MEMORIES OF PINE ISLAND IN THE THIRTIES
When Much Of Pine Island Still Used Horses, Bicycles and Wagons
I never really lived for an extended period of time in Pine Island. However, I lived there for many weeks of each year during the nineteen thirties, when I was a young boy growing up. I loved the days I spent there and have many fond memories of the people and events. I believe those memories will help others picture Pine Island in their minds. My grandmother was Mamie Pennington Milam (Mrs Harry Lee Milam).whom my two cousins, Marion Ruth and Dorthy Jane Phillips, and I lovingly called "Mommie" because she didn't like grandma or grannie.
- Visiting at Great Grandpa and Great Grandma Milam's house on a late summer evening and the whole family going swimming in the creek.
- Spending the night with "Punk" at Roy Feagin's house and learning that country folks didn't have hot water heaters at bath time.
- Watching Mrs Lula Crowhurst cooking on her wood burning cookstove and wondering why she didn't get a modern kerosene one like my grandmothers.
- Watching Roy Feagin fill a little "Bayer" aspirin bottle with black gun powder, then inserting the end of a piece of dynamite fuse and sealing the bottle with tar or maybe wax. After lighting the fuse, he dropped the homemade bomb down the well casing. A crude but effective way of cleaning the screen at the bottom of the casing.
- Playing in the old cars in the ditch, on the east side of Cochran road, where the little creek crosses between Brumlow road and Highway 290. The ditches was so deep in those days that five or six old cars had been dumped in it. To stop the erosion?
- Going to Great Grandpa William Jonas Milam's house, when he died, and asking why all the mirrors were covered. "Because if they are not, they will turn black with a dead person is in the house." I was told.
- Watching the "Dinky" go by every day on it's way west. It was a local train that used a little square nosed switch engine instead of the big steam engines.
- Ol' "Bullger", who was my grandmothers "watch dog", or maybe he was just a biscuit hound?
- "Punk" Feagin, his sister Sophie Ruth and I playing in the "storm cellar" that Roy had dug in the yard. They used it to store home canned food while waiting for a storm.
- The potatoes and onions spread on pieces of tin roofing and slid under my grandmothers house for storage.
- Watching my uncle Buster (Frankie Lee Milam) stand with his back to the side of a Ford model T or A, stoop down, grab the running board, then straighten up and lift one side of the car off the ground, just to show off.
- Watching the cows swim through the dipping vat on the Burch place, on Cochran road south of Brumlow Road. The vat had an oily bug killer floating on top of the water and it coated the cows as they swam through, killing the ticks and pests.
- The lighting rods with the blue glass balls, on top of my grandmother's house and post office.
- Waiting for Mr Goad to come to the post office to get his mail on his old gray horse so he would put me on the horse.
- The wooden "Pie Safe" on the back porch, that held the big crock bowls of milk and cream. And, making butter with the modern churn that you operated by turning a hand crank.
- Watching each day for the train that my great uncle, James Elisha "Babe" Pennington worked on. He was a railway express messenger and he always waved from the mail car, as the train passed.
- The bantam hen that lit on my head and pecked a tune when I picked up one of her chicks (I never got over it. I still have to force myself to touch a chicken).
- The nice grassy yards on the north and east sides of my grandmother's house. But, we couldn't play in them because of the grass burrs. We had to play in the yard on the south side that was swept and kept clean of any thing that grew except the big China Berry Trees.
- The luxury of taking a warm bath at night in a number 2 wash tub full of water, that had set in the sun all day. A real solar hot water heater.
- Watching my uncle Buster tear down the two room school house after the Pine Island School was closed and consolidated with the Waller schools.
- Visiting at Mr Marion and Mrs Lila Phillip's home and smelling the wonderful smells that came from the smoke house or going in the living room to listen to the grandfather clock's slow tic . . . toc . . . tic . . . toc.
- Getting my hair cut with hand operated clippers, instead of electric clippers, by Frank Taylor.
- Watching the giant Sunflowers that grew along the garden fence by the chicken yard turn with the sun.
- The big grindstone in the yard that you turned by pumping a foot pedal, while you sharpened the hoe or the axe.
- Wishing the wind would blow a little, so the windmill would fill the big wooden tank on the tower and we could have all the water we wanted to.
- Fishing for crawfish in the old gravel pit on the west side of Cochran road just south of grandma's pasture. And, fishing for perch in the stock tank in Mr Sam Crowhurst's pasture.
- My first ride on a calf and the very hard packed ground of the cow lot . . . and the so and so who told me how much fun it would be.
- Going to the movies in Hempstead on Saturday nights and wondering why they always had cowboy movies.
- The outhouse, in the back of the chicken yard, with a real Sears catalog. Of course, there was the "slop jar" in the closet for use at night and in rainy weather.
- When the lights started getting dim at night, my grandmother would go out the next morning and start the old gasoline powered generator to charge the batteries. And, listening to the engine's slow, ka-chunk, ka-chunk ka-chunk as it charged the batteries.
- When my grandmother would fix a country treat for us kids that she called "the hole in the well." She would take some cold biscuits and poke a hole in each one with her finger. Then she poured syrup in the holes and passed them around.
- Smoking cornsilk wrapped in brown wrapping paper with Mrs Tapscott's nephew. The first and last time I ever tried it (probably for him to.)
- <<<<<<< SOURCES >>>>>>>
- 1840 Census of the Republic of Texas
- 1850 U.S. Census of Texas
- 1860 U.S. Census of Texas
- 1870 U.S. Census of Texas
- 1880 U.S. Census of Texas
- 1900 U.S. Census of Texas
- 1910 U.S. Census of Texas
- 1920 U.S. Census of Texas
- Austin County Courthouse Records
- Waller County Courthouse Records
- Washington County Courthouse Records
- "A Directory Of Cemeteries In Waller County" Waller County
- "A History Of Waller County, Texas" Waller County Historical
- "Custer In Texas" by John M. Carroll"
- Garrett Family Bible" (Printed in Amsterdam, 1730, currently
held by Harris Cooper Garrett of Brookshire.
It has births recorded as early as 1733)
- "Legendary Ladies of Texas" Texas Folklore Society XLIII
- "Our Daily Bread" by members of the Pine Island Baptist Church
- "Surname Index To 'A Directory of Cemeteries In Waller
County'" by Chaparral Genealogical Society
- "The Afro-American Texans" The University Of Texas At San Antonio,
Institute of Texan Cultures
- "The Grape Vine" Wednesday, March 9, 1983 issue
- "The Milam Clan" by Freddie Brumlow
- "The Texas Experience" by Archie P. McDonald
- "The Texas Story" by Ralph W. Steen
- "Our Texas" by Steen and Donecker
- Mamie Lucille (Milam) Daut
- Ernest Munn Jenkins
- Mamie (Pennington) Milam
- James Elisha Pennington
- Alta Oleta Phillips
- Chalista Jane (Milam) Phillips
- Fran (Phillips) Throgmorton
- Mantie May (Milam) Taylor
- Linda Wren
- Milam family photographs
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