Several months ago-when I first started thinking about the old springs around my mountain holler-I went to see my Uncle Henry. He lives closest to the old home place where he and Pap grew up.
Pap drew me this map-showing the way things looked back then-with the house and the various outbuildings. The star shows the tree, a huge old oak, which grew beside their spring.
This photo shows Uncle Henry looking back-looking back to a time when the landscape looked like the map. Now the view looks like this: No signs of the old home place-just a cow pasture with a paved road running beside it.
I started cleaning out the spring or so I thought until Uncle Henry pointed out I was cleaning out the wrong one. There are 2 really close together.
This is the spring they used-Uncle Henry cleaned it out for me with a little help from his dog Buster. Henry told me the story behind the wire fence-his Uncle Wayne came up with a master plan to raise hogs to sell. Wayne decided it would be easier to raise the hogs out in the country-at someone else’s house. The fence was to keep the hogs out of the spring. Henry said it never worked-the hogs kept getting out until Wayne gave up his plan. Wayne has been feeble as long as I can remember-hard for me to imagine him making big profit producing plans. Great Uncle Wayne-has never ever remembered who I was-my entire life. Every time I see him he says the same thing “now sister whats your name and whose your Daddy?” Wayne spends his days in a nursing home near Asheville now-he calls Pap almost everyday.
The arrow shows where the water is freely flowing from the spring after he cleaned it out. Uncle Henry remembers:
- 2 buckets of water sat on a shelf on the porch of their house.
- The house was a dog trot style house-the kitchen connected to the other rooms of the house by a little porch-so you had to go outside across the porch to go to the kitchen.
- Being the youngest child-it seemed he was always being sent to the spring for something.
- He remembered a huge old oak tree that grew by the spring.
This is whats left of the oak tree-just a shell about head high-you can see where it was cut. After the tree died Papaw cut it for fire wood.
Pap’s memories about the spring:
- It was a full time job to keep water at the house-filling the buckets kept on the porch in addition to the reservoir on the side of the wood cook stove.
- There was a spring house built at the spring. It was about 3X4, had a door, and had shelves inside along the walls. The house sat directly in the water-so if any critters got in they had to go under water to get inside the spring house. Pap recalls only frogs and snakes making their way in. The butter sat on the shelf closest to the water-and the milk sat right in the cold water.
- His Mother would take their clothes to the spring to do her washing there.
Hard to imagine the house and out buildings from Pap’s map being in the cow pasture. Not long after Pap was discharged from the Marines the house was lost in a fire. The fire started during the night-they were all at home. It started in the kitchen part of the house but spread fast. They managed to get some of their items out but not everything-the house burnt to the ground along with Pap’s Marine Uniform and his medals. I’ve always figured the fire is the reason so few photos from Pap’s childhood exist.
Hope you enjoyed reading about the spring of Pap and Uncle Henry’s youth-leave me a comment about it if you did. Many of you have shared your memories of old springs-do you have any about spring houses?