The following is a continuation from Part II – Oral History of Howard Peak – Visiting Our Grandparents. Click HERE to read Part I before the next section…
My! What a supper was spread for us tired and hungry visitors. There was a great steak from Neussbaumers, the Butchers, fried chicken with milk gravy, fresh eggs, vegetables of all kinds, cornbread, hot biscuits, butter and sorghum molasses, milk, tea, peach cobbler, etc.
The dining room adjoined the kitchen which set off from the main building, a great East portico between, and on this porch we would sit after supper and listen to Grand Pa relate experiences of the Mexican war, while Pa would in turn tell of Indian depredations in West Texas. Grand Ma in her cap and smoking her clay pipe would entertain Ma and the female contingent, whilst we boys would nestle around the Sires. A good nights sleep and morning would bring a much relished breakfast.
Here let me state that Captain Jefferson Peak and his wife (nee Malviny Reser) emigrated from Warsaw, Kentucky in 1855, coming direct to the Village of Dallas. At Warsaw, Captain Peak (he subsequently attained the title of Captain during the War with Mexico, 1846-47 being attached to General Marchall’s brigade of Kentucky Volunteers). Preceding the war he, with his brothers Willis and Jordan were merchants at Warsaw and also conducted a transportation business from Cincinnati to New Orleans. Captain Jefferson made many trips on flat boats down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, trading merchandise for mules and various commodities which they brought back with them to the North.
I also desire to impress the fact that both Grandparents were very aristocratic. Grand Pa being over 6 feet tall and slender, was always clean shaven and very neat in his person. Wearing as he always did a beaver (stove pipe) hat (he wore one on week days, keeping a new one for Sunday’s) a long Prince Albert Coat, with pleated shirt front and black tie, ever presented a distinguished appearance. Grand Ma with her silk gown and lace cap with her elegant manners presented ever a queenly appearance.
They were strict disciplinarians and most fervent worshipers, belonging to the First Christian Church of which they were pillars. Grand Pa never failed to give good advice to his children and ever admonished them to live upright and clean lives. He was morally clean and never had a vice-neither swearing, drinking or smoking.
Grand Pa lived to be 83 years old and Grand Ma 78. Both are buried in the old Burying Ground in the City of Dallas. Both having the respect and confidence of all who knew them.
Then the days pleasure and work would begin, for Grand Pa always laid out some work for us boys believing as he did that the vacation from school should be attended by more or less work. Our work consisted of a variety of performances. It may have been gathering fodder, hauling corn, shaking down red apples or Indian peaches or some other duties incident to a farm life.
One of our delights was to saddle Navajo, Mack and Ay the gray pony and ride over to the Butchers and get steak or ride down into the pasture and drive the cows to the pen for evening milking, then too, we would take old Carlo and the hounds and go down to the branch and hunt cottontail rabbits and on moonlit nights, go after coons and possums.
It was Grand Pa’s rule to require each person at the table to memorize and repeat a verse in the Bible at breakfast, as he was very religious. We would make an occasional visit to Aunt Sara’s where we would spend the day with cousins Ripley and Juliette and return by town where Grand Pa would give us red striped stick candy and a glass of lemonade without ice as a reward for the work that we had done.
Playing stick horse with Matt and romping with the dogs in the cedars, gathering pears and dew berries, swimming in the big tank, cutting hay and feeding the stock, with various other amusements and exercises incident to a boys life, enabled us to enjoy every moment of our two weeks visit and to mourn the hour, when our visit being ended, we had to dress early in the morning and pursue our way back home.
Howard W. Peak
|Dallas County’s fifth courthouse. Designed in 1881,
burned in 1890.
(photo courtesy of Lost Dallas, Mark Doty, Nathan Payne)
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
You might also enjoy:
A Letter from Junius Peak