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Monday, May 28, 2012

REMINISCING the Vaughn Heritage 1

Looking Towards Heaven (Pictured above is a well-loved man, named Dad and Grandpa.)

**Note** This is the first of 6 articles that were written by my maternal Grandfather, Alfred Tennyson Vaughn before his death July 25, 1999. I didn't know they existed, until I did some family searching on the net and they came up. They were published in 2000 after his death. Needless to say, since I didn't know these were out there, I was in tears when I saw them. They are a cherished gift from Grandpa, who was a wonderful writer and poet! We love and miss you Grandpa!

The Vaughn Heritage
Alfred Tennyson Vaughn

Editor's note: This week we begin publishing a history of remembrances of the Entiat Valley written by Alfred Tennyson Vaughn before he passed away in July of 1999. Alfred was the son of Joseph and Eva (Stanley) Vaughn who came to North Central Washington in 1888. Alfred had 10 siblings, seven of them born in the Entiat Valley. The Vaughn schoolhouse which was near Cooper's Store was named after the family.

Home on the Missouri

It would be wonderful if each member of our family could record their lifetime memories on tape, or in story form. As the youngest child of Joseph G. and Eva (Stanley) Vaughn, I realize how much my memories have become part of my life.
And so, I shall try to recall and record as much as possible from my experience, and those things I remember that were told to me by my parents and relatives.
Father was fond of relating events from his boyhood days in Missouri where he was raised by his grandparents, Cornelius and Mary Vaughn.
His grandfather had moved from the old homestead in Lexington, Kentucky that he had inherited from his father, Cornelius, Sr., in 1859. I am not sure of the year in which they moved, but it was near the end of the Civil War. All former slaves were left behind except one couple who asked to go with the growing family.
The family settled in Northwestern Missouri in Richmond, Ray County, on a large farm located on the banks of the Missouri River.
Father was orphaned at an early age, the only son of Joseph T. and Mary Louise Hand Vaughn. And, as the custom was, he was raised along with his uncles and cousins in Grandfather Cornelius' home.
After a few years, they moved to another place which provided better ground on which to raise a family that was growing smaller as they grew up.
Father sometimes told about the tasks that became his when he became old enough to do his share of work.
One of the unpleasant tasks was working out in the tobacco fields in the humid climate where he picked worms off of the tobacco leaves. The sickening smell of the tobacco made it the most difficult of tasks. Hoeing in the cornfields was preferable by far.
In autumn time, harvesting kept them all busy. They would gather to make apple butter in a large 40-gallon copper kettle that hung over a fire pit. Father told of how the apples were cut and trimmed and then put into the kettle to cook for long hours over the fire.
Father helped by keeping the fire supplied with wood, and sometimes stood by the kettle stirring the mixture with a long-handled ladle.
The family also butchered hogs outdoors, dipping them into a long trough of scalding hot water heated over a fire. The ham and bacon meat was treated and cured in smokehouses in hickory smoke. (I remember how we did that at the farm where I grew up.)
Father told about a pet raccoon that was always into mischief of some kind. One day, while they were butchering, the coon watched them test the temperature of the water by quickly dipping their finger in and out of the water.
While their backs were turned, the coon apparently tried to mimic the way they tested the water. Being small, the coon reached too far and fell into the tank of scalding water. Its pitiful cry of pain came too late to save him, even though they pulled it out at once.
Of course, there were many times between tasks when they found pleasure in fishing for catfish, and coon hunting at night, as well as skinny-dipping in backwater ponds.
No doubt there was a bit of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer in the youngsters who grew up along the Missouri. Perhaps the coon hunting at night was one of the more challenging pastimes.
When the wild coons became too troublesome, by raiding their chicken house, they would take their hounds, guns and lanterns and track the coon between the chicken house and the swamp.

Next week-- Coon and turkey hunting and the move West.

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