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Big Thicket Legacy

Edited by Campbell and Lynn Loughmiller

Publication Year: 2002

In Big Thicket Legacy, Campbell and Lynn Loughmiller present the stories of people living in the Big Thicket of southeast Texas. Many of the storytellers were close to one hundred years old when interviewed, with some being the great-grandchildren of the first settlers. Here are tales about robbing a bee tree, hunting wild boar, plowing all day and dancing all night, wading five miles to church through a cypress brake, and making soap using hickory ashes. "The book is a storehouse of history, down-to-earth information, good humor, leg-pulling spoofs, tall tales and all kinds of serendipitous gems . . . Readers inclined to fantasy might like to think of two giant Texas folklorists of the past, J. Frank Dobie and Mody Boatright, nodding and winking their approval of Big Thicket Legacy."—Smithsonian

Published by: University of North Texas Press

Contents

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pp. vii-11

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Foreword

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pp. xi-xiv

Few books are able to catch the spirit as well as the sound of a place, especially when that place has as strong an identity and personality as the Big Thicket has. But Campbell and Lynn Loughmiller have, and they have been able to catch the speech patterns and figures and rhythms without resorting to...

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Preface

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pp. xv-xxiv

When westward-moving pioneers crossed the Sabine River in southeast Texas they found a forest so thick they could not get through, so they settled on its fringes or went around. It was described as a forest so thick it could not be traveled even by foot....

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xxv-xxx

We interviewed many persons whose accounts could not be included but which were nonetheless helpful in giving us a fuller understanding of the area and its people. We are deeply grateful to the following for many pleasant hours and for the information...

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Ellen Walker

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pp. 3-12

"Aunt EU" Walker, as she was affectionately known,lived ninety-nine years within seven miles of where she was born. She never wanted to live anywhere else. After her husband died she lived alone and regularly...

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Brown Wiggins

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pp. 13-28

If one listens very long to Brown Wiggins tell a story he gets the feeling that he is listening to a gifted historian. He supplies a wealth of detail without becoming tedious. His restrained enthusiasm...

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Leak Bevil

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pp. 29-40

Leak Bevil was county judge of Hardin County for eighteen years and a practicing attorney for more than half a century. He was trying a case in district court the week before he died. He came from a well-known, southeast Texas family...

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Brunce Jordan

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pp. 41-48

Brunce was a logger who always used mules or oxen. "They can do better in mud and water," he said, "and a ox is better than a mule. They don't bog down so bad." This was important to Brunce who, for years, logged in the rain-soaked country...

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Sam Houston Cain

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pp. 49-55

From the time he was sixteen years old, Sam Houston Cain has been a preacher or a judge--sometimes both--and if he did not convert the sinners at church, he often met them later at the courthouse. He handled both jobs with confidence...

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Lance Rosier

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pp. 57-68

Lance Rosier was a hunter who never killed anything. He hunted plants--orchids, ferns, mushrooms, mosses, and hundreds of others. His interest in plants began as a boy, first with flowers, and gradually expanded until he knew the...

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The Jayhawkers

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pp. 69-72

The Big thicket was a good place to hide, and Sam Houston had planned to hide his army there had he lost the battle of San Jacinto. Much later, people who didn't want to fight in the Civil War hid there and became known as the jayhawkers. Bud Overstreet, ninety-five years old...

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Fount Simmons

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pp. 73-78

Fount Simmons was a legend during his own lifetime. His name was mentioned casually and incidentally by different persons until it was familiar to us, but until we had the following interviews with Brown Wiggins and Mrs. McKim we knew...

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A. Randolph Fillingim

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pp. 79-95

Few people know the Big Thicket as well as Randolph ("Dolph") Fillingim. He knows its geography and its creatures from his own experiences as a boy who hunted, fished, and trapped from the Brown settlement on Black Creek for miles in...

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Carter Hart

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pp. 97-108

Carter was a bear hunter, and, to him, it was the greatest sport on earth. He didn't hunt bear for meat, though he ate what he killed, or because they killed wild hogs, which people depended on for food. "Some of the biggest bear hunters...

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The Slavonian Stave Makers

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pp. 109-117

We first heard of the Siavonian stave makers when Dolph Fillingim told of taking refuge in one of their abandoned camps one night during a storm that prevented his crossing a swollen stream to get home. It seemed odd that Yugoslavians...

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Arden Hooks

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pp. 119-131

Arden Hooks is a well-educated man with deep roots in the woods of Hardin County. The Hooks name is almost synonymous with the Big Thicket, and Arden's daddy, Bud Hooks, was one of the most beloved persons who ever lived there....

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Dr. John Richard Bevil

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pp. 133-144

Dr. Bevil practiced medicine in the Batson-Sour Lake area for three quarters of a century. He is about five feet eleven, medium build, with a ready smile and kindly disposition, a living example of the old-time family doctor. One just couldn't imagine...

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Jude Hart

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pp. 145-157

If Jude Hart were dropped barehanded in the middle of the Big Thicket wilderness, I would expect him to have food on the table for dinner and a shelter to sleep in that night. His whole life has been a lesson in survival, and he has mastered it...

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Evie Brown

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pp. 159-166

We first went to see Mrs. Brown because we heard she had a blue pig, and, as one familiar with hogs, I had never seen a blue one. It happened that she had some shoats foraging not far from the house, and, with a little corn, she got...

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Roscoe Crouch

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pp. 167-174

At a time when most travelers were mOving west, Roscoe Crouch headed east At ten years of age, he left Los Angeles with his family in a wagon his father helped build and headed for Texas. Nine months later they arrived in Beaumont and, a few...

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Hardy Farmer

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pp. 175-181

The three years Hardy Farmer spent in the Big Thicket formed a dramatic interlude in his life as a rancher on the Edwards Plateau, 350 miles to the west. During the prolonged drought in 1917, he moved his cattle from the short grass of the...

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James Addison Moye

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pp. 183-190

Addie Moye does not tell a story; he relates incidents, and nearly all of them are humorous. He is not a person with a collection of stories he tells from time to time, but, during our long conversations, he recalled events that he had not thought...

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Bill Willie Gilder

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pp. 191-196

Bill Willie Gilder lives in the Haynes settlement, which was owned by a slaveholder before the Civil War. When the slaves were freed, he offered to give the land to the slaves when he died if they would stay on and help him work the land. They...

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Floyd Warren

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pp. 197-204

When we first met Aoyd Warren he had sixty-five dogs that would not hunt a thing on earth but bobcats. Aoyd trained them that way, for bobcats are his specialty. He has hunted over thousands of acres and is welcome to hunt anywhere because his dogs hunt nothing...

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Pearl Wiggins

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pp. 205-209

Pearl WIggins lives alone only a short distance from the banks of the Trinity River, a few miles north of Romayor. If I don't find her home I look for someone with a fishing pole headed for the pond, or the lake, or the river, on her 303 acres....

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P. O. Eason

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pp. 211-222

It would be hard to say whether Phil Eason was a preacher who hunted, or a hunter who preached. He has spent his life doing both. If there is any story he tells more passionately than that of matching wits with a turkey gobbler in a pin oak glade, it is when he was converted and...

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Epilogue

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pp. 223-224

The stories in this book are complete in themselves, but each one describes life in the Thicket from a different point of view. Together they present a segment of history by the people who made it....


E-ISBN-13: 9781574415216
Print-ISBN-13: 9781574411560

Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 42 b&w illus. 1 map.
Publication Year: 2002

Series Title: Temple Big Thicket Series

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