Monday, July 17, 2017

DEVIL MAKE A THIRD was written by Douglas Fields Bailey and published in 1948. It is a book of fiction based upon the author's family's story in Dothan, Alabama.
 The book describes the rise to power of Buck Bannon in the southeast Alabama town of Aven from circa 1890-1915.

Characters in DEVIL MAKE A THIRD & suggestions as to the historic people they may be based upon:

Joe Bannon (Joe Baker, Sr. 1836-1900, buried in the Baker plot of the Dothan City Cemetery)
"The Joe Baker family came from near Abbeville. Mr. Buck Baker was a big stockholder in Houston National Bank. The Baker brothers built and operated the Martin Hotel, and dealt in real estate. Mr. Dan Baker, of the brothers is the only one living now." from Mrs. A.D. Whiddon's HISTORY OF DOTHAN published in 1945 in the DOTHAN EAGLE

Jeanie McPherson Bannon (Jane Sanders Baker 1849-1918, buried in the Baker plot of the Dothan City Cemetery)

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Buck Bannon (Joe "Buck" Baker 1869-1920, buried in the Baker plot of the Dothan City Cemetery)

Mrs. Buck Bannon formerly Lota Kyle (based upon Eula Stagg Baker, Buck Baker's wife) introduced on page 203Image may contain: 1 person, smiling
                                                                     Eula Stagg Baker Smith

Jeff Bannon (Dan Baker?) No automatic alt text available.

Hearn Bannon (C.F. "Doug" Baker)No automatic alt text available.

Coke Bannon (Colie  Baker, 1886-1937 )

Myrt Bannon

Nance Bannon

Victoria Bannon (name was changed to Christina after Buck's affair with Big Vic)

Vestacia Bannon (Vesta)

Millie Bannon

Wiley Bannon

Two of Wiley's Children

Earnestine Bannon

Gene, Earnestine's oldest boy, (10 years old in 1907)

Three of Earnestine's children

Titus Green

preacher in Baptist Bottom

prostitute in Mabe's Place


bartender in saloon

Amos Longshore (Bailey was friends with Mr. and Mrs. Sam Friedman while he was at the University of Alabama. Mrs. Friedman's maiden name was Longshore)

Mrs. Amos Longshore

Ivy Longshore: Amos Longshore's daughter

Jake Willis, railroad brakeman and loan customer of Buck

Bascom "Bass" Wooten, railroad brakeman and loan customer of Buck~
"Bass" is an interesting nickname and a google search reveals that nobody's ever seemed to consider it to be short for "Bascom" other than the author of DEVIL MAKE A THIRD but naming a child "Bascom" and calling him "Bass" for short would not be unusual for parents in the Civil War-Reconstruction-era Wiregrass. 
Only thirty miles south of Dothan, one finds BASCOM, FLORIDA.
Bascom, Faye Dunaway's hometown, is named for the Reverend Henry Bascom who engineered the move in 1845 that split the Methodist Church and created the METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, SOUTH.
Bascom wrote Methodism and Slavery; with Other Matters in Controversy between the North and the South; Being a Review of the Manifesto of the Majority, in Reply to the Protest of the Minority, of the Late General Conference of the Methodist E. Church, in the Case of Bishop Andrew (1845; available free on line at Google Books).

On the Geneva side of my family, I had a Great-Great Uncle named "Henry Bascom Register"
Named after the famous Methodist, Henry Bascom Register was born only five years after the advent of Methodist-Episcopal Church, South. From surveying the local newspapers, it appears Uncle H.B. was pastoring churches in the Marianna District as early as 1896 and for about 25 years, he preached at Methodist churches around Defuniak Springs, Coffee Springs, Dothan, Daleville, Ashford and Wicksburg,

Victoria "Big Vic"

Gus Blissett and wife

Mr. Early Edgar

Will J. Cumbie (Bailey may have graduated from Dothan High with a fellow named Cumbie in 1930)

Ed Puckett, surveyor

Colt Peterman (My Great-Aunt Lula Shepherd Peterman ran a boarding house located on the corner of North Alice and West Main directly in front of First Baptist. In 1907, THE DOTHAN EAGLE published an article about the history of Dothan and stated that Aunt Lula's husband, my great-uncle J.A. Peterman was one of only four men who still owned the same store located in the same place in downtown Dothan as they did in 1897. The Peterman store was on North Foster Street.)

"Stylish" George Brown

Tobe Parody ( The basis for this character may be former Dothan Chief of Police Tobe Domingus) may contain: one or more people

James Lewis Jefferson "Tobe" Domingus, Sr.

Coot Harper

Joe Manheim

Charlie Factor

colored boy in a white coat from McPherson's Saloon

Reverend Sime Acree

Virgil (The character of Virgil may have been inspired by a Downtown Dothan street personality named Homer White) When Tobe and Buck first see Virgil on Aven's streets, Tobe asks, "Buffalo Bill?" Buffalo Bill brought his Wild West Show to Dothan on October 10, 1907.
"Homer could be found at the Houston Theater every day watching westerns. Homers later was missing a few runs. I don't think he could play that guitar and he could tell some tall tales.He would set on the front row, in case Bob Steele needed a little help with the outlaws.

" Homer would watch the same movie every day They may run them 2 or 3 days. He would tell you what was going to happen, and when they had a fight, he could not sit still. With him sitting on the front row you could see him jumping up and down getting into it.

"I remember a story about Homer. He was known to stretch the truth. He would walk to town every day. One day this farmer was at the end of his row at the time Homer come by. He yelled,'Homer, come here and tell me a lie.' without slowing. Homer said,' I can't. That lady up there fell and broke her leg and I am going to get a doctor.' The farmer left his mule in the field and ran home to find his wife hanging out clothes. He said, 'Well I asked for that one.' " ~ Jerry Walker

the little Tiller girl

Aven's first city engineer

Colie Mellinger (here the author uses his uncle Colie Baker's first name as a name for a character)

Hopson the blacksmith

Naomi, one of Mabe's prostitutes

The Railroad Brotherhood

Miss Kirkland of Miss Kirkland's School

Henry the cook at the Bannon house

train conductor

worried man in the Waycross depot

Negro shoe shine boy in Waycross

Aven city clerk

Pet Tolleson, county school superintendent

bookkeeper at the dispensary

Governor Thrasher

Mrs. Myra Thrasher

Brookie , cook at the Choctawhatchee cabin

colored boy at the Choctawhatchee cabin who shot a pistol every 15 minutes

T.H. Harrison of the Harrison House

two Negroes carrying a dresser and mirror up the stairs at the Harrison House

small colored boy in a white jacket at the Harrison House

page 199 bellboy who fetches Hearn's ice

Old Spang, city hall janitor

colored chauffeur for Hearn's car

Mayme Foster

Location of scenes from DEVIL MAKE A THIRD:

The Bannon Place outside of Aven

Aven railroad depot

Green's General Mdse

Mason's store (work shoe competition)

Tate's Hill

Amos Longshore's house (has a yard with grass)

Mabe's Place

downtown Aven "half a mile from the railroad just to get closer to the spring and the distillery"

The spring

The saloon

Baptist Bottom 

Puddin' House

Bannon Block on St. Simon Street

Corner of St. Simon and Oak Streets

Basin Street (East and West Main Streets? "Main Street" is also mentioned in Aven so this is very questionable)

Gus Blissett's house

Colt Peterman's place out in the country

Amos Longshore's farm northeast of Aven




blacksmith shop

35 foot piece of property next to Green's

New railroad crossing on Basin Street, two blocks from Buck's new store

New railroad route northeast of Aven

Dean's livery stable (Holman's Livery)

Joe Manheim's store two doors down from Buck's new store

Rose Hill

Buck and Ivy's house on Oak Street

Old Fritter home

Mercy Creek

the steaming bogs on Old Bay

creek bank on the main gravel highway to Albany

Acid Plant Hill on the edge of Negro Quarters


site of the OLD JAIL (lot on which HARRISON HOUSE is built)

McTyre's Place (saloon)

The Bottle (saloon)


Aven Telephone Company

Thacker's Boardinghouse

Lota Kyle's home just over the Georgia Line

Edgemont School For Young Ladies in Tennessee

Mayor's office in City Hall (When Jeannie Bannon visits Buck in the Mayor's office (page 164), she mentions that Buck is 38 years old. Buck Baker was 38 in 1907)

Miss Kirkland's School

Big Creek

Spring Creek

Econfina Creek

new police station near City Hall

Dispensary across the street from City Hall

Rosehill Gardens in Montgomery ~ "Page 211 references Rosehill Gardens in Montgomery. Pretty sure this is Capitol's Rosemont Gardens Florist. Not sure when this old flower shop was established but grew roses year-round in glass greenhouses until florist production industry moved to Columbia South America in the 60/70's.." ~ Lorie Felton

from the Sunday, December 12, 1952 MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER
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from the May 5, 1914 ANDALUSIA STAR
No automatic alt text available.

Choctawhatchee River

Wagon Yard one block east of Oak Street (J.P. Folkes had a wagon yard at the NW corner of Crawford and Foster, one block east of Oates St.)

New York City

Masonic Lodge

Harrison House (Hotel Martin)

Antiquated Terms and Colloquialisms from Chapter 1 of DEVIL MAKE A THIRD:

Maccaboy snuff

a dirt road sport

sanded yard

pokeberry red

dun-colored bantam hen

hide-bottomed rocker

syrup bucket flowerpot

suck a meat skin

"hand-hewn bench that had been soaped and scrubbed until little soft splinters stuck up now and then, even against the grain"

"For God's sake..."

"I say you ain't to use the Lord's name while you're in the house, Buck."

"full red beard that he chopped off straight across at the neckline."

"twist a baling wire around a small wooden box full of clothes"

"Don't you go sparkin' in them jeans of mine..."

"shining from fetlock to forelock"

"rootin' for vittles in this here sorry clay"

"cuffed little Coke away from his syrup lick under the table"

flat-bed wagon

"I went to mill and back and made the trade."

"flicked the lines and pulled the mule sharply around"

"smooth whispering grind of the iron-rimmed wheels on hard sand"

"cotton quilt with the funny frocking on the edges"

"Blue Back speller that cost a quarter bushel of meal"

"pitch pine popping and sparking and scorching some while others froze"

"lunch bucket"

"fatback, syrup and corn bread"

"grabbed the lines to his chest"

"mules unshod feet"

"keep him from rattling the lines"

"a frog thumped a tub"

"a chill in the air that came out of a wet bottom"

"wrapped the lines around his wrist"

"he reached out with a foot and tested his weight on the shaft. He placed his left hand on the mule's rump and began to walk out the shaft, sliding his hand along the rough sweaty ridge of backbone until he felt the up-curved end of the shaft with his foot. He pushed off, dividing his shove between his hand on the mule's collar and his foot on the shaft, and jumped clear of creek water."

"Don't let Papa make you plow the big mule, boy," he said, "Big John'll pure pull yore arms out at the sockets. But you got to quit sleepin' in the cotton rows when you ought to be choppin'."

"some of his mother's cush he could take and eat out of the palm of his hand like it was a bowl. He'd nuzzle into that Thanksgiving cush like a hound."

"fill up on cush before they got to turkey. Corn meal and onions with meat stock were cheaper than turkey."

"the first shining finger of railroad glinted suddenly ahead of him and his feet began to crunch on the new roadbed. Cinders."

"smell of fresh-cut fat pine ties and tar and oil and smoke that coughed shudderingly out of the belled stack of a small switch engine whose firebox glowed line a woodsfire."

"a small corner of Alabama wasn't lying fallow any longer, but was heavy with the germ of a town."

"Aven's first row of tin-roofed shacks with a swing to his copper-toed shoes."

"A brakeman in the new ACL yards"


"pioneered with his shoulder blades"

"baggage truck"

"It's better'n wakin' up with Hearn rootin' from one side and Jeff from the other till they prize me up off the pallet"

"the one curious older girls took behind the privy after school"

"already his eyes would glide over one girl without quickening, to suddenly narrow sleepily at the first sight of her sister."

"sitting on the front porch pleating and unpleating her skirt"

"shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves"

"we got rid o' downright hard shirt sleeves"

"a live creek meandering the year round through the bottom"

"lifting the lid off a mess of greens and fatback"

"the rifle at Chicamauga Gap and slippery ellum bark for dressing"

"ease out of bed so the rustling of shucks wouldn't wake Joe"

"hot smells of side meat and chicory coffee bellied out of the chimney's draught"

"He'd cut a step or two"

"tinka-bell reflections"

"what the sand was for. Floorin'. Floorin' to cover the clay and drain off the bath water."

"creek-bottom sand"

"God's bottom. A hobo on a baggage truck I never thought to see."

"if you're any kind o' hand with a pick"

"but I ain't aimin' to dig in no more dirt"

"He felt the excitement yeasting inside at sight of a small neat buggy with new harness"


"long billed railroad man's striped cap"


"rocking whip of the drive shaft"

"more and more folks here lettin' grass grow in their yards. Mother wouldn't have it."

"It's growin' crazy as a gourd vine flingin' out a creeper now and then and stores and houses hitchin' on whenever they feel like it."

"Jake, them's white girls."

"That's Jernigan on the cord. He gives it that laughin', wheedlin' twist"

"the goods box at one end of his cot"

"dressed up like a travelin' dentist"

"like a scope of timber"

"like a colored woman with a bundle on her head"

"like findin' rock candy in a syrup bucket"

"narrow, black string tie"

"Nobody ever knocked a man in the head for a sack of candy"

"like the eyes of a chicken who wants to cut out some light"

"for some doctorin' in Atlanta"

"began to pare his nails"

"What makes you think I'd rob a man because I had him where the hair is short?"

"You like to make a dollar"

"He wondered if Longshore would rise to that"

"I ain't got time to stop and build bridges when I come to a creek. I've got to jump to stay on schedule"

"Don't whine. A thief's a thief."


"the jangle of the banjo, played day and night behind the thin partition that separated the whites from the colored folks' side"

"louder near the curved slot through which the bartender shoved drinks to the Negro customers"

"It stingeth like an adder and biteth like a serpent." (Proverbs 23: 29, 30, 32)

"the bottle of white corn whiskey"

"like a quick wisp of steam blown across his face from the kettle at syrup-making time"

"the patches of turpentine oozing from the pine looked like blisters"

"I'm a' goin' pi'rootin' "

"kiss all the girls and run climb a tree an' wait for them to cut me down."

"throwing the rain-washed roots of the sycamore trees up high like a sick steer's ribs"

"odors of frying fish, onions and hush puppies"

"kerosene lamp on a goods box"

"Here, Big Time, preach me some hell-fire and alligator teeth"

"Ain't you kinda lit up, Boss?"

"Like a country church."

"Boss, whore ladies like a little something on the side. Now I got a pair o' fine billy goats, Boss, which'd make mighty pretty pets down yonder."

"I figgered even a goat'd ruther live in a house full of ready women that lay in the road."

"corn-shuck mat"

"Hey, Mabe! Company."

"a newel post to put it by"


"rubber-tired buggy"


"I was hasslin' to leave it"

"pickle dish the store had sent from Eufaula the first year Papa had bought big"

"two pound Barred Rock fryers"

"the peas- cooked soft with a split chunk of home-cured boiling meat - the tiny Lady Finger peas, the ones God gave po' folks for dessert."

"forget the grubbin' I been doin' "

"something to make a man's skin crawl off"

"derby hat"

"didn't want to make the nap streak in the wrong way"

"jerked the whip out of the socket"

"eased out a little more slack in the lines and felt the mare take it up in a second with a quickening step and a lunge into the collar."

"Take it, you scaper"

"what she called heavy words"

"looped his lines around the shiny whip socket"

"a long minute"

"his long driving coat"

"knuckled his head hard"

"work like a brag mule"

"circle-foot plow"


"waste pine"

"like beetles on a lampshade"

"Bible says we'll always have pore folks. But how come, by God, it's got to be me?"

"Well, don't blow off at me."

"I'm like a broke-leg mule"

"I cain't carpenter, nor lay brick, nor plow- cain't do a damned thing but brake on the railroad"

"laid a large piece of ham on top of a slab of hoecake"

"that's middle o' the night talk"

"Reckon not"

"A man oughtn't to live over two hoe handles from his business"


"floor joist for every two feet of flooring" (description of Bannon house, page 59)

"mule dealer's badge of office- a cheap walking stick whose blunt end was scuffed and stained with manure and tobacco juice"

"Well, y'all come." "Y'all come, too."

"with places to dress without turning their backs"

"bought brick"

"We run over a cooter"

"I think they eat quail eggs"

"blunt tip of a bone-handled kitchen knife"

"held the reins loosely in his right hand, idly whipping the ends against his legs"

"Boy, you ain't never seen nothin' like the way that land was yeastin' when we sold"

"the mill marks still showed where the planes had scraped."

"We'll put a shuck mattress up there, too."

"There's a big stove comin' tomorrow with warmers and a hot-water reservoir"

"Look at that bank walker's strut Buck's got"

"wrapped his lines carefully before he jumped off the wagon"

"you lazy hound"


"a man 21 years old that ain't got no more sense than me ought to be hung"

"I could a' bought a big lot of them cheap work shoes from that drummer and undercut hell out of Mason's"

"I can jump prices"

"Papa don't know who painted the preacher's horse green and killed it, but I do."

"fighting mulishly against the drug of a full stomach"

"The moon threw things out of kilter"

"When morning came, he could brass it out."

"I'll just go down and man it out."

big wood range

"Little Vic whimpering and sucking a sugar tit"

"her eyes were as black as mulberries"


"the short collar of his overall jumper higher up on the stub of a neck"

"He hauled at the worn and shiny leather strap looped through the buttonhole in the breast pocket of his overalls."

"them damned young'uns must eat like boar shoats. Been here six months and interest gnawin' at me like another conscience"

"I'll be glad when you get that blessed watch back so you can get back on the road. I'm plumb wore out with these piddlin' jobs..."

"Jake put his broad heavy foot on his end of the chain and threw the loop so it would slide freely"

"but damned if he ain't got us suckin' hind tit"

"job helpin' to lay out the town"

"Bass trudged on with chain winding like a hundred-foot snake behind him until it tightened, then he stooped and drove his stake."


"Laying it out too little"

"holes where her kids had dug caves and tunnels"

"Well, we're livin' spite o' all we can do"

"Mother's feedin' whole milk to the pigs 'cause she ain't got time to churn. Wonder if you could run up some milkin' time and kinda spell her at the churn. Reckon, if you're bakin' any cakes, she'd be proud if you'd try some o' her butter."

"he got hurt brakin', and can't go back to the road"

"a pied calf being led by a small colored boy across towards the blacksmith shop"

"I'll work up the papers"

"Pore chance but I'm honin' after both of 'em" page 80

"two doors were nearly wide enough to be called shutters" (Green's General Mdse)

"a large woman whose heavy cracked milking hands yearned slowly over a yard-wide bolt of stiff shiny taffeta"

"Whew! Colder than a hound's nose"

"Hate to be fixin' fence on that high forty back home" (page 81)

"the light beating fitfully through the isinglass window in the stove."

"Papa, it's like you know when to plant. It ain't just knowin'; it's part feelin'. Well, I got that feelin'."

"Boy, ain't we movin' a mite fast?"

"Watch the barbershops, they follow the money. There ain't a one on our street."

"a horseback opinion"

"Hell, Papa, our ox is gettin' belly deep in the mire. And when the ox is in the mire you get him out."

"I've got to light a shuck"

"Papa, I got a right rough thumb and a man don't get hurt unless he's gentlin' a brier."


" and spread the tails of his coat."

"the light of an oil lamp with its rose-colored glass screen"

"Let him ease up on it himself if he was in a trading mood"

"Nothin' but tie-ties and rock ridges that'd ruin a plowshare to ever' half acre"

"He's got a couple of sorry tenants he'd like to place"

"I figure to put a new store downtown and get some o' that silk-stockin' trade"

"you got a lock on me"

"I can't let him think I've run under a log with it"

"I ain't achin' to sell"


"Over his head a wooden sign creaked a guilty message in the chill wind- TOLERABLE FAIR MULE DEALING" page 94

"He ain't after that. Way he dresses up you can see he's out to marry."

"Well, boy, I got to run by an' pick up a jug I got hid out an' get goin'"

"That gal's always got a sweet shrub tied to the corner of a handkerchief. Rubs her face with it"

"Dogbite it!"

"Git, horse, eight mile to Gordon"


"money's a thing to be worked like a hired hand. It's that and it's like a crop, a green thing that'll grow like hell if it's planted and make a mighty pretty stand if it's tended."

"that girl's got me to where I don't know if I'm buyin' beef or beans"

"I see you around, prancin' like a stud horse with a diamond in his halter, but I never saw you hit a lick."

"peepin' at the hole card"

"calm as a settin' hen"

"biggest coon walks just 'fore dawn"

"I'm raw at this game"

"spring-backed knife"

"I got a feelin' we downright gee on that matter."

"Stick around, reckon we can gee on some other matters, too."


"the lines were looped around the whip socket"

"the sun dappled the shiny flanks of Buck's horse with shadows"

"stiff leather creaked beneath Buck's weight as he shifted in the buggy seat and the springs whined gratefully as he stood up on the floor board"

"the sudden urgent stamping of the horse and the jingle of harness metal shook time awake"

"brought low voices through the tie-tie that was so choked with laurel they couldn't see around the bend"

"Buck gathered up the lines and clucked and when they passed the other buggy, he and Ivy nodded as if they were bowing and he said, 'Hot, ain't it?' The man in the other buggy said, 'Middlin' ' "


"driving a wagon six days a week for the express company"

"I gentled his mammy, but he might take a curb"

"He won't take drivin', though. You'll have to toll him."

"We better get goin' or the young'uns'll have cat hairs in the butter."

"Shame the farmers are layin' by, youngster"

"You ain't talkin' like Sunday."

"God don't love ugly and I got to get home and feed the mules to mortify my flesh."

"pushing the bag under the seat of his red-wheeled buggy."

"Come on, Virgil. I'll stake you to supper downtown."

"he let the slack of the reins drop on the horse's rump and drew him around in a tight circle"

"It wasn't until the horse seemed satisfied with its gait and the buggy had steadied into easy creaking motion that Buck dropped the reins carelessly to the floor and held them down with his foot."

"look over to the clouds in the west. They're pilin' up like a million tons o' lint cotton."

"He pushed her knees out of the buggy seat and pulled her close with his arm around her shoulder, 'Well, start sweetenin' ', he said, and picked up the reins off the floor. He slapped the lines down on his horse's back, 'Git up, you!' "

"huge oaks which bordered nearly every street in Aven"

"Little later on, them limbs'll get right white with the cotton they drag off the wagons comin' into town"

"You turn the lamps on," he said thickly, "while I'm puttin' up the horse."


"whittled wooden seat of the wagon"

"seeping through the coal dust that always lay in the air around the freight yards."

"He put one foot on the spoke of the wagon wheel and caught the seat to pull himself up"

"he rattled the lines to start the team"

"Like shovelin up behind a mule"

"Jake yelled the words and the mules stuttered their step in sudden fear"

"Right when I'm hatin' him enough to cut his tripes out, he gets aholt o' me and tells me he'll knock off two dollars"

"Jake, did you come to take me home so I could help you put up that stove?"


"Damned jackass weather. Three days till Christmas and winter still ain't headed up."

"the calander would say it was time for the frost to sweeten the persimmons, but the soft winds of the Gulf would tell the possums to wait a little longer near the burdening tree near the fence line, and the hot sun would say there wasn't much use in hilling your sweet potatoes. The farmers would come in the store all out of heart eyeing the meat block and growling, 'By killin' time, the hogs'll've et up all the corn an' there won't be no meal to eat with the meat."

"his mind would roll suddenly like a trout to a rain frog"

"No crop, no pay."

"Unless you've got a note and then there're mules and tools and sometimes land itself coming back for the feed and the seed, the side meat and the salt,  the copper-toed shoes and the kettle that left the store."

"he'd say to himself the ginning was done and the crop had been good, so what the hell if the frost never came to help out the next year."

"The hard money was there to shake loose the big stock of heavy coats and the bolts of fancy woolens that clogged the shelves of the store."

"the storekeeper-furnisher took a chance"

"whichever way the farmer moved, the storeman had him going and coming"

"he crossed the yard under the familiar chinaberry tree"

"bare feet to the unbleached-sheeting drawers"

"She held the below-knee length skirt of her green checked cotton dress out in front of her as if to catch something"

"when she goes to the pantry for somethin' she rolls 'em out the cathole"

"up the steps, and onto the big screened back porch with its two big rockers and its neat stack of soft-pine boxes"

"How you makin' it, son?"

"Common," Buck said,"just common."

"Millie was sitting on the far end of the long breakfast bench with her eyes shadowed and dropped over a clumsy narrow mixing bowl whose wooden sides were heavily floured to keep the bisquit dough from sticking. She held the bowl on the lap of a too-large dress made exactly like Christina's and from the same bolt of cloth."

"color rising about the square-cut neckline of her dress."

"stooped to open and look inside the fire door"

"Aw, hell, let's take the text on somebody else."

"He's dead set on marryin' that little Tiller girl  an' she ain't right for one o' my boys."

"Don't nobody have to tell me what's been goin' on when a girl gets out of a buggy and has to reach down inside her dress to settle herself."

"he's doin' his best to ape you and can't"

"I ain't throwin' off on you."

"the way she makes it down the street with them play-pretties bouncin' "

"Chokin' a cat with cream may not be the best way but it's a good way if the cream holds out. I'll just get him a red buggy and a snappy little gaited horse and a couple good bird dogs."

"a small cluster of stores, planing mill, blacksmith shops and open saloons"

"a private, boarded walk for a few feet, then down again on the public ruts and ditches and bogs"

"a new wagon, perhaps empty of household goods or work tools, but full to the sideboards with a new family, would grind slowly through the straggling streets with old eyes searching and young eyes just as big and as solemn, flaring with excitement. Or it might be an old wagon, piled high with stove and mattresses and chairs and the children walking close to the wheels. Buck always nodded his head slowly at sight of the old wagons. 'That bunch has been through the mill and that kind comes to stay."

"there's goin' to be killin's over land lines"

"Already, its one engineer still afraid of the steam compressor that powered the small new water system."

"all hoping to break first into the blooming new Wire grass trade area."

"And after they came, the drummers couldn't rent buggies or horses"

"front porch of the old Fritter home."

"knob-toed shoes and their tight checked trousers"

"folks from the piney woods and the gallberry lowlands"

"Christmas decorations of small pine trees or cedars, smilax and pine cones and red paper had to be freshened every day, particularly in the saloons."

"jangle of banjo or guitar from the swinging doors."

"unmistakable whine and slap as a drunken mule driver laid on his whip, and as often came the choked-off small scream of the mule driver's wife as the mule lurched into the crowded streets"

"Howdy, Buck," and most of the women would raise their heads so their billed calico bonnets looked like inverted sugar scoops and say,"Evenin', Mr. Bannon."

"Colie Mellinger, where you been? Know you ain't been workin', or the seat o' them pants wouldn't be shiny as a nigger's heal."

"someone else lit the flowered, painted china kerosene lamps which hung from each ceiling or were set in brackets on the walls of each store."

under a swinging sign that read, "The Bottle"

the sign on the open window shutter,
"Joe Kraft, Buy or Sell."
"This is one Kraft who approves of Christmas"

"They acted like two preachers talkin' all buttery with each other"

"if they take battlin' sticks to one another"

"the white wooden safe"

"one end of the wash bench that was built from the wall out to one of the porch uprights. He dipped water from a large washtub and poured it carefully into a small blue-grey pan of baked enamel."

"Whoa." The horse stopped so quickly the buggy nearly bucked where the shafts joined the axle"

"ain't goin' to have any o' my folks doin' somebody else's dirt for nothin'!"

"Virgil checked the horse with a slight pull of the lines"

"He lifted the reins and let them fall back down lightly on the horse"

"He raised up in the buggy again, trying to see, steadying himself by holding onto Virgil's shoulder"

"He sat back down and grabbed the whip out of the socket. He struck the horse smartly and the animal jumped forward in spite of the thick underbrush. The buggy began to rock and thump over small hillocks and its wheels and stiff springs squeaked as they struck small logs and stumps and bounced over them. Virgil held the reins in one hand and clutched the small metal arm on his left with the other."

"Buck leaned back in the buggy and crossed his legs. He put one arm on the back of the seat around Virgil's shoulders and held the buggy whip lightly in his other hand."

"Virgil checked the horse's gait and the noise of the buggy springs stopped."

"the buggy springs squeaked as his weight came off it."

"One of you hide 'n seek heroes ain't got the guts to do his own dirt"

"the yellow hound"

"join a bunch o' sons-o'-bitches that have to herd up to strip a whore."

"the eyes were small and unblinking as a terrapin's in a fold of flesh that was like a long wrinkle"

"feeling the familiar shagginess of the deer-foot handle, wearing off near the jaws, but still thick at the butt end."

"He flipped out the long heavy blade which tapered down to a fine point, stained with dark threads where Joe Bannon had whittled from his tobacco plug."

"the knife blade stuck straight out from the side of his right hip, on which he had braced his fist and the shaggy handle of the knife."

"she was naked except for a pair of high-buttoned black shoes and rolled black stockings"

"Her long brown hair was still piled neatly, held in place by two tight plaits which crossed from side to side and went on around her head to be gathered in the back and secured with a green roach comb."

"He held her by the elbow and shoved upwards as she put on foot on the round metal step"

"so, by God, ever' one o' you toe the mark"


"He stopped beside the buggy with a hand on the shaft. The horse was blowing a little, easily, but with a full pumping that made his ribs show in the bright March moonlight. Buck slapped the horse on the chest and took out a white handkerchief to wipe his hand. 'Sweatin', ' he said, wonderingly, "Old man must a' been hightailin' it, and it dark."

"Papa's big Jersey found a calf tonight."

"Get down to rock and say what you mean."

"Those girls were women before they were fancy."

"They were in the parlor, sitting big-eyed on furniture that was still stiff with newness because it had not been used."

"He says I'm 'bout petered out, boy."

"They (father's shoes) were black, with high tops and knobtoes, and there was a cloth strap hanging limply out the back of each shoe."

"You're going to be the lead horse after I'm gone but your ma is goin' to hold a check rein on you"

"'d let a dollar outshine what it'll buy"

"I don't mean to low-rate you"

"She made coffee several times balancing the big blackened pot on the corner of the grate."

"Bear to the pain"

"how he would lean his left forearm above his head against the crib door and write,"Daddy. Died March 13"


"like a pond gannet feeding off the bottom"

"I'm liverish"

"I never went no further'n high four at Old Columbia."

"Our own distillery, feed mills, fertilizer factory, cotton gins, brick buildin's, and God-blessed courtroom so you won't have to go clean to Abbeville to get hung."

"the damn town didn't have enough cash to buy one day's feed for its mules."

"His pa shore had his mind on it when he got Buck"

"he didn't go and throw the ball over the fence like we'd a'done."

"Hey, Lord, this world, then that last white shirt an' the next world"


"Many times as I've washed the rings from a mayhaw pond off your legs."

"Enough folks hammerin' on me as it is."

"It's hard to watch your tongue when somethin's swellin' in your mind."

"You to straw-boss but me to ride herd but me to ride herd an' use a check rein when I figured it was time."

"They laid around suckin' rum an' gamblin' "

"he sidles around her, savin' string or mighty near it."

"then he dresses up like a barber off duty."

"old enough to grab a handful o' money through the wicket down at the bank an' run like hell."

"you married a dirt farmer"

"you better let me pick out another straw boss"

"I'll show you how you learned to ride roughshod"

"You've played big Ike"

"you get down in the lines and won't move."

"I made more cold-out dollars"

"Papa told me to straw-boss this outfit"

"Steal an' lie an' fight like a tiger and the only way I can whip 'im is to catch 'im heavy-bellied under that bunch of bananas in the closet."

"He bought the fanciest set o' books in the state"


"sanded back yard"

"Nigger an' the white man playin' seven up, Nigger win the money but 'e scaired to pick it up"

"took the sweetgum brush out of her mouth"

"Reckon you're dead set on bein' country, shellin' peas, chewin' a gum brush and sassafras tea boilin' for a spring tonic."

"I am country. Your papa used to say we come from so far in the piney woods that when we rendered a hog we got as much turpentine as we did lard."

"Soon be as hot as a cob pipe."

"an' them wearin' their Edgemont bloomers"

"like she's got a case of heart love"

"Grey's workin' in your hair like weeds in young cotton"

"if it looks like I'll need a new fascinator, I'll get it in New York"

"Buck had lifted his feet too many times away from the small cuspidor banging from the iron framework of the seat."

"Old Ladie's comforts"

"tight fitting dark alpaca coat"

"journey proud"

"one of those pistols full of candy"

"go-devil swagger"

"this here candy gun will col' out decorate him."

"Boss, I'm obliged."

"Then, suddenly, he was smiling and the shine boy started back towards his place against the wall, strutting high-shouldered and sliding his feet, soft-shoeing a dance that was mostly inside him, to music that was all inside him."

"He stopped in the couplings on the square metal plate that had clanged down to cover the steps."

"He watched the sawmill fire glide by."

"...Mayme Foster saw the boy over here around Easter and she says he ain't got a blemish of Longshore. All Bannon."


from the profile of Buck Baker published in the Dothan Eagle on Saturday, May 23, 1908

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Sunday, July 16, 2017