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Down on the farm

Down on the farm
Out of the woods.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

UNCLE JOHNNEY'S STORY

Grandpa's older half brother Uncle Johnney Campbell was the son of Jerry Campbell and Mary Elizabeth the first.
He was a foreman at a lead mine in Aurora, MO when he and Henrietta helped to found the First Christian church, pillars of the community that they were. They adopted a boy from one of the orphan trains, but within a few years the boy ran off to Texas because they were so mean to him. Mom's words, not mine. My mother rarely spoke ill of anyone. Uncle Johnney was the sole exception.
In some kind of defense, Uncle Johnney suffered the usual side effects of lead mining and eventually was forced to retire. They moved back to Union and lived either with or near my grandparents. He medicated the pain with liquor.
Mom and her little sister, Girly would hide when they saw Johnney reeling on the seat of his wagon, whipping his horse through town. I heard that even Aunt Hazel and even the older boys did much the same. If he saw you he was as likely to use the whip on a human as on the horse. My guess would be that he had used that whip on the orphan boy who ran away, but it is only a guess. Lead poisoning creates a hell in the body and slowly destroys the brain.
He finally died, either of lead or booze poisoning, no one said. Etta lived long and prospered, honored aunt of the Campbell clan. Her "jewelry" and goods were left mainly to her namesake, Blanche Henrietta, my mother. To this day I have a delicately painted china cup known as "Uncle Johnney's cup", and this is a story to go with the cup.