Daddyís Autobiography

 Part 2

(Written in 1967)








The time comes when our father decides to move back to the farm, back to the old home place in Kentucky.  The family is growing up and our parents thought it best to get their family out of the coal fields, back into the pure air and healthy surroundings.

We moved into a different house on the farm, but I liked the first house we lived in the best.  We had lots of cattle and horses.  I remember my father specialized in raising thoroughbred Jersey milk cows, and sometimes we had eight to twelve horses.  It was fun playing cowboys, as we had been to circuses that had come to town and watched the cowboys perform their acts.

 I rode one horse that did the bucking act, and sometimes he would throw me.  I would do the act of picking up three handkerchiefs in a row on the ground as the horse was galloping by. 

One time the saddle turned, but that horse stopped as though he had automatic brakes.  I didnít train him for that act, but I sure was glad he knew to stop as I was lying under him; and he could have hurt me seriously if he hadnít stopped.

 We had lots of bees and my brother, Kerney, specialized in working with them. 

He would put his hand on a pile of bees at the bee hive and try to get them to sting him, because he said after so many stings his blood would build up a resistance to the hurt when they stung him.  I didnít try that experience: I didnít want the sting.

 I remember there was a swarm of bees that got settled in an apple tree on a limb, and I got a hand saw and climbed up the tree.  I began to saw the limb off that the bees were on, and I had a bee hive on the ground to put the bees in when they fell to the ground.  But the limb I was sawing just bent over on me with all those bees, and I almost fell out of the tree with all those bees with me.  The grass was very tall and thick and I just rolled, crawled and slid until I was exhausted; but I got rid of the bees.  I felt like I had a thousand stings, but I was so scared Iím not sure if even got me. 

 My father had a team of mules.  When a mule is in a close place and you try to crowd yourself past him, he will put his weight against you and will crush you to death.  As I was watching my father shoeing a mule, he got between the fence and mule; and the mule put his weight against him and he couldnít get out.  He had just enough length with his arm and the hammer he was using to hit the mule on the top of his head between the ears, and the mule eased very quickly.

 One morning while my father was getting ready to leave for work just after we had eaten breakfast and Mother was doing the housework, we youngsters were just playing around.  No one had noticed that Mother had left the house, but next we heard her she was coming from about a hundred yards up the road, singing and shouting to the top of her voice.  We kids were all scared as we didnít know what was wrong with her. 

My uncle was at another farm house, and he came running to where we were.  He thought someone was hurt, but after he got there he was well pleased.  He was a Baptist minister, and he said that Mother had got converted.  She had gone up the road into the woods by herself and was praying when all at once she received all that joy.  She kept it all the days of her life.  There could be a book written on her Christian life.

 We didnít live in that house very long.  We moved to the main big house.  It was larger and surroundings were move spacious and pleasant.  Our father had got possession of the whole farm.

 My brother and I had to walk four miles to school now as we were going to a different school than we were at first.  This school was in the county seat, the town of Whitesburg, Kentucky; and we traveled in a path through the woods.  For about three miles there were no houses, and my brother would go out in the woods and make speeches to the trees and practice on a speech he was going to make in school.  He was more interested in books that I was.  The principal of the high school told our father that they couldnít teach my brother anything, because he already knew more than the teachers; but he could just continue his school until graduation.  After graduation, he went to Eastern State Normal school in Richmond, Kentucky (now Eastern State University) and finished his necessary schooling and has been teaching there ever since.


Below is a copy of Uncle Kerney's obituary:

(I haven't been able to come up with a picture that will scan well enough to include here.   If anyone has one they would share, please let me know.)

Kerney M. Adams, 90, Richmond, retired history professor at Eastern Kentucky University, died January 29, 1989 after a long illness.

He started his professional career at Eastern when it was a normal school in 1922.  He obtained his undergraduate degree at the University of Kentucky in  1925.  He graduated with a masters degree at Cornell University in 1928 where he was graduate assistant of Dr. Carl Becker.

He taught at Eastern Kentucky University from 1928-1969 and was chairman of the department of history from 1953-1965.  He retired from Eastern Kentucky University in 1969.

During his tenure as a teacher, many articles were published in leading scholastic journals, which included the Journal of Teacher Education, Journal of Higher Education, Journal of General Education, and the Journal of Social Philosophy and Jurisprudence.  The most innovative instructional programs that were significant professional achievements were his launching and teaching of the History of Western Civilization and his Introduction of the Ideological Foundations of Western Civilization. 

The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents named a lecture hall in the Wallace Building in his honor, and his colleagues and former students established a history scholarship in his name.

He was married to the late Audine T. Adams

He is survived by two sisters, Wilma Adams Crase, of Lexington and Lovette Adams Lucas of Beattyville; and by a brother, Jody H. Adams, of Lakeland, FL.

Services were held Tuesday, January 31, 1989, at 11 a.m. in the Turpin Funeral Home with the Rev. Tim Jones officiating.  Burial was at the Berea Cemetery.  Pallbearers were Billy Adams, Joe Dunn, Joe Ballew, Gene Parks, Clyde Lewis and Dr. Harvey H. LaFuze.


Note:  Uncle Kerney with his expressive laughing eyes, a trademark of the "Adams boys," is lovingly remembered by his family.


Now back to Daddy's story.......... 

My father was a very kind-hearted man.  He never let anyone go hungry if he could help it.  When he would hear of someone being in need, he would send food or something to help.  I remember when we were very young there came a little boy to our house, a total stranger.  He said he was an orphan and had been staying with a lady in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  He said she was mean to him and beat him, so he ran away.  It was a fantastic tale, but my father took him at his word and let him make his home at our house.

We took him to the fields with us to work, and one day we were cutting willow trees.  There was a very large patch of very small willows, and they leave very sharp stumps.  Some were very small, and all at once this little boy began to scream and said he had stuck a sharp willow in his food; so we rushed him to the house as fast as we could and began trying to find where he was hurt.  As it turned out, he was feigning to be hurt so he could quit work.

 I was always doing extra jobs to make some spending money, and I kept the money in the back of Motherís kitchen cabinet in a fruit jar.  I tried to keep it hid.  One morning I counted $80, but for some reason I took all out but $8.  We went to the field to work with the little boy.  While we were all busy at work, we didnít notice he was not with us.  We thought he had just gone back to the house, and sure enough he had; for Mother said he told her he had come after water and had left.  That was the last time we ever saw the little boy or my $8.  I felt very lucky, as I had taken out $72 that morning.

 My baby brother, Jody, was at home; and he finally told me that the little boy asked for a dollar and told such a pitiful story about being homesick that he got sorry for him and found the $8 and gave it to him.

 This big house we lived in had a stairway leading up to the second floor, and when you got to the top of the stairs you turned and went the length of a room in a hall into a large room.  At the end of this large room was a bedroom where my brother and I slept.  One night my uncle that was a police officer in Virginia was visiting, and he loved to talk.  As it was getting late, I wanted to go to bed, but my brother was so interested in the conversation he didnít want to go.  It being very dark up there with no lights, I picked up enough nerve to go alone as I was getting too sleepy to stay awake.

 I got to the door of the bedroom, and just as I got inside I stumbled over a man and fell on top of him.  I could feel him blowing his breath in my face, and how I got back down those stairs is something to remember.  I went screaming and tumbling down the stairs and told what I had found in the room.  Everybody was excited.  They took lights and went to the room and found a sack of wool that I had fallen over.  It was the air from the sack of wool that I had fallen over that felt like a manís breath.

 My brother, Kerney, was narrating a story in school one day in some school exercises when he was in the sixth grade.  He was telling of an account taking place one dark, dreary day.  A man with murder in his heart got a murder weapon and walked down a pathway that led into a field of potatoes.  It was almost dark, but he could see the murder victim; and as the man raised the murder weapon to make the death blow (There is more to the story, but the teacher and students were shedding some tears by now), and the man let the weapon fall.  The murder was committed as the potato bug fell to the ground.

 Stay tuned for more of Daddyís Biography.

Click here for 1st Installment

Click here for Installment 3

Click here for Installment 4

Click here for Installment 5


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