Saturday, February 20, 2016

Stories of the Mule and Other Wiley Animals...

My mother does not have fond remembrance of the old days. Not that things were all that bad but as time goes on they get better, especially for those of us in the good old USA. There are many opportunities to apply ourselves and in the many stories of my family that is what happened.  Along the way we forget the bad stuff and remember the funny or the good. That's what my mom did the other day when she upped with the story of Lorance the mule. 

 In the early 1930s or so my mother's father, Caleb Lester Wiley bought a mule in Arkansas. The mule's name was Lorance.  My mother would have been 5-10 years old. The family lived on the Tennessee side of the Mississippi River and though I did not verify this with her probably in Tipton County. If you don't know Tipton County here are a few facts. The Spanish Conquistador De Soto probably crossed the river somewhere near here. The New Madrid Earth Quakes of 1811 and 1812 changed the course of the river so that part of Tipton county Tennessee became part of Arkansans.  So you see the river and getting across it is a big deal.  

Apparently the purchase of Lorance was such a financial hardship that getting him across from the Arkansas to the Tennessee side of the Mighty Mississippi was required to be done the cheapest way possible. My Uncle Gilbert, who would have been in his early 20s swam Lorance across the river at a place called Richardson Landing. In case you want to look it has a facebook page, not really like your's or mine but a check in kind of page.    

This is a good story but we lack a lot of details. How much did Lorance cost? How long did it take? We do know that they made it fine although it is remembered that when it came time for my Uncle Alec to plow with Lorance big long words were often put to use. Since we don't know the answers to these questions and I am not going to write big long words here I have sifted through my collection of 2800 Wiley Family photos and picked out photos of people with animals. No, there is not a photo of Lorance and I don't know who all these folks are in the pictures. 
Caption to this photo is "Linda Duck and Shu-shu." I don't know Linda. 

My Uncle Richard and Boots. 

Don't know these people or dogs. I'm guessing this is a Ledbetter. My mother does report a dog named Franck Delano Roosevelt. They called him Frank. 

Bear on a chain with a muzzle tourist trap.. Sad Old School animal treatment probably Great Smoky Mountains

Bear on the loose Great Smokies. 

Don't know these folks. Might be Aunt Winnie Lou.

Same dog I think. Liked to have his picture taken. 

If you know your cars maybe you could date these. Don't know who this is but looks like a Wiley. 

Same dog again? 

My cousins Mary and Dixie in dog heaven. 

Aunt Euna, cousin Marilou and Boots. 

Uncle Gilbert and cow. The caption says, "the calf took good" 

So there you have it. I knew there was a blog post in these animal photos. It took a long forgotten story of Lorance and a river swim to bring it about. 
 

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