I want to tell a little about papa for the generations who did not have the privilege of knowing him.
I only knew papa as an old man because he was 69 when I was born.. I was 14 when he died, so all I can relate is as a child tempered with age.
I was told that he drank heavily when he was young but not in the memory of either mother or Aunt Gladys. He married quit young the first time, 17. He had 8 children, 3 of who were born dead and his wife died when he was 32. He married again had 6 more kids, one stillborn, and his 2nd wife died when he was 43. Also in this marriage was the death of Henry from the 1st marriage.
I have told you before about papa spending time in Federal prison in Huntsville for hauling moonshine. I have been told since then that he was working for Aunt Jenny Brooks. I don’t know if that is true or not because anyone who could verify that has long been dead; but if that is true, it puts his jail time in the time of his first marriage.
After the death of his 2nd wife, he married mama(most of you called her grandma). Papa and mama had 5 children, 1 stillborn, 2 died young, Anna only Dau of 1st marriage died, and Jennie only dau. Of 2nd marriage died. I guess all this sorrow must have mellowed him, because I see him as an old softy who could be hard when he got mad.
I don’t remember much but I can almost see papa at the sorghum mill. Between the home house and Uncle Nathan’s house just down the road, there was an old dug well built up with large sandstone rocks. The syrup mill was built at the well because they needed a lot of water..
In the fall, when the cane had matured, the children of the family stripped the cane. (They went down the rows of cane pulling the leaves down to the bottom and off, leaving just the stalk.) Someone bigger cut the cane with a sharp instrument and it was loaded on a wagon and hauled to the mill. There the seed heads were cut off and it was fed into a grinder press which was powered by a mule that walked in circles around the mill. When enough juice was extracted from the cane it was cooked in a huge copper pan
Down to syrup. It was very easy to scorch but papa had the touch. People for miles around brought their cane to his mill.
You have noticed by now that I did not call him grandpa. Most of you know that mother did not choose her 1st husband well, so I grew up from birth (off and on) in the home house. All of Granville’s children called him “pappy”. For some reason or other it was decided that I should not call him “pappy”
And would call him what ever those in the household did, so they started calling him papa. I guess they were right.
Some of you have told me that you were afraid of papa. To that I can only say you just didn’t
Get to know him. A story I remember will tell you a little about him. Donald was about 6 or 7 years old and had done something (I don’t remember what) for which papa thought he needed punished. He started toward Don and Don ran. Papa said “You better run ‘cause I’m going to give you a whupping.” Well they went around the yard a time or 2 and Don fell down. Now I know what you’re thinking “boy I bet ole Don really got it that time”. Wrongggg!!!! Don’s lying there on his stomach and papa sets his foot on his back and says “You better get up from there and run ‘cause I’m going to give you a whupping.”
If papa ever whipped me I don’t remember it. He mostly just fussed and let mother or mama take care of it but he didn’t like it if it came to an actual whipping. I guess it helped to keep me on his good side when mother told me that he whipped Aunt Jennie for talking back to him, after she was grown and had been married the 1st time. I have often wondered why Aunt Jennie let him whip her. She was very high tempered and outspoken. I can only guess it was out of respect for her father.
I thought that my papa hung the moon. (Don did too.) I thought there was not anything that he could not do if he put his mind to it, I can think of 2 stories that might make you see why I felt that way.
Once I was walking past a window of the house and in a rotted crack I could see just a small portion of a snake. I got papa and he got an old ice pick from under the tin on the front porch. It was about 10” long He stabbed the snake through the hole. Talk about brave, I thought that was awesome; but that’s not all. That snake rolled back (head end) out that hole. Papa just stood there holding that ice pick in place so the snake would not get away. The snake was winding it’s head back and forth over his hand until someone got a hoe and killed the snake. Now wouldn’t you have thought that he was getting pretty close to being invulnerable.
The other story of his strength had to do with church. I can’t remember the details but a man was speaking from the pulpit at Cave Spring where papa was a deacon. Evidently papa did not like what the man was saying because he told him to shut-up and sit down, twice. The man did not do as he was told and papa caught him by the arm and escorted him out the door where he told the man to never come back. Some time later the man did come back, not to speak but to visit. Papa saw him before he got to the door and cut him off. Papa told him he was not welcomed there, to leave before there was more trouble. The man left and to my knowledge never came back. Now can you see why I believed him to be a tower of strength.
Whether he was called PAPPY, PAPA, GRANDPA, UNCLE GRANVILLE or MR, LANDERS
(which is what mama called him), I think everyone respected him. He was a family man and loved all his children. After he got old he made it a point to go see the 3 sons who could not drive and come to him.
I was raised without a dad that most of you were blessed with, but I had papa. I also had most of you. Most of you came to visit papa as often as you could, so I got to know all of you probably better than
I would have otherwise. I can remember some of the sons coming at different times to cut wood for the winter, gather corn, kill hogs, use the blacksmith shop and to “set up” with papa when he got sick.
Papa had 18 children, some were born dead, some lived just a few years. Anna lived long enough to marry. I didn’t know her. I did know all the others, John, Rob, Andy, Luther, Lonnie, Tom ,Jennie, Nathan Gladys and of course Flossie. I think I can say that they all showed great love for a great man and transferred that love to us, his descendants.