Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Why We're Not Razorbacks, Part II

In my last post I presented Cal Jones's report on why and how his family left Arkansas. This time, here's some of his sister Tommy's response, from a letter to Cal written just a few days later. Cal and Tommy were the second and third children, respectively, of Silas and Nannie Jones. As you'll see, her account differs in some particulars--it's kind of a hillbilly "Rashomon."

Tommy writes:

Now! While we are correcting and reminiscing let me correct you! First, I don't know who told you that I said Dad ran away from Ark. I did not! Them Zode Robbins' dogs did not attack Dad, but Zode had "sicked 'em" on to a young heifer that Dad had and they tore her to pieces. (I don't remember if she died.) But anyway they had a preliminary hearing (Dad killed the dog) and old Zode and Dad's own cousin Ambrose Clark swore to a bunch of lies so Dad felt that he couldn't get a fair trial and he took out. Mamma told me this a few years ago. But I remember when Dad had some of us kids at Grandma Shumate's one night and someone came to the front door and told Uncle George something and Dad grabbed us kids and we left by the back door and ran through the orchard for home and Dad left immediately. Later he came back and I saw him go into the barn and told Mamma, so she went to the barn and came back and said I was mistaken. I was just old enough to know there was something wrong. And I remember when he met us at a campfire just out of Westville, and somewhere in my things which are stored I have the little leather bag which Grandpa Jones gave him the gold in.

The biggest difference in their accounts is why Silas killed the dog--was it self-defense or retaliation? Tommy also seems to have known more about the legal proceedings, which we'll get to in the next installment.

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