My mother’s 100th birthday will be this November (Martha Evelyn Mount, born November 28, 1916, in Morrow, Ohio and passed away on July 31, 1991). When she was 72 in 1989, she made a taped recording of family stories for both sides of the family. In her honor, and still incredulous that she sat and dictated all of this into a tape recorder by herself, I’m going to post what she wrote along with pictures whenever possible. She had a rather rambling, random method and said whatever came to her mind at that moment, punctuated by hearty laughing. I’ll post the stories in the order she told them and will only edit the posts to keep out anything that might be offensive or embarrassing to other members of the family.
8/89 – Family Stories Tape by Martha Applegate
Transcribed 5/19/01 by Lillian – notes in parenthesis by Lillian
My father, John A, and his mother – 1933
Grandma loved this picture of Johnny. She exclaimed, “Oh,
he looks just like a movie actress!”
Mother tells some family stories about the oldtimers – my grandfather and his brothers.
That whole Applegate family was a wild bunch – those boys would get on the rampage – I don’t know what they’d do – they’d carry on and the sheriff would get after them and they’d run home and Granny had a great big sea trunk and she’d hide them in there and the sheriff would come looking for them – he’d look all over and finally he’d find them and he’d take them down to his house and he’d make them work around his house until they’d served their time and they wouldn’t run off – they’d serve their time – and he’d let them loose and they’d go back home and first thing you know, he’d have to pick them up again for something.
One day Uncle Jim (Note: actually reported to be Uncle Court) and I guess Will (another Applegate son) were going hunting when they were boys and they were going through a fence and Uncle Jim’s (Court’s) gun went off and he shot Will in the leg. They took him home and they laid him on the kitchen table and they got the two doctors in. They were going to operate on him there on the table and Uncle Jim stood there with a gun and said, “He’d better live – if he don’t live, you’re both dead”. They operated on him and they didn’t say one word – they went out and they got on their horses and took off. Well, Will had died and they knew Uncle Jim was going to shoot them if he did. Of course, it wasn’t their fault.
Granny, she just went nuts – they buried him and they didn’t bury his leg with him and she just went crazy and she just carried on and carried on until one night they had to go out in the night and dig him up and put that leg down there with him and from then on she was OK, she got over it.
My great-grandmother Emily Jane Reddick Applegate (Granny)
Uncle Jim (James Everett Applegate) was really a character – he was about the best loved one of the whole bunch, but he was quiet, a little quiet man, kind of put you in mind of that man on Lonesome Dove (Robert Duvall), about that size, twinkly eyes, but could fight a buzz saw.
My great-uncle, James Everett Applegate
If it wouldn’t be for Uncle Jim, none of you children, great-grandchildren or any of you would be here today. He saved Johnny’s life (John A) when Grandma-up-Dayton (Lillian Illie) was about to have him. Two of the brothers got into a fight and she got in the middle of them and she got pushed out a window backwards and she come near losing the baby. They called Dr. Forman in and he said, “Oh, the baby’s breech – he’s going to be a breech birth”, he said, “I’m going to have to cut the baby in two to save the mother” and Uncle Jim said, “No baby gets cut in two in my house” and with that she went ahead and had him and that’s the only reason any of you are here today. Johnny always had a very bad temper and his brother, Frank, told him the reason he had a bad temper was because he came in back side first and from that time on he always had his backside up in the air over something.
My grandmother, Lillian Illie Applegate, hard at work
on some fairground – son Frank in the foreground
If Uncle Jim would get to drinking and carrying on they’d have to call the sheriff down and he would get his back up against the wall and he’d just take them all one by one – nobody could whip him. He never went far in school but he could just figure, read, write – just as sharp as he could be.
Front row: a neighbor and Uncle Jim
back row: a neighbor, Goldie and Bill Applegate, Aunt Rose (Jim’s wife)
In installment 6, we’ll hear about some of the Applegates in the 1930s – as wild as ever.