Thomas Clingman Childers, Jr.
Selections from Frank M. Childers (son of Joseph Childers), "The Childers Family of Western
North Carolina: Their Roots and Memories", 1986:
“Granddad had a self-effacing manner about himself, especially around women and strangers. You
never knew much about his business, either. Once in a while he would show us kids his gemstone
collection he carried in a tiny cloth sack. He was always a mountain man. He always walked in front
of the women folks and always tipped his hat to the ladies.
“He talked once about his logging days on Couches Creek – how he used oxen most of the time.
Horses and oxen were the best at “snakin’ logs”. Mules were no good – they could not get out of the
way of a log out of control.
“He always carried a good pocket knife, too. This tool was a necessity in those days. All his boys,
including our father, Joe, liked pocket knives. They were good at “throwing knives” with each other,
or with strangers. “Throwing knives” was performed as follows:
The person who had a second rate or damaged knife would approach a person whom he thought
might have a better knife and say, “I’ll throw knives with you.” The knives were always concealed in
the offering hand and during the process the other hand would receive the knife from the person
accepting the gamble, because it was strictly was a gamble. This game was played many times by
those mountain men in a lifetime, and many tempers flared when a good knife was exchanged in this
fashion for a piece of junk.
“Granddad Childers was a good farmer – wise in the ways of changing seasons and nature signs,
but logging was his real calling, I believe. He also knew a lot about training and working oxen. I
remember one team of oxen he used to plow people’s gardens with, and I remember the wooden
sled he had made for hauling the plowing and tilling implements in. It was narrow and strong – made
from locust poles and other hardwood which was plentiful in those days. He had bent and formed
the sled runners while they were green. Also, I think he had formed and made the yoke for the oxen.
This is a lost art today, but it stood our ancestors in good stead in days gone by.”
“Granddad Childers must have sold out [to Champion Fibre Company] about 1930 or so. He moved
the family to Gastonia, N. C. where some of them got jobs in the cotton mills. Later he moved to
Candler where he remained until Grandma died. He later remarried and lived in Canton for a short
period of time.”