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Great Great Grandfather James Jefferson Holderby


This piece of puzzle is based on a writing by a school student for the Project Taney. It talks about a common man, who was born more than a hundred years ago and lived almost to his 90-s. Why it's important? Because it documents some details of a life of a common person and provides a picture of a life in a rural area in the US at the time. You can read the whole essay following this link. Here, I'll give just a couple of examples:

My grandmother can remember a few stories that her mother told her about her Grandfather Holderby, but she said the story that probably made the biggest impression on her was the one about the time her grandfather heard a pack of wild dogs in the middle of the night. Figuring they were after some of his stock, probably the calves that were penned up, he jumped out of his bed and went dashing out into the darkness in nothing more than his night shirt. He managed to chase off all but one large dog, which attacked him. After a struggle, he was able to straddle the dog's back and get its head into a grip. He twisted the dog's neck, killing the wild dog.

Another story she remembers hearing about her grandpa was one about a visit to California to visit two of his sons who had previously moved there. While in California, he had been hospitalized for an illness. While there he was served an artichoke, which he had never seen before. When the nurse returned to get his tray, her grandpa was very angry. He told the nurse, "I tore that **** mule's ear apart and never did find anything to eat!"...

He spent his final years sitting in an old rocking chair, chewing tobacco, using an old coffee can for a "spit-can". Grandfather Holderby died on October 7, 1961, just four days past his 88th birthday. This is [a] song that my great, great grandfather use to sing. My grandmother doesn't know if it is a song he made up or learned. She has tried to research it, but with no success.

Mickey Rogers

Mickey Rogers was a sight to see, as he strolled downtown each day.

Always as happy as a kitten in the sun, as he marched along his way.

His clothes were ragged, his hat was torn, and he carried an old tin can.

But there never was cheerier man than Mickey the "hum tum" man.

You could hear him everyday as he marched along his way.

Hum tum, tum tum, tiddy addie hum tum, hum tum tiddy addie aye.

Now Mickey got a letter from a way out west, his uncle, he had died.

He left poor Mickey half a million in cash and a great big farm besides.

Now poor ol' Mickey thought himself so rich, he'd take himself a wife,

And be the father of a family for the balance of his life.

He then made love to a pretty little girl and shortly they were wed,

But the trouble that he had when he became a dad, it almost drove him mad.

Oh, the kids would cry out 'til the middle of the night and they'd yell 'til the break of day.

So Mickey turned them over and gave them a swat

on their hum tum tiddy addie aye.

Hum tum, tum tum, tiddy addie hum tum, hum tum tiddy addie aye.

Author:   magludi1  Version:  1  Language: English  Category:   Views: 143  Grades: 6-8

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Picture: Photo by Valerie Wyman Source:

Audio: Stapleton Brothers, Call of the Whip-Poor-Will Source: