Sarah Entwisle


Sarah Entwisle came to the Groveton in 1946 from downtown Alexandria. Mrs. Entwisle, who is 79 years old, shares her families memories and dispositions.

When we first moved here, we had no Giant. The closest store to us was Chauncey's Grocery Store. They furnished the things unless we ran in on Saturday to some of the chain stores in town.

As we came into Groveton we had to cross the Hunting Creek where there is now the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. The kids used to hate to cross that place especially at night. The creek used to back up and was the awfullest place before they filled it up.

There was a colored women who took care of the kids while I worked. We always tended to our own business very strictly and kept the children in the yard. We taught them to mind their own business.

The children used to tell me somethings that I wouldn't tell you. I had a little granddaughter, Rosalie, who had her finger cut off. I had to take her to the doctor, Martin Delaney, everyday and have her finger dressed. The other children all went to Colonial Beach and stayed a week. I kept Rosie and Martha with me. Rosie told the other children that she and I had gone through a haunted house and that spiders got all over us. It was the most ridiculous thing that I had ever heard. The children all came running over and said “Mama, you never took us through the haunted house." I said, "No, and Mama wouldn't have been in that house either."

Now Lois and Billy worked. They went to Hayfield and down to Rose Hill where they had that riding stable. Lois worked down in Hayfield and she had taken a course in English riding. She was a beautiful rider, jumping everything. There wasn't anything she couldn't jump. Lois got married and Billy went into the service and that was the end of their riding.

Everyone of the children used to like school but Martha. Yes, Martha whopped the teacher. I never was so embarrassed in all my life. Now when your mother and aunt went to school, they had to wear dresses, they couldn't show any of their shoulders. They were supposed to wear long sleeved dresses. Their dresses were down below their knees. I remember your grandfather bought Lois and Pat a blouse, when nylon first came out. They wore them to school and the teacher made them come home and take them off.

The children did sometimes get into mischief. Pat, she found a pond and she and your mother went and caught the fish. The poor man had heart trouble and he ran after them. I seen him coming and I went to him and asked, ''What's the matter?" He said that the girls had got his fish.

All this farm land out here belonged to the Ayers. They sold it all off for building lots. There's one place around here that they call "Strawberry Hill.” I don't know exactly where it is. When we first came here the children would take buckets and pick great big buckets of blackberries too. We weren't down here during the depression. We lived in Alexandria. It was awful. You didn't have any jobs. Your great grandfather worked for the railroad. He got maybe two days out of two weeks work. He had to take odd jobs wherever he could get them. We owned a home out on Walnut Street. We lost that during the depression because we couldn't keep it up.

I worked because I had to help Betty and them. Work was scarce and it paid very little. Lewis hadn't got back on his regular job, so I had to work to help. Then they didn't think women should work. During the depression everyone would almost have to get down on their knees and beg to get a job. They would just give you three or four hours a week and then didn't pay you anything. I worked eight hours a day and made nine dollars and something a week. I had to pay a dollar and a quarter to go to Washington.

We went to Dixie Pig out on Washington Street. We used to take the kids to the Dixie Pig. They thought it was the best thing in the world. There was a little place on Washington Street called the White Tavern and it sold great big hamburgers for a nickel. Sometimes on Sunday we used to take them out to this frozen custard place on Washington Street.

Question: I can remember a story you used to tell me about this old women who would sit with a shot gun on her lap and not let anyone in.
You're talking about that old lady who used to live by King's Highway. She had this little house and the government wanted her to sell it. She wouldn't do it. She used to sit out there with that gun over her knee all day long to keep them from her lot. We used to go by and check on her. Betty was so afraid that she was going to get sick, for she was so old. I don't know what exactly came of it but they built there.

Question: I know you said your daughter died young. What did you do with all her ten children?
I stayed here and took care of them. The only reason I married my son-in-law was to take care of the children. Melvin was an infant and Tina was hurt. Tina was run over by a car. Her skull got crushed and her side. Tina got so that she couldn't even sit up, let alone talk. She was in the hospital in a coma for five months and nineteen days. Dr. Delaney said her brain on one side was mashed out. He told us that she wouldn't live through the night. I have Tina right now. Tina is 21 years old. She's an invalid and she can't walk. She is paralyzed on one side. She can’t talk very plain. She has only the ability of a six year old.

Question: Didn’t it cost you a lot of money?
Yes, it cost a lot of money but people all over, everybody in the community helped. The fire department and the Lions Club helped, also. They were very good.

Your grandfather worked at Fort Belvoir. He stayed down there constantly. The only reason I married him was so the children wouldn't be separated.

My mother died at childbirth and my little sister burned to death in a fire. They had to separate me from my father because he said he couldn't take of us.

When Billy was born Lois said, "Mama I don't want him."

I said, "All right, we'll send him back."

She said, "Mama, let's put him down the toilet."

I said, "O.K., you can put him down the toilet."

When she went to the front room window and saw that they had arrived home, she came running to me and said, "Come on Mama, let’ s put him in the toilet."  Deed she did want to put him down the toilet.
 
She also took him and lost him. I heard her tell him one day while they were playing on their tricycles, "I'm going to lose you again. I going to lose you again.” We knew a coupIe of policemen and they would always say when they saw the black dog they knew the Williams children were out.

Question: Didn’t you say that you had uncles that rode with Mosby's Rangers?
Yes, I had two.
 
Question: What were Mosby’s Rangers?
They were the Confederate Soldiers. They tried to protect the southern families. One of my great grandmothers where I was raised was in the church yard one day. I heard Aunt Lou say they asked her if she had any relatives in the Southern Army. She said "Yes," she had two and she was proud of it. They told her that they were going to hang her. They threw the rope over the branch. I heard Aunt Lou say she's never heard a more beautiful sound as when she heard the trumpet blowing as those Mosby’s men carne riding up the hill.
 
Question: So you have a pretty historical family?
Not historical, just plain people.

Question: If you had a choice on whether to move from Groveton area or stay here what would you do?
I’d stay right here where I am. It's home. It's been a very good place to live.

Volume Three, Table of Contents
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