I think right here will be a good place to give a short account of the young folks who grew up with me. Luther Brissey was one of my chums when I was a young fellow. We went to Institute together and got our certificates at the same time. He did not seem to get along very well with his schools, so he did not teach long. He became a fine carpenter and worked at Evander’s Planing Mill for several years. He and his wife were both killed in an auto accident several years ago,
I have mentioned Elva and Dow different times, and I will write some more about them. We spent one winter in an old house on their farm so that I could be closer to my school. We hunted together of nights and caught some coon and several skunks. They did not charge us any rent and have always been my very best friends. Dow married Jennie Batson (one of Jennie’s best friends) about six months before we were married. They raised seven children, but are both dead. Elva married Georgia Thomas, who died about 1905. They had 4 children; one of them died just before Georgia did. He then married Minnie Jones, and they had 9 or 10 children, which makes a large family.
Art Brissey and I ran around together as boys, and he married my cousin, Neva Maxson. He and I hunted together with Elva and Dow. He later bought a farm on Alum Fork. Later he became crazy and early one morning, while the family slept, he went out and hung himself. They have two boys. One of them, Maynard, is a great friend of mine.
More Teaching Experiences and Early Married Life
Winter 1895-96: I taught at Lower Otter Slide that winter. I had a very fine school. I think everybody but one family was very well suited. This one family had a grudge against me. One mother, at a quilting, said her boys would fight for me as quickly as they would for their father. I counted that a high compliment.
Mother Sutton Died: This winter Mother Sutton took sick and died. She was one of the noblest women I ever knew. She was married before she was 18. Although she was never strong, she worked very hard and was saving (she had to be) but was not stingy. They began life with very little. Although they had a large family, she managed to buy the groceries and clothe Jennie out of the egg and butter money. She always had the children looking nice when they went to church, which they did most of the time. She succeeded in dressing Jennie as nice as most of the girls in the neighborhood. She fixed for the children to go to school as well as anyone in the district.
Jennie did the washing after she was 12 years old, for her mother was not able to do it. Sometimes she would have to stay at home from school and wash if she did not get it done on Sunday. Mother was very quiet, no gossiper, no tattler nor fussmaker-just a fine Christian woman who loved her family, stayed at home and cared for them and set an example which others might well have followed. I could never have had a better and more loyal friend. What more can be said about a woman than that she loved and cared for her family, was a good neighbor and a noble Christian woman? I don’t know; if I did, I would say it about her, for she deserved it.
Pa Sutton married again in about six months, which was all right as he would not be satisfied until he did.
Selling Books, 1896: In the spring of 1896 I entered into a contract to sell books for a year (this showed how little sense I had) and began selling soon after school was out. I canvassed all of Ritchie by midwinter. I worked on a salary, but I had to deliver all the books I sold. My commission counted on my salary. If I did not deliver all the books, the commission on the books I did not deliver was deducted from my salary just the same. There was the rub! You can never deliver all the books sold, and sometimes not much more than half. People who are supposed to be honest will take any kind of a dodge or just refuse to take it.
One case in mind-I sold a book to a School Teacher who was teaching in a village down the river. I sent Tom Ehret to deliver some, for Elva, who did the delivering, was sick. She told Tom she had a School Order but the sheriff would not cash it. I gave Elva the money and told him to cash the order and deliver the book. Elva saw a store clerk he knew, and he promised to cash an order for the price of the book if she would give it. She told the same story and said she would be glad to take it if she had the order cashed, but the sheriff had refused to cash it that very morning. He asked her to borrow the money, but she said no: so he told her he was sheriff enough to cash it. Then she owned she didn’t have any order. He made her sign an order, got the money and left the book at the store.
I got sick in the late winter and did not finish the contract. They always give such a short time in which to do the work that you cannot fulfill the contract, for you will always lose some time; so you just get your commission.