"Mountain Memories" Page 5
In those days there were still hostile Indians in this country, though most Cherokees were on friendly terms with the white people. Catherine Miller (my grandmother) told of the time she and her family heard the moccasin feet of the Indians pattering on the roof of their cabin. It was a frightening experience, but no harm was done. The Indians were probably just curious.
Catherine Cassidy Miller's father, Caleb Cassidy, was a friend to the Cherokee medicine men. The Cherokees showed him the herbs that made good medicine for certain diseases. Caleb taught it to James Miller, husband of Catherine. Jim planted a ginseng garden under a grape arbor because the plant needed shade. Jim was a friendly old man and a preacher. When anyone passed his house he would callout, "Come in and eat wimme," much to the dismay of his energetic little wife, who had to do the cooking when she would much rather be out on the mountainside picking berries.
Jim had lots of bees and in the spring when they swarmed, he tried to gather them all back into a new hive he had ready for them, but it wasn't always easy. One time he saw one of his swarms taking off into the wild blue yonder. He ran into the house, grabbed Catherine's dishpan, and dashed down the hillside beating the pan with all his might, not paying any attention to where he was going. He wound up in a creek, looking up at the bees roaring on out of sight. He said, "all right, go on if you don't want to stay wimme."
All this talk of the Millers may be getting off the Self family history a little, but to explain: Louisa Self Hartness's daughter married Jim and Catherine Miller's youngest son Oliver (Joe) Miller, my father.
Speaking of marriage, the Self clan began to pair off with mates of their own. Most people living in the mountains at that time married young, especially the girls. I remember hearing that when Louis Self got married and brought his bride home, someone asked her how old she was and she answered, "I'm fourteen going on sixteen."
Jobe Self married Margaret Stephens. I knew her as Aunt Marge
(pronounced not as "Marj", but as half of her name). She had a strange way of speaking, especially when she got excited. When one of her daughters told her that another daughter had run off and gotten married, Marge was distraught and began, "Well. . .now. . .was. . .what meaning. . . we’ll see. . . here now.”
I can't remember all of the great uncles and aunts and the in-laws, but Mark (Uncle Mark and Aunt Matt) came to our house lots of times and I just wish I had some of their conversations on