Out On The Mudline

Life On Farm Becomes More Hectic During War

By W. P. Sissell

The Free Tour

    As the year approached when I would graduate from high school, life on our farm became a little more hectic. For most of our class of 1943 a paid tour of either Europe or the South Pacific was coming.

  One afternoon a gentleman came by with a message for my Dad.  The people owning the farm adjoining ours on the east and north of the creek were going to sell.  They had agreed to give Dad the first chance.  We knew all the people working the place and we needed  the extra crop land.  Dad bought the place the next morning, while he was in town.  This gave us a total of eleven hundred twenty acres and I could roam about a mile south or north of the Mud Line, starting at the O’tuckalofa steel bridge.  If you followed the road that went north from the bridge you came to a small hill past which the old O’tuckalofa run flowed.  For most of my life, Sam Adams and family lived and worked the land on the surrounding part of the McClarty farm.  

    Continuing on the aforementioned road, you came to a second larger hill.  There were three fairly new houses on this hill, along with the older Dog-Trot style.  This was the main house of the farm where the barns and dinner bell were located.  Ulis (my dad’s spelling) Morgan and family lived in this house.  In later years Floyd McCain and his wife, Ella, lived in this house and later Claiborne and Fannie Biles.      

    Immediately to the east of the barns and main house site, a main branch of the Old Run of O’tuckalofa was to be found.  It was easily recognizable by the several giant Cypress  stumps found  along with several downed trees (Choctaws) that had been rejected as saw timber because the tops were “pecky.”  

    These, formerly rejected trees, were the ones that Joe Stribling and Dave Folson used to teach me about the use of the sledge, the wedge and the cross-cut saw (before the day of the chain-saw).  A single 10 or 12 foot cut was a load for our wagon.   Most of these old trees were sawed into well-curbing timber on our sawmill while I was getting that free tour of Europe.  

I Learn About Rivers and Flood Plains

    Many years later, as I studied Geology, I recognized these two hills as monadnocks, areas that defied erosion, in the combining floodplains of Yocona River and O’touckalofa Creek.  Do you ever try to picture the landscape as it looked thousands of years ago.  I often wonder about the age of “Spring Hollow,” for the east wall of the hill from whence it flows, is in the neighborhood of one hundred feet high.  

    At one time, I tried to climb that almost straight-up structure and never even gave the rattlers a thought.  On the west side of that valley (hollow), you can find rocks the size of large automobiles.  The next hill to the east   is the one from which Shirley McCain and I (probably in the way more than helping) hauled many loads of sand rock to be used in ballast for concrete barn floors.   

    Our north line was now about a quarter mile north of the main house that I have described.  At the time we needed the extra cropland, although the coming construction of Enid Reservoir was imminent.  There were a number of other factors working in addition to those mentioned.  

    I wouldn’t change the following years.  We’ve many friends made through the years.  We wish for each and every one of you a great week.  May every day be another blessing.  

    You can reach me most of the time  at 23541 Hwy 6, Batesville, MS 38606, 662-563-9879 or wsissell@bellsouth.net.

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