Stories from Alfred Parsons

Alfred Riley Parsons, JR. Born October 6, 1905 and died July 19, 1994

Alfred said there was an Aunt Matt Wimsatt who lived across from Alfred's farm where Joe Lored Hays lives now. Billy Wimsatt was her son and the place was called the Billy Wimsatt place. Alfred's Uncle Bob Wimsatt lived south of Swinkey and married Mary Rosetta Yates who was called Rosie.

Alfred also said there used to be a barn for the horses to stay in while St. Stephen's School was in session during the day. It was not large enough to accommodate all of the horses so had to be rebuilt till it was large enough to hold 40 horses.

At dismissal time every day the boys used to race from the shcool to the barn to see who could harness and hitch their horses and be the first to get to the old Swinkey store on the northwest corner of the street in 'uptown' Swinkey to enjoy a cool drink of pop which was in a cooler with real ice in it.

The back room of the store formerly held bootleg whiskey in prohibition days. The new store was supposed to have a barber shop and a pool hall in addition to being a grocery store.

Alfred talks about Halloween!

Said every year the gate would disappear from their farm by the main road and also Riechoff's gate across the way. There would usually be a buggy found atop the new store building every Halloween, too.

Grandma Amy lived in Swinkey (where Lester Miles lives, but in an old, old house, which I remember) and every year her little 'chamber pot' would be taken from its resting spot behind her woodpile and buried in the woodpile.

Wonder why in the world the little old lady never learned to take the thing inside at Halloween time???

Grandma Amy lived on 'Main Street' and across from a one room school house (before our days, that is for sure!). Alfred even went so far as to name the culprits who hid the pot! Al and Willie Riechoff.

Alfred remembers the trips to Hannibal.

Said it was quite a treat to get to go to Hannibal in the olden days. No Highway 24 so folks would have to drive through Hassard, Huntington and down Market Street in Hannibal. It was quite a long trip even though now it is about 27 miles from his front door to the edge of Hannibal.


Father Fox taught Latin in the one room school house before St. Stephen's was built. Alfred and a friend decided there was no need for them to learn Latin so wrote Father Fox a note and put it on his desk.

Father Fox read the note, laughed and left the room. He came back with a six foot willow branch to show he meant business. Alfred said he and his friend decided they really did need to learn Latin, after all.

When Father Fox was transferred to Hannibal he instigated the building of Blessed Sacrament Church which was called Market Street a long time ago. (Is it still??? (Yes - TJ))

Ice cream

Alfred said his Grandfather Douglas (his Mother's dad) had an ice cream store in Monroe after the family moved from the farm. I went to find the store but it is gone. Too bad I didn't get a picture of it before it was demolished.

Grandfather would hand Alfred a big spoon when he came to visit and direct him to a five gallon can of ice cream and tell him to eat as much as he wanted! Alfred loved to go to Monroe and visit this Grandfather!!!

Alfred said his papa went to Monroe frequently in the summer to purchase a big chunk of ice for their icebox at home. The ice was sold at the McFarland Ice Factory close to the RR north of Grandfather Douglas' store.

Alfred and his papa would be driving a team of fast horses so not too much of the ice would melt before they got home. Alfred was fasinated by his papa's strength when he lifted and carried the ice from the wagon to the icebox with ice tongs.

Alfred's mama cared for each of her parents when they were older.

Alfred said his papa commented sometimes about the distance he would have to travel to court Alfred's mama, Dovie Dolly Douglas. It was ten miles from where his papa lived north of Swinkey to Brush Creek.

Alfred said his Aunt Alberta Douglas Drescher spent a lot of time living with them during the depression cause her husband could not find a steady job. Aunt Alberta was 19 years younger than Grandma Dovie.

Alfred said he hired out as much as possible during the big depression in the 1930's. The family burned wood and did not have much wood till his papa bought more land. His papa bought land south of the lane and the property had a lot of trees on it.

They hunted rabbits in the woods and brought them home to cook.

The Hardesty land was unfenced and was north of the Wimsatt place. It had a lot of trees.

After Alfred got an old truck during the depression he and his papa hauled the trees to a saw mill north of Monroe City and had the trees made into 1x6's. Some of the boards are/were on the fences on the south side of the barnlot. They were oak boards.

Strong winds would also blow limbs out of trees in the southwest part of the yard and they would be used for firewood, too.

Alfred thinks he purchased the Green place in the 1950's. He purchased the land in two different time periods. (He called them patches).

Alfred said his papa used to take part in debates at the old Buckman School and Alfred liked to attend and watch. His papa liked to argue.

Alfred thinks his papa might have attended the old Yager School, also. His papa did not finish school but wanted Alfred and Mom to get an education.

He said their classmate, Rosemary Elliott, was the valedictorian but all three of the graduates had very high test scores.

Alfred said his Aunt Beck and Uncle Jim Elliott cared for he and Olivia when their mama had surgery in the early 1900's. Their papa had a new Ford car and they drove to Aunt Beck's (think it was down by Huntington or Brush Creek,/i>) and it was a rainy day and the roads were too muddy to travel so had to return to the Aunt's and Alfred and Mom got to stay and visit much longer. Alfred thinks this is when a bond developed between the two of them and their cousin Geraldine Elliott. Were close when I was growing up, that is for sure.

Geraldine looked exactly like my Grandma, only a younger version. Unbelievable! Geraldine married Bill Watts and they had two daughters, Wanda and Jean. Wanda married Ivan Lehenbauer.


Alfred said there used to be telephone office headquarters west of the public school building in Swinkey which consisted of one room and the two operators, Mrs. Jim Tom Spalding (formerly a McCloud,/i>) and Mrs. Joe Buckman, also a McCloud were the operators.

Alfred's papa assumed the responsibility of clearing limbs for the telephone company from lines when there were storms. Alfred went, too. Indian 'Creek' comes from north of Hunnewell, through the Buckman 2500 acres that was purchased by some of the Buckman boys who were making money in California in the early and mid 1900's.

There used to be 'pie suppers' in the olden days and a fellow classmate, Rosemary Elliott, had one at her house. Webber Fry made it quite clear to Alfred that he was not to buy Rosemary's box. Alfred got Genevieve Hayes box instead and neither ended up marrying these two ladies.

The first place Grandma and Grandpa Parsons lived in was where C.E. Hays used to live.

Do you know where the first road to the left as you are going from Swinkey to Alfred's is? You have to cross two creeks to get to the house which sits on top of a hill. Alfred and Mom were born in that house.

Grandma was scared spitless of the creeks and was elated to move to where Alfred lived.


Laura Long recalled a time when she had been visiting Mom and Dad and they were all preparing to go someplace. Uncle Bill McClintic, all decked out in a white suit, white shoes, white socks walked right out the door and started playing in a mud puddle.

Laura said it did not disturb Mom one bit and Mom just smiled and said she could remember many a time when she would like to have done the same thing. She just cleaned Bill up and got ready all over again.