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Thomas Carroll "Tom" Masters
Grandson of Hillery Masters


by Fowler Masters

From a taped interview at Shankey Branch in Clay County, July 1988


Masters Family

Thomas Carroll Masters was raised on Mordock's Creek, South of Celina in Clay County, Tennessee. He was born in 1839 and died in 1927. He had three different wife's and 21 children.  Fowler Masters is the baby of all Tom's children.  Thomas Carroll dealt in lumber on his 1,400 acres of land and was considered to be a able judge of lumber as well as a good businessman.  He kept three or four yoke of cattle in the woods all the time to "snake" the logs out and a four horse team to haul the logs to the river.  These logs were "rafted" on the Cumberland river near Butlers Landing to the waiting market in Nashville, Tennessee.  This was accomplished when the "Tide" came, or higher water resulting from rains, creating a suitable current to transport the logs.

"This house here on Shankey branch is his last home place -- well not this house, he (Tom) had two houses to burn.  The last house to burn caught him in a pinch.  Well -- the wagons commenced a commin' in here with loaded lumber, I mean nobody asked fer it or nothin.  And in sight of a week they had him another house put up.  Now that was his neighbors.  They used to do different than they do now.  My daddy wuz a wonderful man".

Tom served in the Civil War and was shot in the right hand.  "He was captured a time or two.  He laid down one night near here to freeze to death, hadn't had nuthin' to eat for three days and nights.  He laid down and he had two blankets and he laid the blanket on the ground, took his saddle off his horse and turned him loose to make its way and it was a snowin' then.  He laid down on one blanket with the other blanket over him and made a piller out of his saddle.  Next morning he woke up and was warn in under the snow.  He was so hungry and weak when he woke he whistled for his horse and it had picked its way around and when he whistled his horse came and made over him just like you would a dead person nearly.  He saddled his horse and he rode under a little sugar tree and I have see'd that lots of times, it's just up here about two miles.  His horse reach and got a bite of yeller leaves, and when he done that, he reach and got him some.  He said he backed his horse up, the horse would take a bite and he would take a bite.  He said it tasted plum good to him and it hope him a rite smart.  There was only one house between here and Livingston and there was an old like woman lived there in a log cabin.  He cum to this old woman's house -- and I know where that's at.  He hollered and she cracked the door a little -- He said kind lady I an a starving to death and if you will get me something to eat I'll promise you I won't harm you in no way.  She said well get down and come on in.  She fastened a wood button over the door and she cooked him a meal.  There was no floor in the cabin and she cooked down in the fire.  The meal that she cooked him was just water and meal made up -- didn't have nuthin' else, and cooked him middlin' meat and he said it was so thick you could have made three pieces out of it.  He said he just sat there with his mouth a waterin' to get a hold of that.  She cooked it on the fire place on the coals down there -- He said that was the finest eating ever wuz might neart.  He thanked her fer it and got on his horse and left.  He cum on down here and they (yankees) captured him down on the Williams bluff.  Bill Williams owned it.  They held him I guess for a week before they turned him loose and when they turned him loose he come back. (home)"

"My daddy had a little gray horse, they called him Bill.  He worked that horse in the logs.  A fellow name of Newt Davis drove the log team.  They wuz a pullin' a safe over here up the river bank, the first that wuz ever here.  (Celina, Tennessee)  They brought it up on the steamboat from Nashville.  They couldn't get enough horses and mules around to pull it up the river bank.  Some of  em' said Tom Masters got a little gray horse over here and a mule and if anybody's got gears that will hold I'll garantee that little gray horse and mule will pull that up the bank.  Well Chap Willis was a runnin' a hardware store and he said I'll furnish the gear if you'll get the team.  They cum over here and they wuz a man name of Newt Davis drove fer him.  They bunched like a gathering there on the river banks to watch that horse and mule.  When they wuz ready, he didn't have to say nothin to the little horse Bill, he was always ready, he spoke to the mule and they went down and pulled about the length of it and some of them commenced to holler "is he gonna pull it - is he gonna pull it - yes he's gonna pull it" and they did.  They pulled it up the river bank and up where they wuz a settin'.  They had I don't know how many to try it but couldn't.  That little gray horse done it."

"His second eyesight come back to him when he wuz 86 year old.  He took the daily paper -- the Nashville Banner.  He could pick up the paper and read the very finest print, without any glasses or anything.  In six months time he could quote that to you word for word.  My daddy wuz a wonderful man."

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