Pete Fergusons Story
This is my life right here, and when my daddy inherited this, he started to farm just a little bit, him and I. And so I did most of the farming. He told me what he wanted and I got in and did it, whether it's to plow.. . .he helped too. . . he helped, but I got in and did all the hard work, like the plowing, and cleaning up, and everything. But one day he wanted, he decided, to put this bluff in corn. He said, "I want to put this bluff in corn. What you think about it?" And I said, "Yeah. So I went ahead and plowed it, cause I love farming. At one time, I thought it was hard work, but I loved it, after I got into it. So I plowed this bluff, and put corn in it. I worked it and worked it. I worked it, and he come up here, and he helped me to work it. That's when the corn first started coming up, getting the weeds out of it. The tallest stalks of corn were about to your knees. (laughs) That's the tallest part, about to your knees (laughing). And the biggest ear on it, (laughing more) I'd say the biggest ear on it was about the size of that knob on that cabinet that's right there. My daddy looked at it and he said, We cant cut it. I says, "Ahh, we can cut it . You don't wanta cut it." I said I'd go up there and cut it for him. So I come up here and I started cutting, and after I done started cutting it, I said, "This corn, (I agreed with him after I'd gone ahead and started cutting it. Had to get down like this and cut). This corn ain't no count!" And I said, "I know what to do. I'll go ahead and cut it, make fodder out of it, feed it to the cows.
So next day he asked me how I was doing, so I said, "Ahhh, I'm pretty good. Next day, he's feeling better so he came up with me to cut. And so we started cutting and he, (chuckle) he was down there cutting, I'm going on, you know. I'm just going on, I'm young, I'm going on, so he, hes cutting a long way back behind me, cutting, and working and I could hear him, "Whew, whew! (Laughter) He was working on it, when finally he said, "Hey, son." So I hollered, "Hey," like that. He said, "Well, forget about this. It ain`t no good." I said, "Well, we can cut it, feed it to the cows." He said, "I tell ya what. What you already done cut, let's bring the wagon up here and throw it on now and give it to the cows . We won't have to worry 'bout this.
It was a couple days later, I brought the wagon up, and I throwed it on there and carried it on to the field and scattered out for the cows. Later, sitting on the porch, he said, "I tell ya. Corn won't grow in there, but I know something that will grow in there. I said, "What's that?" He said, "Just plow that under. Just plow stalks and all. Just plow it under." I said, "What you gonna put in there?" He said, "I'm gonna sow it in buckwheat. Buckwheat'll grow anywhere." So I said, "Well, that's a good idea. Yeah, sow it in buckwheat." Then I said, "Well, where you gonna get the buckwheat? Where you gonna get the seed at? Aint anybody around here grows buckwheat cept Mr. Bishop, and hes left." He said, "Well, I don't know, but I'll find some. Ill find some seed for buckwheat. We'll find some. You go ahead and plow it up, and while you plowing it, I'll be looking around." Now, he can't drive , he can't drive a lick, but he gonna find buckwheat! I says, Okay. So I go ahead and go to plowing, and he's sitting down there on the porch. I don't know who he talked to or who he stopped up and down the road, but I go in one day, he says, "Well, we can go pick up our buckwheat. How long you gonna be plowing?" I said, "Oh, about another day, I'll be through with it." He said, "Well, you go ahead and finish the plowing and we'll go pick up our buckwheat. We were gonna get a couple bushels of buckwheat. He said, About four bushels, isn't it?" I said, " Yeah, about four or five bushels. How you sow it? You gonna drill it in or broadcast it?" He said, "Ah, we'll broadcast it. It's too steep for the drill, so we'll broadcast it." I said, "Oh, okay". He said, "I'll broadcast it, you do the fertilizing." I said, "Okay, get that buckwheat in.
I don't know where he'd got that buckwheat, but anyhow, when we got ready to go, him and I got in the truck and we went and got it. I can't remember now where we got that buckwheat. I don't know whether we went down over here, or. . .I done forgot all these little places around here now, it's been so long. I don't know whether we went to Athens and got that buckwheat or what it was, but anyhow, we got that buckwheat. He found that buckwheat through some of his friends that were riding up and down the road, while he was sitting on that porch, and so we planted it. Buckwheat come up. Ah, man, it was the prettiest stand of buckwheat when it first started coming up. That was the prettiest buckwheat you ever want to see, all righty! So we admired that buckwheat. Ahhh, he was proud of that buckwheat coming up, but one day he looked at it, and that buckwheat was only about as high as the sole on your shoe! (Laughter) He looked at that buckwheat and he said, "That ground is too poor to grow dirt!" (laughing) I laughed and I said, "Too poor to grow dirt! Well, look at it this way. You put corn in it, and it got up to your knees. You put buckwheat in it, and it got up to your shoe sole. What are you gonna try next? He said, "That ground's too poor to grow dirt!" He said, "Forget it!" So I said, "What are you gonna do with the buckwheat? You gonna try to cut it?" He said, "You can't cut that. Let the birds have it!"
I said, "Well, what you gonna do with it? What you gonna do with this piece of ground? He said, "Aint nothing I can do with it. It's too poor to grow buckwheat! Buckwheat won't grow in it, corn won't grow in it, it's too poor to grow dirt! There ain't nothing I can do with it. Just let it go!" Then I said, "Give it to me!" He looked at me. So I said to him, "When I said to give it to me, you looked like you quit breathing." He don't say nothing, he just stood there. So finally I said, "I tell you what. Corn won't grow in it. Buckwheat won't grow in it. Give it to me. Tell you what you do. If you give me this property up here, if you give me all of this up here, I won't claim none of that down at the home place." He looked at me and he said, "Nahhh, can't do that." I said, "Why?" He said, "You got other sisters and brothers." I said, "Yeah, but they can divide that up down there. I don't want to be down there at the other place. Just give me this up here. He said, "Nahhh, those other brothers and sisters. You can't be greedy, you gotta look out for them. What they gonna think, you got all this up here and they've got that little bit down there?" I said, "Well, they all done moved away from here, and they ain't coming back no way. He said, "Naaahhh, that wouldn't be right." I said, "I tell you what. Give me from the creek to the top of Buckhorn Mountain. From Spencer. (Spencers owned it at that time) From Spencer's line to Roberta's line (which is my sister, this one right here. She owns all that). Give me that." And he said, "Nah, I can't do that either." I said, "You can't give me . . .? They've got from the creek to East River divided up like they want it, plus that down there." He said, "Yeah, that's true, but I still can't do that." I said, "Why not?" He said, "Give you from the creek to the top? Well, what's your other sisters and brothers gonna do if they want water?" I said, "They can get water any time they want to. I ain't gonna stop them from getting no water." He said, "AAAhhh, you might get mad at them." I said, "I ain't gonna get that mad at them that they can't get a drink of water, or water their cows or whatever they want." And he said, "What are you gonna do with it? Strip the mountain?" I said, "No, I ain't gonna strip no mountain, I'm gonna put a house right there." And he looked at me and didn't say nothing, and I said, "Well, I tell you what." Before he could get his breath, I said, "I tell you what. Give me from the middle of the creek. (I'm thinking now, I'm getting serious now.) Give me from the middle of the creek to the top of the mountain."
He looked at me and he says, "What you gonna do with it? What you gonna do with it if I give you from the middle of the creek." We were standing right there in the center of the road, and he said, "What you gonna do with it?" And I said, "I'm gonna put a house right there." He looked at me. "Yeah, I said. I'm gonna put a house right there. You give me that from the middle of the creek to the top of Buckhorn Mountain, from Spencer's line to Roberta's line, and I'm gonna put me a house right there." He put up his hands. "It's yours." That's all he said. He said, "It's yours ". And I told him I was gonna put a house here and I wasn't gonna strip the mountain. He says, "It's yours." He didn't put it in writing, he didn't put it down on paper, and it was his word and my word, and my belief,and his belief, and our trust in each other. And so it's been that way ever since. And so, he always taught us not to fight or argue over this property. So when he passed, I came home to the funeral, and my mother asked me, she said, "Pete. I said, "Yes maam." She said, "Your daddy told me to ask you, do you still want that property up there, that bluff? And I said, "Yeah, I'm gonna put a house up there as soon as I retire. When I get the money, I aim to put me a house up there." And two of her brothers were standing there in the kitchen, Junie and James, the one is living and the one is dead. They was standing there in the kitchen, and there was somebody else standing there in that kitchen that morning. I can't recall who it was, was standing in there, and she said, "Well, he told me to ask you. And I said, "Yeah, I want it. So she said, "Well, if that's what you want, then it is yours. Ain't anybody gonna take it away from you." And so. . . I got it. My mother said that Daddy told her that if I didn't want it, wasn't gonna put my house on it, then it'd go back into the estate, to be divided up equally. But this is mine.
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