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One Grand Party and Some History

By Olive Clements Cotton

The Vevay Reveille-Enterprise
Thursday, February 17, 1944

Transcription by Lori Burgess
December 12, 2002


More than eighty years ago, the farm now owned by the Sharp brothers, belonged to the Lewis family. All the family of children had married and left their ancestral home except the mother and her two younger children John and Lizzie. I have been told that John was tall and rather lean and of a ruddy complexion.

He was contemplating matrimony and concluded to build a fine brick house for his prospective bride, which was a mansion in its day compared with the other residences in that vicinity.
Their old home, a log house stood a hundred feet or more just back of the new house. Their mother had a very fine rose garden surrounding the old home. There were roses of all kinds and colors, known at that time as the hardy variety. She cherished every rose and was very proud of them. In June when they were in full bloom they were a lovely sight. It was at this time in the year that the new house was finished in every detail, even to rings in the ceiling for a swing on the long porch situated in the south-east corner.

So John and Lizzie concluded to throw a big party in the new house before it was to be occupied and knowing that they would meet with a vigorous opposition from their mother they persuaded her to go spend a week with her daughter, Mrs. Tommy Sigmon over on the lower end of Parks Ridge, before moving into the new house.
Then they got busy inviting all the young people for miles around. I have heard many of the guests tell about it. There were the Blunks, Cottons, Sigmons, Protsmans, Hulleys, Clements, Wrights and man others.

It was rumored that John Lewis was to choose his bride that night. Of course he was around among his guests, talking to first one girl then another. When he would be talking to one girl she would wink at the other girls, giving them to understand that she was making headway. Of course all in fun for no doubt the bride had been selected long before that night.
The swing was there; one young man swung so high that he kicked two holes in the plaster of the ceiling. I have been told the young man's name but I have forgotten it. 

The guests raided the old ladies roses, every girl there was carrying a bunch. My mothers said she never pulled any as she was connected somewhat with the family and knew how much the old lady prized her flowers. But someone discovered that Sallie Lewis didn't have any roses so they divided up with her.

John married Tabitha Wright, a sister of John Wright who once lived in Vevay. She was a guest at the party. She was a very small lady. When her husband would reach his arm out straight from the shoulder she could stand under it.

I suppose the Wrights did not live far from the Lewis' for the farm where “Myrna” Griffith now owns was the Wright homestead. Not long after they were married John became financially embarrassed, left his farm In the hands of Rev. J. D. Griffith and moved to Neoga, Ill. Where he kept a store a while. Their only child was born in the new house. I don't know whether his wife died in Neoga or not but rather think she did, but she was brought and buried at Long Run where all his people are buried. It wasn't long until he also died. His brother-in-law, Tommy Sigmon when to Neoga and brought the remains and buried them beside his wife. He also brought his little six year old daughter Ella, who lived with her aunt and uncle as long as they lived. After her uncle died the family moved to Vevay. Ella and I grew up together, both attended the same school and we had always kept in touch with each other.

There was a family graveyard near the Wright home. When Julius Bersot bought the farm I after years, in the contract it was specified that the graves were to be removed. Nothing but the skulls of Mr. and Mrs. Wright were found. Bessie Bersot said when the resurrection comes that they will have to jump and go down to Vevay and get their heads. There was a woman by the name of Huckleberry and several children whose graves were never disturbed. They enclosure was used as a pigpen. Bessie said their pigs “dwelt among the tombs.” A barn was built over part of the graveyard. 

After a time Ella went to New Albany where she did office work. In 1893 she married Harry Ogle, son of Eli and Mariah Cotton Ogle, and had four children, Pauline, Paul, Dwight and Morjia. She developed T. B. After changing climate several times she was completely cured and came back to Chattanooga, Tennessee where her husband died quite a while ago.

John Lewis' sister Lizzie married John Andrews, Sr., and was the mother of Willie and Perry Andrews, she being his second wife. The boys used to spend part of their vacation at their uncle's on Parks Ridge. I rememeer that onece Willie was trying to show Ella and I he was an expert climber he was. His uncle had wide boards on a decided slant clear across the front of his barn to act as a sort of eve trough to run rainwater into a cistern at the south-east corner. So Willie climbed up and walked up those boards as far as the slant would let him. He was standing there with his back to the barn, viewing the landscape when without a bit of warning the supports have was, and down came Willie boards and all. When the boards struck the ground he stepped off good as new.

Ella was a beautiful girl, tall and slender with dark hair and dark blue eyes. She had a shattered romance in her early girlhood. One of the best young men that Parks Ridge ever produced began paying her attentions. At first it was rather encouraged but after a time, her aunt who had raised her, remembered that the young man's mother had a very unnecessarily cramped married life and was afraid Ella might have the same, so she broke up the match. It broke the young man's heart. Some time after he visited his sister at Verona, KY. She was appalled at his looks. He explained what the trouble was and said that he wondered if he would always feel as he did at the time. As a parting gift Ella gave his the gold cross off her necklace which he wore on his watch chain as long as he lived, more than 50 years. He never could find another sweetheart that could ever fill the void in his heart and never married. He died suddenly, being found dead in his barn. His niece said she wondered if Ella would want the cross back. I wrote her telling of her old sweetheart's sudden death, and asked if she wanted the cross. She wrote me that she wasn't well, that her sufferings at times was so intense that she wished that she could slip quietly away as he had; that she had tried everything that medical science could give, including radium, and had gotten no relief, and she felt that she was not going to live long and that none of her children would care a thing about the cross, and to leave it where it is. 

That was the last letter I ever received from her. I answered it but my letter did not arrive until a few days after she had passed away. Her sister-in-law, Emma Ogle wrote me giving details of burial; her burial robe was powder blue crepe with three pink real rose buds at her throat. Bother she and her old sweetheart died the same year, one in the early Spring and she a few days before Christmas in Chattanooga. She left only one grandchild; the son of Paul who was divorced from the child's mother.

Both her daughters married Lieutenants from the first World War, located in Georgia. She visited them but said army life was too strenuous for her; that the officers wives were always entertaining or being entertained. 

Before the Sharps occupied the Lewis place it belonged to Dr. Purdy. Mrs. Purdy fitted a room and taught school there.