E.W. DANCY FAMILY
By Barbara Dancy Conn
BARBARA DANCY CONN,
remembers her family, and father Eugene Wightman Dancy (E.W.),
and stories of his boyhood in Dancyville, Tennessee, through his years in Colorado.
School Days ~ 1905
April 12, 2001
Dear Mary Kay,
Received your letter and was very pleased to hear from you. Took several days for me to think of the stories.
I too wish I had known you and all the Dancy family better. Most especially my grandparents, whom I never got to know personally. I have a letter from my grandmother, written to my Dad, shortly after my birth, and a letter from grandpa Dancy, when I was just a little girl. I treasure the letters. Sometimes we do not realize how important things are until it is too late.
I did spend some time with Aunt Allen and Lipscomb. They came to see us a couple of times, when my daughter Susan was a little girl and we had a lot of fun. Went to the mountains. Their son, Julian I believe came with them once. Malone came for a visit, with Daisy, and one of her daughters. Then after Malones and Franks death, Daisy & Alice Dancy visited with us several times. I remember your Dad intended to stop off for a visit, after he was discharged from the Service, World War II. However, he was anxious to get home, and went on to Tennessee, so never knew him. Of course, I knew Frank & Alice well, because we all lived in the same town for a number of years. When Frank & my dad got together, what a lot of fun we had, especially at watermelon time, when watermelon seeds flew, after a picnic in the yard or in the mountains.
I do not remember being told that your Dad worked in Colorado and did not like the cold weather. My Dad used to say that he liked Colorado weather because the nights were cool, his crackers were crisp & his underwear was dry.
He always talked a lot about Dancyville and his family there. They were very close to his heart, although he only went back once after marrying my mother, Gladys Parr Dancy. I do not know why, except the depression hit & there were no jobs or money to do much of anything. He said he could hitch a ride on a freight train, but Mom and I could not do that. He was very protective of us & would not leave us to go anywhere. He was a good father, kind & attentive. I remember the stories he told me when I was a small child, about possums and raccoons, and always about his life in Dancyville.
He mentioned Joe Moores store, which must have been a place to socialize. Joe Moore, it seems, must have been quite a prankster. When he talked about Joe Moores store, I could almost see it, porch along the front, with chairs to sit on, and whittle----on the inside, a cracker barrel, big pot bellied stove-and a long scarred, wooden counter, which he used for at least one of his pranks. Dad said Joe Moore drilled a very small hole through the counter and rigged up a system where he could pull or punch something, to make the needle come up through the hold. Then Mr. Moore would get some unsuspecting subject to sit on the counter and pose for a picture. Someone else would take the picture, or pretend to, and Joe Moore would activate the needle, causing the unsuspecting person to get a slight prick on their rear. I guess the reactions were varied and everyone in on the prank thought it was quite funny. I am sure the prank did not last long, in such a small town.
I remember another story about the store. He said a young black man had tarried at the store too long and it was getting dark. It was a cold night. He was very nervous when he left in his horse drawn wagon. Minutes later, they heard someone running down the road. When they went outside, they saw the Black man, eyes widened and perspiring. He was out of breath and could barely talk, but told them he had seen a "haunt", just as he was driving over the bridge. He said the "haunt" jumped on the wagon, as he (the man) jumped off the wagon to get away, the "haunt" grabbed him by the coat. He stated he pulled himself out of the jacket sleeves, and started running. Dad told the man he would go back with him to get his wagon & see him safely home. When they reached the bridge, they found the mans jacket, ripped at both sleeves. The horse and wagon were found about a mile up the road. The man could never be convinced that he had not seen a ghost. Dad said the bridge was covered in frost, and the moon was up, and perhaps the moonlight striking the frost on the bridge, created a ghost like image.
To get off of the ghostly subject, Ill go on to one of my Dads pranks, involving grandma Dancys chickens. He told us, he went to the pantry and mixed up a brew of almost everything in the pantry, and added a few other things from outside the house. Then he gave it to the chickens---a teaspoon to the hens and two teaspoons to the roosters. It was not his intent, but the chickens died. He admitted that he did it and when asked why, he said he made the potion to make the chickens "lay more". Grandma said, "Yes, they are laying more, they are laying all over the yard."
He told many stories about his home. One involving your Dad. He said there was a Black lady living somewhere near, but down a small hill (slope), from the Dancy home, and they all used to harass her. (For shame!!) I do not remember for sure, but believe he called her "Aunt Phoebe". Anyway, your Dad and Malone were on horseback. Malone had a hand full of dirt, and as they rode past Aunt Phoebes house, they dropped the dirt into a plate of food that was on the table. Another time they threw fruit, watermelon rinds, on her porch and she said, "Im going to tell your pa." Grandpa Dancy made them clean and scrub her porch on a Sunday morning, when people were passing by on their way to church. Dad said the lesson really sunk in and they did not do that again. She called them, "The little Dancy devils".
However, it seemed more often than not, they were all in Sunday School and church. Dad told me that Grandma Dancy was strict about what they could do on Sunday. They could not do much of anything, so Sunday was a very boring day. I have a tie, which my Dad won for perfect attendance in Sunday School. He spoke of Church, "Camp Meetings," where they would all get together and have fish fries & "hush puppies", and other good food---and flirt with the girls. Dad said Frank or Lynn, as he was called at home, liked a girl called Hannah Hunter (I believe that was her name) and he (Dad) liked a girl named Elizabeth Scott, who was a very pretty young woman. He had a picture of her, which I have still. He said grandma did not favor his being interested in her.
What I remember about Christmas in Dancyville. I am not quite sure about this, but believe he said that they had fireworks at Christmas. I now wonder if he said Christmas & meant the 4th of July. However, he told the story more than once. He stated that they had Roman Candles and chased each other all around Dancyville. They were shooting Roman candles at each other and a person of prominence in the community, with a long husky beard, stepped out of his house directly in the line of fire. A ball of fire from Franks Roman candle, landed right in the gentlemans beard, creating quite a commotion.
He told me there was a Community Christmas tree in Dancyville, but I dont remember if it was in the church or school. The tree was lit with candles and there was a gift for everyone. Also, they had oranges at Christmas, and that was a special treat. He said they also had a Christmas tree at home (a Holly tree?) I do not remember much about this, except one year he got switches for Christmas. His Dad was playing a joke on him, and he got his presents afterwards.
He talked about his Moms good cooking---coconut cake (coconuts they got at Christmas too), corn pudding, custard pudding and hams cured at home-and molasses cookies. He said his mother had an uncle (I think) whom she thought had perfect manners, & they should all observe & follow suit. There was a water glass at each plate and when this uncle was asked if he wanted a glass of milk, he said, "yes", picked up the water glass, and threw the water up against the wall---so the milk could be placed in the glass. They were all amused at his great manners and could hardly keep from laughing.
He spoke of his Dad often; about how he would start to discipline them but would be caught up in the humor of the situation. Would spank them gently or hit the bed, and tell them to yell loudly. I guess that was for grandmas benefit.
I must tell you about the day they separated the big pigs from the little pigs. It seems the little pigs and larger hogs (pigs) were all in a pen. He wanted to fatten the larger pigs, and told the boys to take a stick & poke the smaller pigs, so they would run out the door. He was holding the door and would open it just enough to let the little pigs out, one by one. Things started off just fine, but they got the bright idea to poke the big pigs. He said the big pigs hit the door, knocking it over, onto grandpa Dancy, and all of them ran out over the door, with grandpa underneath. He said grandpa was sore for several days and his sense of humor almost left him.
I am sorry it took so long to answer your letter. As you can see, I started this letter quite a few days ago. I have more stories about Dad, in Dancyville, and his life in Colorado, but want to get this in the mail.
Send me your phone number & I will call you.
Thanks for writing.
I guess several boys together can be pretty Ornery, but they grew up to be fine persons. Dad had an approximate three inch scar on his head, caused when Frank threw a brick at him.
WE GREATLY APPRECIATE BARBARA DANCY CONN SHARING HER MEMORIES, AND THE STORIES OF HER FATHER, OF EARLY DAYS IN DANCYVILLE, AND THEIR LIFE IN COLORADO.
Barbara Dancy Conn is the daughter of
Eugene Wightman (E.W.) and Gladys Parr Dancy.
Dad ~ Eugene Wightman (E.W.) Dancy, Son of Isaac Bradley Dancy.
Mary Kay ~ Mary Kay Dancy Smith, daughter of James Hughes Dancy, cousin of Barbara. (Niece of E.W.)
Grandmother ~ Maggie Ethlene 'Lena' Hughes Dancy.(Mother of E.W.)
Grandpa Dancy ~ Isaac Bradley Dancy.(Father of E.W.)
Aunt Allen and Lipscomb ~ Louise Allen Dancy Cogbill and her husband Charles Lipscomb Cogbill. (Allen was sister of E.W.)
Daisy ~ Daisy Lois Cain Dancy.
Malone ~ Kerr Malone 'Huck' Dancy, son of Isaac Bradley, husband of Daisy. (Brother of E.W.)
Frank ~ Frank Lynn Dancy, son of Isaac Bradley, husband of Alice. (Brother of E.W.)
Alice ~ Alice Speed Dancy, daughter of William Speed of Colorado.
Your Dad ~ James Hughes Dancy, son of Isaac Bradley Dancy. (Brother of E.W.)
Joe Moore Store ~ Joe B. Moore II, father of Dorothy Moore. Dancyville merchant and farmer.
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