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BUCKSHOT AND BLUE WHISTLER An Interview with Frank Herrington BY FRANCES PITTS NORVELL Hampton Jackson Herrington didn't believe in slaveholding; his father did. So after a long-running argument, Hamp left home. He married Rachel Overstreet and started farming near Montgomery , Alabama. They had five children before she died in 1844. As was frequently the case in those days, the family was ready to look out after each other, and Rachel's sister came to live with Hamp and look after the house and the children. As Enoch Bentley Herrington tells it: After Rachel's death, my grandmother, Elizabeth, and her mother were staying at Grandfather's house, taking care of the two children then living, Lum and John. My grandmother said the only courtship she and Grandpa ever had was one day at noon she was on the front porch and had just finished washing the faces of Lum and John and was putting clean dresses on them when Grandpa came up on steps at the end of the porch, took a gourd of water in his hand, took a long drink while he was kicking off his plow shoes, and said, "Well, Becky, it looks like you are going to have to stay here and attend to the children so I'm going to town Saturday and if you are willing I'll get the license and bring the preacher and we'll be married." Grandma said she replied, "All right, Ramp." Hamp was looking for greener pastures and deeper woods by 1853, and his family and a family of Overstreets and of Masons 93 35. Frances Pitts Norvell at eighteen years. 36. B. F. (Frank) Herrington (Courtesy Miss Ruby Herrington). BUCKSHOT AND BLUE WHISTLER started out for Texas in two-wheeled carts. They were three months getting from Alabama to the Big Thicket. Hamp built a big square log house for his family and settled down and began to thrive. He prospered, helped organize Hardin County in 1858, and was the county's first magistrate, holding his first court under a dogwood tree in Old Hardin. Hampton Herrington had seven sons, one of whom was Frank Herrington, who tells the following story of hunting in the Big Thicket. Mrs. Frances Pitts Norvell, who took down the Frank Herring. ton story, is kin to Frank, in a distant sort of way. But then just about everybody in the Thicket is kin to everybody else. Enoch Pitts, Mrs. Norvell's uncle, came to the Thicket before the Civil War, and when the War came along he signed up with a lot of other Hardin County boys. He made it through the War, but he didn't make it back to his wife Fannie and his children. Enoch and a friend were spending the night in a hotel in Richmond , Virginia, on their way home. When the time came to go to bed, instead of turning off the gas-mantle lamps, they blew them out and settled down for a last long sleep. Jacob, Enoch's brother, was foot-loose after his discharge from the Confederate Army; so he headed for the Village Creek home of his brother's widow. Here was another case where they decided to stay with the family. Jacob married Fannie, and Frances Pitts Norvell was one of their children. She grew up in the Thicket, knows it well, and loves it, and collected some interesting tales when she was writing her book.-F.E.A. Jwill tell you how people hunted when I was a small boy. They would go out in the woods and find deer in herds of from three to fifteen. While the deer were feeding, the hunter would walk very slowly until he was a right distance to make a kill; he would pick out the one he wanted, bang went the gun, down fell the deer, dead. The hunter made no wild 95 96 TALES FROM THE BIG THICKET shots for he knew he had only one chance: the gun he used was a cap and ball. The hunter reloaded his gun by measuring the powder first. He poured this into an old long rifle, and a piece of strong cloth was then laid over the end of the gun. The hunter, taking one bullet and pressing it down on the cloth until it was all even, took his knife and cut off the cloth smooth all around. The wooden stick, called a ramrod, was used to force the...


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