MY OLD KENTUCKY HOME AND WHAT I REMEMBER OF MY LIFE UP TO THE TENTH YEAR.
I was born in Garrard County, Kentucky. My father’s farm was on Dick’s River, where the cliffs rose to hundreds of feet, with great ledges of rocks, where under which I used to sit. There were many large rocks scattered around, some as much as fifteen feet across, with holes that held water, where my father salted his stock, and I, a little toddler, used to follow him. On the side of the house next to the cliffs was what we called the “Long House,” where the negro women would spin and weave. There were wheels, little and big, and a loom or two, and swifts and reels, and winders, and everything for making linen for the summer, and woolen cloth for the winter, both linsey and jeans. The flax was raised on the place, and so were the sheep. When a child 5 years old, I used to bother the other spinners. I was so anxious to learn to spin. My father had a small wheel made for me by a wright in the neighborhood. I was very jealous of my wheel, and would spin on it for hours. The colored women were always indulgent to me, and made the proper sized rolls, so I could spin them. I would double the yarn, and then twist it, and knit it into suspenders, which was a great source of pride to my father, who would display my work to visitors on every occasion.
The dwelling house had ten rooms, all on the ground floor, except one. I have heard my father say that it was a hewed-log house, weather-boarded and plastered as I remember it. The room that possessed the most attraction for me was the parlor, because I was very seldom allowed to go in it. I remember the large gold-leaf paper on the walls, its bright brass dogirons, as tall as myself, and the furniture of red plush, some of which is in a good state of preservation, and the property of my half-brother, Tom Moore, who lives on “Camp Dick Robinson” in Garrard County, this Dick Robinson was a cousin of my father’s. There were two sets of negro cabins; one in which Betsey and Henry lived, who were man and wife, Betsey being the nurse of all the children. Then there was aunt Mary and her large family, aunt Judy and her family and aunt Eliza and her’s. There was a water mill behind and almost a quarter of a mile from the house, where the corn was ground, and near that was the overseer’s house.
Standing on the front porch, we looked through a row of althea bushes, white and purple, and there were on each side cedar trees that were quite large in my day. There was an old-fashioned stile, instead of a gate, and a long avenue, as wide as Kansas Avenue, in Topeka, with forest trees on either side, that led down to the big road, across which uncle Isaac Dunn lived, who was a widower with two children, Dave and Sallie, and I remember that Sallie had all kinds of dolls; it was a great delight of mine to play with these.