Katherine Popkins


This farm and Lud's together was 385 acres. Ayres came between Route 1 and Lud's. Then Lud bought the little chapel, in other words bought the school and left it for St. Louis. Then Father Smet got into it so they could build the church.

The whole thing, the two farms, was 385 acres all together. George was the first child, and then Lud and then Maude. Lil and Earl are the youngest. George went to Washington and he worked for the district government and Lil worked for the federal government. Jack went to Texas and married a woman from down Texas.

Earl was three years old when they came here. He was born 1893. I was born 1894. He bought it through Senator Edwards of New York. Then he died and they finished paying for it through the boards. When I got here it was paid for.

The road when I first came out here was nothing but gravel to the highway till Earl and Lud gave the road to the state. Popkins Lane belongs to the state. They paved the road up to Coventry Road. Then they stopped. They didn't come up here to do a thing. We had the double gate. He shut it at night. It was down at Popkins Lane.

As you go past those double gates we had four apple trees. And then all along the road near the fence we had cedar trees. They had a strawberry patch and they told me if I picked the berries I could gel money for them if I took them to town.

All the trees have died except one. Everyone said, "Don't cut it down because it looks so pretty up there with all the birds on it."

Coventry Road wasn't there then, it belonged to us, you see. We got rid of White Oaks during W.W. II. That's how White Oaks developed.

The house and all is the same, but they had two cherry trees out on the hill. Everything was just typical country in other words. Real farmers those days.

This house was built from the lumber of Fort Lyon.

When we had heat put in we had a little wooden door, like a little basement, and where the wooden door is we would put potatoes and stuff like that for the winter. It would preserve them. But then when we had heat put in we wanted radiators so we had to get somebody to dig under the house. So Dick Ferguson, he had to crawl on his stomach and dig and dig and dig all under here so we could get radiators here.

I didn't realize how much work till I got out here. His mother and father was still living here. And they were very nice. I got along fine. I can't say anything about my in-laws, just as nice as could be.

Will Randall was almost like one of the family. He and his brother, George, they real old fashioned colored people, always nice. The Wilkinson's farm is down over the hill, Kirk Wilkinson's place. I didn't know too much of the farm. We had to borrow money to pay off the other Ayres, I knew that much. That was back when Earl's father died and he was the only farmer, so the other six had to be paid off. We had to borrow money from the bank to do that.

We made a pond for the cows to walk in and keep the flies off in the summer. The kids used to go up there and bathe and they wasn't very particular about bathing. The cows stayed there all night long but they (the kids) bathed there anyway.

The pond fed from all kinds of natural springs. When they built houses on them, I don't know what happened to the springs.

Milk really tasted like milk. We used to make butter. Now I buy butter but it don't taste the same.

The horse and buggy horse was Faxie (Fairfax). Earl, he had stuck to the same names as Maude or May, or Nellie and May or something. We had a riding horse, Alice, a very expensive horse. We used to breed horses in those days.

We used to have so many dogs. We've always had dogs around here ever since I've come out here we've had either English setters or hounds. The last dog I had was an Irish Setter. His name was Jeb. I don't know where we got him. But he was a nice dog and a big dog; he was so ferocious you couldn't get near him. He'd knock you down and he'd look at you. He'd jump up on you. So Charlie Beach - I said, "Charlie, you tell Jean (it was a friend he worked with) if she wants a good dog, come down here and get this Jeb."

I couldn't put up with Jeb cause when I got up in the morning, if he knocked me down I couldn't get up! And nobody would know I was down there, so I don't know what might happen to me. I might freeze to death or something or other so I got rid of Jeb. That's the last dog I had and I don't want any more.

We had some ducks, but the ducks never did stay there very long. Somebody had duck dinner.

I don't hear much about the church any more. I'm not working over there and I don't know much about what's going on. In fact, when I read the bulletin, I don't know any of the names even. I used to take care of the little chapel on Saturdays. I'd go clean up and bring the linens home, wash them and take them back. That was my job on Saturdays.

Our courting in those days was buggy rides and over to Burgundy Farm where they had dances on Saturday nights. We'd drive over in a buggy. Lud and Leo lived over there and had dances on Saturday night. We'd go to the dance and come home at midnight. Some of the neighbors had an orchestra.

I had a girlfriend who married a man by the name of Cane. She said. "Let's go down by the river tonight." I forgot what excursion it was. I said, "Oh, I don't know."

"Oh come on," she says, "I'm not going to have any fun alone, so come with me."

I said, "OK, then, you and I can go as a date." We got down to the water. There was Frank and the other man standing there.

I said, "Who's Frank there with?"

She said. "Oh, I was talking to him the other day and he said he might go down."

I said, "You fooled me, didn't you? You brought me down here so you could have a date."

So then Frank came up and introduced me to Earl.

We'd go to a movie, maybe, on Saturday. I'll tell you my feelings of a thrill on Saturday night when I was a youngster was to go down to King Street at Mr. Blocks and get some ice cream, ten cents a dish. I'd get a quarter a week. I'd go to a movie for fifteen cents and get my ice cream for ten cents. That was my whole weeks wages. Try and do something like that now for a quarter.

I could look out this window and see the Potomac and go down on the hill and see the boat go down to Marshall Hall all lighted up. But you can't see anything anyways near the Potomac now on account of the trees and houses all built up.

We had three men and Hunt Day, he was the oldest. He'd come through White Oaks singing and waking people up. People always knew when Hunt was going to work. You could hear him singing.

Anne Pollard, she's the daughter of Jim. She came up here and worked, washing and ironing for a dollar and a half a day. She worked 7 til 7. She'd walk home. You can't get anything like that now.

I had a cookstove, They'd bring wood in. And in the dining room and the living room we had a potbellied Stove to keep warm.

It was during the Civil War, I think, the northerners came here and used it more like a hospital.  Then it was burned down.

During World War II we had it right down there where Penny Proffit lives - the headquarters. They had everything down there. They'd bring the garbage up here and in those days we fed it to the pigs, I swear it was a shame to see all that good meat and everything being thrown away.

Henson's brother-in-law, he always calls me "boss lady," said something about staying at the farm at night. I said, "Oh, I''m not scared."

He said, "You're not?"

I said, "No, I'm not scared when I have spirits walking around the house with me. There's seven people that died here. They didn't hurt when they were alive and they're not going to hurt me when they're dead." I hear 'em walking around at night and I hear 'em talking to me at night but I can't understand what they're talking about. I wake up furious at night.

Volume Two, Table of Contents
Snake Hill to Spring Bank Homepage

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