Marlboro County, SC

Marlboro Herald Advocate
May 5th, 1977

Contributed by Brenda Wagner, 19 Sep 2001

"Parrish recollections of 19th century recalled"
Marlboro Herald Advocate- May 5th,1977 pg 6

(Ed Note: Mrs. Bessie Herndon shares with us an article, probably from a 1930's edition of The Pee Dee Advocate., It is now perhaps 90-100 years later than the time recalled by the late D.D. Parrish, writer of the letter to the editor.) Editor of Pee Dee Advocate, Bennettsville, SC

Dear Editor:
       Back in the days when buggies, carts and wagons horseback riding was
the way people had to travel. The shovel, moulboard and the old fashioned
drill and the log or heavy block to cover the seed that was rushed on the
ground or in the barrel and sowed by hand.  When nearly all men, women, boys
and girls worked on the farm. Corn shucking, log rolling for the men and
boys and quilting for the women and girls, then in the evening dancing for
all. And by the way, there was plenty of good fiddlers in that day fifty
years ago.
Lot's of land owners never owned a buggy yet they went to the village a
shopping and to get their weekly paper, chewing tobbaco and snuff for women
folks.  They nearly all used snuff and some of them smoked the pipe.  They
enjoyed life to the fullest extent, not so much stealing in those days, when
it did happen the culprit had to suffer.  I remember very well when Daniel
Mcleod drove over from  the Harmony section of Hebron and taught school at 
Ebenezer in a log house for fifteen dollars per month. From his home to the 
school was five long miles.  Taught mostly in the old blue back spelling book, 
and there was some good spellers in that day,  but there was very few white 
collar folks.  Down at old Ebenezer church they used to have protracted 
meetings that was noted far and wide. Some of the men and women that took 
part in those meetings were Rev. W. K. Breeden, Uncle Giles Newton, Rev Wright 
Wilson, Rev. George Boyd, Rev. Thomas Breeden, A.Y. Moore, Joel Easterling and 
others too numerous to mention. Good Singing. I will say among the best 
Clem Fraiser, One of the best tune raisers in the county in that day, Henry 
Cottingham, Thomas Fraiser with five soprano voices, John Nathan Cottingham, 
Henry Parham,and Major Samuel Thomas led with  fine base, there were others, 
but not so good.

The Misses Mary and Annie Parham, Loretta Cottingham and Sarah Moore were
noted for their alto and tenor voices. When these singers got together there
was music in the air. No piano or organ.  In 1886, the year of the earthquake, 
Rev George Boyd and Rev W. K. Breeden were holding a meeting at Ebenezer church. 
and the next day after the quake before ten o'clock the church was full and 
lots of people were on the outside. You people who can remember these trying 
times know how each one felt for him or herself.  The preacher preached a 
powerful sermon. Back in those days he would read out his hymn and read the 
first two lines then sing, then two more then sing again.  Custom in those days. 
People could remember the words that had no books. However, as I want to say 
when the preacher on this occasion started reading his hymn people commenced 
to go to the altar and by the time he was through the whole congregation were 
down on their knees. A wonderful meeting it was.

Capt. Henry Edens, John D. Hill and others professed the faith. People that
remembered 1886 won't forget it as long as they live.  Ladies as good as
there was in Marlboro at that time or now picked cotton, wore the fly bonnet
with splits came way over the face to keep the sun off and gloves up to their
elbows. I could call names but no I might offend some of their kin.  I knew
one family with 3 daughters, two of them picked cotton and the other taught
school, considered one of the first familes of Marlboro.  The farmers in
that day  used peruvian guano under their corn and cotton.  One handful
sowed through a trumpet would sow thirty yards. Very strange indeed drop a
little in the corn bud and it was done.  Before the fences were done away
with the woods were alive with cows and hogs. To hear cow bells in that day
was a joy to most farm folk.  The cows were of the common breed and the hogs
were called pine rooters, at the same time there was lots of milk and beef
also  meat in the smokehouses.  In the afternoon when the cows commenced to
come  to the  barn lot the bells tingling, the geese hollering, the turkeys
yelping and gobblers strutting. Life on the farm was pleasant with both the
men and the women in that day.  The Kitchen was built off from the dwelling
twenty to thirty yards afraid of fire.  Dug their wells 40 yards away no
pumps then.  Some families lived in a one room house, seven or eight
children perfectly satisfied. Farmer killed beeves and hogs, divided with
their neighbors, later their neighbors did the same- a friendly spirit among
them.  Some of the farmers raised fine horses and their daughter used side
saddles and it was a beautiful site to see them cantering down the road in
the cool of the afternoon long ago. We could get along way on  very little
money.  Taxes were low.  Then  we wove home weaved clothes, some of the best
cloth that has ever been made and by the way, made with fingers. No sewing
machines then. I imagine I can hear the old weaving loom slam banging and 
spinning wheel humming mother and daughters knitting.  Called in that day sock 
and stockings. some of the men could knit as good as the women.  The ladies
going to church with their young friends would tote their shoes until they
got close to the church, then a log to sit on while putting their shoes on.
Happy days for these young people long ago.  When the ladies wore long
dresses with  trails three feet long, when they went to church they had to
tote all this up the steps.  The country women wore calico for sunday
dresses and were made to fit up under the neck, the sleeves long down to the
hand.  Some of you remember these times. Perhaps the younger people of some
of them have not been told about the traditions and customs of their great
grandparents. The ladies used to have a strenuous time when they wore the
hoop skirt getting in the buggy or what they were riding in. There came the
bustle fashion. You know some of them looked very nice, others not so good.
Farmers knew very little about the value of cotton seed as a feed or
fertilizer roughly manure or pine straw was used extensively. Plenty of good
farmers who had corn to sell at all times and the price was one dollar per
bushel an with some of them one dollar up or down.  I knew one farmer who
raised more meat than his plantation called for and have seen him cut up
rusty side meat to feed his hogs. The farmers used to run tar.  Well water
was the only kind used so they would take and put in little bags, drop in
the bucket and also smear tar on the bucket and guard to prevent fever.
Apples grew in those days as fine as you ever saw, all kinds and of course
we had the cider apple, a might fine one.  There were lots of cider made.
It was the autocrat drink of the day.  Some would drink a little too much,
there was very little fighting or trouble. Just jolly good times.  Back in
those days you could trust people. Their word was their bond. It is a
pleasure to think back to those days long ago to have known  people
completely honest, happy who enjoyed life in every way. Those gins were the
only way  the farmer had of ginning cotton two or three bales and was all that
could be baled in one day. The press built with long arms run up the top
would be set high. Turn the arms and it would run nearly by itself. Then you
would  tie a horse to it and go again two or three more times, get the
bagging on, haul ___ton packed so tight in it you could hardly get it in
great round baskets to carry cotton in. When full carry it to the cotton
barn and empty then right back to the field. The same thing over all day- no
_____ or sheets.  Farmers with this section worked monday morning until
tuesday night I remember very well when there was not in the town of
Bennettsville any candy but stick, No cool drinks nor crackers, very little
canned food if any, no cosmetics for the ladies but plenty of black molasses
direct from cuba. From Marlboro St. east a little ways south of main
following in the crooked sandy road now fayetteville ave. there were three
dwellings where Mayor Crosland now lives. J.F. Everette and Deems Matheson.
Mayor Crosland lives where Dr J. L. Jordan owned; J.F. Everett now where
Billy Cook owned; Deems Matheson  now where Mrs. Ann Crosland owned.  I have
seen Dr. Beatty Jennings grandfather of our young Dr. Jennings. in his cotton
field now where the school buildings are.  He raised some large cotton,
nearly all east of Marlboro St was in cotton. How many of you town people
remember the pine and hickory on the public square?  Ebenezer School
district is over six miles long and over two miles wide at least five
hundred people in the district that was here forty years ago, white or
colored. The most of the cooking done on the farm in that day was in the
fire place with the swinging pot oven with three legs. The lid had a rim
about one inch high. Put coals under the oven and on the lid now the older
folks know how good the biscuts were, never have been improved on. The old
black pot that all the collards and other things that were boiled in it had
the best flavor to suit the most hard boiled critic. The griddle that the
bread was baked on was a three leg concern long handle you could turn it
around as it worked on a little post in the middle when the bread was done.
The three leg cricket with an elevated crown was handy to put the bread on to
keep it warm.
David Dixon Parrish

My Great Grandfather David Dixon Parrish was many things in his lifetime. a successful farmer, weather prophet, and served in the house of legislature's 52nd Assembly in 1923/1924. He was married 3 times losing all 3 wives to complications during child birth. He was a quiet man who worked hard all his life, Well educated in a self educated way.(By his own admission) He was very interested in politics. Many who knew him was to have said he was well read man whom having a very retentive memory,used all the knowledge gained to succeed in his lifetime.
Brenda Wagner

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