“a poor, frightened, hungry woman came into camp with her clothes hanging in rags and tatters, with bare and bleeding feet, and a wild look in her eyes”

A 3rd cousin of mine five times removed, Priscilla Aylette BUCKNER (May 6, 1821 Kentucky- May 13, 1908; buried Mount Holly Cemetery in the Lambert Reardon Lot, Little Rock, Pulaski Co., AR), wrote a wonderful genealogical & personal memoir that provides great glimpse into life in early America, as well as sharing some rather incredible stories.

A daughter of Simeon & Nancy (WATSON) BUCKNER, Priscilla married, Mar. 7, 1839 in Arkansas, Lambert Jeffrey REARDON (1813 Easton, Talbot, Maryland – Oct. 24, 1854; Mount Holly Cemetery), son of Lambert REARDON & Ann JEFFREY.[1]

This blog post is not meant to serve as a biographical sketch of either Priscilla or her husband; rather, as an introduction so to speak, to her 1901 book.[2] 🙂

REARDON, Priscilla Aylette (BUCKNER); Tuley, Katherine Edmondson, Reminiscences of the Buckner family (Chicago, 1901)_COVERREMINISCENCES of the
BUCKNER FAMILY
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by Mrs. Priscilla Aylette [Buckner] Reardon

Compiled, Enlarged and Edited
by Katherine Edmondson Tuley (Chicago, 1901).
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TO THE DESCENDANTS OF THOS. BUCKNER.
______

“Two months ago when these chronicles (the work of several summer vacations) were nearing completion, I was much pleased to learn that Mr. Wm. D. Buckner [i.e., William Dickinson BUCKNER (Aug. 4, 1856 VA – Aug. 27, 1938; buried Graham Cemetery, Orange, Orange Co., VA) of the Virginia stock, of which ours is a branch, had for ten years been collecting data for a history of the family, which, with our assistance he wishers to put into book form as soon as possible. It was a great relief to me, as I had felt that before putting this brief chronicle into your hands, I ought to go further back into the genealogical account of Thos. Buckner’s Virginia ancestors, and this involved more time and labor than I felt able to bestow. About the same time Mr. Buckner, hearing of the work I was doing through Dr. Dibrell of Little Rock, wrote asking for the use of my manuscript for his first book to which I replied that I would feel honored if I might contribute to his work even in the smallest degree. I understand that Mr. Buckner is a Civil Engineer and has taken up this family history for the mere love of it in the interims or business;— that he has employed the services of a reliable genealogist and author. Mr. Stuart C. Wade of 152 W. [unreadable] street, New York,—and that Mr. Buckner has made himself responsible for the printer’s bills for the forthcoming book. The gratitude we owe him for the work he has thus instituted and carried on, (so far, alone), will no doubt be a strong inducement to each of us to lend a hand according to our respective means, helping to bear the expense of the research—on the principle that ‘Many a Mickle Makes a Muckle.’

“Our dear kinswoman’s reminiscenses were [sent?] me some years ago with no thought save of entertaining my husband and myself.  I have tried to arrange them in some sort of chronological order, and have woven through them, in and out, much matter gathered from various letters of hers, and delightful talks with her, together with some matter of my own, and facts and dates from other members of the family. To her also we owe a debt of gratitude for the graphic pictures she has given us of the past, and the light thrown on that portion of the family life coming under her observation. She deserves the first place among our western Buckners as ‘the family historian’ of our branch per se. I hope her delightful reminiscences if I have not spoiled them in the telling— may serve to increase your desire to avail yourselves of the more complete knowledge to be gained in Mr. Buckner’s book of our Virginia and English relatives beginning with the Rev. Wm. Buckner, Chaplain to the Archibishop of Canterbury 1632, and coming down to those of the present day.

“Katherine E. Tuley.
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A STORY OF THE PAST
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FOR MY CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN

“MY children have often urged me to write what I can remember of my own early days and the stories told me by my grandmother Hannah Burton Buckner, and by my own father and mother. My father, Simeon Buckner was the seventh child of Thomas Buckner, who was born in Virginia, probably about 1765 or ’66 I think, since he married Hannah Burton in 1787, who was also a Virginian by birth. Eight years later,—in 1795 they gathered together their little ones and goods and chattels and emigrated to Kentucky. Other children were born to them, twenty in all. They owned a fine farm in Jefferson county, not far from Louisville. [I remember? grandmother as a beautiful old lady, always dressed in black, wearing spotless white cap, with high crown and ruffles around the face, sitting by the open fire-place, with its tall, brass andirons, and red painted hearth—and I remember the reflection of my face in the shining brass of the andirons and fender. I remember aiso the ‘Love Apples’—or tomatoes, which grew in her garden, and later, it was at her table that I first ate them cooked, and what a dainty and well furnished table she kept. At the time of which I speak grandfather Buckner was dead, and the three youngest children Aunt Louisa, Uncle Eliphalet and Aunt Helena were living with her, and Uncle Eliphalet was studying law.

“I was her oldest grandchild, and I think a favorite one, for I was an absorbed listener to her stories. You can fancy us sitting round the fire, while she told this story which was as nearly as I can remember, about as follows:

GRANDMOTHER’S STORY.

” ‘When our family emigrated from Virginia to this country, we traveled in emigrant wagons, those big covered things sometimes called “Schooner” wagons. The country was full of Indians, most of them hostile to the whites, who were taking possession of the hunting.grounds, and some of them had old grudges to settle after their encounters with Simon Kenton and Rogers Clark, and so the men of our party were well armed and constantly on guard. When we camped at night the wagons were arranged in horseshoe form, the wheels chained together, the cattle in the center and the men [unreadable] by night, taking turns, two at a time. The roads were awful, and we crawled along, the feet of horses and oxen sticking in the mud at every step. Sometimes we would hear the whoops and yells of Indians, which terrified the women and children almost to death; for there were several families of us traveling together for mutual protection. We had been wittiin the borders of Kentucky some time, when at one of our camping places, a poor, frightened, hungry woman came into camp with her clothes hanging in rags and tatters, with bare and bleeding feet, and a wild look in her eyes which made us afraid of her.

” ‘We gave her food, and some articles of clothing and allowed her to take a good sleep, before she told her story.

” ‘She said she had been captured by the Indians the year before, who kept such close watch on her, that it was impossible to escape. During that time she had to perform the hardest labor, and was often beaten when her strength failed. A few days previous the Indian braves had gone on a big hunt leaving her guarded by an old Indian, who kept close watch on her. To put him off his guard she pretended to be cheerful and contented. When he finally fell asleep she made her escape noiselessly and in all haste. She had no idea which way she should go to reach the neartst settlement, but ran on in frantic haste to escape pursuit. For several days she subsisted on roocs and berries, and was growing very weak when she came to a swamp, there hearing the whoops of the Indians in pursuit she crawled inside of a big hollow log lying in the swamp and prayed fervently for deliverance. She heard the Indians running, and one of them stood on the log within which she was concealed, whooping and calling. At last she heard them going a way, and after a long time, when all was quiet, she crawled out and walked for hours till she came to a road which she followed till it parted in two directions. Fearing that one of them might lead her to the Indian camp, she hid in the bushes and prayed to be directed. Soon a little bird came chirping and fluttering about her, then flew off up one of the roads. Believing the Lord had sent the bird to guide her, she followed that road till it brought her to our camp. We were the first white people she had seen for a year and she cried for joy—poor thing.  For awhile she journeyed with us, theft with our assistance, she finally reached her home and kindred.’

“The farm which Thomas Buckner selected was in a beautiful and fertile region twenty miles from what is now the city of Louisville, but which must have been a small town then as it was founded in 1778, only seventeen years before grandfather emigrated to Kentucky. On that farm his children were raised, and later I myself was born there. I have heard some of the aunts and uncles say it was a busy community, where besides the farm work, in which grandfather and the bigger boys took part, as well as the negroes, there was the weaving, spinning, dyeing, knitting and sew-‘ng to be done for that large family of whites and [blacks?]. The shoemaker in those days traveled from farm to farm making and repairing shoes for the family, for his board and wages, and he must have found the Buckner farm the most profitable one in that region. Uncle Ben one of the youngest sons used to tell of how the mischievous ones, of whom he was the leader, would beg the shoemaker to put ‘squeaks’ in father’s mother’s and [unreadable]other’s shoes, that the children might have warning of their approach, when they were in mischief. For all that they grew up a fine looking, energetic and capable set of men and women much respected in the communities in which they lived. After my father and mother had settled in Louisville, a distant cousin of the family called Col. Nick or Nicholas Buckner used to come to our house and he told us many stories about the Indians. He was a great Indian fighter, and hated ‘the red devils’ as he called them, and we children were spell-bound listeners to his tales. He had a dramatic way of acting them out, taking aim with his gun at an imaginary foe in a way which thrilled us to the marrow. One of these was about the…

CHINEWORTH SPRING MASSACRE.

“Not far from the Buckner farm was a beautiful spring of water called the ‘Chineworth Spring’ from the family who owned the place. One day a report reached Col. Nick that a party of Indians had been seen near Chineworth place. In great haste he started with his company of Indian fighters, armed with shot guns and rifles for the Chineworth farm. No Indians were found at the Spring, but when they reached the cabin, seeing no signs of life about they pushed open the door and there to their horror saw Mr. Chineworth on the floor dead, and his murdered children around him—all had been scalped. One child only had escaped death. Pursuing their search they found in another room this child, a little girl, trying to kindle a flame by blowing on a few coals left in the fireplace. With sobs she told of hearing the dreadful cries and blows, and knew that the Indians were killing them all and had slipped out ot bed on the side next the wall and hid behind the bed curtain, by which means she escaped the tomahawk and scalping knife of the Indians who passed through the room without seeing her. Being asked about her mother she said ‘They are all dead but me!’ Pursuing their search they found in the yard traces of blood, following [unreadable] they reached the spring house, a rude cabin built over the outlet to the spring in which milk and butter were kept. Here they found Mrs. Chineworth covered with blood from a wound in the body, and her head scalped. She said the Indians drove a spear through her body as she ran, which pinned her to the earth, and taking her scalp left her for dead. Bye and bye she returned to consciousness and managed to pull the spear from her body, then swooned again; but finally crawled on hands and knees to the spring, bathed her wounds and with a piece of her skirt managed to bind them up and waited for help.”[2]

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😮 OMGosh. am I going to just leave you hanging here?! Well, yes, actually, that’s the plan… 😉  For the rest of the book, go to Archive.org via the link in my Endnotes below… 🙂  (You can resume the story at page 10 of either the full-book-view top of the url-page below, or, the pdf version.)
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ENDNOTES

1. FindAGrave.com, memorials no.  90324204, “Priscilla Aylett Buckner Reardon,” at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=90324204 , created by P. V. Hays; and, no.  6689587, “Lambert Jeffrey Reardon,” at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6689587 , created by “K.”

2. REARDON, Priscilla Aylette (BUCKNER); Tuley, Katherine Edmondson, Reminiscences of the Buckner family (Chicago, 1901); online at Archive.org at https://archive.org/details/reminiscencesofb00rear , accessed July, 2016.  Downloadable in several formats.  Not in copyright per Archive.org.
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of mules and other people: remembrances of life on a georgia farm, by thomas (tom) ernest buckner

Of Mules And Other People: Remembrances Of Life On A Georgia Farm
“By Thomas (Tom) Ernest BUCKNER

“These events/remembrances took place on the Ernest Calhoun Buckner (1880-1958) & Lois Newton Buckner (1904-1991) Douglas County [Georgia, U.S.A.] family farm.

Ernest Calhoun BUCKNER & wife Lois (NEWTON) [1]

“You will likely find a variety, or should I say an abundance, of animals on farms.  At least that was true when I grew up on a farm.  Many were the domesticated versions of cats, dogs, cows, mules, horses, and perhaps chickens.  I say ‘“perhaps chickens’ because I could never decide whether they should be called ‘domesticated’ when they were so hard to catch.  And that reminds me of the tale of a farmer who developed a three legged chicken so he, his wife, and son could all enjoy a drumstick with their dinner by killing only one chicken.  As the story goes the chicken was so fast on its feet it could outrun a speeding car.  When asked ‘How good are the drumsticks?’ the farmer quipped, ‘Don’t know, never caught one.’

“Then there are the mostly undomesticated animals such as rabbits, squirrels, mice, rats, snakes lizards, toads and such, and I must not forget mosquitoes and flies.  And that reminds me of the time the farmer, his wife, and son, not having succeeded in catching a chicken, went to town and ordered chicken at the local eatery.  Upon finishing their drumsticks the farmer when asked if they would like dessert and having noticed a pie sitting on the counter answered, ‘Yes, a slice of that raisin pie would be nice.’  The waitress as she waved her hand over the pie remarked, ‘not raisin, apple.’

“Some of our animals had names. Dogs had names like Spot and Red (my favorite) and others long forgotten.  Unfortunately, Red and Spot were destroyed by the county sheriff due to a rabies scare in the community.  The sheriff would have quarantined them but they became suspicious and would not allow me or any other person to approach them.  That left no choice but for the sheriff to destroy them.  An act, for which my sister, Mary, never forgave him.

“We had cats which appeared from nowhere and proliferated at rates at which rabbit families would have been proud.  If our cats had names I am not aware.  That was my sisters’ domain.  The cats were not allowed in the house.  Keeping them out was no easy task for they would back up against the kitchen door like water behind a dam and spill in if the door was left ajar or not closed fast enough.  Our dogs never had such expectations except Spot, who disappeared for several weeks one year and upon returning home would not take ‘no’ for an answer regarding house entry when it heard a loud noise like thunder or a gunshot.  On such occasions it was hazardous to be between the dog and a door.  If it succeeded in achieving entry it could usually be found hiding under a bed somewhere in the house.  We surmised that spot had been shot because upon his return, his friendly wagging tail had drooped to the floor and never wagged again.  Evidence of scarring near his spine attested to that theory.

“Our Mules were named but not just any names. They were named for family members such as myself and my siblings.  I suppose their naming in such a way was because they were so much a part of the family, an honor reserved for hard working contributors to the welfare of the farm.  Tom, Mary, and Joe got us through a number of years.  I don’t know why we never named a mule Elizabeth or David, the youngest and oldest of my siblings, maybe because they already held special places of honor as the alpha and omega or maybe we just ran out of more easily articulated names before we ran out of mules or before we discovered we could have abbreviated them Liz or Dave; something that never occurred to country folk like us so isolated from such worldly nickname practices.

“All that about names brings to mind our last mule, Mary, who was replaced by a Ford tractor in 1949.  Mary was an exceptionally large mule who was bought at a quite reasonable price because she was very skittish, and too, she had a slow-healing injury to a forefoot which required several months of treatment requiring three strong men to control her for daily treatments.  Whether it was that experience or some other experience or inbred quality that caused her to be so nervous and skittish I’ll never know.  Whatever it was contributed to a character that, to refer to her as ‘nervous’ and ‘skittish,” is an insult to an animal of such intelligence and spirit.  Therefore; I will no longer refer to her in those terms which should become obvious in the upcoming discussion as well as why I keep calling her a ‘who’ rather than a ‘what’ or ‘it.’

“Hoof Beats in The Night

“Late many a night it was not unusual to be awakened by thundering hoof beats.  They were barely audible as Mary galloped through the woods behind our farmhouse and then increased in volume as Mary came up the side yard finally reaching a crescendo as she pounded across the front yard, a sound which must have been reminiscent of Paul Revere’s midnight ride through the streets of Concord.  It can only be imagined that Mary, like Paul Revere, was trying to warn us of some impending attack.  Most likely; however, she, like many of us, would rather risk insults than be ignored.

“We soon learned that her efforts to warn us or, I suspect, merely gain some attention, need not require us to get out of bed and try to round her up.  That response would prove to be an exercise in futility.  When we would awake mornings she would be grazing contentedly in the yard or in a nearby farm field but never far away.  One memorable occasion is illustrious of Mary’s personality.

“But first, a short tale I thought was a joke until I knew Mary.

“It seems a farmer had a mule which would not stay inside the fence.  It would always jump the fence and no solution was found until the farmer learned that he merely had to release the mule outside the fence and it would jump in.

“A Memorable Occasion

“One morning after one of Mary’s typical ‘midnight rides’ I found her grazing in a field about a hundred yards from our house.  Gathering up her bridle I approached her whereupon she stopped grazing and stood eyeing me sideways as I slowly approached.  When I got within an arms reach of her she bolted, stopping a few hundred feet away.  That behavior was repeated until we reached a neighbor’s barn whereupon she jumped over a six-foot fence into that barn lot leaving a few belly hairs on the top fence strand.  Upon cornering her she jumped out and disappeared across the fields in the direction of the next farm about three quarters of a mile further away.  When we reached that farm she had jumped the fence into that lot and at that time the chase had taken us about a mile from our barn.  When cornered there, however, she easily cleared the fence and disappeared in the direction of our farm.  Upon returning home we found her waiting in her stable with an ‘AHA! GOTCHA! WHAT KEPT YA!?’ attitude.

“Skittish” Mary BUCKNER The Mule, Circa 1944 On The Douglas Co., GA, Farm [1]

“If possible, I would apologize to Mary for suggesting that she was skittish.  She, like many of us, simply had a very sensitive nature.  When hitched to a plow, wagon or other tool you might damage the appliance or destroy some crops if you spoke other than softly to her.  A barely audible suggestion (not command) like a soft cluck to start or softly spoken whoa to stop was all that was necessary.  Anything louder and her head would jerk back and you had better have a good grip on the reins and the plow or other tool to which she was hitched.

“Other Mules

“All our mule stories weren’t about Mary although the most memorable were about her.  I remember one event surrounding one of our mules when I was about nine years old.  It involved a mule but it wasn’t about a mule.  Me, my older brother, and two friends from a neighboring farm were playing in our pasture one fine Sunday afternoon.  Momma and Daddy were away for the afternoon.  In that pasture there was a gully about ten feet deep and fifteen feet across and hanging from a tall tree on the edge of that gully was a wonderful vine swing on which we swung across the gully pretending we were Tarzan.  That afternoon we had tired of being ‘Ape Man’ and began to explore other avenues of excitement.  It occurred to someone in the group we ought to be cowboys.  Having no horse, the best thing available was one of our mules.  My older brother and the older of our two friends bridled the mule and were taking turns pretending to be Gene Autry or some other notable cowboy.  My brother, when it came his turn felt he ought to prod the mule into a gallop (a trot at best) because what kind of cowboy wouldn’t gallop.  He, with some difficulty, prodded the mule to a trot and the area being wooded and rough it wasn’t long before he fell to the ground landing on a tree root.  Upon hearing his cries we converged on him lying on the ground moaning and holding his arm.  From the obvious distortion of his arm we guessed that his arm was broken or dislocated.

“The mule was hastily returned to the barn lot and because of an unspoken but perceived prohibition of riding our mules we concocted the story that the injury was caused by a fall from the vine swing and that is what we told our parents when they returned.  The culmination of that lie led to the demise of our fine vine swing which daddy mercilessly chopped from the tree.  If we had told the truth I don’t think daddy would have destroyed the mule and we would have still have had our swing.  To my memory we never told him about riding the mule.  I will never know what punishment would have been exacted had he known.  Probably little, except a severe reminder, ‘stay off the mules, you might get hurt.’  In those days of little or no money any injury was serious if it cost anything. If a doctor was involved, it was very serious.

“Mules and Watermelons

“The major crop on our farm was home grown tomatoes, the next being large watermelons of a variety developed by my grandfather (William Ernest Buckner 1842-1923 a civil war veteran) and referred to as Buckner melons, the seeds to which have long been lost.  They were developed for the local market and had a thin rind no thicker than about one half inch.  The red, sweet meat extended from the heart to the rind and it was fabled at least by family that many grew as large as 100 pounds.  We never thought to use our steelyard to weigh them, never occurring to us that scales used for weighing cotton could have been used to weigh watermelons.  The largest and best of our melons were enjoyed by ourselves, relatives and neighbors because they provided seeds for next year’s crop.  Needless to say because of their size and fragility they could not stand the rigors of bulk handling and long distance hauling in large truck loads.  Daddy, in his old melon-laden beat up pickup truck, was pulled over by the Atlanta Police to buy a melon on at least one occasion.

“Depending on the variety and quantity of our crops we would make up to five trips per week to the Atlanta Farmer’s market but three was most common.

“On one occasion daddy had taken a load of produce to the Georgia Farmer’s market located in Atlanta leaving me and my older brother to haul a load of watermelons from the field in our two horse (mule) wagon.  As we were loading the melons, our two friends of the mule-riding fiasco showed wanting us to go to the movies with them.  We explained that we couldn’t because of the need of hauling the melons to the house whereupon they insisted on helping us get done in time to accompany them to town (a three-mile walk).  Upon loading the wagon we chose to ascend a rather steep and rutted field road to save time.  But the mule team consisting of Mary and Tom didn’t cooperate.  Mary was high spirited and energetic but Tom was just the opposite.  No sooner had we started up the hill when Tom decided he wanted to stop but with the load being too heavy for Mary alone progress halted.  It was necessary for both of them to start together but that became impossible since Tom had to be lashed with the reins and yelled at to get him to move and as you may recall Mary insisted on a quiet cluck to start.  I leave it to your imagination to describe the scene.  The two mules alternately started and stopped in fits and jerks until finally the two lunged together in a mighty heave.  The tail gate splintered with a crunch and an avalanche of melons spilled onto the ground.  Rivulets of melon juice trickled down the ruts.  I remember virtually nothing about the rest of the day except there was no movie that day.  I don’t even remember daddy’s reaction when he returned that evening.  Perhaps there was little since sometimes parents must just shake their heads and move on.”[2]

 

Residing In 2016 In Thomas Ernest BUCKNER’s East TN backyard: A Wheel From The Douglas County Farm Melon Wagon [1]

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Thomas (Tom) Ernest BUCKNER is a 5th cousin twice removed from me, the 2nd son of Ernest Calhoun BUCKNER (May 27, 1880 Cobb County, Georgia, USA – May, 1958 Douglas County, Georgia; buried Mount Harmony Baptist Church Cemetery, Mableton, Cobb County, Georgia) & Ernest’s 2nd wife, Lois NEWTON (Feb. 28, 1904 Georgia – June 6, 1991 Johnson City, Washington County, Tennessee; Mount Harmony Baptist Church Cemetery), daughter of Thomas Norman NEWTON & Emma Harriett (Hattie) ALLEN.

Ernest married 1st, Minnie Beatrice EASON (Jan. 24, 1883 Georgia – July 22, 1924 Cobb County, Georgia; Mount Harmony Baptist Church Cemetery), daughter of Nathaniel Manuel EASON & Sarah Ann SMITH.

A biGGG Thank you!, shout-out to Tom Ernest BUCKNER… 🙂 😉

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ENDNOTES

1. Joel Barry Buckner family photo; used here with permission.

2. Thomas (Tom) Ernest BUCKNER; June, 2016.
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