Friday, September 30, 2011

LESTAR MARTIN IS A GENIUS

Lestar Martin is a genius.

Let me say it again. LESTAR MARTIN IS A GENIUS.

Hubby and I are in love with a set of floor plans that he has drawn for THE HOUSE AT SUGAR CREEK. Lestar is a Louisiana Architect (and retired Louisiana Tech Professor of Architecture) that agreed-- without arm twisting on my part, I might add-- to take a peek at The House at Sugar Creek and see if he could tell us about the architectural history of our dog-trot. He came to Sugar Creek for the first time a week and a half ago, and his eyes were as wide as saucers before he even entered the house. He pointed out a thousand interesting tidbits about the house, one of which is the significance of the front porch. In typical northern Louisiana dog-trot design, the porch is added after the home has been built (almost as an afterthought.) But with our home, the porch is placed directly under the roofline. This style is common with the French-style dog-trots in southern Louisiana, but quite rare in northern Louisiana. (So rare, in fact, that we have only located one other local dog-trot with this feature.) Mr. Martin also pointed out THE HOUSE AT SUGAR CREEK is very large for a country home of its era, and easily recognized that the original siding (1888/1889) is still on the house and in very good condition. This means that we will be doing a good bit of sanding and painting instead of re-siding the house, and we're delighted to know that we'll be able to save the old square-nailed cypress planks.

After a long discussion with Mr. Martin about architectural designs for THE HOUSE AT SUGAR CREEK, we parted ways and nervously awaited his thoughts on the restoration. He appeared at our home last night and gave us the most magical architectural renderings that we have ever seen, and I wanted to share them with you. After a unanimous family vote, we know for certain that we're going to follow Mr. Martin's design to the T. So without further adieu... here's LESTAR MARTIN's design.... and like I said, this man is a GENIUS!

CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE THEM....




(Lestar Martin's design for the ground floor of THE HOUSE AT SUGAR CREEK)





(Lestar Martin's design for the 2nd floor of THE HOUSE AT SUGAR CREEK)

Vera Taylor Oden's Memoir (SECTIONS XI, XII and XIII)

This posting contains sections eleven, twelve and thirteen of twenty-one sections that describe life in Sugar Creek, Louisiana prior to 1902. If you haven't read the post about the significance of her memoir, click here.


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SECTION XI: (OUR HOUSE)

The second floor of our house was floored and had windows but was not finished. I think the men slept up there, and the girls down stairs. Our house was built according to the prevailing style at that time. A front porch all across the front of the house, an open central hall with staircase enclosed, two rooms on each side of the hall and dining room and kitchen continuing on one side with porch and bannisters opposite them. Of course the well opposite the kitchen door. Later we built a servant room with fire place next to the kitchen, but I don't think it was used for a servant much. There was a cellar underneath it which was built for storms, but I don't remember going into it but once. In rainy weather it would have water in it and Mamma was afraid some of us would drown. (Also,) there was a picket fence around our house and cape jasmine bushes lined the walk from the gate to the house.


SECTION XII: (CHILDHOOD GAMES)

On summer nights the family sat on the front porch while we children played games in the yard. A favorite was "Molly, Molly Bright, can I come home tonight. Yes, if your legs are long and light, but watch for witches on the way." Then a race from the gate to the steps before being caught by those hiding behind the cape jasmine bushes. It was more fun when Aunt Belle's children were with us. They were so near, we saw them nearly ever day. There was a small thicket between our houses where we would meet to play, also a branch where we caught crawfish. In our yard was a potato house which was seldom used, so it served as a playhouse for us. From time to time it was variously used for theatricals, with crocus sack curtains, a bakery where molded mud cakes were sold, beautifully decorated with berries and flowers, a store, and a photographer's studio, after an itinerant photographer pitched his tent near Papa's store and made tin type pictures. Of course we had our pictures made, so that gave us the idea. We galloped over the yard on stick horses and played under the house. I was always afraid I would crawl under a sill too low and might not find my way out again. We played dolls, usually china dolls, but we did have some big dolls which were too pretty to play with. We once had a doll wedding at Anniebel's house. Her cousin, who was visiting her, made costumes for the bride and groom and attendants. They were small stand-up dolls. We loved to play in the cotton seed house because we could mold the cotton seed into beds, tables, chairs, etc. We could also climb up onto the rafters and jump down into the cotton seed. It was important to wear cotton dresses so the lint wouldn't stick to them.

XIII: (THE SHERARDS AND YOUNGBLOODS)

Mamma used to take us and go to see Miss Addie (Mrs. Sherard) and Florrie. We loved playing at Florries because she had a tiny wood burning stove on which we could cook. Florrie says when we got everything out, it would be time to leave and she would have to clean up. The Sherards and Youngbloods lived about a mile away from us and were close life-long friends. I think the Taylors and Sherrards came from Georgia together. Mr. Sherard also owned a store about a mile from us. Mrs. Reid was the wife of a doctor, so always had lots of home remedies. She made Mullen tea and chamomile tea, I don't know what for but for sore throat she mopped it with a preparation made from Rod Oak bark and Slippery Elm bark. She carried a pair of tweezers in her satchel, and it seemed I always had a tooth that needed pulling.

Mr. Sherard's sister, Mrs. Youngblood, lived just across the road. Her husband died early leaving her a young widow with two sons, Claude and Dee. Florrie had a chair swing under a big oak which we enjoyed, and I thought Miss. Addie's tea cakes and plum preserves were the best. I especially remember Aunt Belle's ginger bread and doughnuts. Maybe Mamma's were just as good, but they tasted better away from home.




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After reading section XII (Childhood Games) am I now quite taken by the game "Molly, Molly Bright." I spoke with my grandmother about it, and she says that she seems to remember hearing it in her childhood. So I did what any modern, internet-loving, red-headed, determined, old-house-loving renovator would do. I googled the name "Molly, Molly Bright." And here's what I found...




(photo above taken from this book entitled CHILDREN'S GAMES AND RHYMES, published by ARNO PRESS)


The link to the above book will lead you to a fabulous compilation of North Carolina folklore, which is rather fascinating when you realize that the Taylor family moved to Sugar Creek, Louisiana from Georgia. (For those of us that are geographically challenged, North Carolina and Georgia share a common border.) It's very easy for us to assume that the Taylors brought "Molly, Molly Bright" with them when they moved to Louisiana, though the children (Mrs. Vera included) could have easily learned this game from other immigrants to this area. A very large percentage of the early settlers (of european blood) in northern Louisiana were indeed of Scotch/Irish/Welsh descent and moved her from North Carolina. In fact, my family's Scotch/Irish/Cherokee Indian line did just this, settling in northern Louisiana after moving from North Carolina. I wonder if my family played "Molly, Molly Bright," too. I'd like to think that they did.

We're off to spend another weekend working on The House at Sugar Creek, but there's one more wonderful post that I must make before we leave. And trust me, it's going to be a good one.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Vera Taylor Oden's Memoir (SECTIONS VIII, IX and X)

This posting contains sections eight, nine and ten of twenty-one sections that describe life in Sugar Creek, Louisiana prior to 1902. If you haven't read the post about the significance of her memoir, click here.


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SECTION VIII: (MAMMA AND AUNT MAGGIE)

Mamma had pride for herself too. She was very erect and slender and wore very neat clothes. Some of them she had made in Arcadia and Aunt Maggie Patton, who was very good at sewing, helped her. I was very proud of her and Papa, too, who it seemed to me, stood out among all other people.

Aunt Maggie, who was Mamma's sister-in-law, was like a real sister to her. It was she whom they sent for when any of us were sick. She was a born nurse, so gentle and kind.

SECTION IX: (LITTLE FRANK)

For several years there were only three of us children, and we all wanted a baby so badly. It seemed that the doctor was leaving babies all around but had none for us. Finally he did bring us a little baby brother, and we were delighted. We kept him only eleven days. They thought it was pneumonia. We carried him to Lisbon, his little casket on the back seat of the surrey. Aunt Maggie, Papa and we children went to the funeral, but Mamma was not able to go. His little stone in the Lisbon cemetery has the figure of a little baby lamb on it, and the inscription "Little Frank."

SECTION X: (MY SOCIAL LIFE)

Often when we went to church at Lisbon they would have dinner on the grounds. This was spread on long tables under big oak trees, and was quite a happy occasion for friends and relatives who didn't get to see each other very often. There was always such an abundance of food and good fellowship. In fact it was almost all of the social life of the community.

Mamma and Papa used to have house parties for two or three days, for a few young lady and young men relations and friends. Sometimes Aunt Belle's nieces would visit at the same time, Claude and Dee Youngblood, two handsome and popular young men of the neighborhood would join them for the parties. I was a very interested, but shy, spectator who imagined romance among them, and enjoyed their pretty dresses. Refreshments were always custard ice cream frozen in a hand turned freezer and home made cake. I don't know how Mamma took care of so many, but I think they were always in the summer time, and probably pallet parties.


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I'm amazed by the detail in Mrs. Vera's memoir. My family has a habit of making "pallets" on the floor for kiddos to sleep on, particularly during slumber parties. We've always piled blankets and pillows together to make a soft bed on the floor, and I can't tell you how many hundreds of times I've slept on one of these makeshift "pallets" with my friends, cousins, and siblings. Can you imagine having a pallet party for grown-ups that lasts for DAYS? I can close my eyes and picture the Taylor family in the dog-trot, surrounded by friends and family members as they turn the handle on an ice cream freezer and introduce young men and women to one another. I wonder how many marriages were a result of these wonderful pallet parties, and how many children were born to young couples that met for the first time at The House at Sugar Creek.

Though we are exploring the memoir of Vera Oden Taylor, I wanted to share a wonderful photo of the Robinson Family that was taken at The House at Sugar Creek circa 1950/1951. The Taylor home (The House at Sugar Creek) was sold to the Sims family in 1902, and the home has been passed down from generation to generation in the Sims/Robinson family.




Jack Robinson on the front porch, holding son Jackie.



Who are the people in this lovely photograph? The man in the photo is Francis Rudolph (Jack) Robinson, Sr. holding his son, Jackie. The are sitting on the front porch of the home, circa 1950 or 1951. This photo was taken fifty to sixty years after the pallet parties that Mrs. Vera writes about in her memoir. Notice that the dog-trot had been screened in by the time this photo was taken. I love finding little "clues" about The House at Sugar Creek, and I truly hope that our project (and our love for this house) inspires you to save a historic building of your own.

Jackie

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Vera Taylor Oden's Memoir (SECTIONS V, VI and VII)

Hello, all! Hubby and I will be on our way to Sugar Creek in a few minutes, but I wanted to share a little more of Mrs. Vera's memoir beforehand.

This posting contains sections five, six and seven of twenty-one sections that describe life in Sugar Creek, Louisiana prior to 1902. If you haven't read the post about the significance of her memoir, click here.


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SECTION V: (PAPA'S STORE)

Papa kept cheese, soda crackers and stick candy at the store, but at Christmas time he had barrels of apples, boxes of oranges and big buckets of "fancy candy" and nuts. One of the delights of my childhood was to go to the stare after supper just before Christmas and help unpack the dolls and toys and other Christmas goods. They came packed in big wooden boxes and were hauled from Arcadia in a wagon. I also loved to straighten up the shelves and help clean up the store. The post office was only a large sized cabinet with separate compartments labelled with letters of the alphabet; into which went the mail according to the name. Of course Papa also sold stamps and money orders. There was no parcel post then. On the same side of the store were tobacco, a few simple drugs and groceries. On the other side were some piece goods, some laces, ribbon, thread, face powder and Hoyt's cologne, oil cloth, shoes, hardware, etc. Coal oil for lamps was in a large metal barrel and had to be pumped out. Each customer brought his own oil can. There was a wood stove (heater) in the back of the store, around which customers would gather to talk in winter. In summer they sat on loafers benches on the porch of the store. There was a well there, also hitching racks for horses. A cousin of Papa's, cousin Jeff Taylor stayed with us for a while and helped at the store. He was a bachelor and rather smart, used to teach school. He helped teach us children before we had a school there.

SECTION VI: (EARLY SCHOOL AND MUSIC TEACHERS)

I can't remember when I learned to read but Mamma and Papa began to teach us at an early age. Mamma used to let Aunt Belle's children, Annie Belle, who was my age, Irvin and Glenn come to our house and have school with us. In exchange Aunt Belle would do sewing for Momma. The nearest school was too far away for us so Papa hired cousin Tula Patton (Later Mrs. Mack Caruthers) to stay with us and teach us and our cousins. Later they cleaned out a cabin with a big stone fireplace and made a school room out of it. They then took in children from two or three other families. Finally they built us a new one room school building on the side of a hill, and I think we had about thirty pupils.

When I was about eight Papa bought us a piano, and Berta, Anniebel and I were ready to start music lessons. They employed Miss. Carrie Belle Baker of Athens to teach us. She was about sixteen. She stayed with us about a month, got homesick and quit. Our next teacher was Annibel's cousin, Miss. Zilpah Knowles of Ruston. She didn't stay long, either. Then we got another teacher Cousin Gay McCasland of Homer, still another, Miss. Bertha Bailey of Homer. None of them stayed very long, not enough social life, I guess. With the exception of Miss. Zilpah, they all stayed with us.

VII: (OUR CHURCH)

There was no church within several miles, so we didn't have the advantage of a Sunday School. Efforts were made to have an interdenominational Sunday School at our little school house, but it didn't last but two or three Sundays. Mama had her membership at Lisbon Methodist Church, about ten miles away, but because of the distance, rainy weather and bad roads, we didn't get to go very often. Our preparation for church started the day before, because we had to leave home very early to get to church in time. We had our baths, hair washed and rolled up for curls, clothes laid out, etc. Next morning we would get dressed except for our dresses and hair and put on an apron. When we reached a certain creek Papa would let the horses drink while Mamma put our dresses on us, tied our sashes and took down our curls. Then she was ready to parade us down the aisle before her friends and kinfolks. Berta and I were usually dressed alike except for our washes and hair ribbons, which were either pink or blue. Our hats were alike, usually leghorn, trimmed with pink or blue for-get-me-nots.


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These three sections of Mrs. Vera's memoir really wowed me. In fact, I've become obsessed with Hoyt's Perfume! I've been stalking old perfume bottles on ebay, hoping to find a bargain on a scent from the past. Here is a Hoyt's Perfume "trading card" from 1892, the approximate time period that Mrs. Vera was writing about in this section of her memoir. I couldn't resist attaching these photos to this post. Enjoy!



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Vera Taylor Oden's Memoir (SECTIONS III and IV)

Here is another installment of Vera Taylor Oden's memoir. Tonight's posting contains sections three and four of twenty-one sections that describe life in Sugar Creek, Louisiana prior to 1902. If you haven't read the post about the significance of her memoir, click here.



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VERA TAYLOR ODEN MEMOIR
SECTION III: (BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF CHILDHOOD)

My sister, Berta, was born fourteen months after I was, and my brother, Lamar, was born about a month before I was three years old, so there were three tiny tots in the household, and I'm sure we kept Mamma and Grandma busy. The first servant that I can remember was named America (Meriky). Another was named Thene, who came to do the milking. She was a dwarf, about 4 12 feet. Another was "Aunt Fannie" who did the washing, she was always "polly in the back." Her husband, Uncle Ish (Ishmael) cut the wood. There were many others I remember so well. Papa was always kind to them and did so much for them which nobody knew about.

We were very proud of our house. It was the nicest in the neighborhood and both Papa and Mamma worked hard to improve it. They set out trees and flowers. Papa set out a peach orchard. Later he added a pear, plum and apple orchard. We always had lots of fruit and watermelons. I can't ever forget the mental picture I have of Papa, coming in from the patch with a watermelon on his shoulder. He loved to work in the vegetable garden and vegetables were always plentiful. In the summer Mamma canned fruits and vegetables, and made pickles, jelly and preserves.

SECTION IV: (PREPARATION OF FOOD)

In the winter there was hog-killing time, which always had to be done during very cold weather. These were busy times, with the preparation and curing of the meat. I am not sure how all of this was done, but some was packed with layers of salt, and hams and stuffed sausage were smoked hanging from rafters in the smoke house.

The fire was in the middle of the room on a dirt floor. These were the times when we had sausage, hogshead cheese or souse, crackling bread, pigs feet, brains and eggs, back bones and spare ribs. (It was a) rich diet, but I think we thrived on it.

The cured ham was nice to have when Mamma had to prepare a short order meal for the drummers (traveling salesmen) who stopped by our home at mealtime. There were no telephones, so Mamma didn't know whom to expect until Papa brought them to dinner. We had no market nearby and canned foods at our store were limited to salmon and sardines, so we had to use cured meats. Chickens and eggs were plentiful. With fresh and canned fruits and vegetables and sweet potatoes we lived well, or thought we did. We had plenty of milk and butter, but no ice to keep it, so we had to drink it fresh or as buttermilk. After it was strained it was put into a churn, (a large jar about 18 in. high) with a lid and dasher. After the milk soured and turned to clabber, it was churned until the butter separated from the milk and rose to the top. It was then taken up into a bowl, washed and worked with a wooden paddle, salted and put on a place, sometimes into a fancy wooden mold. Grandma usually did this, and made crossmarks on the butter with a paddle.

Another task which was Grandma's, every Saturday she would put the green coffee into a baking pan and roast the week's supply. Every morning a cup of this roasted coffee was put into the coffee mill on the wall and ground for the coffee pot. There was no bread for sale near, so every morning Mamma had to make biscuits for breakfast. Sometimes we had hot cakes or muffins. She made biscuits in a large wooden tray. We bought flour and meal in barrels.

Ribbon cane syrup was an important item of our diet. I have often watched it being made in old syrup mills. The stalks of cane were fed into a crusher pulled by a mule which went around in a circle. After the juice was extracted it was put into a metal vat and boiled to the right consistency, then put into tin buckets. We have several apple and pear trees in the yard, as well as mulberry and persimmon trees. Sometimes we had mulberry pie. There was a scuppernong arbor behind the hen house and grape vines on the garden fence. I can't remember having pecan trees, but we did gather hickory nuts in the woods and black walnuts and cracked them on a big rock. Raisins and hickory nuts often went into Christmas cakes. Some foods which I particularly remember were Grandma's salt-rising bread, peach cobbler, molasses pie and sweet potato pudding.


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(Here is a photo of the old smoke house that we took earlier this spring. The smoke house is off in the distance, hidden behind weeds... but you can see it if you really try.)

I grew up on my grandma's muscadine jelly, and I spent much of my childhood trying to convince my younger siblings and cousins to "try" green persimmons. I remember my grandmother telling me that my great-great grandfather brought scumpernong (which we pronounced 'skump-uh-dime') vines with him when he moved her from North Carolina. Much of my family is also of Scotch-Irish descent, so I feel a strong connection to the Taylor family's heritage despite the fact that we're not blood kin (as we say in the deep south.) Perhaps this section of Mrs. Vera's memoir gave you a feeling of nostalgia in much the same way it did me. I can almost smell the scent of homemade biscuits. And it's not hard for me to imagine a little girl named Vera running around a syrup mill, her eyes wide with wonder as she watched the mule walk around in a circle.

I spent the morning at THE HOUSE AT SUGAR CREEK, and I took a few minutes to inspect the old smoke house. Sometimes it's easy to forget that we're not the first people to ever walk the face of the earth. We can stare at something like an old smoke house and see only the rotting wood, the sagging roof, and the crumbling foundation. But if we look a little bit harder, we can see Vera standing there, waiting for her father to haul in watermelons from his garden. We can begin to truly understand the plight of the first european settlers that arrived in Sportsman's Paradise. And that, my friends, makes the restoration of THE HOUSE AT SUGAR CREEK worth every bit of the effort.

Monday, September 19, 2011

SECTION XX: TRANSMAGNIFICANOTUBANDANSIALITY (Vera Oden's Memoir)

Welcome back to our blog! If you haven't visited in a while, you might want to scroll down and read a few of our past posts. This blog entry is dealing entirely with the memoir of Mrs. Vera Taylor Oden, and it will not make sense unless you read the rest of the story.

With that being said, I will now begin to post bits and pieces of the memoir, beginning at the end of the memoir to show you that we know without a doubt that Mrs. Oden is referring to THE HOUSE AT SUGAR CREEK all throughout her lovely memoir. So without further adieu, here is the section of the memoir that made chills run up and down my spine. This, my friends, is how we know that Very Taylor Oden is referring to THE HOUSE AT SUGAR CREEK.

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XX. Our School Books and Courses (transmagnificanotubandansiality)

I don't remember when I learned to read but it must have been very early. Lamar learned the multiplication tables at six, when he had to stay indoors because of illness. I loved to read, so Mamma ordered books for us. There was a group of booklets, a dozen or more, of the great men of history, which was found very interesting. There was a kindergarten book which contained verses, songs and games, and an encyclopedia, which I still have. Our writing and arithmetic was done on slates with slate pencils, and erased for the next work. Of course, we had a black board at school.

Penmanship was considered very important, so we would have a sentence written at the top of the slate, and we would copy it, trying to make each copy better than the last. Spelling was important too, and we learned to spell by doing it over and over. There was a long word written in paint, on one of our doors, by one of the painters. "Transmagnificanotubandansiality." I think he was just practicing his penmanship. I loved to draw pictures on my slate and Mamma used to complain that I would have to take time to erase my pictures when she would give out problems.


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I can't really tell you how I felt in the moment that I read "Transmagnificanotubandansiality" in Mrs. Oden's memoir. I felt like I had just seen a ghost, and she had told me the entire history of our dog-trot. There is no mistaking the word. There is no chance that Vera Taylor Oden is writing about another home in the area. She's talking about THE HOUSE AT SUGAR CREEK and therefore we have a complete written history about the community and the home, written by an early settler of northern Louisiana.

I read this memoir on a Sunday night, and by Tuesday morning I called the Louisiana Tech Archives in Ruston. Peggy Carter (Louisiana Tech Archives) assured me that the combination of the house and this amazing memoir meant only one thing: we must place this home on the National Register of Historic Places. We must save this unique history and share it with others. We have made a very important discovery, even if it was only by accident.

Tomorrow morning, I am meeting with a retired professor of Architecture from Louisiana Tech. He is meeting us at THE HOUSE AT SUGAR CREEK to give his advice on restoring the home to National Register standards. This is going to be a very difficult project, but we know that we must do it correctly. We truly feel as if we have won the lottery of local history. It's very difficult for me to believe that we now have the complete history of THE HOUSE AT SUGAR CREEK. We know details about this home that we could only dream about, and you're going to love reading pieces of this lovely memoir in the upcoming weeks.




(CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE IMAGE of the door where "transmagnificanotubandansiality" is painted!)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK (Section XX: transmagnificantubandensiality)

Have you ever walked through a historic home and wondered what the walls would tell you if they could only speak? What questions would you ask if you knew that a home could answer the questions you have about the past?

On Sunday, August 21st, in the minutes before a thunderstorm swept down from the heavens and poured out showers upon the dry earth at Sugar Creek, something quite extraordinary happened. We found out that our walls could talk. Hubby and I (with the kiddos in tow) pulled into the driveway of the House at Sugar Creek and found two Harley Davidson Motorcycles parked out front. There were two men standing in the yard, which was slightly suspicious when you consider that our nearest neighbor is miles away. Being the tough-as-nails redhead that I am, I hopped out of the van and asked these two men what they were up to.

"We think our great-grandparents built this house," they said.

"And who are your great-grandparents?" I asked.

"The Taylors."

I felt the air in my lungs expand, because the Robinsons have given us a very thorough history of the home and I knew already that the house had been occupied by the Taylor family untl 1902.

"This is the old Taylor homeplace," I said.

"We thought it was," they said, smiling.

A half hour later, after they toured the house pre-restoration, we exchanged email addresses. That night I was surprised to find a copy of VERA TAYLOR ODEN's memoirs in my inbox. I clicked on the attachment and read the first lines of her memoir. They are as follows:

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I. Introduction

The Last fifty years have witnessed more progress than any other period in our history. It has truly been the scientific age, the age of invention. When I realize that I have been privileged to watch this progress, I am moved to write down my recollections of the changes that took place, as related to my childhood, hoping that they might be of interest to my grandchildren whose lives are so different to that which was mine.

II. Ancestors

My grandparents were from good Scotch-Irish-Welch ancestry, who migrated to north Louisiana by covered wagon from Georgia along with others from there, and settled in Claiborne parish in North Louisiana. The Taylors settled at SUGAR CREEK, and the Pattons at Lisbon, about ten miles north. I'm sure they lived under more primitive conditions that I did. I remember both my grandmothers very well, but not my grandfathers. My grandfather Patton died before my parents were married, and my grandfather Taylor died about a year afterward.

My mother and father were married on November 29, 1888 at her home near Lisbon by the Rev. J. L. Williams. My father had a country store, post office and farm lands in a neighborhood called SUGAR CREEK. After their marriage my parents lived with Uncle George and Aunt Belle Taylor while their new home was being built nearby. They moved into their new home a short while before I was born. Soon afterward Grandpa Taylor died and Grandma Taylor came to live with us. She was very hard of hearing, but her eyesight was unusually good. She was always knitting socks when she was not busy otherwise. I think she gave them to Papa. Her glasses were bought from a peddler who went from house to house and the customer tried his glasses on until he found a pair which seemed to be right for him. I was very fond of my grandmother and she of me. She taught me to cut out paper dolls and to piece quilts. She had a favorite chair by the fireplace, and I would sit by her side while she cut out square of cloth and taught me how to sew them together.


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If the walls of our darling dog-trot could talk, I would ask a lot of questions. I'd want to know everything, of course. Like the names of the settlers that lived there, the names of the people that came to help with the cleaning, the cooking, and the farming. I'd want to know what the original families that occupied the home did on rainy days, what they ate for Christmas dinner, and what games their children played while Grandma sat on the front porch and knitted. I'd want to know what books they read, what newspapers they subscribed to, and what they wore to church on Sunday mornings. I'd want to know what they had to say about the word TRANSMAGNIFICANOTUBANDENSIALITY that's written on the back of one of the doors. And amazingly enough, I have found the answers to each of these questions. We now have a copy of VERA TAYLOR ODEN'S memoirs. Her family donated them to LSUS in Shreveport, so you can easily find this document and confirm that these words are indeed 100% the words of Vera Taylor Oden. But there's something that you can't find in those archives, and I'm going to give it to you on this blog. You cannot find a direct link between our house and the house that is described in these memoirs, unless you know exactly where to look. And as time goes along, I'm going to show you the connection between written history and physical history. You have just read sections I. and II. of Vera Taylor Oden's memoir. The portions of her memoir dealing with life at SUGAR CREEK, and in fact in our EXACT DOG-TROT HOME, are sections I - XXI. So hold on, kiddos. You're about to learn a lot about history. Our first lesson will be on a word written in Section XX of Very Taylor Oden's memoirs. And that word is... TRANSMAGNIFICANOTUBANDENSIALITY.