Bud Moore's Remembrances of Farming Henry Island

 

                      

       Bud Moore with the Fordson Tractor                                     Bud Moore in his 90s

 

 Daddy moved the family to the Henry farm January 1, 1918.  That was 4 months before I was 3 years old.  The Henry farm ran from Guntersville to Short Creek on the left side of the road, and then on the right about 1 and 1/2 miles from Guntersville to Short Creek.  Henry Island was north of Guntersville.   The bridge crossed the lower end of the island.  There was about 30 or 40 acres of land below the bridge.  The island was about 5 miles long.  It went from below town to above Short Creek.  I had about 592 acres of land on it.  It was about one mile wide.  My brother, Sam Moore, and Mr. Alford Sparks measured the island and figured the acres, this was in 1926.  There was a creek we called the slough.  It was between town and the island.  We had a ferry boat.  We pulled the boat across by a rope from a tree on one side of the slough to a tree on the other side.  The boat was to carry mules and wagons across to the island.  We had some small paddle boats to cross in to keep from pulling the ferry boat.

     Daddy moved us on the island in 1921.  There was just one house on the island.  We live on the island five years.  When we moved off the island the back waters were up.  They brought the ferry boat up to the house and put our furniture on the boat and moved it out to our neighbors houses and kept it there until we got our house empty to move in. 

     In 1926 the Henry boys divided the island and put a fence across it.  Our crop was above the fence.  My mother got daddy to move off the island and farm the land above the fence.  We had to cross the slough every day to go over to the island to work.   We would go over every morning, come back to eat dinner, go back to work that afternoon, and go back home at night. 

     My Daddy was the first man to buy a tractor to farm the island.  He bought it while we lived on the island in 1926.  It was a steel wheel Fordson.  It was bought to turn and fix the land.  We planted and cultivated the crops with mules.  Mr. Bryan Henry had some tractors, but my daddy was the first tenant farmer to buy a tractor. 

     We had some big timber on the island, I saw one tree stump.  They had to build scaffolds about 10 or 12 feet tall to stand on.  A 6 foot cross saw would reach through it.  I did not see the tree, but Mr. Wright Ross, and my wife's daddy told me how big the tree was.  I plowed around the stump several years.  My daddy would build a fire around the stump until it was burned down.  The last 2 or 3 years I plowed over the stump hole.  Mr. Ross and my wife's daddy, Oscar Burke, helped to move the tree.  They said they rolled the log to the slough, floated it down stream to where the train picked up barges.  The train and boat meet just below Guntersville.  They put the log on a flat car and took it to the old Basket Factory.  Mr. Ross's uncle, Bob Lydle, had a saw mill.  Mr. Ross was the foreman over the work hands.  The railroad is still under the water today, the T.V.A. did not remove it.  I talked to some mussel divers who told me it is still there.  I will take their word for it,  I am not going to dive down there to see. 

     My daddy died January 1, 1938.  I farmed that year and then in January 1939, the T.V.A. flooded the land around Guntersville with the Guntersville Dam.  My mother and I were the last people to move off the Henry farm. We lived at what is now called Signal Point.  I go sometimes to see the old home site. 

     I helped cut logs, took them over to the river, and them some men would come and put them in the river and raft them down river to Decatur to the Box Factory.  They had short chains about 12 or 15 inches long with a spike on each end.  They would spike them together and float them down the river.

     Looking back this is what I remember most about the island the Henry farm.  The people I can remember that worked with me on the island Billy Bryan Henry, his daddy owned half the island and farm.  Billy Bryan, myself (Bud Moore), Leroy Poe, James (Tug) Poe, Evert and Howard Stewart.  There may be some others still living that helped hoe and pick cotton, but the six I listed are the only ones still living that workd the farm land. 

     The first river bridge was built in lat 1928 and 29.  It was open for the public in June 1930.  As I remember there was a ramp built off the bridge to the island.  We hauled corn to town up the ramp.  They raised the bridge 17 feet in 1938 wot were boats could go under.  I saw all the timber cut and building burned. 

     Before the water came up there was some very low places on the island.  The river would flood the island in the winter time.  The low places would fill up with water.   There was no way for the water to get out,  it just had to dry up.  We could catch fish out of them when the water dried up.   We were always late about planting, sometimes it would be July before we could get them planted. 

     As I said this is what I remember about the island.  There was an Indian grave yard on the upper part of the island.  The T.V.A. had all the bones dug up and moved before the water flooded the island and surrounded the land around Guntersville.

                                                                                  Bud Moore

                                                                                  4599 Bakers Chapel Rd.

                                                                                  Guntersville, AL 35976

 

                                                                                  

                                                                               Fordson tractor like T.V. and Bud Moore used to farm Henry Island.