Susan Snyder Hurley’s Memories of Millie, the Old Brown Place, and the Week Jess Died

Please Note: Michael had the opportunity to talk to Susan Snyder Hurley earlier in January 2015. Michael had asked this particular Cartwright cousin to think about her memories of Jess and Millie as well any memories she might have had of the extended family.

I am pleased to report that Susan had a wonderfully vivid sense of interior of the house where Jess and Millie lived, which was known locally as “the old Brown place.” She recalls, “The house was fairly small — only four rooms. There was a kitchen, two bedrooms (one quite small), and a living room. . .There was no indoor plumbing.” She said, “Looking back on it, it is hard to believe that so many people could be in such a small house.”

Susan also remembered spaces beyond the house. “There was a small out building – in addition to the outhouse – where the grandchildren were bathed in a large round wash tub. There was the chicken coop where Karen and Susan gathered eggs. Susan remembers that Millie told them over and over again that if they didn’t stay out of the chicken house, the hens wouldn’t lay their eggs. . . . There was at one time a barn in the back. It was there that Karen and I would go get the raw peanuts out of the hanging bags. There was also a storm cellar that was located by outhouse. I think that Granny also stored her canned foods there but not positive.

Susan doesn’t have a lot of memories of Jess, but she does have vivid memories of being there the week that Jess died. “The night Jess got sick and died, Karen and I were already in bed. I remember mom and dad taking him out of the house and Granny crying. She kept saying something about if they gave him some kind of shot it was going to kill him. Whether she was referring to his diabetes or heart condition I am not sure. She seemed to know he was not coming back and was writing letters to people telling them. She seemed to have forgotten we were even there. We just stayed in the bedroom that was situated off of the living room. When mom and dad came back, Karen and I were taken to someone’s house in Booneville and stayed there until after the funeral. I believe, but again am not sure, that Granny wanted Jess brought back to the house and she and mother not agreeing on that.

“Millie was one of a kind. She never stopped talking except when she was asleep. I honestly believe that whatever she was thinking was verbalized. I would wake up in the morning and she would be sweeping and carrying on a conversation. She had the coloring and facial characteristics that showed her Native American background. Every meal we had biscuits and fried potatoes. To this day, I really think they were the best that I ever had. She kept a can of grease on the stove and used it for everything.”

“My first year in college, I frequently drove over from Clarksville to see her on the weekends.” Susan recalls, “It was always a good place to escape to” when she wanted to get away from the College of the Ozarks. “At that time, Granny lived in town, just down the road from Bethel and Jean Cartwright” (on the hill above the saw mill) in Mansfield.

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About mcartwright1957

I am a member of the senior administrative team at the University of Indianapolis where I have served since 1996. I am married to Mary Wilder Cartwright. We are the parents of four children: Hannah, Erin, James, and Bethany. I currently live in Nashville, IN.
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