In 1918 I was 5 years old. My mother had passed away the year before
and I was living with my grandmother Clarissa Mixon in Campbell's
Creek. My cousin Cassie Aldridge Hardy, who was much older than I and
already married, came to visit with her two sons, Drew and Walton. She
invited me to come stay with her family in Oriental for a couple of
We rode up to Washington to catch the train. Cassie had some further
visiting to do and placed Drew, Walton, and me on the train in the care
of the conductor. I was excited because I had never been on a train
before but scared by the noisy, steam and smoke billowing engine. The
boys teased me a bit but it was all in good fun. Watching the
countryside fly by kept me occupied and before I knew it, the train ride
was over. My aunt, Georgia Ann Mixon Aldridge and Cassie's husband
George met us at the station and drove us to cousin Cassie's house.
I met a young girl my age while staying in Oriental that lived nearby
and we became the best of friends, although I have now forgotten her
name. It was very hot that summer so we played indoors until 3:00 PM,
after which we were allowed to go out and swim. At the end of my stay,
Cassie's husband George took me to the jewelry store he owned and gave
me a bracelet. I felt like a princess.
My father Rufus, came to Oriental in his buggy to take me back to
Campbell's Creek. He was very proud of his horses and never missed an
opportunity to show them off. The ride back took three days. Each night
we stayed with relatives along the route where we were welcomed with
open arms. A large feast was always set out for dinner and family news
and stories were swapped at the table. On the last day we drove over the
puncheon road and I remember vividly the sound that the buggy wheels
made riding over the logs.
Since that time I have lived in Virginia, New York, Michigan, and now
Texas but that summer remains with me as one of my fondest memories.
Edwin C. Yaw
Library of Congress
*puncheon road: Logs were split in half and placed cut-side up over
muddy areas, often covered with soil to somewhat smooth the ride.
They were made by felling small trees, cutting them in lengths the
width of the road and placing them side by side. Sometimes they would
take the time to cut boughs to put over them.