Chris and Tammy Clements
These stories are compiled by recollections of stories told to and remembered by Clara Belle (Morris) Bohannon.
Bill Hazelwood & Meddie Hazelwood’s Life and their children
Bill Hazelwood had a hard life to live and raise their two girls. Bill and John Hazelwood were still helping their mother make a living for her and her small children. I can remember about Bill and John Hazelwood telling that they were living in tents. Bill and John got to wrestling and knocked the tent down. When their mother, Lou, got there, they never played in the tents anymore.
Bill and John Hazelwood helped their
mother, Lou, feed and clothe the children that were very small. Bill and Meddie
married and they moved to
Bill Hazelwood went off to look for work and left Meddie with his sisters and mother. Bill found work at the Rock Island Rail Road Company. This was his first job away from his mother. Bill would go off and leave Meddie by herself in old houses with just Fannie, Bill’s sister, there with her. Bill and Meddie had a rough life to start with, but as it went along, it got better. They were lucky to have water gravy and water to drink and eat at times. They would boil their coffee grounds 3 or 4 times to have coffee to drink, before throwing them out. Bill didn’t make enough money to buy much coffee. Bill also worked for the cattle drives. He stood ground and guard, sunshine, rain, snow or wind blow. Bill was a small boy at the age of 14 when he was on the cattle drive with his daddy, and a cow stepped on a silver dollar and it flipped up. He showed the silver dollar to his father and asked him if he could have it. His daddy said, “yes.” Bill was so proud of that silver dollar. He kept it all of the years that he was alive and before he died, he said that he wanted the silver dollar to be buried with him.
Bill worked for the 3C Cattle Company for a long time and for the Diamond A Cattle Company. Bill also worked for the Block Cattle Company until he homesteaded. He left Meddie and the children in a house that had cracks in the wall you could see through. He was foreman for the Block Cattle Company. Bill told the tale about one hand he had hired to go to work for him. The man didn’t have enough money to feed his children and they were crying for food. Bill told Shorty Dockray to kill one of the Block steers. The man told Bill, “just as sure as I do, they’ll catch me and hang me.” Bill said, “no, I don’t think so.” To Bill’s surprise, it happened to Shorty. But, Bill had cows of his own, the same color, branded with OUT. He killed one of his steers and cut the hide to match the hide from the Block steer just perfect. He got Shorty off of the hanging block. Bill took the other hide and disposed of it. Shorty was able to feed his children for awhile.
Bill homesteaded near
Bill played the fiddle and his girls played the guitar. So Bill and his family played for a lot of the dances. His wife, Meddie, could play the Accordion, French Harp and the Juice Harp.
The Block Company always gave a Christmas party every Christmas. Bill and his girls would play for the dances. Bill had a real nice buggy that had a seat in the front for two people to sit and he would fix a bed in the back of the buggy for the two girls to sleep, on the way home. Every one that would come to the dances, would take a covered dish so that there would be a big supper for every one. Bill would load up his buggy and hang a lantern on his side of the buggy, so if he met a car, they would know it was a buggy coming and to be careful of how they went by the buggy. I (Clara) have rode in this buggy a few times myself, as well as the wagons.
Bill Hazelwood played for the Block Christmas party on time and they had 3 colored people working for them as cooks. Two of the colored people got into a fight as to who was to serve supper. These two colored men shot one another. The third one didn’t get in the fight. Bill snatched up his two girls and wife and hid them in the L of the building, so that they wouldn’t get shot. Then Bill went back around the building and asked the other one what happened. This colored man’s name was Rastus. Rastus said, “well Bill, we got two dead niggers and no hot water. We will have the party and dance. We will put them on the wagon and cover them with a tarp and they can hear the music. We will bury them in the morning.” So Bill helped Rastus put them in the wagon and cover them with a tarp. They continued with the Christmas party. The next morning, the cowboys from the Block Ranch helped Bill and Rastus dig the graves and bury them.
Bill Hazelwood trapped for bear. He had two bear traps. These traps were as long as I am tall and I am 5 feet 5 inches tall, if not longer. The teeth looked to be as long as my foot, which is a size 7 1/2 shoe. Bill would have to take clamps to set them with and be very careful he didn’t get caught when removing the clamps. The pelts he would sell to help support the family with. Bill Hazelwood told one time about a bear dragging the trap off and he trailed the trap with the bear in it to a cave in a hill. Well, when Bill got there, the bear stood up in the cave and beat his chest with both paws. Bill Hazelwood shot the bear and broke his jaw. Bill’s dog run in to tree the bear and the bear picked up the dog and threw him against the wall of the cave. Bill thought the dog was dead. Bill thought that if this bear had that much strength, what would he do to me if he got out of the cave. So, Bill built up in front of the cave with rock and got his dog out, which was still alive. Bill kept shooting the bear in the head until he fell. Bill went home and came back the next morning and got the bear and his trap out of the cave. Bill Hazelwood told another tale about him catching another bear and the bear chewed off his foot to get loose from the trap. Bill found the bear’s foot next to the trap. So, he gathered up his trap and went home. He never found that bear. Bill Hazelwood said that if this trap would throw on a persons arm, it would break the arm.
Bill Hazelwood drove oxen for a team of
horses. Bill helped Henry Morris log for
Henry’s sawmill. He also helped Henry
some around the sawmill. Bill sold his ranch and bought a farm and
When Bill Hazelwood and Meddie got married, Bill was bad to drink. Bill got in his wagon with 4 mules hitched to it. Bill always carried a pistol with him. He thought the mules were not running fast enough, so he began to shoot at his mules. He shot a hole through one of the mule’s ears. Meddie, Bill’s wife, told her brother Frank to go stop him and bring him back, but not to get in shooting distance until he knew all of the bullets were gone. Well, Frank rode his horse and stayed in sight of Bill until he could make his move to stop the mules from running away. But Frank couldn’t get in the wagon, do he jumped on a real tame mule and started pulling back on the lines, trying to get them to stop. Bill dept trying to whip Frank with the lines that he had left in his hand. Finally, Frank stopped him and told him he was trying to help him with the mules, because they had ran away with him. Well, Frank got Bill and the wagon back to the house and Bill slept it off. When he woke up, they told him what he had done. He said, “if I did that from getting drunk, I’ll never drink that way again.” And he never did.
When Henry Morris died, he had a 1927 or 1929 Chevrolet, two seated car. Bill would go out and start the car occasionally. Meddie told Bill that, one of these days, you will start that car and have another runaway with it. It will come through the house and kill you and whoever is in here. Luckily, it never happened.
Bill had Epileptic seizures and had them
real bad. One night he had a stroke and
a seizure and he couldn’t walk for about six months. He got better and then had another one about
six months later and he couldn’t walk again.
We called Bill’s brother, John, in
Meddie Alice (Purcella) Hazelwood’s life and how she lived
Meddie Alice (Purcella) Hazelwood took care of her mother, Nancy Elizabeth (Goodwin) Purcella, who died with cancer, in 1918. Ten years later, in 1928, Meddie Alice Hazelwood lost her daughter, Anna Belle (Hazelwood) Morris. Meddie took her 4 children and raised them and lived to see them grown and married. She also saw all lived to see all of her great-grandchildren. Meddie had nine grandchildren born, 3 deceased grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
Meddie and Bill had two daughters of their own. Meddie took care of
her two girls in the old outlaw and Indian outlaw days, but she survived and
lived a long life. She was left alone a
lot of times while Bill was off making a living to support his family. Meddie had cows to
milk, chickens to take care of , as well as turkeys
and pigs. She would plant a garden to
have vegetables to eat. Meddie’s house had big cracks and holes in the lumber where
you could see through. Meddie took dry weeds and stuck in the cracks and holes and
made up mud to put in the cracks and holes inside and out, where the Indians
and outlaws could not see inside to see if anyone lived there. They had canvas for the windows, where they
could pull it over the windows. Their
doors were made of board with a pull string inside and out. Meddie had her
children living with her and she would hear the Indians yelling and whooping
and Meddie would put chairs in the windows and blow
out all of the lights, which were kerosene lamps. She would tell the girls to get in the bed
and don’t say anything. If they broke
in, to get under the bed and stay, don’t even whisper. Meddie told them
that she was going to try and hold them off with her guns. Luckily, the Indians would ride by and knock
on the door sometimes and leave.
Sometimes, they would ride on by without stopping. Then at least, Meddie
would take cardboard boxes and line the house inside with those, where no one
could see in. The Indians would come in
the gardens and take vegetables with them, what they could eat. Meddie had no jars
to put the food in and sometimes she would dig a hole and line it with wet
gunny sacks and put the food in the hole, then cover that with more wet gunny sacks and cover that with dirt. Sometimes she would dry some of the
vegetables and string the red chiles and hang them up
to dry. Meddie
and Bill Hazelwood cured their own hams and bacon. They did likewise as Nancy Elizabeth Purcella did her food in those
days. All of this was in
Meddie and Bill Hazelwood said that Annie Belle was Bill’s cowboy and Amy was Meddie’s helper. Amy married a man, Emery Howard Latham, that no one liked, not even Meddie. Amy and Howard lived near Meddie and Bill. Meddie would go out and feed her chickens and Howard and Amy had this old fighting rooster. When Meddie would feed her chickens, this rooster would come over and fight her and her chickens. Meddie went over and told them to pen up their rooster and what he was doing. Well, Meddie went out to feed her chickens again and here come the old rooster. Meddie threw a rock at the rooster and hit him in the head and it killed him. Meddie picked the rooster up and took him over to Amy and Howard’s house. She was on the porch and said, “here is your damn rooster. I told you to pen him up, now you can eat him up.” With that, Meddie threw him down on their front porch and went back to her house. Amy didn’t know how to pick the rooster, so she threw him away. That ended that.
Bill and Meddie
sold their ranch near
I remember one time we had nothing to eat but a very small pig. Meddie went out and killed this small pig and skinned it and cooked it. We had baked pig and gravy and milk to eat for awhile.
Meddie rode the
old side saddle while taking care of their cattle. Bill would be off working to bring money
home. One time Meddie
told the tale that she lived in one end of the house where