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The kaleidoscope of old with its ever-changing and countless forms and figures was once a fascinating source of information and amusement to children of early days in our county. The kaleidoscopic plan would seem to be an exceedingly practical way of presenting small pieces of Graham County history which promise no symmetry, continuity, or harmony, yet each little item of material has value in its own right.
DANGER IN CROSSING THE UNAKAS IN WINTER. Andrew Sherman and a Mr. O'Neal, two lumbermen, left camp on the head of Tellico creek just before Christmas, 1899, intending to cross the Unaka mountains south of the John Stratton Meadows, near Haw Knob, so as to reach Robbinsville in time for Christmas. They got as far as the Whig cabin where they bought some whiskey from Jim Brooksher, after which they started to cross the Hooper Bald. A blizzard and. heavy snowstorm began and continued all that night. They were never seen again alive. In September following, Forest Denton found their skeletons near the Huckleberry Knob, where Sherman's remains were buried, but some physicians took O'Neal's remains home with them.
A THRILLING BOAT RIDE. A large whaleboat had been built at Robbinsville and hauled to a place on Snowbird creek just below Abe Moody's, where it was put into the creek, and it was floated down that creek to Cheoah River and thence to Johnson's post-office, where Pat Jenkins then lived. It was hauled from there by wagon to Rocky Point, where, in April, 1893, Calvin Lord, Mike Crise and Sam McFalls, lumberman working for the Belding Lumber Company, got into it and started down the Little Tennessee on a "tide" or "freshet" (high water). No one ever expected to see them alive again, but they survived. By catching the overhanging branches when swept toward the northern bank at the mouth of the Cheoah River the crew managed to affect a landing, where they spent the night. They started again the next morning at daylight and got to Rabbit branch, where the men who had been sent to hunt them found them. They spent three days there until the tide subsided, then they went on to the Harden farm, which they reached just one week after leaving Rocky Point. No one has ever attempted this feat since, even when the water was not high. The boat was afterwards taken on to Lenoir City, Tennessee.
BURNT RIDGE. Long ago in Graham County two men who were camping in the Santeetlah’s were awakened by a strange noise. They discovered that the fire, which they had banked the evening before, had spread up the ridge and was even then threatening the woods above. On climbing up the ridge they discovered that the fire was coming from a huge rock and even then a crater was forming. The very earth surrounding the rock was burning.
Suddenly there was a tremendous explosion. By morning settlers all around who had seen the fire and heard the explosion came to view the spectacle. They were greatly alarmed. This strange fire continued to burn for days. It seemed to be coming from the very bowels of the earth. So great was the excitement that people came in great numbers to the sight and prayed. One group thought the world was coming to an end. Another group thought they heard a voice issuing forth from the rock and rushed into a nearby church and prayed.
For several weeks this fire burned. Gradually it died down and only a great burned-out hole remained. A strange odor lingered there for many weeks. Through the years the huge crater filled up with dirt and stones. Nothing of the mystery was ever solved. It remains today one of the strange tales from the Santeetlah’s.
Artist rendition of the Burning Rock
Right, Joe Lovin of Snowbird witnessed the Burning Rock
JEFFRIE'S HELL. A few years ago a tourist lost his way out in the mountains in the Santeetlah’s and wound up in Tennessee. The road over which he had just traveled was an old rutted-out rocky road used by a lumber company for the purpose of hauling logs.
The tourist inquired of a mountaineer who lived close to Tellico, Tennessee, "Up there on the mountain I came to a sign that said 'Jeffries Hell,' why does that region have a name like that?"
The mountaineer eyed the stranger, offered a chew of tobacco and said, "Hit was a long time ago, that some fellers frum down yander went up thar' in them mountains to hunt. They never had no luck a huntin' so they called their dogs and started back down here toward Tellico whar' they lived. A feller named Jeffrie that wuz with them fellers a huntin' couldn't find his dogs. He thought the dogs might a come on home ahead so he come on back down here.
His dogs warn't at home. I reckin' that feller Jeffrie must a got mad a sight when he lost his dogs. He sarched them mountains, all day that day and the next. He come out over in Gray-ham County and told a feller that lived in a cabin up thar' in Graham County, North Carolina, ‘I'm agoing back in thar' agin and I'll find my dogs or go to hell.' As fer as I know that feller Jeffrie ner his dogs wuz ever hierd of agin." So they named that place Jeffrie's Hell.
GYPSIES IN CHEOAH VALLEY. Long before Graham County was formed from Cherokee, an old Gypsy woman and her sons with the last name of Lemming escaped from jail in Knoxville, Tennessee and made their way over the hills and mountains into Cheoah Valley. They took up their abode in an old abandoned Indian hut. Neither the old woman nor the sons were ever seen doing any kind of work other than cooking. The method was easy. At first, when the Gypsies appeared at the door, the settlers gave them provisions. The hard working settlers soon tired of this and endeavored to stop the handout. The Gypsies could not be enticed to do any kind of work, but the settlers were unable to stop the handout.
The old woman would arrive at the door of a cabin and ask the occupants for a ham. If she was ever refused she would shake her head menacingly and mutter strange words over the soap pot. No amount of stirring, adding grease or ash lye would make the evil smelling liquid congeal.
Thereupon the settler would send for the woman and give her a ham. The same thing happened to the churns. If the old woman did not receive what she asked for no amount of churning would produce butter.
Some of the settlers took to catching chickens and having them ready and give to the Gypsy by the time they arrived at the door. Others sent provisions on ahead when they saw the old woman coming; for a rumor had gotten out that the Gypsy woman could conjure the clouds above and dry up the spring.
It was a great relief to the settlers when the wanderlust in the hearts of the Gypsies caused them to move on. They disappeared from Cheoah Valley as suddenly as they had appeared.
In 1881 - two journalists, Ziegler and Crosscup toured the Unaka Mountains of Graham County. The following two stories are taken from their travel book, "In the Heart of the Alleghenies."
An Early View of Graham County
by Zeigler and Crosscup
If the traveler is observant, he will notice, soon after passing the ford, a long dug-out fastened to the bank at the end of a beaten path; and between the trees sees a lonely cabin on the opposite side of the river. The dug-out and a slippery ford nearby are the only links connecting the cabin's occupants with a road. The spot appears too isolated to be either pleasant or romantic. One of the many fish traps seen in all the mountain rivers is near this cabin. It is built, like they all are, in a shallow reach of the river. It consists of a low V shaped dam, constructed of either logs or rocks, with angle pointing down stream. The volume of the water pours through the angle where is arranged a series of slats, with openings between, large enough to admit the passage of a fish into a box set below for its receptacle. Every day its owner paddles his canoe out to the angle of the dam and empties the contents of the box into the boat. This method of fishing is un-sportsmanlike, to say the least.
Near the head of one of the islands of the Nantahala, the road from over Stecoah Mountain appears on the opposite bank, and by a wide ford reaches the main road. By the Stecoah Mountain Highway, it is twenty miles to Robbinsville in the center of Graham County. There are no scenes of striking grandeur along the route, but the traveler will be interested in wayside pictures. A primitive "corncracker" at one point is likely to produce a lasting impression. It is a tall frail structure with gaps a foot wide between every two logs. Through these cracks can be seen the hopper, and the stones working at their daily bushel of grain, deposited therein at dawn by the miller, and left, without watching, to be converted into meal by his return. It is a small volume of water that pours through the flume, by means of a race - a long, small trough, made of boards, rotten and moss-grown, and elevated on log foundations, about ten feet above the ground. Reaching back toward the wooded hill-side, fifty yards away, it receives the water of a mountain stream. I have seen mills in the mountains, forming with roof, hopper, and all, a structure no larger than a hackney coach.
Along the road to Robbinsville, for fifteen miles, the predominating family is Crisp. It is Crisp who lives in the valley, on the mountainside, in the woods, by the mill, on the bank of Yellow Creek, and in numerous unseen cabins up the coves. In fact Crisp seems ubiquitous. Robbinsville has eight or ten houses, one of which serves for a hotel; a store; a courthouse; a church, and school-house. Near it flows Cheowah creek, through fertile valleys. The finest tract of land in the county is owned by General Smythe, of Newark, Ohio, and is called the Junaluska farm. It is situated near the village, on the banks of Long Creek, and consists of 1,500 acres, 400 or 500 acres of which are cleared valley land of rich, loamy soil. In this locality a number of Indian families own homes.
After this slight digression, let us turn to the Nantahala. A short distance from the Stecoah highway ford, the river empties into the Little Tennessee. Just before reaching that point, the road diverges from beside the crystal current, the valley widens out, a deeper roar of mightier waters arises, and soon after, having reached the bank of the Little Tennessee, you enter its ford, and, turning in the saddle, take a parting look at the closely parallel mountain ranges, and the narrow space between them, known as the Valley of the Noon-day Sun.
A True Ghost Story of the Santeetlah Mountains, About 1840 to 1870
Three years ago, while taking a tramp through the wilderness of the Santeetlah and Unaka mountains, I stopped for a few days with an intelligent, elderly farmer on the bank of Cheowah River. One pleasant afternoon, during the time of my visit, I took a ramble with my host over his extensive farm. Through the cool woods, upward along the roaring stream, we slowly walked for probably half a mile, when suddenly the rough wagon trail we were following led away from the river and, looking through the thick undergrowth in the direction where the redoubled roar of the waters still kept their way, I saw the outlines of an old building.
"What ancient looking structure is that?" I asked, pointing toward it.
"That," my companion answered, "is a worn out mill."
"Why," I returned, "this is the first mill I have noticed on the river. It does, in fact, appear dilapidated; but, looking at the heavy thickets and tall trees that stand so close to it, I should think that at the time it was abandoned it might have been in pretty good condition. See, there's a tree apparently fifteen years old thrusting its whole top through a window, and the casements that are around it are not yet rotted away."
"You are a close observer," said Mr. Staley, "but, nevertheless, we quit running that mill because it couldn't be worked."
"Why so?" I asked with interest.
"'Because it was haunted!"
"Haunted! A haunted mill!"
"Yes, sir; the subject is one I don't like to commence on, but I suppose now you must hear it."
"Yes, by all means, but wait first till I see the mill."
I pushed through the tangled thickets under the scrubby oaks, and a minute after stood before the structure. It was a mill that even at this date would, if new, have been suited to a more open country. The side that faced us was farthest from the river. One door, up to which rotten steps led, and two windows through one of which the tree before mentioned spread its heavy limbs, were on the front. The siding was falling and hanging loosely in places from the upright timbers, and the entire structure was fast becoming a skeleton, for all the clapboards had been torn by the wind or thievish hands from the three remaining sides. The roof, in part, had fallen in, but had been caught by the shaky stringers of the upper, half-story floor. The spot on the riverbank was rocky and peculiarly suited for a mill site. The channel of the stream above was rock bound, the banks being steep and narrow. Just before it reached the mill the body of waters compressed into an impetuous volume, shot over a fall of twenty feet. An outlet had been blasted through the solid rock close by the side of the fall, and a wooden race set up leading to the mill. This race had long since disappeared, worn away by time and water. The old wheel, though hung in its place beside the structure almost under the fall, and above the mad waters, boiling and foaming below.
Going around to one of the sides, we managed to clamber in and on the plank floor. There was half a partition through the center, forming on either side two rooms, each about 20 x 25 feet in dimensions. The mill-stones were yet in place, but the hopper and grain bins were missing.
We seated ourselves on the floor at the back side of the building, and with our feet hanging over the green, rotten wheel, with the thin spray of the cataract now and then touching us, and the turbulent river sweeping onward below, he began as follows:
"When I came here from Charleston, South Carolina, and settled, in the spring of 1840, the first thing I found necessary, after building my house, was a mill. As many families, apparently, lived in these valleys then as live here now, I was compelled to go to Murphy, a distance of thirty miles, to get my flour and meal, or take my grain to a primitive hopper, two miles below on this river, and wait a day for it to grind a bushel. Either was an exasperating procedure. This site seemed the best adapted one along the river. The race was formed, a foundation laid, and, by the aid of a temporary saw, enough lumber was gotten out to finish this mill complete by the following summer."
"Well, time went by, the mill ran smoothly, and with it I managed to make enough to keep my family. One morning, however, on entering here I saw that the wheel, which I left running for the night in order to grind out an extra amount of meal, had stopped while the water was still pouring on it. On examination I found the dead body of a young man, a farmer, who lived on the slope of Deer Mountain, hanging fastened to the lowest paddle of the wheel. All that could be learned of his untimely end was that he had left home for an evening’s trout-fishing the day before. He had undoubtedly fallen into the deep, swift stream above; had been drowned; swept through the race down on to the wheel; and, his clothes catching on the splintered paddle, he had hung there."
"A short time after the last sad occurrence, a neighbor's boy fell through the trap door and broke his neck. Superstitious people then began to whisper that a spell was on the place. They had had, as yet, no ocular demonstration of what they imagined and reported, but such was the influence that my mill was avoided at night, travelers beating a new path around it through the forest. Of course, this talk had no effect upon me, and in fact I rather liked it, for, as far as I was able to perceive, it kept a class of indigent mountaineers away from the mill, whom I had reason before to suspect of grinding their corn surreptitiously at night."
"But in the spring of 1861 something really strange did occur. My youngest brother was one day with me at the mill. I had left him inside here while I was gone some distance back into the woods to get a second-growth hickory. Probably half an hour had passed and I was returning, when just before coming in sight of the mill I heard angry voices. One voice was that of my brother, the other I could not recognize; neither had I time to consider, for suddenly the report of a firearm sounded in that direction. I hallooed loudly at the moment I heard it, and at the same time came out of the weed. A comparatively clear space, with the exception of a few large trees, was between the mill and me. I saw no one near but my brother, and he was leaning partly out the front window there where now grows the red maple."
"Halloo. What have you shot?" I shouted.
"There was no answer."
"The day was growing terribly dark. Black clouds, heavy with moisture, were filling and piling deep the entire face of the sky between these circling mountains. The lightning had not yet begun to play, but it would not have taken a prophet to tell of its speedy coming."
"I was somewhat surprised at hearing no return to my salute; and as I drew nearer I noticed that his face was deadly pale. I ran up the steps. I caught hold of him. He had fainted."
"I laid him in the doorway. My first thought was that he had been shot by some one and was in a death faint. I tore his shirt open discovering a small, red mark under the nipple. Five minutes after he was a corpse. But where was he who fired the fatal shot? I had seen no one, and in vain I looked around the mill."
"Meanwhile the storm burst with appalling fury. One of the first flashes of lightning struck a monarch ash, whose decaying stump stands just over there, not thirty feet from the mill's front. In some manner it struck the tree and ran down its bark, then cut through its base, or struck the bole at once; for the whole body of the ash fell with a resounding crash. I was knocked down and blinded for an instant by the electricity. It was the hardest rain that had drenched these mountains since 1840. All night long it continued, and I remained in the mill with my dead brother."
"It must have been past midnight when, in the pitchy darkness, I heard hoarse cries, hollow shouts, and groans that seemed to proceed from without the mill, but which swept through the open rooms with chilling and horrible earnestness. The building shook in the wind and storm; the doors rattled on their hinges; the cataract's roar increased with the swelling flood; but yet above all these deafening sounds, at intervals, rang this muffled voice. I must confess that I laid it to the supernatural."
"Morning and calm came together, and with the first streaks of light two of my farm-hands appeared. The storm had made havoc before the mill. Lengthways, and down the center of the road the ash had fallen, the body of the tree lying close against the base of that great hollow oak you see still standing. We carried the body home. Who had killed him was the unanswered question on every one's lips. Well, we buried the mysteriously murdered man in the old churchyard down the river, and the day after I went on business to Murphy. As fortune would have it I was just in time to be drafted into the Confederate army. I had only a day to spare to go to my house and return."
"The occurrences of that stormy night had unavoidably kept me away from the mill, and on my flying visit home before taking a long departure, I had no time to go to it. My wife told a strange story of ghostly cries, strange flames, and apparitions which had been heard and seen at the mill for two nights by one of the neighborhood farmhands. Nothing could hire any of the men in the neighborhood to go near the place, even in the daytime. The description of the sounds coincided singularly with what I had heard. Having no time to investigate, and thinking those fears would wear away, I left orders for one of the hired men to run the mill during my absence."
"Four years passed, and I had returned from the war. What changes had taken place is not my intention to relate only to speak of the mill. The fears of the mountaineers had caused it to be abandoned. The one whom I had designed to work it had wholly disregarded my orders. By a train of petty circumstances connected with this man's refusal to run the mill, together with the superstitious ideas of the people, all the mountaineers began to take their grain to the lower ‘corn-cracker.’ All did not adopt this course until several of the more venturesome ones had actual, unexplainable encounters with ghosts at my mill."
"A few days after my return I went up to look at the forsaken place. I found the underbrush rather heavy, fair-sized trees springing up, the old ash lying undisturbed where it had been struck down, and consequently the old road was lost. Everything within the mill, though, was in excellent condition. What struck me as curious was that the mill appeared never to have stopped running; for the stones were not mossed in the least, but on the contrary were still white with flour. The floor was also white, and a close observer would at once have declared that a supply of wheat had been ground there that week."
"Jist so," said an old neighbor who was with me. 'In course these hyar stones never quit runnin' at night, ez I tole yer; but his ain't no humin bein's ez runs em. Many a night I've come up the new road over yander, and stopped an' shivered as I heard the ole wheel splashin' round, seen lights an seed yer brother standing right hyar at this winder, I'll sw’ar. Why didn't I sarch into the matter? Didn't I though'. But the hants all fled when I come near, and nuthin' but an owl hooted overhead; an one night I was knocked flat by some devil unseen, an next thing I knowed I woke up a mile from hyar. Ye don't catch me foolin' round sich things.'"
"He went on to tell how the meal, which he had ground in the daytime, had made persons sick, and also helped to stop business. That night I determined to watch the ghostly millers in their midnight toils. A man named Bun volunteered to stay with me. Just after dark we came up here and ensconced ourselves in a close thicket near the fall, and about fifty feet from the mill. The hours passed by monotonously. It was late in the night, when suddenly, above the dull roar of the fall, I heard an owl's hoot up the river road. This would not have attracted my attention, had not another hoot sounded at once from down the road and then another came from just before the mill. Nothing further was heard to these calls, which I deemed were signals; but, a few moments after, a light flared up in the mill, and through the un-boarded side we saw two figures in white garments."
"'Let's steal out of this,' whispered Bun, in a trembling voice. 'Didn't I say it war ha'nted?’"
"I commanded him to remain silent if he loved his life. The wheel was started, and the two ghosts began to pour corn from a bag into the hopper. I had no idea that they were anything but living men; but the light was faint. Their faces were covered with some white substance, and I failed to recognize them. A little reason began to creep into Bun's superstitious brain. We crept closer. Then we saw that they were talking, and their voices reached us. The sounds dazed me, and I started as if shot. It was not our language these shadows conversed in; it was a strange tongue, but I recognized it. It was the dialect of the Cherokees!"
"Under the impulse of the discovery, I leveled my rifle, aimed the barrel in the darkness, and fired. Both millers stopped in their work, and in an instant an intense darkness wrapped the scene, followed by a crashing in the thickets on the farther side of the mill. Several owl hoots ensued, and then all was silent. Having no means of procuring a light, we did not venture to enter the mill that night, but quickly found our way home. The next morning I returned here at an early hour. A bag of corn, some ground meal, and a few drops of blood on the floor, were what I discovered in the grinding room; these were enough to convince the most skeptical of the mountaineers of the truth of what Bun and I related of our night's adventure."
"The conclusion drawn was this: A settlement of Cherokee over the mountains, being in need of a mill, taking advantage of this one being unused, and also of the mountaineers' fears, had, by managing to play the role of specters, secured a good mill, rental free, for two or three years."
"My shot that night, together with a sharp watch kept up for some time, during which we fired, on two occasions, at parties approaching the place after dark, had the desired effect, and the mill was run no more."
"But who killed your brother? What were the cries that you heard? And why was the mill, after you discovered who the millers were, deserted?" I asked.
"The murder remained a mystery until a few days after we drove out the Indians. The discovery occurred in this way: I determined to have the old road cleared out and go to working again. The fallen ash was first attacked. As we rolled away a severed part of it from before the hollow in that oak standing there, one of the choppers noticed a pair of boots in the rotten wood within the hollow. He pulled them out and a full skeleton was dragged with them. Part of the clothes was still preserved on this lately securely-sepulchered corpse. A revolver was also scraped out of the rubbish. It was the body of a man who had disappeared four years since, as believed up to that time, for the war."
"Of course, I had no doubt but he was the murderer of my brother. He had fired the shot; heard my rapid approach, and, knowing that to step from behind the tree would reveal himself, he squeezed up into the hollow trunk of the old oak. The lightning played the part of a slow executioner. It was probably some time before he attempted to make exit from his confinement. His endeavors, of course, were fruitless. Then he began calling in his terror for help. These were the cries I heard during that stormy night. Afterwards he probably became unconscious through fright. His dreadful cries at intervals for a few days were startling to the mountaineers who, had they been less superstitious, might have rescued him from a horrible lingering death. His motive in taking the life of my brother remains a mystery."
"This revelation sickened me, and reviving, as it did, sad recollections, I had the men stop work for a few days. In that time a heavy flood aided in breaking down and sweeping away the worn out race. I never attempted to repair it, and the old mill was left to rot and molder in solitary idleness."
(From Taylor-Trottwood Tales about 1900)
A good old settler lay on his bed with his bruised leg swollen and bandaged.
"What is the matter with your leg this morning?" Said Dr. Hooper as he entered the room. "I've had a catastrophe," groaned the old man. Last night the old woman wuz complainin', and I got up to hunt the camphire" and I knocked over the churn jar on the hearth and broke it. Hit was powerful dark and while I was fumbling around a huntin for the camphire, the old black cat wuz a licking up the cream and commenced to spit at me. Hit made me so all fired mad that I concluded I would jest kick that cat up the chimney. I didn't know he wuz under a chair, Doc and I squared myself and kicked the chair up the chimney. I don't know what become of the cat."
A young man was on the witness stand in the first old courthouse. He was testifying on behalf of the state. "Go on and tell the jury what you know about that fight on Rider’s Creek." Said the solicitor. "I don't know much about it," said the witness. "Well, tell what you do know."
"All I know is this," drawled the witness. "We wuz all up thar' at the big dance a celebratin' Kaz Meeker's birthday. Some girls wuz thar and the fiddles wuz a playing, and we wuz a swinging corners, and the boys got to slapping each other on the back as they swung. Finally one of them slapped too hard and the other one knocked him down. His brother knocked that feller down and that feller’s brother drawed his knife and stabbed that feller's arm and the feller that was knocked down drawed his knife and stabbed the other feller. The old man of the house got mad and run to the bed and turned up the tick and grabbed up his shot gun and turned loose both barrels on the crowd, and I seen thar' wuz agoing to be trouble and I left."
The regions here in Graham County and East Tennessee were at one time infested with panthers; "painters," as they were called by the settlers. Many were the tales that the old folks related concerning these painters. These animals were everywhere in the forests. They were lurking in trees and behind boulders, ready to spring out at the un-wary traveler. A traveler from Tennessee had a very vivid experience. He related this tale to a man from Graham County.
"As I was agoing along up the trail in Graham County all of a sudden I seen a painter crouching down before me pattin' the ground with his tail and ready to spring, and when I turned to run 'tother way thar' was another painter in the path behind me ready to spring. Both them painters sprung at the same time right toward my head. I jumped to one side and them painters come together in the air and they wuz agoing so fast and they slapped each other with sich turrible ambitions that instead of going down, they went up. I stood thar' and watched them painters go on up till they wuz clean out of sight which full filled the scriptures, 'Old men shall see visions.’"
Adam Teague was a tall spindle-hanked old settler who always wore a broad hungry grin. He stood in an old gristmill one day with an empty sack under his arm. Lige Grundy, the bully of the mountains, walked up to Adam and said, "Adam, you've been a slanderin' of me and I'm a-going to give you a thrashin'."
Lige seized Adam by the throat and backed him under the meal sprout. Adam opened his mouth to holler. He spouted out meal like a whale. He made a surge for breath and liberty, and shot out the mill door like a rocket. He ran through the creek, and knocking it dry as he went. He made a beeline for his house a quarter of mile away upon the mountain. Adam burst into the house panting like a run-away horse. His wife shouted, "Adam, what in the world is the matter?"
Adam replied, "That durned Lige Grundy is down yander a tryin' to raise a row with me."
A stranger stopped at a mill in Graham County. After watching for a while he said, "Mister, you have a smart little mill. Just as soon as it cracks one grain of corn it jumps on another."
"Yeah, hits jist like that road out thar'. Jist as soon as one durn fool passes by har' comes anothern," replied the miller.
During a great revival at the Old Mother Church the hour for the old fashioned Methodist Love feast had arrived. One of the brethren in his enthusiasm for such occasions sometimes "stretched his blanket". It was his glory to get up a sensation among the brethern. He rose and said, "Brethren, while I wuz a walking in my garden late yisterday evening a 'meditatin' on the final end of the world, I looked up, and I seed Gabriel raise his silver trumpet, which wuz about fifty feet long, to his lips and I heered him give it a toot that knocked me into the fence and shook the very taters out of the ground."
"Ah! tut, tut!, said the preacher," Don't talk that way in this meeting. We all know that you did not hear Gabriel blow his trumpet."
The old man's wife jumped to her feet to help her husband. "Don't you dispute John's word that-a-way. He might a heered a toot or two."