On Driving a Car


    The “Old Road” from Ravenna to Mulberry stayed closer to Caney Creek than the present “Farm Road” through Rainey Flat. That’s where this “lesson” took place.

    Ira Wisely’s letter is addressed to his wife Mamie (Parks), Mandy’s sister:     

    Dear I cant wait any longer to tell it. (Listen) ... Mandie was driving back ... between Crumbys & Haywood Gentrys ...

... [John C.] Crumby was driving twelve or fifteen head of cattle in the road meeting us. I told Mandie to slow up. We would try to ease through.  She did so as near as she knew how. There was one great big old cow coming right out on the right of us. I thought she was going on by. I told Mandie to speed up a little and we would get by. She did understand just at the time so when she did, this old big cow jumped right square in front on the car.  We had done struck her before we could stop. It knocked her down. The spring pushed up over her sides. One wheel on her neck. She was just there. It killed the engine.  Scared Mandie and Zona badly. They jumped out of the car and ran behind it. Zona had one of her shoes off.  Didn’t realize it until she was behind the car. I started the engine, backed up a little, let the old cow get up. It didn’t hurt her at all. The first thing Mandie said was “O! God” just as soon as the cow was struck. It just bent one of the fenders down a little was all the injure that was done to the car. I laughed and told Mandie yesterday if you and her didn’t mind you were going to get up your Rep[putation?] on driving a car. I taught Perry how to drive yesterday in the little grass lot north of the house. Mandie, Lola, Perry, Mona, and I went to Preaching at Ravenna last night. Had a very nice time. We wished for you several times. Before you go all I will say [is] Come back for there is a Friend in Texas that loves you yet. Dont stay too long Please. Dear the Flies are bad so I will close hoping to hear from you soon with a long letter. I am your True Lover & Hus.  Ira R. Wisely

Home of John C. and Martha Crumby (about 1903)

    The 1880 Census of Fannin County shows John C. Crumby (1865-1951) living with his mother Kate and stepfather, Alfred Hart. Starting in 1889: “All [his, Crumby’s] children were born in a one room cabin which John C. built [then added] on 2 more rooms where they raised 7 children.”

    Did Mandy remember? She hadn’t known that Ira described the incident in a letter, or how it found its way into the hands of Lelia Hall. But she added, “Every time the car would roll back a little the old cow would bawl. I wasn’t going to tell my Daddy. Mamie wasn’t with us. A few days later I asked him if I could drive the car. He said, ‘No, you don’t know how.’ I said, ‘Yes I do. I’ve been slipping the car out.’ He said, ‘Take it on.’ The garage had doors at both ends. That’s how I’d slipped it out. After that, I opened both ends, in case I wouldn’t be able to stop.”  

photos: the Parks family automobile


Ira Wisely (left) and Herbert Price