Mixsonian Larry

The Andersons Move Back to Flemington

Upon arriving back to their home in Flemington, Rosalie disappointed when she saw that their beautiful rose garden and white picket fence was gone.  Their beautiful yard had been plowed under by the person renting their house to plant corn all around including the front yard.  They had to start over again with most everything they left behind gone, this was not easy for Tobias who was approaching seventy years old.  Using the 500 dollars he had saved he bought a horse, hogs, furniture plows and so on so he could get the farm going again. Tobias worked hard tilling the ground, planting corn and vegetables.  

The Andersons 1911The Andersons in 1911
Tobias, Fannie, William, Rosalie, Andrew,

In the fall the corn and peanut crops would be harvested.  Most of the corn would go to feed the horse, mule, pigs and chickens but some would be saved to be made into cornmeal.    The corn to be made into cornmeal was shucked by hand.  With the corn being damp it would be hard to shell so Rosalie used a knife to start a row of kernels on the ear of corn then peeling the remaining kernels off by hand.  They would shell about bushel and then spread it out on an old door covered with a clean sheet to dry.  Each night they would move the corn into the barn so it wouldn’t get rain or dew on it during the night and then the next day set it back out into the sun.  After the corn had dried, they would take it to the local mill to be ground.  Some would made into cornmeal, some ground coarse making grits, and some would go to the miller to pay for the grinding.   Rosalie like to go with her dad to the mill for he would by her at the store to eat on the way back, a treat she didn’t get very often.   Dinner that night would be special with the fresh ground cornmeal making the best cornbread, especially fresh out of the oven and spread with butter.   

Fannie had about sixty hens she brought with them from Bonaventure, selling their eggs to buy coffee, sugar and rice.   One day, Tobias started to McIntosh to sell the eggs.  With eggs in hand, he went to mount the horse when it bolted, Tobias dropping the eggs, and the horse running off.  Amazingly, none of the eggs were broken.  After that incident, Tobias decided the horse was too much for him to handle and the following week traded it for an old mule, a cow with calf and twenty-five dollars.  

Rosalie started school again and was put into the third grade although grades one through five were all in the same room in the two-room schoolhouse.  She and her brothers would walk the three miles from their house in Flemington to the schoolhouse Shiloh often meeting up with the other kids going to school and walking with them.  She only had three dresses to wear to school, so she took special care to keep the clean.    

It was not an easy life, all the family worked hard, but they were happy.  Winter nights were cold and the family sat around the fire to keep warm while her father read the bible to them.  Spring was busy with the planting of the corn and vegetable garden.  Rosalie worked right along her father and mother on the farm writing, “When I was thirteen mama said it time for me to learn to milk a cow -well I tried but I only got a cup full. She said that was fine, that I would do better next time, and I did. I could milk with both hands. I loved outdoor work, I planted corn and peanuts in the Spring for papa and in the fall I stacked hay. I wore papas pants that was long before girls wore pants but when you stack hay you need pants.”

 Rosalie’s favorite part of the garden was the section saved for flowers, which she would work tirelessly with her mother.  Rosalie remembers looking out the window on a windy spring day and saw a father and mother quail with a dozen baby quail no larger than your thumb going across the lot. The father going ahead looking for danger, then the mother, next the little ones. They were chirping in a low quail talk that was hardly heard. It was a beautiful sight. Summers were hot and long, but she would run barefoot in the yard and play with her brothers.  On summer nights when the fireflies came out the children would catch them, put them in a jar and set them on the nightstand to watch while they fell asleep.  In the fall with the final harvest of the corn, the farm work would let up and school would start

In fall the leaves of the magnolia trees would shed their leaves and every Saturday afternoon Rosalie would rake them into a pile and burn them.  Although she found the trees beautiful and loved the smell of the summer blossoms, she decided she would never want a magnolia tree in her yard when she grew up and she never did.    

Rosalie found the world around her a full of wonder and beauty and had fond memories of her childhood.  She wrote in her memoirs “Sundays always seemed so beautiful --I can still hear the hens cracking and smell the sweetheart soap papa used to. shave with. At night, hear the frogs across the flat pond in front of the house.”  But there also were chores, when she got big enough her mother taught her how to milk the cow and she did most the milking every morning thereafter. She also helped her father put up the corn and peanuts and stack the hay around a pole so that the rain wouldn’t spoil it.

Updated: 11-22-2021