Olivia

Olivia
1937 Buick Special

Me and Olivia

Me and Olivia
Click On The Picture For MOTAA Web Site

Me and "The Hell Bitch"

Me and "The Hell Bitch"
My 50th birthday gift to myself a 2004 Harley she is named after Captain Call's horse on Lonesome Dove.

I Want This Bike!

I Want This Bike!
Me On A 1942 Harley

My Favorite TV Show

The Location Of My Visitors!

Search This Blog For Schelley's Favorite Subjects

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Help Save A Part Of Family History And Lincoln Parish

https://www.facebook.com/autreyhouse?fref=nf Click here to join the Autrey House Museum Facebook Page

Lincoln Parish and Louisiana Historical Landmark Needs Your Help

By Gary E. Gray

When Absalom and Elizabeth Norris Autrey moved themselves and 13 children from Perry

County, Alabama to Dubach in Lincoln Parish, Louisiana during the year 1846, the Civil War

was still 14 years away, women wore dresses that covered their entire body from the neck

down to their ankles and the United States had declared war on Mexico, starting the Mexican-

American war. Lured by the availability of cheap or free land in Louisiana, Absalom decided to

seek his fortunes there, along with a better life for his family.

Upon reaching Dubach, the family decided to settle there and build their family homestead on

approximately 200 acres of rich land that featured plentiful wild game, timber, a reliable fresh

water source and ample crop land. Absalom decided on a popular design of the time, a dog

trot home made from hand-hewn timber cut from the land and finished inside with beautiful

beaded board walls in the front rooms, two fireplaces and a wood burning stove. The home was

completed during 1849 and Absalom and Elizabeth would have two more children there while

raising their other children.

Several generations of Autrey’s lived in the home until it was no longer used by the family and

instead used as a residential rental property. My own great-great grandfather and great-great

grandmother, Charles “Charlie” Henry Autrey and Mary Jane Moncrief Autrey lived and raised

a family there. Charlie actually lived there his entire life, from 1850 to 1917, being the only son

of Absalom and Elizabeth born in the home and also the only son that did not serve in the Civil

War. Charlie was too young when the war started but more importantly, he was legally blind.

My own grandfather, Cecil Henry Tubbs, used to tell me stories of how as a young child, he

would lead his grandfather (Charlie Autrey) around to feed the chickens, milk the cows, and do

other chores around the house. He would hold out his hand and Charlie would take one finger

in his hand while being guided around. In the evening, he said he would sit on his grandfather’s

lap and would stroke his long red beard, being fascinated with the beard that fell below his

chest. Other children would later tell of the happy times there during the holidays, especially at

Christmas time, how Charlie would give the children fresh fruit including oranges, apples and

even nuts. Times were more simple back then but none the less happy and my grandfather

said that Charlie loved the children and grandchildren abundantly.

Charlie’s wife Mary Jane died young at age 40 in 1888, leaving behind her husband of 15 years

and 4 children. So that his children could remember their mother, he had a portrait made from

a photograph of her and gave a copy to each child. My Aunt Barbara Tubbs Talbot actually

found a copy of that portrait recently. Charlie married again to Willie Joanna Michael and they

would have 4 more children but sadly, only 1 would survive past 20 years of age, Mrs. Dewey

Autrey Harris, who passed away in 1982. Antibiotics were not known during that time period

and people often died of infections that are easily treatable today.

Behind the home is the Autrey Family Graveyard, with several family graves there including

Absalom and Elizabeth Norris Autrey, the original builders and occupants of the home. My own

great-great grandparents are buried there as well.

Lincoln Parish and Louisiana Historical Landmark Needs Your Help

By Gary E. Gray

The home was actually occupied until the 1970’s by renters. After the 1970’s, the ownership

of the property was transferred to the Lincoln Parish Museum and it was listed in the National

Register of Historic Places on October 10, 1980 and restored. Today, it stands as the oldest

known restored property in north central Louisiana of the popular dog trot style home from the

mid 1800’s and has become a Lincoln Parish and Louisiana historical icon.

Over 30 years time has passed since the original restoration work and the home is now in need
 
of repairs and long-term maintenance. The Autrey House Museum Advisory Board’s inspection




revealed problems in the foundation and wall on the west side and roof. The foundation of the

floor on the west end of the house on each side of the chimney needs stabilizing and repairing.

This would include reworking the piers on the southwest side and leveling the floor to close a

gap that has developed between the wall and the chimney. Also the northeast back roof and a
 
 
front porch beam need repair.Not supported by tax dollars, the property needs donations to be



maintained properly. Time has come again for repairs and the Autrey House Museum needs

your support.

Please support not only a Lincoln Parish historical icon, but a Louisiana treasure. Our historical

heritage is important and this property and home is one of only a few restored dog trot homes

from the mid 1800’s in the entire United States. To contribute, simply mail a tax deductible

donation to:

Autrey House Museum

℅Lincoln Parish Museum
 
609 N. Vienna Street

Ruston, LA 71270

Any amount is welcome and helps, $1, $5, $10, $25, $50, $100 or more.
 
 
Also, be sure to visit the Autrey House Museum Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/

autreyhouse to see old Autrey family pictures as well as recent pictures of the home. Updates




about what is happening with the restoration effort are also posted on this Facebook page.




Thursday, June 19, 2014

Why I Ride And Why I Love It!


WHY I RIDE AND WHY I LOVE IT!

Every day that we wake up 6 feet above ground is a GOOD Day! But the things in life that make us smile and give us joy are all different and individual to each of us. That is what makes us unique. Life is what we make it and for many of us we like to live doing what others will never understand. Some of us love the thrill of a mountain and when we see one we want to climb it....even with all the known dangers that come with that sport. For others it is the thrill of the hunt, fishing, riding bulls, being in rodeos, flying airplanes, sky diving, racing cars, or riding horses. All of these have dangers.

Life is full of dangers and you can’t let what might happen stop you from living your life or living your dream. Just the simple act of driving to work has its hazards and dangers as well as just getting out of the bed in the morning. If we lived with the fear of what ifs and what might, then we would be frozen with fear. I know people that live like that. They never have and never will get out of that comfort zone. They live life inside a house in front of a TV. They have never seen a mountain, or a buffalo, or just what our National Park Systems offer us. They are content to live in a 30 mile radius.

For me I have always been drawn to things that move and were a part of something bigger and had history behind them. For me it is old cars and the love of riding motorcycles. The thrill of riding a motorcycle has been with me since I was 15 and jumped on the back of a Harley with a complete stranger. If you don't love riding you can never understand the way those of us that do feel about it. To ride over a Mountain Pass and have the cold air hit you in the face with nothing but what God created in front of you and beside and all around you is an amazing feeling! It is what we dream of....it is our perfect day! To breath in fresh air as you ride through falling leaves on a fall day, to smell the flowers and plants blooming in the spring or feel the heat rise off hot asphalt and hear the roar of motorcycles all around you…it is what we LOVE…there is no way to explain it…I guess the saying says it best “If You Have To Ask You Wouldn’t Understand”. So for all those that fear life you are missing a big part of it.

A few years ago another one of my dreams happened when I became a Motor Maid....the oldest Women's Riding Organization in the U.S. and Canada. I have a family of 1200 or more Sisters. I can go anywhere in the U.S. and Canada and call on them if I need help or just want a place to rest. These are amazing women some in their 80s- and 90s now and still riding! I want to be a part of this.....I am a part of Motorcycle History!

Everyday someone dies in some type of accidents...and yes many on motorcycles. Yes it is a tragic way to die. But it was a wonderful way to live. From The Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi District Director of The Motor Maids Schelley Brown Francis
feeling blessed.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Day The Music Died In Minden, Louisiana



Loyd Thomas Brown, 68, was born on August 4, 1944
 in Minden to
 L.T. "Buddy" and Perrie Dean "Patsy" Brown
 and died on April 9, 2013 at his home in Minden.
Memories Of Loyd Thomas Brown
April 9th, 2013 is the day the music died in Minden, Louisiana.
From the time I was 14 years old I would go to the Sound Company out on the Shreveport Road and buy music.  Later when they moved to the Homer Road it became the local spot to sit and hear the best music on the BEST stereo equipment.

I would sit with Loyd Brown, and Sammy Shepard for hours and listen to music....In fact the only thing I ever bought that went up in value was my Phase Linear Equipment and my Weber Towers...they came with an agreement that anytime I ever moved Loyd would come set them up for me.  He kept his word on that and set all of that equipment up 5 times for me over about a 30 year time-frame (Until I sold them to Danny Francis)  (And I had to marry him to get them back… we still have them today and they are worth three times what I paid for them)....It took me three years to pay for them back then...I would take a little money in every week and we kept up with it on a little piece of paper that I carried with me.

Like most of you…Most of my clothing and my car… had Sound Company on the back of it...I had a Blue Waylon shirt and a Black Fleetwood Mac T-shirt that was my standard dress. When I was 16 Loyd had been telling me about a band (The Side Of The Road Gang) that was coming to Shreveport so we loaded up to head to the old Tenn. Opry House...when we got to the door he said something about getting my ID out to show them...I think that is when I said well I am only 16! What a look of shock on his face and I think I heard him mutter OH SHIT! (He was 32)

Well I got in anyway and didn't get my ID checked again until I was 22. We became close friends and I saw him go through many happy and wonderful times, a lot of tragic times and later a lot of sad times...but through it all he was always the same old Loyd T....slow and steady...

Loyd was the original Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives guy.  He would say you want a burger and we might end up somewhere between here and New Orleans eating at some little place… he said had the best burgers.  I think I even cried when they tore the old Studio Steak House down on HWY 80.  I know that Loyd is where I get my love of what I call adventure eating and traveling.  I always look for the hole-in-wall unusual places everywhere I go.

I saw Loyd for the last time a week or so before he died. He was at the post office and I knew it would not be long before he left this world (he was mailing a pkg and the I overheard the postal worker ask him if he need confirmation….he sorta replied with a laugh…I don’t think I’m going to need that...I stepped out of line to hug and talk to him...he said as always "Schelley Girl you are looking good...married life is agreeing with you!...(I think that was his way of saying you are getting FAT) 

I asked how he was feeling and he told me “just hanging on by my toenails...but I have some strong toenails" we hugged again and I knew I wouldn't see him again.  I walked out of the post office and text Greg Daily to tell him if he wanted to see him he better hurry.  A week later he was gone.  

I could tell 100s of stories today.  A lot of you are a part of those stories!  We were all a part of a unique era of time and place.  Loyd is a big part of what made it unique….he made a big impact to a lot of people in Minden...he gave us music that we never would have heard if it hadn't been for him...I know we all still have CDs that he made for us.  I think that is why so many of our generation from Minden have a deep and varied appreciation for so many different kinds of music.

The one thing I do regret… is that I was not as good a friend to Loyd as he probably would have been to me had I been sick.  I have a feeling of not having done enough.  I think there are a lot of those feelings in this room today.  We all have a deep sense of lose of someone that was a constant in our lives for many years….even if he was just in the background for the last few years.  None of us knows what life will be tomorrow…we try to live the best we can in the here and now….  RIP Loyd Thomas Brown...you made a big impact on a lot of people even if you didn't know it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Why I Am Now A Part Of The Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi Motor Maids

As a new District Director for the Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi District of the Motor Maids, one of my questions to other Motor Maids is why did you join? This is a post I dedicate to those answers that I have received from the women in my district of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Schelley Brown Francis Ark/La/Miss DD

To learn more about Motor Maids, Inc visit the national website at www.motormaids.org

From Schelley Brown Francis: Louisiana
My love of history goes so far back with me, I can't even remember when I first became fascinated with the love of what has been before. That love carried me into first preservation of old houses then cemeteries, and historic districts in my small town of Minden, Louisiana. My love of old cars and motorcycles was started early in my life before I could even drive. I seemed to be attracted to old, rusty, things that would not start and the paint was peeling off. My first car was a 1951 Pontiac and that was in 1974. My first ride on the back of a Harley was in high school. That ride made such a connection with me that for several years I used that as a way to pick who I dated. (Maybe not the best method to find the perfect man)

April 23, 2011 I did find the perfect man...we got to use both of our motorcycles in our wedding!

My brother always loved motorcycles and let me ride his mini-bike when he got it one year for Christmas which I promptly ran into the chain link fence. After that I just figured I would always ride on the back with someone else. Well I was about to turn 50 and I guess I wanted to begin a new stage in my life. I sold my 1937 Buick named Olivia and promptly bought a 2004 Harley Heritage Softail Classic. I didn't even know how to ride the bike when I bought it! I promptly signed up for the Rider's Edge Class and to my amazement passed. For a year I rode in parking lots and many back roads before I became brave enough to venture out. I LOVED IT! I felt so free and the thrill was overwhelming. It brought tears to my eyes on several occasions. My brother passed away in 1996 and I like to think he smiles down and protects me everytime I get on my bike. I still love to ride on the back with my husband when I am not in the mood to think and just want to take lots of pictures; and he is ok with that most of the time.
Sporting my Life Starts At The Edge Shirt After I Passed!
I am such a nostalgic person that when I decided I wanted my own motorcycle which to me could only be a Harley I started doing research on which groups I wanted to be a part of. I had seen Cris Sommer Simmons on CBS Sunday Morning Show talking about her new book "The American Motorcycle Girls", it sparked a fire! I later saw where Chris would be in the Cannonball Run and it would be coming close to my area of the country. I took off to Danville, Arkansas. I had ordered books by Cris and wanted to get her to autograph them for my girlfriends that also rode their own! I met Cris and saw that she was a Motor Maid.
Cris autographing my copies of "THE AMERICAN MOTORCYCLE GIRLS" at Cannonball 2010
A girl and her motorcycle...What more could a girl ask for on a nice sunny day!
I had read a lot already about this group. I didn't know that the District Director lived only 20 miles from my house (plus she was married to an childhood friends brother), until I got on the Motor Maid Website. That is where I found a link that would lead me to where I am today...
Me with Ronnie and Miram Hennigan at Run With The Nuns Event
Hot Springs, Arkansas 2012
Ronnie Hennigan happen to come in the Museum where I serve as the Director one day and I couldn't believe it. He was just who I wanted to talk to and asked him to please tell his wife I wanted to talk to her and join. A few weeks later in walks Miram Hennigan into my life. In life they say there are no strangers only people we haven't met yet and so it was with Miram. She is fearless for sure. I am more a fair weather rider so far but my love of what being a Motor Maid is strong and I think that is what counts with me for now.
Riding Into A Life Of Women In Motorcycle History!

The fact that this organization is the history of Women In Motorcycling is very important to me!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi Motor Maids



It is official I am now the 2013 District Director for the Ark/La/Miss District of the Motor Maids.  Our new website blog is www.arklamissmotormaids.blogspot.com 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Autrey House In Dubach

Autrey House in Dubach, LA

AUTREY, Absalom 1802 - 1885

Autrey Family Cemetery
From the 1968 Newsletter of the North Louisiana Historical Association
Click to enlarge to read each page.

Autrey House
May 4, 1980

[The following is a summary of information given in interviews with Mrs. Dewey Autrey Harris and Mrs. Cordia Autrey Bennett, both granddaughters of Absalom Autrey, and Mrs. Willie Farley and Mrs. Audie Britt, both great-granddaughters of Absalom Autrey. This copy was obtained during a visit to the Lincoln Parish Museum in Ruston, Louisiana.]

According to family tradition, Absalom Autrey moved his family west from Selma, Alabama by wagon train in the year 1848. He, his wife, Elizabeth Norris, and fourteen children, are believed to be the first white people to have crossed what is known as Bird Creek, just west of Dubach, Louisiana. They made their crossing and located at the old home place on Christmas Eve Day, 1848. Bird Creek was so named for Absalom’s son, Bird Autrey, who "located" on the east side of the creek.

A family member still has the old mantel clock which made the long overland trip with them, between two feather beds. The first year the family spent in Louisiana, Absalom and his boys killed 544 deer. They also had an abundance of squirrel and wild turkey to eat. With such a large family, there was no wasted meat. What their household could not use was divided among the grown children. Another child, Charlie Henry, was born to Absalom and Elizabeth after they settled in Louisiana. He would later be the head of the household of the old log house.

At the time that they moved west to Louisiana, Absalom already had several children. Three of his daughters married in Alabama before moving west with the family. The lure of even more virgin land in Texas called some of his children further west. Several of them settled in East Texas.

Absalom built his house of logs with two large rooms on the front, the smaller rooms on back, a large hall down the middle and a front porch that was constructed the entire length of the house. There was a large cellar beneath the front east room of the house where they stored their fruit and potatoes and kept a grist mill. This cellar was dug down about four feet into the ground with the floor of the bedroom serving as roof for the cellar. It was enclosed by planks with a doorway located in front of the east fireplace.

After the house was completed, Absalom went to New Orleans and purchased several pieces of furniture. Some of the pieces have survived these two hundred thirty-two years and are still in the possession of family members. They were shipped up the river to Monroe then overland by ox cart to the Autrey house. The pieces were a marble-topped sideboard, which was cracked on route overland, and again in later years, and two four poster beds. One of the beds has since been used to make other pieces of furniture.

Sometime after they settled in Louisiana, two of their slaves were keeping watch during the night and witnessed a meteor shower. It startled them so much that the man, John, ran into the house, "Masta, the orchards on fire". It must have appeared to them that the trees were on fire. This story has been handed down through the years, and was told by two different people.

For several years the family carried water from a nearby spring for their household use. Charlie Henry told his daughter, Dewey Harris, that he remembered his father putting him on a mule named "Red Sebe" and letting him ride back and forth to the spring in the winter snow to pack it down. Later they dug a well on the east end of the front porch. The well was placed close enough to the porch that you could reach it and draw water while standing on the porch.

In Absalom’s day the loft of the house was used as a bedroom for all of the boys of the family. Dewey Harris remembers trundle beds being there. There were stairs located at the back left side of the hall for access to the loft.

In 1860 Elizabeth Norris Autrey died and was buried a short distance behind the house in what was to become a small family cemetery. Absalom later married Kezia McCalla. They did not have any children. Charlie Henry once told Dewey that Kezia gave him far more spankings than his mother ever had.

A school house was built on a hill west of the Autrey house and it became known as the Autrey School House. The place is now known as the D. Cauer place. The 1860 census shows that James Jackson Autrey, an older son of Absalom, was a teacher of common school. It is likely that he was a teacher and probably the first teacher at the Autrey School House. He would have been his younger brother Charlie’s teacher. Other teachers of the Autrey School boarded at the Autrey home over the years. The 1860 census also lists Absalom Autrey’s worth as $6,400.00 and owning four slaves.

The Autrey School House was also used for church meetings of the Primitive Baptist Church, sometimes called hard-shelled Baptist, where Absalom and his family were members. Their gravestones in the family cemetery have the inscription "Primitive Baptist" carved into them.

A large porcelain platter that was used by the family is still in the possess of a family member. It is told that they fried enough bacon for the family and slaves to fill this huge platter every morning. It is very discolored and pitted by many years of use.

When the Civil War came, all of the Autrey boys went to do their part except Charlie, who was too young. One son, Syra, died from wounds received in the hand which developed blood poisoning. A friend of his came to Absalom after the war and told him of his son’s death and the circumstances. He said that on the night of his death, Syra begged them to cut his arm off, but they would not. Another son, James Jackson, died from illness during the war, according to Booths Civil War Book.

Charlie Henry was born with a severe vision problem and was nearly blind. When he was old enough to go on his own, he went to Arkansas and stayed four months and four days for treatment of his eyes. He paid a little black boy a dime a day to lead him to and from the doctor’s offices. As far as we know, he did not respond to the treatment. He did go to school and did well in his lessons.

When Charlie was grown and had married Mary Jane Moncrief, he bought the Absalom Autrey place from his father and brothers and sisters with the provision that Absalom and Kezia would have their home there with them for as long as they lived.

Kezia McCalla died in 1878 and Absalom died in 1885. They are both buried in back of the Autrey house in the family cemetery.

Charlie raised cotton and corn for a living. He plowed much of the 200 acres that they owned. The land west and south of the house was in fields and to the east of the house was a calf and hog pasture. It was told that he was a very successful farmer, having good crops when neighbor’s crops failed. One man told a story about his dealing with Charlie Autrey. He had been warned by a friend to watch Charlie when he bought from him, that he would try to cheat him. When he went to buy his corn, Charlie took a bushel basket to measure the sale. Each time he filled the basket to a rounded top instead of flat and would then take one ear and lay it aside to indicate one basket filled. The buyer was so pleased with this method of measuring that he told our source that he had never received better measure from anyone.

Charlie Henry had milk cows and raised enough calves for meat for his family. If they were unable to use the whole beef, they divided with family and friends, then when they killed a beef, they would also share with Charlie’s family. They did not raise calves to sell. At that time, a large yearling would not bring more than three or four dollars.

Charlie Henry Autrey had a large family. His first wife, Mary Jane Moncrief, died in 1888, and they had several children. His oldest daughter was Laura Alice Autrey, born 1876, who married Thomas Russell Huffman. They are the parents of Willie Huffman Farley, born 1905, and Audie Huffman Britt, born 1910, who contributed much of this information.

His second wife was Willie Michael and they had several children. Their youngest daughter is Dewey Autrey Harris, born 1898, who also contributed much of this information.

Dewey lived in the house until 1918 after her father’s death in 1917. At that time, the land and house was sold and the estate divided. Dewey’s mother lived with Dewey and her husband, Alf Harris, until her death.

Audie and Willie lived within sight of the log house during their childhood years and visited there very often.

Cordia Autrey Bennett, born 1896, is the daughter of Thomas (Doc) Autrey, one of Absalom’s younger sons. She lived with her family two or three miles southwest of the log house until she was seven years old, when they moved into Dubach, Louisiana. She visited very often at her Aunt Willie’s and uncle Charlie’s home.

The following is a description of the house and grounds as they remember seeing it in the early 1900’s. The east front room contained the marble top sideboard, a cook stove to the left of the fireplace and one or two beds. One of the poster beds was in this room. There was one or more large rocking chairs covered with sheepskins in this room and possibly in other rooms. The right back room had a table with benches on the sides and armchairs at the ends a tall safe with a large bowl full of honey in the honeycomb, and a bed. The left front room was a bedroom. The left back room was a bedroom and may have also been used as a pantry. The loft was not used as a bedroom at this time. The hall down the middle and the front porch was used quite often as a place to sit and relax during the hot day. The east end of the front porch, next to the well, had a plank used to set the was pan and water bucket. Along the front on each side of the front porch were split log barristers.

There was a spinning wheel in the house but it is thought that it was no longer used. Also, "a counterspin" (bedspread) was used on one of the beds.

The cellar under the house was used to store their dried fruit and they ground their meal there.

The hall was closed in at one time to provide dry storage for several barrels of flour they had purchased in anticipation of a shortage. After this need passed, it was restored to its original appearance and use.

Large persimmon trees grew behind the graveyard, which bore huge fruit. There were also large oak trees growing in around the cemetery. A plank fence surrounded the cemetery. Crepe Myrtles grew in abundance around the house and it was also enclosed by a plank fence with a gate in front.

Located at the right rear of the house was the smoke house. To the left was a milk shed enclosed by a plank cow pen. The shed was long and built parallel to the road. It was closed in on three sides and was partitioned into stalls for milking. It had a loft where hay was stored and the chickens laid there. Behind the cow pen was a lane which led back to the pasture. A small calf and hog patch was located to the right of the house, between the house and the spring. Some apple trees grew in this patch. It is believed that there was no toilet at the time or previous. The land to the east of the house was plowed. Across the road directly in front of the house was a buggy house where they kept the buggies, saddles and some implements and tools. There was a large trough made from a hollowed log cut in half. They used these hollowed log halves for feed and water troughs also.

Further down to the west from the buggy house was a large log barn.

The Autrey School House was the sight of church meetings for many years before a formal church was constructed in the community. Whenever church services were held, the Autrey family always expected company for dinner. When revival meetings were held for several days, the family cooked, cleaned and prepared for days ahead of time for the large crowds they knew would eat and even spend the nights with them. Charlie Henry would usually go to Mt. Zion Community and get a Negro woman to help while the meeting was in progress. Many times they would prepare for fifty or sixty people. They slept all over the house on pallets. Willie Autrey once told her daughter, Dewey, that she’d worked cleaning and cooking until she would have "running fits". She told another humorous story about all the people spending the night. It seems that everyone had retired for the night except for the men who were sitting on the front porch talking till very late in the evening. Willie got up and scolded them for staying up so late and told them that if they didn’t come to bed soon, they wouldn’t remember which woman they were supposed to sleep with.

Charlie Henry and some of the other Absalom Autrey sons sold their cotton in Monroe and floated it down river by barge to New Orleans. Whenever they made this trip, they came back with hard candy packed in wooden buckets, barrels of brown sugar, and all kinds of fresh fruit. These were rare delicacies for this area and were greatly looked forward to by the children.

Christmas was also a time for rare treats. Each Christmas the Charlie Henry Autrey family would sit in a circle in the front east room and have their "Christmas pass around" . They fixed a large bowl of oranges and hard candy and passed it around the room with everyone helping themselves to the goodies.

Willie Farley told a humorous story from her childhood. One day her grandma, Willie Autrey, came over and asked her to play with her little cousin, Harold DeFreece, while she went to a meeting. Grandma had already fixed dinner and Grandpa Charlie, Willie and Harold ate their lunch that day and enjoyed it very much. Grandpa seemed to enjoy his lunch extremely well and really ate his fill. He made the comment after the meal that he’d eaten a "dog’s bate". Later, when Grandma returned, little Harold ran and told her that Grandpa had eaten a "dog pie" for dinner.

Charlie Henry is remembered by his granddaughters Audie Britt and Willie Farley as a person that really made them feel good about themselves. Whatever small accomplishments they made were always an occasion for hearty praise from Grandpa. Willie remembered making a cake one time at Grandpa’s house while she was still a small child. She had recently learned to bake cakes and Grandpa’s opinion was very important to her. He bragged on her and praised her highly for her talent at baking cakes.

On another occasion, Charlie Huffman, Audie’s and Willie’s brother, was watching his Grandpa reroof the barn with sheet iron. They were not certain how it should be nailed and they put the nails in the valley’s instead of on the ridge. The roof leaked worse then than it had before. Young Charlie made the suggestion that they take the sheet metal off and turn it over so the nail holes would then be on the ridges. They did this and it worked extremely well. Grandpa was very impressed with young Charlie’s suggestion and appropriately praised him.

Charlie Henry Autrey died in 1917 at the age of 67 years. He is buried beside his first wife, Mary Jane Moncrief, in the family cemetery behind the Autrey house.

Pioneer America, Vol. 14 (1982), No.3 Sent to me by Lana Kern, descendant of Elizabeth Norris Autrey. Pages 137 - 142

RESEARCH NOTEBOOK

THE ABSALOM AUTREY LOG HOUSE: LINCOLN PARISH, LOUISIANA

Absalom Autrey was born in North Carolina on April 11, 1802 and died on February 14, 1884 in the log house which he built. He was buried in the family graveyard a short distance from the back of the house. Absalom had fifteen children by his first wife, Elizabeth Norris, who came with him from Selma, Alabama in an ox drawn covered wagon in 1848. All of his younger children were with him besides many of his married sons and daughters and their wives and husbands. He brought a large group of Autreys on that wagon train, most of whom settled in Township 20 North, Range 3 West of the Louisiana Meridian (U.S. Congress, 1851).

Absalom’s family traveled to Vicksburg, Mississippi where they crossed the Mississippi River into Louisiana on a log barge. It took them seven weeks from the time they left Alabama to get to the public lands in northern Louisiana which were being offered to the public by the federal government. He patented 159.19 acres on January 5, 1849 through Military Warrant No. 17163 (US General Land Office). Absalom bought more land in this area a few years later and apparently was one of the largest landowners in the parish in 1860. Land could be secured very cheaply at this time. In the 1840’s it was selling in many places for 12 1/2 cents per acre.

Absalom built his log house in early 1848 of virgin pine logs under large shade trees. There was a natural spring near the house and a beautiful meadow close by. Abundant game in this area included deer, bear, squirrels, rabbits, turkey and waterfowl. A smokehouse was built in the rear of the house for curing meat. A fire was made on the dirt floor and kept burning day and night during the curing season.

Absalom built his log house with the help of his sons,. They constructed double-pen log house (dog-trot) with a passageway between the cabins out of hewn pine logs which were cut on the site. The men first constructed piers of laterite ironstone and large wooden blocks cut from the tree trunks. In north Louisiana all log houses were raised off the ground so that the bottom log never rested on the earth. The logs in this old house are extremely large, some 12 inches in width. The largest and strongest ones rested on piers. All the floor are made of pine and are still in good condition.

The large pine logs were halved, hewn on all sides, and square notched top and bottom and at both ends. Wooden pegs were also used in some of these outside log walls to make them more secure. Large wooden pegs are used all over the house – in the log walls and the lintels over the passageway. No nails were used in the construction of the original house.

The house is 27 feet 4 ½ inches deep. The pen on the right is 17 feet 9 inches wide and the one on the left is 17 feet and 2 inches. The ceilings are 9 feet in height. The doors on the front are more than three feet wide-one is 3 feet 1 ½ inches and the other is 3 feet 7 inches. The doors within the passageway were 29 inches wide. There were two doors into the cabin on the right and the one on the left leading from the passageway. There is also an outside back door in each.

There are no windows on the front of the house, but there are two on the end walls of each cabin, as well as one in both ends of the loft. The old house originally had heavy wooden shutters on all the doors and windows. Screen doors and glass windows were added much later when these were easier to secure.

This log house is two rooms deep on each side and a story and a half high. The boys slept in the loft beneath the steep wood shingle roof, which old-timers considered much cooler than the modern tin roofs. Although there were steps leading to the loft in the left front cabin, the boys sometimes used the small window and the rocky chimney for getting in and out at night. The two chimneys at both sides of the house were constructed of local ironstone. The fireplace provided cooking and heating in the house.

The cellar was under the kitchen on the front of the house with an outside door on the east side. It was about six feet deep according to one of his granddaughters who later lived in the house. The inside walls were planked and had shelves for storing fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. The dirt was piled close to the walls to keep it cool and dry. The cellar is no longer there.

The front porch is 45 feet 5 ½ inches wide and 9 feet 11 inches deep. The front posts are 7 feet 11 ½ inches high. It is said the 50 foot original main beam across the porch was made from one pine tree.

REFERENCES SITED

Autrey Family

Back row left to right Morris, Ellen, Minnie, Charley
Front row Rosie. WIllie, Elvin 1915

Charley Henry Autrey (1850-1917) with long beard in front of Autrey House

Early photo of Dubach, LA


Top left to right:  Mary Pearl Autrey Tubbs  and Elizabeth "Betty" Bush Autrey McGee.
Bottom left to right:  Dewey Autrey Harris (mother was Willie Joanna Michael Autrey - Charles Henry Autrey's 2nd wife) and Laura Autrey Huffman bottom right with her sisters


Laura Autrey Huffman daughter of Charley Autrey mother of S.D. Huffman

Granny Huffman (Laura Autrey Huffman married T.R. Huffman parents of S.D. Huffman)
T.R. Huffman 1875-1967 WWI father of S.D. Huffman

S.D. Huffman

Marie Cooper Huffman holding Omega with S.D. Huffman

S.D. Huffman WWII (died April 20th, 2012 at the age of 94)

  • U.S. General Land Office
  • The U.S. Tract Book Records of the U.S. Land Office, Natchitoches, Louisiana, MS, State Land Office, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Absalom Autrey – SE ¼,Sec. 21, T20N, R3w.
  • U.S. Congress
  • 1851 A Report of the Commission of the General Land Office, Senate Executive Document No. 2, 2nd
  • Session, 31st Congress (Serial Set No. 588), Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Granddaddy.... S.D. Huffman April 20th, 2012

Omega, Randy, Ellen and S.D.

Granddaddy's 90th birthday at the Hamilton Warehouse in Dubach

 Loran's wedding on New Year's Eve 2011
Mr. S. D. Huffman, age 94, died peacefully surrounded by his family on Friday, April 20. Mr. Huffman’s death was caused by complications from an earlier fall from a ladder at home. He was a lifelong resident of Lincoln Parish and was a descendant of the Autrey family, one of Lincoln Parish’s oldest pioneer families. Dubach is known as the Dogtrot Capital due in part to the “Autrey House” log home in that area. Mr. Huffman and his brother T.R. were instrumental in the preservation of this structure as a pioneer museum that is now listed on the “National Register of Historic Places”.
Mr. Huffman was preceded in death by his wife and mother of his children, Marie Cooper Huffman; one grandson, Jeff Brown; wife and mother of his step-children, Ruth Watts Huffman; and step-sons, Joel Watts and Danny Michael. He is survived by a large family: brother T. R. Huffman of Dubach; his loving wife, friend, constant companion, and care-giver Margaret Huffman. Three children: Daughter Omega Brown and husband Nolen of Minden, daughter Ruth Ellen Hanna and husband Norman of Dubach, son Randy Huffman and wife Connie of Bentonville, Ar. Step-sons: Henry Watts and wife Carla of Dubach, James Ray Watts and wife Claudia of Choudrant, Bob Michael and wife Carla of Savannah, GA, Bill Michael and wife Jeanine of Dublin, OH. Stepdaughter Kathy Packman and husband Bob of Dubach. He was also survived by 23 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Mr. Huffman retired from Chevron. He was an active member of St. Rest Baptist Church early in his life and later Fellowship Baptist Church of Dubach. Known to most simply as S. D. or “Huff”, he was a member of the Ruston Gun Club and Arcadia Gun Club and was known as an expert marksman. He was an avid deer hunter and enjoyed this sport his entire life. Many in Dubach have enjoyed the fruits of his labor in his bountiful gardens that were planted every year. He loved to tell his hunting and fishing experiences to anyone who would listen. His love of his heritage was also evident in the many stories he told of early Lincoln Parish. S.D. enjoyed good health all his life until his recent fall from a ladder. He amazed many people, including the medical staff who recently attended him, with his memory and vitality for a man in his 90s. Many compared him to someone in their 70s. This patriarch of the Dubach area will be missed by many.
Services are 2 p.m. Sunday at First Baptist Church Dubach. Visitation is 1 p.m. Sunday until service time at the church. Burial will be in St. Rest Baptist Church Cemetery, Dubach, under the direction of Kilpatrick Funeral Home, Ruston.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to the American Cancer Society, St. Rest Cemetery Memorial Fund, Autrey House Museum c/o Lincoln Parish Museum, or charity of your choice.

Friday, March 16, 2012

I Am A Motor Maid


Welcome to Motor Maids, Inc!
In 1940 Motor Maids, Inc. was established as a women's motorcycling organization in North America. It is the first and oldest continuously operated women's motorcycling organization.

With approximately 1,200 members across the United States and Canada, the Motor Maids are a diverse group of women motorcyclists united through a passion for riding while fostering a positive image and promoting safe riding skills.

Joining the Motor Maids is a great opportunity to ride, travel and get to know great people all across North America.
To learn more about the Motor Maids visit the web site www.motormaids.org

I love all the history behind this organziation.  We all know I love history!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss



When we were kids Daddy would read us this book. I think he liked reading it to us as much as we liked the way he read it. Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! March 2, 1904September 24, 1991

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Lesson In Life

Our friends the Iverson's in Sturgis sent this email to me!  I wish all teachers would do this. 

He was in the first third grade class I taught at Saint
Mary's School in Morris, Minnesota. All 34 of my students were
dear to me, but Mark Eklund was one in a million. Very neat in
appearance, he had that happy-to-be-alive attitude that made even
his occasional mischievousness delightful.

Mark talked incessantly. I had to remind him again and again that
talking without permission was not acceptable. What impressed
me so much, though, was his sincere response every time I had
to correct him for misbehaving. "Thank you for correcting me,
Sister!" I didn't know what to make of it at first, but before long
I became accustomed to hearing it many times a day.

One morning my patience was growing thin when Mark talked
once too often, and then I made a novice teacher's mistake. I
looked at Mark and said, "If you say one more word, I am going
to tape your mouth shut!" It wasn't ten seconds later when Chuck
blurted out, "Mark is talking again." I hadn't asked any of the
students to help me watch Mark, but since I had stated the
punishment in front of the class, I had to act on it. I remember the
scene as if it had occurred this morning. I walked to my desk, very
deliberately opened my drawer and took out a roll of masking tape.
Without saying a word, I proceeded to Mark's desk, tore off two
pieces of tape and made a big X with them over his mouth. I then
returned to the front of the room. As I glanced at Mark to see how
he was doing, he winked at me. That did it! I started laughing. The
class cheered as I walked back to Mark's desk, removed the tape,
and shrugged my shoulders. His first words were, "Thank you for
correcting me, Sister."

At the end of the year, I was asked to teach junior-high math. The
years flew by, and before I knew it, Mark was in my classroom
again. He was more handsome than ever and just as polite. Since he
had to listen carefully to my instruction in the "new math," he did
not talk as much in ninth grade as he had in third. One Friday, things
just didn't feel right. We had worked hard on a new concept all
week, and I sensed that the students were frowning, frustrated with
themselves and edgy with one another. I had to stop this crankiness
before it got out of hand. So I asked them to list the names of the
other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space
between each name. Then I told them to think of the nicest thing they
could say about each of their classmates and write it down. It took
the remainder of the class period to finish the assignment, and as the
students left the room, each one handed me the papers. Charlie smiled.
Mark said, "Thank you for teaching me, Sister. Have a good weekend."
That Saturday, I wrote down the name of each student on a separate
sheet of paper, and I listed what everyone else had said about that individual.

On Monday, I gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire
class was smiling. "Really?" I heard whispered. "I never knew that meant
anything to anyone!" "I didn't know others liked me so much." No one
ever mentioned those papers in class again. I never knew if they
discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter.
The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy
with themselves and one another again.

That group of students moved on. Several years later, after I returned
from vacation, my parents met me at the airport. As we were driving
home, Mother asked me the usual questions about the trip, the weather,
my experiences in general. There was a lull in the conversation. Mother
gave Dad a sideways glance and simply said, "Dad?" My father cleared
his throat as he usually did before saying something important.

"The Eklunds called last night," he began. "Really?" I said. "I haven't
heard from them in years. I wonder how Mark is." Dad responded
quietly. "Mark was killed in Vietnam," he said. "The funeral is tomorrow,
and his parents would like it if you could attend." To this day I can still
point to the exact spot on I-494 where Dad told me about Mark.

I had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. Mark looked
so handsome, so mature. All I could think at that moment was, "Mark,
I would give all the masking tape in the world if only you would talk to
me." The church was packed with Mark's friends. Chuck's sister sang
"The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Why did it have to rain on the day
of the funeral? It was difficult enough at the graveside. The pastor said
the usual prayers, and the bugler played taps. One by one those who
loved Mark took a last walk by the coffin and sprinkled it with holy
water. I was the last one to bless the coffin. As I stood there, one of the
soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to me. "Were you Mark's math
teacher?" he asked. I nodded as I continued to stare at the coffin. "Mark
talked about you a lot," he said.

After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates headed to Chuck's
farmhouse for lunch. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously
waiting for me. "We want to show you something," his father said, taking
a wallet out of his pocket. "They found this on Mark when he was killed.
We thought you might recognize it." Opening the billfold, he carefully
removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been
taped, folded and refolded many times. I knew without looking that the
papers were the ones on which I had listed all the good things each of
Mark's classmates had said about him. "Thank you so much for doing
that," Mark's mother said. "As you can see, Mark treasured it." Mark's
classmates started to gather around us. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly
and said, "I still have my list. I keep it in the top drawer of my desk at
home." Chuck's wife said, "Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding
album." "I have mine too," Marilyn said. "It's in my diary." Then Vicki,
another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet
and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. "I carry this with me
at all times," Vicki said without batting an eyelash. "I think we all saved
our lists." That's when I finally sat down and cried. I cried for Mark and
for all his friends who would never see him again.

The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will
end one day. And we don't know when that one day will be. So please,
tell the people you love and care for that they are special and important.
Tell them, before it is too late.

Be ALL you can be!!
Have an incredible day!!

Blessings!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Part of my “Bucket List” is Complete

A Honeymoon To Remember


Years ago I wrote a story for the “The Minute Magazine” about a dream vacation.  This year I used the excuse of a Honeymoon to make many of those dreams happen!  I think the only part of it that didn’t happen was visiting the Walton’s Museum in West Virginia.  But the rest was perfect and the man I was with (my husband) made it even better! The fact that I did it on a Harley and not in a 37 Buick or a Model A was ok too! 

When Danny and I got married in April everybody asked us if we were going on a cruise, or Vegas, or some of those other normal honeymoon trips.  We would smile and say we are going to the “Andy Griffith Mayberry Days Festival” in Mount Airy, North Carolina in September!  Yes we got a few looks but most folks were very envious of our plans.  We had talked about doing this for a long time so a honeymoon was the perfect time to go!

We arrived in Maggie Valley first with another dream come true (our toy hauler)…our adventure was about to begin with this purchase from our good friends Debbie and Barry.   It still had that new smell and we were thrilled to get it…I was more thrilled for sure.  In fact it brought tears to my eyes.  Our RV Park was beautiful and I am afraid we are spoiled now for other RV parks that may be in our future. 

We headed to “Wheels Through Time” Motorcycle Museum next in Maggie Valley.  Dale Walksler is the owner and collector of everything old motorcycle! I had met him during the Cannonball Run in 2010.  To say this was a highlight of the trip is a BIG understatement!  We had a blast and were in Harley Heaven.  Dale is great and he rode me in a vintage 1920s Harley with a sidecar! (Another bucket list item checked off.)  This is the most amazing collection we had ever seen and it all runs and Dale will crank it and take off on it.   We spent a good part of our day just amazed at the amount of stuff inside this museum. 

The next day of course we headed out to Mount Airy! I just can’t even describe the feelings we had when we arrived.  On Thursday there weren’t many folks in town yet so we got to walk around and really look the town over good.  It was nice being able to do that before the crowds rolled in! And boy did they roll in over the next few days.  On Friday we got up early to head to the Snappy Lunch to eat breakfast.  That was our first encounter with a look-alike from the show... Briscoe Darling was up early too.  Then Mayberry Squad Cars started to appear on the streets.  It was raining but not too hard and we made the best of it and bought a big umbrella.  Everyone in town was so nice and all had stories to share. 

We then headed down to Wally’s Service Station to take a squad car tour.  This was perfect and our driver even sounded a lot like Barney Fife.  We got to drive by Andy’s childhood home (they rent it out like a B&B now).  We saw a large granite yard and other points of interest.  But riding in an old squad car was a big part of the fun.  Next to Wally’s is a recreation of the Jail and we made a few pictures inside. 

We headed back to Snappy for our Pork Chop Samich.  It was great and Floyd the Barber was inside and decided to give Danny a little trim.  The rain stopped while we were eating lunch so we did some more site-seeing.  We toured the Andy Griffith museum, lots of history inside the museum on the show and Andy in general.  We watched a TAGS Rerun Watchers contest and these folks are good. We only got one question correct. (What was the color of the saddle on Opie’s imaginary horse Blackie?  Silver)  these folks were serious about their trivia. 

We had tickets Friday night to see Doug Dillard (Darling) it was our first show for the weekend. We enjoyed seeing all the look alikes and the old cast members that took part in the show.  One was Charlene (Maggie Peterson), she sang a few of the songs like Salty Dog and some others she sang on TAGS.

Saturday morning was the BIG day! Parade day was the happening day. The town was packed with folks…lots and lots of folks.  The best thing about it was that we all had the love of TAGS in common and people would just come up to you and start talking about certain episodes.  It was perfect!  The parade was PERFECT too! We loved it. The old cast members and the impersonators made it so special.  David Browning (Barney) makes this festival SPECIAL for everyone.  I think he IS Barney… we were just thrilled to meet him.

We toured the local museum and they really have a NICE one!  Learned a lot of moonshine history.  We ate at a really nice place across the street, went in a few wineries and purchase a few souvenir bottles.  We looked at the famous Siamese twin exhibit.  We just sat and people watched this was a great place to just sit and relax and take it all in. 

We had tickets for Colonel Tim’s Talent Time Show on Saturday night and boy were we in for some treats!  This show lasted about 3 hours…so we got our money’s worth.  It is the Grand Finale of the festival and everyone participates that has anything to do with the festival.  It was a perfect ending to a great weekend and WE LOVED IT ALL! (check one off the list)

On to the Biltmore Next! What can you say expect we know why they call it the Biltmore…They Built More House than Anyone Would Need!  It was so amazing. We spent all day touring the estate. (One more check off on the list)

Now for some riding on the Harley! First on the Blue Ridge Parkway! All I can say was AMAZING!  This is the perfect place for a Harley! We LOVED it and the weather was PERFECT!  The next day was through the Smoky Mountain National Park.  Again it was gorgeous riding.  Cades Cove was the only thing not motorcycle friendly.  I even saw a baby bear hanging over my head.  We saw lots and lots of turkey crossing the road.  The leaves were turning and the weather was wonderful.  We saw so much and had a wonderful few days of riding.  I can’t imagine seeing these places any other way than on the back of a Harley.  It wouldn’t be the same in a car. (2 checks on the list)

On our last day we traveled by truck to a part of the Smoky Mt. Park to see Elk!  This was a big treat for Danny.  We sat behind a 100 year old barn and listened to them bugle before we ever saw them.  We got some great pictures and were able to get pretty close to them. 

All I can say was this was the most relaxing and best trip that we have ever been on!  We had the best of time and made lots of wonderful memories.  And isn’t that what life is all about making beautiful memories with the ones you love!