The Fred Duncan Story
By Jean (Duncan) Graham
In the mid 1930's my Dad moved his Family from Ravia to Russett in a wagon pulled by mules. The Family consisted of his wife, 2 sons and 3 daughters. Our oldest sister, Dorothy stayed with our Grandmother, and worked her way through Murray State College.
Dad farmed on the shares with Fred Chapman. He moved us into a house located on the road to Mannsville, about 3-4 miles from the school house. Our nearest neighbors were the "Youngs", then ran the Washita River, us and Barney Godfrey who lived with his widowed Mother, Ida.
The house we moved into was old, so cold, and all that Jack, my brother, can remember is sitting down to a breakfast of biscuits, bacon and eggs. and gravy with the wind whistling through the cracks. We kids had to walk a long lane to get on the school bus for school and in those days the buses didn't have heaters!! We would be frozen by the time we got to school. I can't remember my teacher's name but she would always have a pan of hot cocoa on back of the pot bellied stove.
Ed Gill was principal then. Those were hard times for everyone. No One had any electricity, running water, or indoor plumbing. I can remember my Mom getting up at 3:30 AM to fry chicken and make a big breakfast for the working crew who went from farm to farm baling hay.
We didn't work an Sundays as it was the Lord's Day. We always took our Saturday night baths and the next morning got dressed in our finest to wear to Church. Our finest in those days weren't very fancy. Mom would buy feed and use the material to make me dresses.
We always had plenty to eat and if we were poor we didn't know it. We grew watermelons and when they were ripe would keep them in river to cool them. Boy were they good.
I can remember Lucretia and her friend Veda Pollard, going to the school for parties, taffy pulls, cake walks and I would cry to go along, but I was to young. But at Christmas time in the evening, our parents would take us to school for the Christmas Festivities. Which was usually a play with school kids putting it on and at the end Santa would come and pass out treats in paper sacks. We all got an orange, an apple, some hard ribbon candy, and if we were extra good, a chocolate drop.
Those were the highlights of my time spent there. I don't exactly remember why we moved away from Russett, but Jack said Mom told him Dad and Fred Chapman got into a disagreement over how or whom to vote for, whether that is true that is what she said.
I have always wondered whatever happened to my very good friend Sarah Helen Ballard. She and I both shared the same birthday, June 18th. If anyone knows about her, please let us know. I think there would be others who moved away and would like to know what happened to their friends too. Maybe this website would be a good way to find them.
While we were there we all "drank from the well". Now that I'm older I look back on those "good old Days" and am so grateful for the days that used to be.
I do enjoy this website, I thinks it's great to be able to read about others who lived there also.