Stories From the Past - Ogletree Family Stories

shared photo

A photograph made in 1917 of the William Campbell Ogletree and wife Mary Elizabeth Gilpatrick Ogletree family.

Stories From the Past - Ogletree Family Stories

Charlotte Smith Garrett, the daughter of the late Charlie Lee Smith and wife Joyce Ogletree Smith, shared the following family memories. This week’s edition is Part One. Additional stories will be included in the following weeks:

“Elbert Bedford Ogletree was born November 21, 1888 and died on July 4, 1969. Julia Ann Rose Ogletree was born December 5, 1891 and died April 13, 1990. They were married on August 12, 1908 at Hilham. Julie was 17 and Eb was 20 when they got married.

“My mother, Joyce Smith, said that Grandma Julie saw Pa Eb the first time as he was driving oxen pulling a sled with their ‘plunder’ (their household goods). She was 15 and Pa was 17. She was standing on the porch of Millard Ogletree’s house on the Upper Hilham Road. Uncle John Rose later lived there. The house is gone but a mobile home is there now. It is in the curve on the right before the Walnut Grove Church. She said the family was moving their furniture to a house they had bought on Upper Hilham Road. Years and years later, one late afternoon, we began to see black smoke in the direction of the old house. Grandma began to be distressed because she was afraid the old house was burning. Unfortunately she was right and it burned to the ground.

“Grandma Julie told me once she didn’t think she and Eb was ever going to have a child.

“Their children are:

• Nellie Elizabeth Ogletree Weems, 04-29-1911

• Bessie Velma Ogletree Sells, 06-09-1913

• Felix Campbell Ogletree, 11-12-1915

• George Lester Ogletree, 07-10-1918

• Fannie Jean Ogletree Hunter, 06-05-1921

• Elbert Dale Ogletree, 02-02-1924

• Walter Glynn (Speck) Ogletree, 11-17-1926

• Alice Joyce Ogletree Smith, 05-05-1930

“Uncle Dale Ogletree said on 09/06/2010 that after Pa’s father died, Grandma Mary Elizabeth Ogletree lived with her son Eb until she was 86. She had tried living with someone else once and went to Oklahoma once. She lived with Pa Eb even when they still lived on Thomas Road before they moved over the mountain to Walnut Grove.

“Mom once told me Grandma Mary Elizabeth Ogletree (they called her Liz) had a saying that went something like this:

‘Use it up

Don’t throw it out

Make it work’

“Mom said several times that nothing was thrown away. Everything had a use. Old tattered sheets would be saved for bandages and so forth. If anyone had a cut or injury, Grandma Julie would wash it with a bar of black soap that she kept in the metal cabinet in the kitchen. She then would tie up the wound with a clean strip of old cloth.

“Pa’s father was William Campbell Ogletree born in 1851and died in 1925. Pa’s mother was Mary Elizabeth Gilpatrick Ogletree was born in 1852 and died in 1936.

“My uncle, Speck Ogletree, said that the way to get to Pa Eb’s home place at the head of Flat Creek back then was to drive up the creek because there was no road. He said on wash day they had to walk up a steep hill to get to the water or build a fire up there to wash because the house was down below the head of the creek. That made the job hard.

“I was told by someone that Grandma Liz Ogletree was once bitten by a copperhead and recovered. But it gave her trouble the rest of her life. When I asked Speck what Grandma Ogletree was like he said, ‘she was a very loving person despite all of her hardships’.

“In 1990, Grandma Julie told the story of something that happened to her mother-in-law, Mary Elizabeth Ogletree. It was late one night she and the children were alone at her home at the head of Flat Creek. This happened before Pa Eb was born. Her husband, William Campbell Ogletree, was out hunting. He sometimes went hunting and stayed gone long periods of time.

“She heard a knock at the door. The hour was late and dark outside in the winter. She answered the door and there stood a man. He had a long mustache and was wearing spurs. He asked if he could come inside and stay the night. In those days you never turned anyone away. She said yes. The house was one room with two beds, one on each side of the room. He slept in one and she and the children slept in the other. She did not sleep any that night. She thought that he didn’t either because every time she turned her eyes toward him she could tell his eyes were open because she saw the light from the fireplace shining in his eyes. He kept his spurs on and hung his feet off the edge of the bed. When dawn broke he got up and left. Nothing was ever known about who he was or what he was doing out that night.

“Grandma Julie said that on another occasion Grandma Mary Elizabeth Ogletree was walking home alone in the woods at night. She may have been holding one of her babies. She kept hearing something behind her. Every time she ran, it would run. Every time she stopped, it would stop. This went on like that until she got to her house. She was very frightened that night.

“Uncle Dale told me that Eb and Julie Ogletree bought the home place on Walnut Grove Road on January 1st, 1927. Dale was almost three years old. They bought it from Christopher Columbus Gore (Dale called him Lum). (He signed the old deed ‘C. C. Gore’.) Mr. Gore had bought the place in 1907 and lived there 20 years. The old house was already there when he bought it.

“Eb and Julie moved in from a house that was on Thomas Road. We have a picture that Speck made of Grandma inside the old house on Thomas Road before it was torn down. She was sitting beside the large fireplace. The house was close to the pond on Thomas Road that is still there. My mother loved to go by and see it because she said Pa had either dug the pond or had helped dig it.

“After they moved in, Pa Eb added on the kitchen, dining room, and back bedroom to the house. There was a small, unattached room in the back that housed the cook stove that was torn down.

“Dale frequently mentioned ‘Goodpasture Lands’ and Pa’s old deed states that his farm was ‘formerly Goodpasture Lands’. Mr. Goodpasture’s property also included the Copeland farm on Walnut Grove Road, and Mr. Goodpasture’s residence was on that farm. It was Albert V. Goodpasture that lived there that gave the address at Livingston on July 4, 1876, about the history of Overton County.

“On the mountain behind Eb and Julie Ogletree’s house is a sinkhole that fondly became known as the ‘Henderson Hole’ by Dale and Speck Ogletree. Dale and Speck said that Henderson Savage, his wife Margaret, and his brother John Savage lived in the old Nola and Elzie Dailey house that was on Walnut Grove Road. The old well and the old holly tree are still there.

“According to Dale and Speck, Henderson Savage once went down in the hole as he held onto a rope. I don’t remember how far down Dale said he went, but he did make it out okay. Speck said he used to throw rocks down in the hole and you could hear the sound of it keep going and going down - pinging off the walls of the hole. He said, ‘you could just hear it going ping, ping, ping on the rocks as it went down’.

“They told me that the three graves that are around the site where the Dailey’s used to live are Henderson Savage, his wife Margaret J. Savage, and his brother, John Savage. At one time there was a sign by the side of Walnut Grove Road that read ‘Henderson Savage Cemetery’.”