|Notes for Thomas Jefferson Byford|
|Was called Spooner until a young man after the doctor that delivered him. We lovingly knew him as Tommy, grandpa or papa. See William S. Byford for additional biograpy data.|
Family moved from Mississippi to Mayfield, Graves County, Kentucky in the late 1860's. The family then moved to Saline County Arkansas. When he was only six years old he went with his mother's youngest brother Uncle Stewart to cut limbs from a tree. Stewart let the axe slip and almost cut his foot off. Grandpa started screaming and Stewart told him to shut up and hobbled to the house. Houston rode an old mule to get the doctor but Stewart bled to death before a doctor arrived. Grandpa was raised in Indian Territory now known as Oklahoma. There were no laws and most land was pretty open. He saw outlaws, dust storms of 1939, tornados, and President Roosevelt's new deal. Which the farmers thought was a raw deal. He moved with his family by wagon train and drove cattle from horse back. He was married to my grandmother at the ripe old age of 19. I have very fond memories of sitting with and listening to my grandfather as he told one story after another. He was a fine and honorable gentleman.
The following are some antecdotes as told by my grandfather and some from his small autobiography book:
When he was about six years old some of the menfolk had given him and another boy a glass of whiskey. After downing this grandpa noticed a powderhorn on the wall. After getting it down he decided to fill a pipe that was laying about and smoke it. Well when he lit it it flashed and took his eyebrows and eyelashes off. He was not otherwise hurt except maybe his pride. The family eventually moved into LeFlore County, Oklahoma. Grandpa said they had lots of pets when he was growing up. A bear, deer, and racoon. The bear made the mistake of putting both paws on his dad's chest and was shot for it. The deer would come right in and eat off of the table. It came home one day with a broken leg and was butchered and eaten. The racoon fell in the well one night and wasn't rescued until the following day all wet and tired. Before moving into our new house, the people that owned it left their children alone one day and a panther came and took the baby to her den. One of the other children had followed it and told the parents on their return. They rescued the child unhurt as the panther was waiting for her cubs to kill it and had fortunately only carried the baby by her dress.
When grandpa was 8 he used to go with the men hunting. Mostly he whittled and waited. He would get afraid of the roaming panthers as it would sometimes be midnight or later before the men returned.
One day his dad (Houston) took him and a bunch of other 7 and 8 year old fellows to a singing convention picnic at Waldron, Arkansas. They won the blue ribbon.
His father made him a fiddle about 1/4 size.
He didn't get much schooling and there weren't any free schools then. They were all subscription schools for short periods of time. He went for 3 days to his cousin Nobel Abel in Blackfork. In McGee he went to school taught by his sister Mary Byford at the Byford school. Grandpa actually loved the outdoors and farming and when his dad needed help on the farm grandpa would help instead of going to school.
FROM HIS BOOK:
One day Mr. Lumpkins (father-in-law) and I were looking for some stray horses. Some men in an old hack were driving along in front of us. When they came to a gate they noticed the men were down out of site and as we came up to open the gate they raised up with their guns ready to shoot. They asked us what we were looking for and we told them we were hunting turkeys. This was the famous Dalton boys. Belle Starr was in the hack. They used to come to dad's farm to buy horses. He raised fine full blooded race horses the kind outlaws were looking for.
Grandpa homesteaded 160 acres about nine miles southeast of Leedy, in Custer County, Oklahoma in 1899. While traveling to Arapaho County seat of Custer County on Feb 14th he camped on a small creek with his brother-in-law and father-in-law. Someone started a cooking fire and set the grass on fire. It burned the horse harnesses and all the paint off of grandpa's new wagon. His first home after the filing was a half dugout with one door and one window.
My older brother Bill's subscription to the news magazine "The Grit" had run out. Bill was following some story at the time but did not want to re-subscribe. So he would just send a penny postcard for their sampler. After so long of a time he got a notice that he had a package at the post office. When he picked it up it was a package that contained several bricks and a note that said "You seem to like our sampler paper so well, We thought you might like a sample of our bricks." Bill didn' waste any time renewing his subscription and kept it up until the time of his death in 1948.
Some of the things that were raised and or eaten were:
wild greens, polk salats, dandelions and sourdock. There was also
currents, plums, and wild possum grapes.
grandma Byford canned several hundred jars of fruits and vegetables for the winter.
Grandpa got up with a bad headache one night and went to get the baking soda. Instead he got the sodium flouride that grandma used to dust the chickens for mites. As he started for the bedroom he fell down right beside a crate of eggs. Grandmother realized what had happened and started pouring the eggs down him. She finally went for help to a neighbors farm (Will Rogers with his wife and three daughters). Will was in bed sick, and his daughters had gone to a dance in Butler, Oklahoma. Mrs. Rogers told Will to send the girls when they got back and went back with grandma. The doctor finally arrived at 2:00 am and watched as grandma and Mrs. Rogers wrestled with grandpa to keep him straightened out as he kept drawing up into a ball. He then gave grandpa some white powder (it was thought to be slippery Elm the old time remedy of the day) to take and told him that the eggs had saved his life. They absorbed the poison and kept it from getting into the blood stream.
|Last Modified Jul 27, 2002||Created Feb 27, 2008 by EasyTree for Windows|