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Author Archives: elizabeth ann johnson-murphree

About elizabeth ann johnson-murphree

Artist/Writer of Fiction, Poetry and Prose. Born in Alabama to a Native American (Chickasaw) father and an emotionally absent mother since the Author's birth, raised by her father, her Native American great-grandmother and an African-American woman whom were all grand storytellers. As early as four years old she was roaming the countryside around her home alone or with her father; and at night she sat at the feet of these strong-minded individuals listening to the stories of their lives. Summers she lived with her fathers' sister in Birmingham, Alabama; it was that she would discover a library, and mingle with her aunt's circle of friends that included local writers, artist, and politicians. A cabin deep within the Black Warrior Forest was her playground on the weekends. Her aunt encouraged her imagination by introducing her to journaling, which she filled with stories over the summer. Planted was the desire to write, a seedling waiting to spurt from the warm southern heart of a child. Her love of art and painting came through the teachings of a grammar school teacher which she pursues when the well of words dry up when writing. Throughout the years along with her father, great-great-grandmother, and her beloved Aunt Francis, other influences were her high school English teacher Mrs. S. Odom, writers Faulkner, Capote, Fitzgerald, and Harper Lee. Later in life, she discovered the warm and comic writing of Grace Paley. The vivid poetry of William Carlos Williams; the strong poetry of Phyllis McGinley, and the world's most exciting women, Maya Angelou are some of the poets at the top of her list. Nonetheless, with adulthood, the desire to write buried itself deep within, the dream wilted but did not die. It laid dormant, gaining experiences all written in hidden journals. These experiences, the contents of these journals became short stories and poetry reading to share with the world. She writes of many life experiences in poetry format; questioning everything from Mother Nature to God...the poetry is raw and may not be understood by all. Yet, it comes from deep within and reads of truth within her soul. The harshness that shrouded her life would cause her to withdraw from most of the world; it fills the pages of her writing, the heartache, the abuse, and the denial her mother frankly portrayed. Today, she enjoys her children, grand and great grandchildren, her four-legged companion Mason, they live in Southern Wisconsin...far from her southern roots; however she continues to write and paint daily. Ann has published in Kindle eBooks and paperbacks at Amazon.com: Book #1 Echoing Images from the Soul 2012 Book #2 Beyond the Voices 2012 Book #3 Reflections of Poetry 2013 Book #4 Honeysuckle Memories 2013 Book #5 Sachets of Poetry on Adoration, Anger, Asylums and Aspirations 2014 Book #6 My Journey into Art 2014 Book #7 Asterial Thoughts

The Chickasaw – Part 8

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The Chickasaw – Part 8

Sipsee and Jane thought life at Chadwick Manor was worse than they could have imagined witnessing pain and sorrow.  They also learned to live in a world where freedom was recognized only by the color of one’s skin; they learned that the world they lived in showed hatred for both the Negro and the Indian people.  The Indians were mostly free in many of the states that withdrew from the Union.

They would learn how to survive…

Jane had wonderful memories of her mother and father; she also had nightmares of seeing her father killed and of the Master of Chadwick coming to their one room shanty during the night.  The sadness of moving from the forest onto land where she was surrounded by cotton, and living with her mother’s sadness, Jane knew that both she and her mother would need to learn a new way to survive.

As a favor to Sipsee, Mistress Chadwick-Alboin and Master Alboin allowed Jane to be schooled along with their daughter;  Jane learned  reading and writing, elegant manners.  Her mother told her that an education was the only way she would escape from being an Indian; Sipsee wanted her only child to do extremely well in this new land, to be accepted in any social setting.  Jane did want to learn the white man ways; she would never forget that she was the daughter of Hawk Over-Town.

Their home may have been a one room shanty in slave quarters, but it was home; Jane was a tall gangly girl that did not have the beauty of her mother, instead she was to bare the hard sculpted features of her father.  She felt safe when she and her mother were roaming the woods collecting herbs and plants for medicine.  Sipsee would teach Jane the ways of their people, the custom, the culture, they would grow strong and some day be more than slaves to rich landowners.  Sipsee wanted to see the day when she and her daughter did not have to address these people as Missus and Master.

Then War came to Chadwick Manor…

The State of Alabama declared that it had seceded from the United States of America on January 11, 1861.  Jane was thirteen-years-old; she had learned many things like gracefulness and proper manners; Sipsee had succeeded in keeping her daughter from the Master, now she had to worry about the soldiers both Union and Southern, neither respected women.  It was during the beginning of the war that Sipsee found out about other Chickasaw’s living in the area; the Mistress of Chadwick sent them there to be safe, neither side Union or Southern bothered the Indians.  When they arrived everyone greeted them, they were shown kindness; it would be their home until the War Between the States was over.

Jane right up to the end of her life would not talk about the War.  She and her mother were happy when it ended; Jane was seventeen-years-old.   She would only say that the greed of the white man would be their downfall.  Sipsee and Jane remain in the Chickasaw village when the War ended.

It was there that Jane met Pap.  He was a scout for the South, and Jane just became a teenager and was smitten by him.  Sipsee did not care for him as he was twenty years older than Jane was; Sipsee hoped that he would not come back; Jane felt a sadness she could not explain.  

To be continued…

Story Resources:

Storyteller – Jane Over-Town “Overton” 1848-1954 at the age of 106 her mind was Like a steel trap, she never forgot anything, It was her body that was ready for death; she lay down for an afternoon nap and woke only to say goodbye to the grandson she raised, my father.

Grandson – Roy C. Johnson

Granddaughter – Vina Evans-Quinn

Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree Great – Granddaughter

 

BOOKS AT AMAZON.COM BY ELIZABETH ANN JOHNSON-MURPHREE

https://www.amazon.com/Honeysuckle-Memories-Ann-Johnson-murphree/dp/150029070X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8/

https://www.amazon.com/Asterial-Thoughts-Journey-into-Thought/dp/1540862356/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Rutted-Roads-Collections-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1532909365/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF81

https://www.amazon.com/Journey-into-Art-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500502960/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Sachet-Poetry-Adoration-Aspirations-Asylums/dp/1500483354/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Voices-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500426709/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Echoing-Images-Soul-Journey-into/dp/1500366811/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Reflections-Poetry-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500168645/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

 

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The Chickasaw – Part 7

womanwriterblog

The Chickasaw – Part 7

Sipsee took hold of the horse carrying Hawk’s body and started the sorrowful procession deep into the forest.  The Indian families followed their song of death floated into the wind that was shaking the leaves and bending small branches.  They buried Hawk in the forest he loved.

Sipsee decided that she had to leave as quickly as possible, the logging cabin belonged to the Mill and they would want to hire another logger.  The Mill owner brought her a small wagon and she loaded it with the few belongings that they would need.  She gave horses to Hawks’ closest friends and hitched two of them up to the wagon.  Placing Jane on the seat, she pulled herself onto the wagon; Sipsee never looked back.  She took with her a letter of endorsement from the white woman that taught her English.  The letter was to be given to the woman’s sister farther down in Alabama Territory.  She promised Sipsee that she would find work there.

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Sipsee arrived in the late evening and was welcomed by all to Chadwick Manor; Beatrice Chadwick-Alboin was the owner with her husband Axial a chosen individual by her parents.  Sipsee was given a position serving the “Lady” of the house.  The “Master” kept commenting on Sipsee’ beauty; the Lady of the house chastised him and he walked away.  When she was given a tour of the house,  where she could or could not go, Sipsee thought the house would hold ten families.  Jane was also given a position; she would serve the only child they had, as would Sipsee in Jane’s absence.

After introductions to everyone in the house, Missus Chadwick called for the houseboy to show Sipsee where she and Jane would be living.  Both mother and daughter quickly discovered that they were to live in the Negro quarters.  Their lives and how they lived was not different than the slaves on Chadwick Manor other than they were free to come and go as they pleased.

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Sipsee thought often that this life was in many ways worse than the ones her family would be living on western lands; this life was witness to pain and sorrow.  Jane learned to live in a world free to practice the customs of her parents; she also learned the world of hate for both the Negro and the Indian people.

She would learn how to survive…

To be continued…

Authors Note:  I have tried to construct the stories about the Chickasaws’ told by Ma (my Great Grandmother), Aunt Vina and my daddy so that I may create a written legacy to share the lives of my ancestors with my readers and the general public.  Thank you for your support.  EAJM

Story Resources:

Storyteller – Jane Over-Town “Overton” 1848-1954 at the age of 106 her mind was Like a steel trap, she never forgot anything, It was her body that was ready for death; she lay down for an afternoon nap and woke only to say goodbye to the grandson she raised, my father.

Grandson – Roy C. Johnson

Granddaughter – Vina Evans-Quinn

Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree Great – Granddaughter

 

BOOKS AT AMAZON.COM BY ELIZABETH ANN JOHNSON-MURPHREE

https://www.amazon.com/Honeysuckle-Memories-Ann-Johnson-murphree/dp/150029070X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8/

https://www.amazon.com/Asterial-Thoughts-Journey-into-Thought/dp/1540862356/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Rutted-Roads-Collections-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1532909365/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF81

https://www.amazon.com/Journey-into-Art-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500502960/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Sachet-Poetry-Adoration-Aspirations-Asylums/dp/1500483354/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Voices-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500426709/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Echoing-Images-Soul-Journey-into/dp/1500366811/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Reflections-Poetry-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500168645/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

The Chickasaw – Part 6

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Authors Note:  I have tried to construct the stories about the Chickasaws’ told by Ma, Aunt Vina and my daddy so that I may create a written legacy to share the lives of my ancestors with my readers and the general public.  Thank you for your support.  EAJM

The Chickasaw – Part 6

Hawk Over-Town searched for work every day since their escape from the march West, Sipsee knew that she needed to change, learn the language; but Hawk refused and no one would hire an Indian that could not speak English.  One morning in early summer he just up and left; it was eight weeks before he returned home; he entered their yard with a team of eight horses.  He told Sipsee that he had found a wild herd and that he broke them before returning.  Sipsee suspected someone farther south was missing eight horses

He did find work at a nearby logging camp after he returned, they had a logging mill shack, food and firewood for cooking and keeping warm; what more did they need.  He quickly became one of the top loggers and with the finest horse team to pull logs out of the forest to the mill.  It did not take long for another logger who was jealous to wage a bet with him; the bet…loser got the other loggers team of horses.  Wes was a man that had killed many men, or he bragged about it, he wanted this Indian dead.

The day of the pulling race the mill yard was full of people.  The logging skids were loaded, both skids were suppose to have the same amount of weight in logs.  Unknown to Hawk deep within the logs on his skid were heavy iron bars that would almost double the weight on his team.

Sipsee and ten-year-old Jane found a place to stand at the starting line.  Jane could feel her mother shaking, her hand sweaty, and knew that she was scared for Hawk.  He begin to hitch his team to the skid, he and the other logger steadied themselves on the skid behind their horses.  It was then that a large hawk circled his skid spreading his massive wings; the sounds the hawk was frantic.  Hawk fleetingly thought about his quest and the large Red Tail Hawk his protector.

Hawk turned to look at Sipsee and Jane, he smiled; the starting shot from the pistol of the mill owner started the race.  Hawk knew when his team lurched forward that his skid carried more weight than it was suppose too.   However, within seconds the teams were side by side, Hawk pulled ahead and saw the bloody cuts on the backs of McCartee’ horses left by the brutal lashing of the whip.  He wanted the whipping to end, Hawk urged his team on and they quickly went across the finish line.

It was then that some men in the crowd yelled in surprise, “That Injun won”.   Hawk leaped from his skid and jumped upon McCartee skid jerking his whip from him; beating him until gashes like the horses covered his face.  He walked back to his own team.

Gasp from spectators filled the air when they saw a pistol drawn.  Sipsee pulled Jane closer to her covering her face with her dress as she screamed Hawks’ name.  The pistol fired until the chamber was empty.  Hawks back was covered with blood, he fell on one of his horses; the team he found in a pasture of a wealthy plantation owner deep in southern Alabama Territory.

Sipsee and Jane ran to his side, he was dead; they lay on top of him crying until several Indian women pulled them away.  Hawks’ friends both white and Indian carried him home, but not before Sipsee unhooked the horses from the skid taking them with her.  As she walked away the drunken voice of Wes McCartee rang threw the air.

“Well, guess we just rid ourselves from another dirty injun”.  He laughed loudly.

Sipsee walked over to him saying softly, “No, you did not kill a dirty Indian, you murdered a Chickasaw Warrior.

To be continued…

Story Resources:

Storyteller – Jane Over-Town “Overton” 1848-1954 at the age of 106 her mind was Like a steel trap, she never forgot anything, It was her body that was ready for death; she lay down for an afternoon nap and woke only to say goodbye to the grandson she raised, my father.

Grandson – Roy C. Johnson

Granddaughter – Vina Evans-Quinn

Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree Great – Granddaughter

 

BOOKS AT AMAZON.COM BY ELIZABETH ANN JOHNSON-MURPHREE

https://www.amazon.com/Honeysuckle-Memories-Ann-Johnson-murphree/dp/150029070X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8/

https://www.amazon.com/Asterial-Thoughts-Journey-into-Thought/dp/1540862356/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Rutted-Roads-Collections-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1532909365/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF81

https://www.amazon.com/Journey-into-Art-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500502960/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Sachet-Poetry-Adoration-Aspirations-Asylums/dp/1500483354/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Voices-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500426709/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Echoing-Images-Soul-Journey-into/dp/1500366811/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Reflections-Poetry-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500168645/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2017 in Writing

 

The Chickasaw – Part 5

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The Chickasaw – Part 5

Hawk found a way to cross the Mississippi River into Northern Alabama.  They made their home on the Eastern side of Alabama.  They lived among a few Indians that were not forced to leave.  Hawk knew that if they did not live like the “white man” they would be forced to leave or killed.  Sipsee learned the language and would walk to the nearest settlement to work; they wanted to build a cabin.  Sipsee knew that they must change with the times, Hawk kept to himself and his own dreams.

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In 1848, Sipsee gave birth to a baby girl, the only child she and Hawk would ever have; she call her Jane and never gave her an Indian name.  It was Sipsee’s way of trying to go with the coming change in their lives.  This change did not mean that she would not teach her daughter to old customs just learn to survive.  Both Sipsee and Hawk learn to survive in their own ways.  He in the way of the land and playing the white man’s game to his advantage.

Once when Sipsee ventured into town and the general store’s proprietor ask her what was her name, she told him Sipsee.  He asks for her last name, she said “Over-Town”; they had tribe names, but no last name.  He misunderstood and called her Sipsee Overton.  Sipsee decided when dealing with the white man she would use the name Overton; it stayed that and continues in the descendants today.

 

To be continued…

Resource – Storyteller – Jane Over-Town “Overton” 1848-1954 at the age of 106 her mind was Like a steel trap, she never forgot anything, It was her body that was ready for death; she lay down for an afternoon nap and woke only to say goodbye to the grandson she raised, my father.

Other Resources:

Granddaughter – Vina Evans-Quinn

Resource and Post Writer – Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree Great – granddaughter

BOOKS AT AMAZON.COM BY ELIZABETH ANN JOHNSON-MURPHREE

https://www.amazon.com/Honeysuckle-Memories-Ann-Johnson-murphree/dp/150029070X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8/

https://www.amazon.com/Asterial-Thoughts-Journey-into-Thought/dp/1540862356/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Rutted-Roads-Collections-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1532909365/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF81

https://www.amazon.com/Journey-into-Art-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500502960/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Sachet-Poetry-Adoration-Aspirations-Asylums/dp/1500483354/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Voices-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500426709/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Echoing-Images-Soul-Journey-into/dp/1500366811/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Reflections-Poetry-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500168645/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

 

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The Chickasaw – Part 4

womanwriterblog

Continue – The Chickasaw

They all spoke softly among themselves about what was happening and of the strange land, they were taking them too.  What use to be a proud people, they were now faltering under degrading conditions. Many elders, young children and babies died as all were herded like cattle on a dusty path.   Many years later, this action by the white man against the Indians would be called “The Trail of Tears”.

Ma’s grandparents died before reaching Arkansas …

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There were many fires at night when they were allowed to stop; all Nations were represented, the most were the Cherokee.  Ma was told that many young men spoke of escaping, Hawk agreed with them.  She remembered her father saying that he had rather be dead than living like animals herded into circles by the soldiers.  One of the Over-Town elders a Shaman, “married” them, giving them many spiritual blessings.  Hawk would not leave without Sipsee.  During the darkness of night, they slipped away; Hawk did not tell Sipsee, he knew that their parents would pay for their freedom with their own lives.

 

Hawk found a way to cross the Mississippi River into Northern Alabama.  They made their home on the Eastern side of Alabama.  They lived among a few Indians that were not forced to leave.  Hawk knew that if they did not live like the “white man” they would be forced to leave or killed.  Sipsee learned the language and would walk to the nearest settlement to work; they wanted to build a cabin.  Sipsee knew that they must change with the times, Hawk kept to himself and his own dreams.

 

 

To be continued…

Resource – Storyteller – Jane Over-Town “Overton”
1848-1954 at the age of 106 her mind was
Like a steel trap, she never forgot anything,
It was her body that was ready for death; she lay
down for an afternoon nap and woke only to
say goodbye to the grandson she raised, my father

Post Writer – Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree
Great granddaughter

 

 

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The Chickasaw – Part 3

womanwriterblog

I will continue the story of my great great- grand parents and of course…Ma.

“I am no longer Little Bird, my name is Hawk”.  This was to be the father of Jane Over-town “Ma”.

Hawk grew into a man that was respected by all, as his father one day he would hold a powerful place among his people.  He also was in love with a pleasing to the eye, Choctaw girl named Sipsee; she was named after the Cottonwood tree.  He knew that she loved him too.  They had known each other all their lives.  Hawk had watched her grown from a skinny weed into a beautiful exquisite flower.

All of their lives were changed with the removal of all Native Americans from their ancestral lands.  The grandparents were all gone, Hawk was glad that his grandfather did not live to see them removed from their home.  Hawk, his parents, Sipsee, and her parents packed what they could for survival and all herd together to a holding pen.  Hawk could see that all people of his ancestral blood as well as other tribes.

They all spoke softly among themselves about what was happening and of the strange land, they were taking them too.  What use to be a proud people, they were now faltering under degrading conditions. Many elders, young children and babies died as all were herded like cattle on a dusty path.   Many years later, this action by the white man against the Indians would be called “The Trail of Tears”.

Ma had not yet been born but her parents believed that what would have been her grandparents died before reaching the end of their journey…

 

Resource – Storyteller – Jane Over-Town “Overton”
1848-1954 at the age of 106 her mind was
Like a steel trap, she never forgot anything,
It was her body that was ready for death; she lay
down for an afternoon nap and woke only to
say goodbye to the grandson she raised, my father

Post Writer – Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree
Great granddaughter

 

 

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The Chickasaw – Part 2

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My last entry I wrote of a feeling of impatient irritation in reading “FAKE” or “REAL” news, that feeling continues however I have not had time to post; please excuse me; the mind or body did not cooperated these past few days .  My depression sometime has a life of its own that I cannot win.

I told you of my great-grandmother who was the “Keeper of the Memories” for the family.  Everyone called her “Ma”;   I spent many hours sitting next to her rocking chair just listening.  You read of her father Fosee, her grandfather and grandmother, all Native Americans living in Alabama Territory.

(Ma as the storyteller continues) However, Fosee like all of the boys in his vision could not wait to go on his Vision Quest.  Early one morning his father woke him it was time to find his own Totem.  At the edge of the forest (this would later be known as the Black Warrior Forest), he was shown a path that he must follow, yet, to find his own path in life.  Somewhere down that path, he would discover himself.

On that path he saw many signs of small animals, he found a bush with his favorite berries; quickly pushed his hunger out of his mind, he could not eat until he discovered his path in life.  Mid-day he came upon a clearing Fosee lay down in the tall yellow grass staring at the sky and watching the clouds drift by; he drifted off to sleep.  It was in that sleep he dreamed that his grandfather was with him; Fosee smiled when he looked at the leathery chiseled face with deep furrowed lines and the long white hair cascading around his strong shoulders.  Then he heard his grandfather calling his name, Fosee jumped from his warm bed of wild wheat and ran toward the river, he had much to do before dark.  Fosee carried rocks and cedar branches to the top of a large flat rock, the made a circle placing twigs in the circle, he used flints to light his fire and was soon fast asleep.

Fosee did not move from the flat rock where he drifted in and out of sleep both day and night, he was hungry; one day led to the next.  On the third day, he leaned over looking at the river below; then he thought that he heard his grandfather.  Then, he saw him, sitting across from him, the smoke stung his eyes and it was like a thick fog, but he could hear his grandfather talking to him, although his mouth never moved.  It was the spirit of his grandfather.

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On the fourth day came and this would be his last night on the rock, floating in and out of consciousness.   The eastern sky looked like the forest was on fire, the western sky a full moon seems to be dipping behind the cliffs that edged the river.  Suddenly, a Hawk with massive wings glided over the fire landing next to the circle of rocks.  The Hawk spread his wings pointing at one of the rocks saying, “This is where you life began”; then he spread his wing around the circle saying “This is where you life will end”.  There was one rock missing.  Fosee returned to the path, the Hawk followed him, and then swooped down landing on a fallen tree.  When he looked back to the path there stood his father and they returned without talking to meet his mother at the cooking fire.  He turned to the center yard saying, “I am no longer Little Bird, my name is Hawk”.

 

Resource – Storyteller – Jane Over-Town “Overton”
1848-1954 at the age of 106 her mind was
Like a steel trap, she never forgot anything,
It was her body that was ready for death; she lay
down for an afternoon nap and woke only to
say goodbye to the grandson she raised, my father

Post Writer – Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree
Great granddaughter

 

 

 

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