December 8, 1938
We would have some great games of baseball at these old time public schools. It was easy to get enough to have nine good players on each side. There was among the larger boys who played the following: Frank Weast, Tom Wallace, Crit Hollifield, Bud Carson, Dob and Bill Fortune, Bill Grant, Lawson Toney and Joe Philbeck and others who names do not come into my memory at present. There were quite a number of boys in their teens who were good players. William O’Brien and Columbus DePriest lived near the playground and they would very often come over at play time and join the group in a game.
I recall one day Lawson Toney was catching and someone was running in home. Toney ran in to put the ball on him. The runner ran against Toney’s hand and knocked his wrist out of joint.
The catcher would stand about ten steps behind the batter and let the ball strike the ground and catch it on the rebound. We played ball a little different from the rules as used now. The batter would show the pitcher where he wanted the ball and the pitcher would try to pitch it right where he wanted it. We did not have an umpire so the batter would not strike at a ball until it was placed just across the plate where he wanted it. The catcher would stand about ten steps behind the batter and let the ball strike the ground and catch it on the rebound. The pitcher would toss the ball instead of throwing it. There was a farm fence some little distance from the ball ground and the batters would try to knock the ball over the fence but Bill Fortune was about the only one that could get it over.
Town ball was a very popular game. It was played by throwing the ball at the runner and hitting him while between bases. When he was hit and put out he did not go to bat anymore during that inning. Everyone on the side had to be put out before the other side came to bat.
When the batter hit a ball and was caught before it hit the ground, or if it was caught on the first bounce, the batter was out.
Base was another game that was very popular and was always played in these old time schools.
Marbles was not only a popular game at school but was played more or less around most farm yards and was a very interesting game. I never see this game played anymore. I am sorry for the fellow who has never had the opportunity of attending an old time country school and living in the country on the farm a few years where they raise their own hog and hominy and live at home.
There was an old man that lived in the settlement who was a member of Mt. Harmony Baptist church. He believed in the Baptist faith so strongly that he could not see much hope for any one not connected with that denomination. One of his daughters married a man who was a member of the Methodist church, so she joined that church with her husband. This almost broke the heart of the father, so he arose in the Baptist church congregation and told them that his daughter had renounced the faith and asked them to pray for her that she might see the error of her ways and be saved.
Uncle Wilkie Harrison lived at the foot of Joshua Melton mountain, about three miles from Sunshine. He married a Miss Biggerstaff, a daughter of Kinchen Biggerstaff. Mr. Harrison was a good citizen. He reared a family of five sons and one daughter. He was an uneducated man, judged from modern day standards of literacy, being unable to read or write. He was, however, one of the community’s most substantial citizens and best of farmers and always kept good stock and that in good condition. He owned and operated a tan yard. The farmers would take their cowhides to him and have them tanned. I believe they gave one-half their hides for this service of tanning. My recollection is that it took twelve months or longer to tan a hide. From these hides were made harness leather and what was called upper leather or shoe leather. The harness leather was used for making harness, bridles, check lines and hame strings. Upper leather was used for making shoes. Fifty years ago most of the people in the county had their shoes made at home. It would take one man a day to cut out and make a pair of shoes. They would saw off a piece of maple wood about five-eights of an inch long and split it up and make shoe pegs to use in making the shoes. Children were given only a pair of shoes each year and they would last only about three months. When the boys and girls were nearly grown they would get a pair of Sunday shoes and wear them to church and public gatherings, but as soon as they had returned home they were required to pull them off and go bare-footed, or put on their everyday shoes.