An Accident on the Farm
An Oral History Story
In interviewing my grandmother (Eva Caroline (Smith) Cox (1889-1988) for her memories, we asked her what it was like when accidents happened and many folks in Ohio County had no telephones and no doctors nearby. She told us about the time when they lived on their little farm not far from Rosine, and their horse kicked my dad in the head when he was about three in 1912. They had no telephone to call a doctor.
Grandmother: “Yes, we had a horse; her name was Old Maud. Eula Mae was a baby, and I told Gilbert to stay in the yard when he went out to play. In place of staying in the yard, when I got through bathing Eula Mae and putting her in her cradle, I went to look for him and he was up there in the horse lot. See, he wasn’t but about three years old. And I could see him getting up and falling. And Old Maud, I could see her, standing there eating. And I run, my land! Oh, and I got there and there was blood all over the front of his clothes. I had to go about…every bit as far as from here to Mr. Thames (her neighbor) or farther, (which would have been about three city blocks).
“And the wind was blowing and I was carrying him and I was hollering for Daddy. And some of them were working in the field cutting and shocking corn. You know how dry it is in the fall. And they heard me and they come. And we left Eula Mae there in the house by herself all that time.”
G. O.: (my dad) “That’s the time that Aunt Della was talking about when we went back to Kentucky to visit. And she said she took care of me when the horse kicked me in the head.”
Grandmother: “Yes, she came. Just as quick as she heard the news. It got out that you weren’t expected to live. The news got out. And every one of them come. And Della did, too. Daddy had to go over home (meaning to her parent’s home). We had no phone. And he had to walk and call Dr. Oscar Allen. And when Dr. Allen came out there, he didn’t know what the trouble was, and he had to go back and get a needle to sew this place up. It was in the afternoon…nearly night. And horseback, at that.
“And I had to put him on our old black trunk. We laid a quilt down and we had to put him to sleep. And I had to hold him and help with it. Mother had to give him the chloroform while the doctor sewed it up. But somebody had to help. Dr. Allen was just by himself and didn’t have a nurse or anybody like that. It fractured Gilbert’s skull, and the doctor said if Daddy hadn’t of had those shoes off the horse, it would have killed him. He had just had those shoes taken off.”
G.O.: “I know what happened…they don’t know what happened. Daddy had given Old Maud a load of that corn to eat, and I went up there and got a cornstalk and hit her with it.”
Grandmother: “He still has the scar on his forehead. And then, after he got well and all, Daddy got on the horse and rode to Cromwell and carried that baby and had his picture made. He is setting on that stool, with little white rompers on. He carried him to Wise Jackson, a photographer, because we didn’t have no picture of him. (All of a sudden, it became very important to get a picture of him.) And of course, I couldn’t go, because I had Eula Mae, and besides, we just had that one horse.”
“Della came and stayed with me nearly two or three weeks to help with Gilbert because I had to tend Eula Mae, who was only about six or seven months old.”
After this interview was over, someone sitting around the table asked: “Did you have ice to put on the wound to keep down swelling?”
Grandmother: “No, but we could go and get ice. We kept ice when Mother was sick with typhoid fever. We didn’t have any electricity…we didn’t have anything like that. We couldn’t keep ice.
“The only way you could keep ice was to dig a hole and put it in sawdust and wrap it and bury it. It seems to me they went to Beaver Dam after it. Beaver Dam or Cromwell, I don’t know what. It might have kept a week, I guess, or maybe longer.”
Eula Mae: (my aunt.) “You talk about pioneer spirit. And they just had something we don’t have – fortitude.”
Grandmother: “Well, you can do many things when you have to.”
Gilbert Owen Cox, age 3
An important 1st picture!
The above mentioned, Della Catherine Smith, (my grandmother’s oldest sister), was born 5 November 1880, and was the daughter of James Thomas and Sarah (Sanders) Smith. She married Fleming Letcher Taylor March 22, 1913 at Select, Ohio Co. KY. This couple had four children: two sons, Jewel D.; Eldred S. Taylor; and two daughters, Evelyn Taylor and Valois Taylor.
Obituary from The Ohio County News, Thursday, October 23, 1975:
"Mrs. Della Taylor"
"Beaver Dam--Mrs. Della Taylor, 94, died Friday, October 17, Ohio County Rest Home, Beaver Dam.
Mrs. Taylor was born in Ohio County, November 5, 1880, and was a member of Bald Knob United Methodist Church. Her husband, Letcher Taylor, preceded her in death in 1960.
Survivors include two daughters, Valois Shuffert and Evelyn Elmore, both of Louisville, eight grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren, two brothers, Harb and Ellis Smith, both of Cromwell, and two sisters, Mrs. Ella Stewart and Mrs. Eva Cox, Troup, Texas.
Funeral services were at 2 p.m. Sunday, October 19, at the William L. Danks Funeral Home, with the Rev. Malcolm Couch, pastor of Liberty United Methodist Church, officiating. Burial was in Liberty Church Cemetery."
Also, mentioned from the above story:
Dr. Oscar Allen was born at Round Hill, Butler County, Kentucky, on April 5, 1882. His parents were C. Y. Allen, who was a native of Ohio County and a farmer, and Mary Elizabeth Colburn, who was a native of Butler County.
Dr. Allen was known as a man of genial disposition, whose practice was spent within a fifteen-mile radius, mainly in Ohio County. He was a man looked upon with great esteem, who held high the standards of his profession. He was well known, was a good citizen, and contributed materially to his community.
He was the family doctor for James Thomas Smith while he was ill and before his death. He was highly regarded among all the Smith family members.
From my Family Tree Maker, Notes section:
Fleming Letcher Taylor was the son of Lorenzo Dow & Gabriella Taylor, and was born April 8, 1876, in Ohio County, KY.
He married Della Catherine Smith March 22, 1913, and they had four children - two sons and two daughters. He and Della were 38 and 32 when they married.
Obituary is from the Ohio County Messenger, Beaver Dam, KY, dated Friday, March 11, 1960, page 3:
"Letcher Taylor Dies at Age 83"
" Letcher Taylor, 83, died at 3 a.m., Sunday at his home in the Mt. Pleasant community. He was the son of Dow and Gabriella Ford Taylor. He was a member of the Woodmen of the World.
He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Della Smith Taylor; two daughters, Mrs. Evelyn Elmore and Mrs. Valois Shuffette, both of Louisville; two sons, Jewell Taylor, Beaver Dam; Eldred Taylor, Terre Haute, Ind., and nine grandchildren.
Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. Monday at the Liberty Methodist Church, conducted by the pastor, Rev. William Perkins. Burial was in the church cemetery.
Pallbearers were Kenneth Baize, Samuel Crowder, John Iler, Arthur Crabb, Charles Smith and Roy Stewart."
Another obituary in The Ohio County News, Hartford, KY dated March 11, 1960, was almost identical to the one above, However, it did mention that he was a native of Ohio County and that Casebier Funeral Home, Beaver Dam, was in charge of the arrangements.
My dad remembered when he was about 10 of riding his horse to his Uncle Letcher's grist mill to have corn ground for his grandfather, James Thomas Smith and Sarah (Sanders). Letcher married their daughter, Della Catherine.
~Submitted by Janice Cox Brown