Blanton – Tales



Tales From Old Blanton

This page is taken, with permission, from the former My Blanton web site, created by Marinell Davis.

Well, the best tales from old Blanton are “Tales from Aunt Julia” written by Julia Dowling and published with the assistance of Carolyn Dowling Falls. This wonderful booklet, which gives a colorful picture of pioneer life in Blanton, can be purchased in the Pioneer Museum in Dade City.

We’ll add a few family stories below for your amusement, amazement and edification.

Blanton Public Wash Place

From the Notes of CASSIE DOWLING

The branch at the Northeast corner of the school yard was chosen by the Blanton folks to be a wash place. Today, you will find this branch just beyond the Tangelo Apartments on Sweetwater Road.

When the Duttons arrived, they brought a large, straight pot (to boil in) and six tubs made from heavy turpentine barrels. These were cut thru the middle with handles on each side.

This may sound like crude equipment, but to the Blanton folks, it was quite a treat. Two other small pots were set up and several zinc tubs came and went. Most folks would gather their dry clothes and two people would carry them home in a zinc tub.

Because so many people were using this place, they took turns. Mrs. Dutton, by mutual agreement, had her choice, then everyone washed. This often took all day. Even men or children would help to fill vessels with water.

To have the water clear and easy to pick up, a sluice was made with the inventiveness of Elmer Branch and Mrs. Paige.

Clothes were given a sweat rinse, put into a rubbing tub and rubbed on a crinkly board called a wash board. They were then dropped into a pot of water and brought to a boil. The clothes were then punched for sometime while they were boiling. It usually took one person to rub and one to tend the fire and punch. Often they took turns. After boiling, the clothes were rinsed through three tubs of clear water and hung on nearby community lines which were made by fastening wire to nearby trees to dry.

This sounds like a hard chore, but it was often made lighter by visiting with neighbors who also came to wash.

Blanton hunters: L to R : L. B. Bessenger, Fred O’Berry and Leon O’Berry
Photo and Stories contributed by Lora and Gene Blocker

John O’Berry has seen a bunch of turkeys up the road at Chipco and announced that the next morning he was going up there to get one for dinner and put shells in his shotgun to be ready. During the night, his son Fred took the shells out of the gun and said nothing. The next morning, bright and early, John grabbed his gun and went up to hunt the turkeys. Imagine after all the stalking and taking careful aim, the gun did not shoot and finding there were no shells in it.

Grandpa O’Berry had a cow that kept getting in his yard so he kept a shotgun loaded with salt to shot and sting the cow so it would leave the yard. One night Fred put buckshot in the shells and the next time the cow was in the yard Grandpa shot it to make it leave, but it fell dead instead. Gene’s Dad remembers going to supper up at Grandpa’s and eating the cow and biting into a buckshot when he ate the meat.

Grandpa John Marion O’Berry used to bury his money out back of the house. It was never confirmed, but Uncle Donnie Blocker told of asking Grandpa if he could borrow $10 and Grandpa didn’t say anything just got up and disappeared into the house. A few minutes later he came to the porch from around the back of the house and gave Uncle Donnie the money.

Frank Blocker served in WWII. He is the only one of Sanford Blocker’s kids to go to war. He left all kinds of pictures with details on back of places abroad. Frank came home and became a history teacher and was an excellent one. One young lady had him for World History in High School about the time she met her future husband. She will never forget Frank catching her girlfriend and her writing notes to each other instead of paying attention. He took the note which was telling her how handsome and cute his nephew was and how the young lady was setting out to marry the nephew. Frank never said a word, just smiled, and at the later wedding whispered in her ear, “You certainly did what you set out to do and our family is blessed by you doing it.” He was truly a wonderful person.

Frank played the piano. He had to sneak around to take piano lessons as father Sanford said playing pianos was for girls and sissy.

Lillian Bessenger Hines’ Stories are here.

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