The Winding River Road 2
ASHS Column for 03 30 06
Margaret Collier

     We have an answer for Jerry’s question of two weeks ago about what kind of car Miss Rozzie was sitting on. Earl Tisdale, the subject of the column, writes, "The shape of the left fender of the car clearly identifies it as a Model T Ford. The wheel and tire indicate the years 1923, '24 or '25. Earlier cars had more narrow tires (30x3.50 instead of 21x4.50), and later models had wire spokes instead of the wooden spokes in your photo. The contour of the top shows the car to be a coupe, and Rozzie is sitting on the hatchback trunk. The car did not have a rumble seat. From its general appearance, I'd say the car is a 1925 Ford Model T coupe, which sold for $520.
     "I was surprised at the mention of my Model T in your column. I had not known that it made the Flomaton paper in 1956. Incidentally, there was a minor error in the 1956 article: It was a five-day trip from Fort Benning, Georgia to Colorado Springs, (Fort Carson),Colorado, not from Fort Benning to Bluff Springs. That car would make 30 miles per hour down hill on a hot day with a good tail wind."
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     Twenty-six members and visitors
enjoyed hearing "Bill Van, The Sports
Man" recall his heydays in Century and
McDavid at the Society's March meeting.
You folks who missed this "fun" and
nostalgic program are the poorer for
it. Do not propound your sin of omission
by missing out on our WORK DAY,
Friday afternoon, April 7. Then, as
proper penance, be sure to bring all
of your friends and neighbors to the
celebration of the naming of Century
on Saturday, April 8.
     We need workers as well as those
who come for sheer enjoyment of the
entertainment, food, the White
Elephant Sale, the Antique Car
Exhibit and the exhibits of
individuals. Be sure that everyone
knows to bring a lawn chair and
fat wallets.
     Last week we began what will be about 16 articles on The Winding River Road. Stop! Do not push this aside in despair. We are not going to unload this on you all at once. These portions will be interspersed with other Society news and info from time to time in order to keep a variety of interesting items coming your way. Now, once you get caught up in this fascinating account, you may want to have a copy of the entire piece rather than the installment plan arrangement. If you are interested, contact either Jerry or myself.
     The flood plains and hammocks along the river from the mouth of Moor's Creek to the state line were a natural jungle of hardwood trees consisting of sweet gum, often spoken of as "Florida Mahogany," tall and straight white ash, huge white hickory trees fifty to sixty feet to the first limbs, wild mulberry trees, yellow poplar, many varieties of oaks with the white and red ones leading in number and size and in the quality of the wood.
     Many varieties of bays of the finest quality were abundant. Birches and sycamores of the best grade were here in large numbers. Yellow cypress trees were abundant throughout the low swampland. The size and length of these trees were exceeded nowhere in America except by the famous big trees of the west coast. The area adjacent to the flood plains of the river was covered with a thick growth of yellow pine trees, tall and stately. Many trees were from three to four feet in diameter at the ground and more than sixteen inches in diameter over a hundred feet above the ground.
     To many people who never had the privilege of seeing these great forests of trees in their original state, this sounds incredible nowadays when no trees are to be found except saplings used for paper pulp.
When a small boy, many times did I hear my grandfather, John T. Diamond, for whom I was named, Uncle Neil Campbell, Uncle Gabe Capers and Uncle Tom Sunday tell about handling many huge sticks of hewn pine timber more than an hundred twenty five feet long and more than twelve inches square at the top.
    The waters were literally alive with fish providing plenty of sport with profit for those who found time to enjoy it. The river contained large and small bass, river trout, many varieties of bream, jackfish and blue channel cat of large size. Loggerhead, streaked head and soft-shell turtles were also plentiful. The creeks and brooks contained brook trout, bream and suckers.
     White tail deer ranged along the Winding River Road throughout its length in herds plentiful like range cattle many years later. Venison was no rarity on the tables of pioneers in this area or in the smokehouses along this road. Big bronze wild turkeys traveled up and down the creeks in flocks living on wild berries, bugs, tender buds, wild grain and grasses. They were fat throughout the seasons and were best in the frying pan, roaster, pie pan or hanging just above a smoking hickory log in a tight smokehouse.
     Little gray squirrels leaped and chattered among the trees thick in the swamps and hammocks. Big fat fox squirrels climbed and played among the tall stately pines where their glossy gray furs glistened in the sun. Big streaked head bobwhites ranged up and down the Winding River Road. Many a pioneer sang a song of jubilee when the piecrust was broken and bobwhites were tasted and not heard. The ring-tailed raccoon dwelt along the low lands beside the historic road where frog legs were served for Sunday and company dinners. The cunning gray fox raced among the pines and over the hills along this road and fared sumptuously on rabbit steak and partridge pie.
     The hardy pioneer timber men knew the sport of a great raccoon hunt on a frosty night way down on the old mill creek at the edge of the back water and the thrill and music of a fox chase among the tall pines and long moonlight shadows interspersed with long eerie trembling streaks of ghostly light. The American marsupial of "Possum and 'tater" fame was everywhere and lived upon tidbits of the land. He always ripened with the luscious wild persimmons and at sweet potato digging time.
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(More to come in the weeks ahead - enjoy!)

 Earl Tisdale, rear, with Bill Van Merkestyn at the ASHS meeting March 21. Classmates, they graduated Century High School in 1939. Both men have been (and are still) assets to the community!

This page last modified on Tuesday, April 04, 2006