Lamar County Kin
By: Barbara Woolbright Carruth
Appeared in The Lamar Leader September 15, 1999
I was born in the forties, I am not saying which year. I grew up with a mother who was at home with me. After I started to school, when I got off the school bus, in the afternoon, I knew that she would be waiting. I remember, sometimes, she would be ironing and listening to a favorite program on the radio. The smell of freshly baked tea cakes were a common smell around my house. She could really bake some good ones and did bake a lot of them!
I didnt do much field work, I came along late in my parents lives, they thought they had already had their family and then guess what, I came along. I was kind of spoiled by them, but I spoiled them back!!! I can remember my Mother would go to the field in the morning to hoe cotton, she would come back to the house at 10:00 a.m. to start cooking "dinner" which was served at 12:00 noon. At that time, she cooked on a wood stove and I remember how good the food taste. We grew our vegetables and meat on the farm, so she always had a table full of food. In the summer time we always had fresh peas, corn, okra, butterbeans and green beans. She didnt just cook one or two of these veggies she had a table full of them. At times, I would tell her that I wanted a "sandwich", not knowing how lucky I was to have all of this food in front of me.
When I was a teenager, Mother took a job at the pants factory, Detroit Slacks, Inc., in Detroit, AL. Coy Glenn opened a pants factory in Detroit and this created jobs for a lot of persons in the area. This was a new experience for me because my Mother had always been at home. It was fun for a while, because I snooped around the house, in the afternoons, before she came home from work. When I had to help with the chores around the house it wasnt that much fun. As I went through high school, she was there ready to help me. It was not uncommon for me to tell her in the afternoon when she came home from work, that I needed a new dress for some activity in school the next day and she would sew me one that night, finishing it before she went to bed. Now that is love only of a Mother dont you think?
Mother attended school at the Shiloh North School in the Lost Creek Community. She walked to school and carried her lunch in a bucket. A special cousin and friend of hers throughout school and life was Clara Bell Blaylock Easter.
My Mother and Father, Hobbie Lee ( Jack ) and Lula Bell King Woolbright were married October 23, 1927 in Mississippi by John Black, Justice of the Peace, at his house out in the yard. They lived in the Lost Creek Community northwest of Sulligent, Alabama all of their married life except for a year when they were first married. They lived in Pickens County, Alabama for a year where Jack was working with a crew. Lula Bell would get homesick and write her Daddy to come get her. Of course, he would come and she would go back to Lost Creek for a few days. They moved back "home" after a year.
Hobbie Lee better known as "Jack" was born January 7, 1906 and grew up in north Pickens County and south Lamar County, Alabama. His father was Hobbie Lee Woolbright . Jacks father died before he was born. His mother Lucy Lula Homan Woolbright Ruffin , later remarried and Jack lived with different relatives. At a young age he began working in the logging trade. When he was around twenty, he came into the Lost Creek Community with a logging crew for Kentucky Lumber Company. They were cutting timber in the Buttahatchee bottom. He met Lula Bell, they married and lived together until his death on October 10, 1989. Lula Bells father, W. W. King became the father that Jack had never had. He farmed, logged, owned a sawmill until about 1962.
In Jacks later years he was a night watchman at Detroit Slacks in Detroit, Alabama. After he retired, he enjoyed growing vegetables for his family and others. He gave away more than he sold. He enjoyed people and was a people person, active in his community.
Lula Bell is the daughter of Willie Washington and Sarah Evans King, She was born September 19, 1911. She still lives today in the house that Jack and she built in 1949. After she retired from Detroit Slacks, Inc, she was kind enough to help me with raising my children. They grew up knowing the love of a special grandmother.
Her hobby has been making quilts for family members. We are not sure but we know that she has made more than a 100 quilts. Dresden Plate, Fan, Spider Web, Monkey Wrench, Sweet Gum Leaf, and Patchwork are some of the patterns that she has done. About two years ago she made quilts for great grandson, Casey Carruth and great granddaughter Summer Carruth for them to have when they have a home of their own. We packed the quilts away for safe keeping. Quilting is an art that is fading away. My mother has tried to get me interested but you have to sit still to quilt. I cant seem to stay still for long at a time.
Quilts were needed for warmth, you couldnt run down to the local superstore and buy a blanket or quilt. Money was scarce, so women used available materials such as feed sacks and fertilizer sacks, in order to save money. I have a "bow tie" quilt that was made by my mother out of fertilizer sacks . Quilts also served as a source of income for many women who didnt have husbands or needed the extra income. In frontier days, single men often purchased quilts, as did affluent women for the decoration of their homes and beds. Two popular quilt patterns used for warmth was the patchwork and crazy quilt. These patterns allowed the women to use every last scrap of material left over from larger projects.
Very popular in quilting tradition were the quilting circles and bees that brought women together to share quilting talent. Women often traveled for miles to reach friends who were sewing a quilt and needed an extra hand. A Sampler quilt was popular with quilting circles, each quilter in a group would recreate the same square many times over and each member of the group would swap squares. Then each member could create her own quilt with the gifts of her quilting circle. Throughout quilting history, we have seen women coming together to share patterns and help their friends quilt.
Often quilts were made in order to record a specific event, celebration, the birth of a child, a wedding, a festival, or an anniversary. When the First Baptist Church in Sulligent, AL celebrated 100 years as a church, the ladies made a quilt commemorating this occasion. The quilt pictured is a "Christmas Dresden Plate" made by mother several years ago. The Dresden Plates are out of 100% cotton fabric with holly leaves and berries placed on squares of antique ivory 100%
cotton. The lining is antique ivory 100% cotton. This quilt is used at Christmas time as a tablecloth on Mothers dining room table and is admired by all who visit during the holidays.
Many of the women quilters would tell you that the patterns and traditions they used were often repeated not for high value, but for the very fact that they saw their grandmother, or mother, or cousin, or neighbor, or landowner's wife create the same pattern.
My Mother has always told us for years "when you are happy, Im happy". This a special phrase in our family because we know that she is sincere when she says these words. Her family has been and is still important to her. I have seen her time and again make sacrifices for us. She has had no desire to travel ( except by reading ), to explore new heights or gain wealth. She has lived her life doing what she loves best, taking care of her family. During her 88 years she has seen more changes than I can imagine. She has went from walking everywhere she went, to learning to drive a car and going anywhere she wanted to go; from reading by candle or lamp light, to electricity; from cooking on a woodstove, to a microwave; from firing up a washpot to wash clothes, to an automatic washer; from plowing crops with a mule or horse, to seeing them plowed with large tractors; from listening to radio, to watching television; from watching a small plane fly over Sulligent, to hearing and seeing on television that the United States has put a man on the moon!
Queries of the week:
I noticed that you had the Carden family on your list and I was wondering if you had any information on MARY ANN CARDEN nee HOPKINS. She is my great great grandmother born 1834 who married DAVID THOMAS WHEELER. Her parents were SIDNEY HOPKINS and MARGARET ? She is not a CARDEN but I thought you might know more about her and her parents. P.S. Your webpage is GREAT!
I am looking for the maiden name of Mary Sandlin ( born abt 1807) that was married to Jesse Sandlin ( Born abt 1801). Does anyone know what the H. stands for in H. Littleton Sandlin?
Lois Sandlin Matuszak
1503 Misty Bend Dr.
Katy, TX 77494
If you have any information on the above queries contact me at 205 698 9427;
P. O. Box 579, Sulligent, AL 35586 or email coco @ fayette.net. Suggestions for this column are welcome. If you have a community, place or family that you would like featured, call or write me. Thanks for your encouragement, your comments, and information that you have given me. Check Lamar County Kin website htttp://www.fayette.net/carruth/lamar.html or MS Bs Place http://www.fayette.net/carruth/
See you next week!