The following narrative focuses on Bluford Goins, written by Sammy Evans and as published by the Gallatin North Missourian in February, 2017. In addition to the personal memories revealing rural life in Daviess County, MO, this article also points to a gift from Mr. Goins to the Daviess County Historical Society. Goins served in Company H of the First Missouri Cavalry Volunteers during the Civil War. After his death, the family eventually donated Goins’ cavalry sword (an old-fashioned long type with basket hilt) to the Society. It may be that the sword was later misidentified and attributed to Major Samuel P. Cox. The sword still held by the Society and presented for public display today at the 1889 Squirrel Cage Jail.
The Evans family, consisting of my parents Ben and Ada and seven of us children (sisters, Lena Mae, Violet and Rosealee (Boyd Carpenter) and brothers, Floyd, James and Jack) were all born in the Lick Fork neighborhood in southeast Daviess County, MO, and lived there for many years.
My great-grandfather built a large two-story house that stood on a knoll on the east side of the road, just north of what today is Waltz Avenue on 290th Street. It was struck by lightning and burned down sometime in the mid 1950s. A one-room school house was located just to the south of that house at the corner of Waltz Avenue; it was called the Hale School.
The farm we lived on, as I remember, consisted of our home with four single rooms, made with foundation rocks that were transported there from slave quarters. At one time, the slave quarters were part of a farm, known as the old Price place, which was built in the 1800s. The Price farm was located about three-quarters of a mile to the northwest of our family farm.
Along with the house, our father built a barn and a smokehouse. There was also a fruit cellar. I remember as a small child waking up in the fruit cellar several times in the morning, after bad storms had passed.
My mother used to hang a bucket through a trap door under the counter. The bucket would lower to a cistern under the house. The cistern kept homemade butter and eggs cool. The cistern was our supply of water for washing dishes and cleaning. The only heat in the house was a wood cook stove. I stood by the cook stove many a morning after getting up to try and stay warm.
I remember my next to oldest brother listening to a radio. The radio used a car battery, along with B and C batteries. He listened to a radio program called “The Lone Ranger.” This would have been in about 1942.
I remember one of my sisters and two younger brothers being taken to meet the school bus. On bad days and in the wintertime, they rode in a buggy pulled by two mules. Sometimes they rode in a wagon which included a small stove to keep the children warm. They rode down a mile-long mud road to highway “M,” as it’s known today. They passed the old Price Place as it was called. No one lived on the farm back then, and the place, with its two huge fireplaces, always looked haunted.
Growing up on the family farm, I recall being told the story of three slave children who had died. The children were buried along a fence that ran just to the south of our home.
Here’s another story about growing up. One day, my folks took the mules and buggy into Gallatin. It was a round trip of 22 miles. Dad unhitched the two mules and put them in the barnyard. Somehow I managed to get into the barnyard with them. My folks searched and found me standing under one of the mules. If the mule hadn’t been so tired, he might have kicked the daylights out of me.
One time my dad went to visit family in the bottom land near Shoal Creek, south of Lick Fork Church. He started the mule team down a hill. He tried to slow them down. They decided to take off and run full-speed. When they did stop, Dad stood up and disciplined them for a full two miles back to the house. They NEVER disobeyed him again.
My dad built a homemade electric fence charger. It was made with a battery, glass tube, and a Model T buzz coil. The coil fired the unit and sent the current into the fence. A marble would bounce back to the other end of the tube. I was told never to touch any part of the system. I spent a lot of time watching the marble go back and forth when I went to the barn with my dad to tend the animals.
My dad raised hogs. Neighbors would come and help him butcher. Hams were traded in exchange. The smoke house was used to smoke hams. Dad was well known for his smoked hams, as well as for raising sugarcane. He had a horse drawn press to make sorghum. He put the sorghum into jugs and stored it in the smoke house.
We had no electricity back then. The washing machine on the back porch (enclosed with screen wire) was known as a pinecone kick-start engine. The cylinder head looked like a pine cone.
We left the farm in 1943 because of my dad’s health. We moved to Colorado, then back to Chillicothe. No one lived on the home place after we moved. I could see the barn my dad built on the Internet, until it was torn down in 2015.
When my last brother passed away a few years ago, his wife gave me some of his papers. In the papers was the original title to my dad’s 1922 Ford Touring car. There was also a handwritten account of money my mother kept track of over a year’s time. During this time she was taking care of me and one other brother. We lived in a house in Nettleton. She noted the house rent was $12.50 a month. There was no running water, just a well outside the back door. Not far away was the only gas station. Conoco gas sold for 12.9 cents a gallon.
My maternal grandparents were also part of the Lick Fork neighborhood. My grandfather’s brothers lived south of our home about a quarter of a mile. I could see the top of the house just over a rise. I remember visiting them many times as a youngster.
The Gift of a Civil War Cavalry Sword
Two of my great-uncles fought in the civil war — one for the Union and the other for the Confederacy. One of my great-uncles, Bluford Goins, was interviewed in December, 1933, for the Caldwell County, Missouri, History.
The following is taken from the USGenWeb Archives as researched by Karen Walker of Hamilton, MO:
Bluford Goins of Breckenridge, MO, was born in 1839, hence he is now in his 96th year. He was born at Cumberland Gap, TN, while his father’s family was on the road “west” from their home in Lee County, VA. They were in a covered wagon, of course, with a company of emigrants. Every wagon had its spinning wheel and homemade furniture; most of them had a package of cotton seed to sow at their new home.
Much of the journey was over paths instead of roads and the parents walked by the slow horses or oxen as the case might be, so that the children might ride. They came by easy stages and the Gap was a rest-stage on their road to Kentucky.
In Kentucky, they lived a few months, then to Texas County, MO, and then on to Lexington, MO. From there Mr. Goin’s father came overland to Caldwell County about 1863. He invested in a farm north of Breckenridge and lived there on the farm till 1883. During the 1860s and 1870s, he often cut wood and hauled it to Breckenridge for $1 a cord.
During the Civil War, he served in Company H of the First Missouri Cavalry Volunteers under Colonel Whitman, Lieutenant Colonel Chandler and General Steele. The family still has his Cavalry sword. It is the old-fashioned long type with basket hilt. He served two years, seven months and 19 days.
Once a year, he with his son, makes a trip to Gallatin, Daviess County, to pay his subscription to the Gallatin North Missourian to which he has subscribed 70 years. He was a subscriber when it started in 1864.
Note: Sam Evans now continues his narrative.
Bluford Goins wanted the sword to go back to the family that had given it to him. The present-day relatives got the sword back, but they ended up donating it to the jail museum in Gallatin, where it is today. I passed pictures of Bluford and the historical interview along to the museum.
From Nettleton, I joined the Air Force in 1957. After four years, I left the service and moved to Richmond for a short time. I headed west to Washington state. I have been married to my wife Mary for 49 years. She was born in Spokane, WA.
I worked for GE Company and related businesses for 24 years. I am now retired. I am a caregiver for my wife who has Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and is confined to a wheelchair. I used to like to ride my 1800 Honda Gold Wing and fly my own Ultra-light Trike. I have downsized lately and ride a Vespa scooter with a group. And yes, it flies too; it can do 80 miles per hour.
I like to go camping with a friend, whom I met here 30 years ago. His dad grew up in Lawson. Can you believe that? We have a hard time getting together, as he lives 300 miles away, a 4.5 hour drive.
So there you have a story from when I was a child growing up on a farm in Lick Fork until now.