Clayton Didn’t Like Grassy Cotton Or Lazy Hands
By W. P. Sissell
Clayton Kennedy and family turned out to be a great find for us. My Dad never liked grassy cotton—didn’t like to have high priced fertilizer growing grass in his cotton fields. Clayton was the same way.
After the first year or two of trying to work the entire allotment, Clayton tried using a share cropper. He traded with an old man and his wife who had grown children. When that grass got to growing those grown children were walking up and down the road courting while their mother and dad tried to get the grass out of the cotton. When Clayton spoke to the old folks they told him those children wouldn’t mind them. Before Clayton got to the children he came to see me. I didn’t think that Clayton Kennedy was in any frame of mind to talk to those young folks. I asked Clayton if he could get hands to chop the cotton. When he answered yes, I told him to tell the old folks what was going to happen and whatever the cost was, would be charged against their part of the crop. I had told him if he needed help on paying the hands I would help him (he never asked for my help). After that, he worked the entire allotment and got extra help to do the chopping, never taking his children out of school.
In the meantime, Nannette had agreed to accept a job as a teacher in the Crowder School, provided we could get Cubell (I’ve written about Cubell before) to keep our children, Nancy and Susan. When Cubell agreed, Nannete took a job as a third grade teacher. Before the term started Nannette traded that third grade place for a seventh and eighth grade position. In one of those grades she found none other than a tall gangling young man named, Danny Kennedy, first son of Clayton and Mildred Kennedy. Once classes started Nannette found that one of the smartest people in her class was named Danny. One of her teaching methods usually involved daily homework assignments. She, most of the time, gave her children time to do that homework there in the classroom so that she could help them. Danny Kennedy soon became her helpmate for it never took him long to complete the homework and she would enlist his help in helping other students.
Several years passed and one day in a conversation Clayton asked about borrowing money to buy a farm of their own. Their children were growing up and he wanted them to have land of their own. I told him that we, Dad and I, would back him at our bank, if he wanted that, but he said that he wanted to move back to the hills. Later he came and told me he had found a place near Hickory Flat that he wanted and it was for sale. When he told the folks that owned the farm he would be back after he arranged to get the money they told him that they would finance the purchase. He came back and told us about the deal, asking if we thought that would be the thing to do—we, Dad and I, thought that would be great.
We found out several years later that Clayton was very smart in caring for his family. He insured the farm loan so that if something happened to him the farm loan was paid, leaving Mildred with the farm free and clear. As I think now, I will have to write a column, next week maybe, just on Clayton Kennedy, an interesting man.
We do hope that you have a great week. I know that the weather man is predicting cold and rainy weather—stay warm. Thank you for letting me write this column.