Trilby – Life in Trilby



Life in Trilby


This article is copied with permission from the EPHS website.

For the record, my name is Angus Patterson Nott and it appears that way in the vital records of the state of Florida and on my birth certificate. In the family Bible it is listed as Angus Patterson Nott II, meaning that I was named after my grandfather, however, that’s as far as that name has ever gotten. So Angus Patterson Nott is my legal name.

I was born on December 2, 1918, at one o’clock in the afternoon at home. Apparently my father could not get the doctor there fast enough. He had to go to Dade City to get the doctor and get him back to Trilby. A distance of some seven miles one way. But everything worked out fine. I presume that Daddy took care of my mother and I was a bouncing baby boy.

Our home was a small, two story house located in the middle of Oak Street in Trilby, which was really the only paved street in the residential section of town. From there we moved out to a farm about one mile outside Trilby. We remained there until I was five years old and my sister, Vivian, was born there.

I recall the night the doctor came and helped with my sister being born and said that when he asked if I wanted to keep the girl, I said I guess so. We lived on this farm until I was about five years old and we moved back to town and I began school. Before my father moved to the farm, he had been a railroad man and a baggage master for the Atlantic Coastline Railroad before getting into a legal action which charged him with complicity and conspiracy in a holdup of a train. He was acquitted of all charges, restored to his job, and paid his back salary.

On the farm we grew watermelons, sweet potatoes, and corn. Corn was to feed the horses and perhaps some cattle that we kept. Daddy was in the cattle business there in the days when cattle roamed free. So when it was time to sell or brand cattle we had a roundup. We had black and white men working the roundups and branding and marking young calves.

In 1993 when I returned to the farm, I was distressed to see that the lake there had dried up and nothing left but a mud bottom.

That lake is where I learned to swim. We had a makeshift diving board and I would run, dive off and someone in the water would catch me. One time I dove off and there was nobody to catch me, eventually someone snatched me up and thereafter I did not try diving off when nobody was around. I could kinda swim under water, but not on top. So, my brother (who Buddy does not name) and brother-in-law, Jesse Stanley, took me out in the middle of the lake in a boat, they threw me overboard and said now see if you can swim. And I did. I swam back to the boat and from that day forward I was able to swim. So sometimes whenever it’s necessary to do something that you think you can’t do, you find that maybe you can do it.

While we were on this farm, I think my father was engaged in a little bit of bootlegging. As a matter of fact, I know he was. I don’t think he was doing much in the way of small retail sales, but maybe in 5 gallon jugs. But anyway, I at one point recall that the deputy sheriff came out and my mother was out on the porch with the sewing machine sewing and when he told her that Mr. Nott was in jail, she broke down and went to crying. That was the end of that as far as he was concerned. The deputy went on back to town. I don’t recall much after that other than visiting Daddy in the jail one time and he seemed to be very cheerful and they didn’t seem to think there was anything unusual about the fact that he had been pulled in for bootlegging.

There seemed to be a lot of bootleggers in those days and how the trial finally came out or the charges finally came out I don’t really recall whether he was guilty or whether he paid a fine or what happened. But anyway, that was the full extent of my knowledge about the bootlegging bit. I was probably four or five years old at that time. Maybe, not quite five.

But we had a lot of happy times out there on the farm, fishing in the lake, and we always caught fish. There was some hunting too. ’Course I wasn’t big enough to hunt then except with somebody else. It was a happy time out there, and it was kinda a tough time, too. ’Course there was no running water. The house was one of those open ceiling, oldtime farm houses in which sometimes a snake, at least on one occasion, dropped out of the ceiling. A rat snake. It scared us all to death. My mother and me anyway. But I recall it with pleasant thoughts as against any type of rough living that might have gone on as a result of the rather impoverished times.

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