J. C. Feazel and Mrs. A. C. Massey.
According to legend, one of the sons of George Youngblood, William, was killed while a young man racing a horse near Pisgah in 1889.
Who was Isaac Youngblood? Was the Isaac Youngblood who married Mary Ann Douglas Jan. 20th, 1867, the Isaac in the 1860 census as the son of Henry Youngblood? Or was he a grandson? They were married by J. P. W. K. Rushing and wit. J. W. Wilson, Hiram Derring and W. S. Pickens.
Who was Alexander Youngblood? He married Louvenda Walker May 16, 1868.
Who was Angeline Youngblood who married Robert Massey Nov. 26, 1872 with W. P. Smith, M. G. marrying them and with John Fergson and G. E. Campbell. They are supposed to have moved to Martheville.
Who was John Youngblood who married Isabella Manning, with a A. Kitchens the minister and wit J. R. Cook, J. R. Grafton and T. Davis on March 11, 1893.
Palestine Youngblood, daughter of Abraham and Caroline, married W. J. Breed, Nov. 22, 1883 with John Tolbert, M. G. and with J. T. W. W. Smith and Jobe Sterling.
Sarah, likewise daughter of Abraham and Caroline, married William Everett, August 25, 1881, with A. Kitchens the minister and witness J. T. Youngblood, C. A. Youngblood and R. A. Massey.
So the Youngbloods spread out over Union Parish and beyond. Who can number their descendants today? There are too many for Cumi and Liss to account for, much clearer in their minds are their days on the Simmon Hole.