Sue Cope's Letter

1937 Letter from Sue Cope (1859-1951)

Descendants of

Valentine CRAWFORD and Susanah RAY


Descendants of

Laurana CRAWFORD and Bailey FINNEY

"Copy of Sue Cope's letter written to her granddaughter, Mary Louise
Witherspoon, on February 19, 1937, while living in Dallas, Texas."

"   "I was born in Estill County, Kentucky, in 1859 - April 23.  I
remember well the day Abe Linclon was elected President.  I remember
several things that happened that day.  A Negro boy by the name of
Ike passed our house and hollered, "Hurrah for Abe Lincoln!"  One of
my brothers went out and was going to whip him but Mother interferred.

    "My grandfather, Valentine Crawford, was an early settler on
Miller's Creek in the mountains of Kentucky.  He and Daniel Boone
fought Indians together.  When my grandfather was married he was
dressed in buck-skin clothes.  He married Miss Susanah Ray.  I think
she was from Madison County, Ky.  She was dressed in white silk.  To
this union were born eleven children:  Uncle Mart, Lee, Oliver, Bill,
Aunts Syrilda, Lourana, Laurenda, Nancy and Armina.  All were married
and had large families except Uncle Bill, who died when a young man.

    "As each child married, Grandfather would give them a home on
Miller's Creek, which ran into the Kentucky River three miles away.  I
love to think of my childhood days, things went just like clockwork.
When my Father or Mother said *go* we went.  We didn't stop to argue
about it.  We loved and respected our parents above all else, and
obedience came first with them.

    "In those days the mountains were covered with large timber, such
as oak, beech, pine, maple, cedar, popular and chestnut.  We had the
paw-Paw and may apple, wild grapes, chestnuts, huckleberry, walnuts,
hickery nuts, blackberries and mulberries in abundance.  We also had
bear, dear, red and gray fox, squirrel, and birds too numerous to
mention.  But not the mockingbirds.  The bald eagle was the most
destructive of all.  In the spring they would carry away the little
lambs.  We children would have to stay in the pasture with the lambs
to keep them away.  I had white cutly [curly] hair and I always kept
my little bonnet tied very tight for fear of the eagles would make a
mistake and take me.

    "Among our stock my Father liked colts best.  I can see him as I
write walking around looking at a newborn colt.  Bay was his favorite
color.  He did not want one bit of white, black, or any other color
about it.

    "There were lots of fish in Miller's Creek, especially after the
back water would come up from the Kentucky River.  We would get in our
boat, made of pupular tree, and row out into deep water and catch them.
But there were also many poisonous snakes, such as watermockinsons.
There was one thing I was afraid of in the water. That was leech.  If
you stood on a flat rock in the water, they would crawl upon your heel
and scatter dozens of little ones on your foot, and you can hardly get
them off.  You have heard the expression "sticks closer than a leech".
As much as I disliked them, they were very useful.  I remember when my
Sister Nan was about five years old, a horse stepped on her foot and I
guess she had what Doctors would now call blood poisoning.  My Mother
sent for Dr. Daniels of Irwin and he had the boys go get a lot of
leeches and he let them slide down her leg and foot, and we knew they
saved her life.


    "Mary Louse, I believe I forgot to tell you that my Mother had
Twelve children, six boys and six girls.  She raised them all to be
grown but one.  I am one of the lucky ones.  I am a twin.  My twin was
a boy, and we are the only children now living.  I like large families,
just one or two children always looks pitiful to me.  My Mother was the
daughter of Valentine Crawford and Susanah Crawford.  She was born in
Estill County, Ky. in 1824.  My father's name was Biley Finney.  He was
born in Virginia in 1818.  The twelve children born to this union were
Louis and Louisey (twins), Joe, John, William, Delina, Mary, Valentine
and Susanah (Twins), Nannie and Julia Ward.  She was named for old Col.
Ward of Louisville, Ky.  She was a baby during the civil war and we
called her "Reb."  One child died in infancy.

    "My Father was a large man.  He did not like to work very much, but
had it done.  I can see him with his hands crossed in the back, walking
around to see to that the work was done just right.  He would not have
any work done on Saturday afternoon.  He liked to hunt and would often
take us children with him.  My mother loved to work.  She liked to
weave beautiful linsey for our dresses.  She would get bark from the
trees and dye it all colors.  She would have the most beautiful colors
you ever saw.  And how we would strut when we got those new linsey
dresses!  She would knit us pretty striped stockings to match our
dresses.  We sure kept warm when we were children.  As you know I still
like wool.  She also wove cloth for men and boys' clothes, and my
Father was always so proud of his new gray suit.  She wove bed
blankets, flax towels and cup towels, Mary Louise, did you ever see a
loom?  If not, come to Dallas to the Centenial this summer and you can
see one, as well as spinning wheels and other things our Mother once

    "My Mother raised lots of turkeys, geese and guineas.  The turkeys
would go to the mountains to build their nests, the guineas would go
to the clover fields.  One day Mother put me to watching turkey hens
to her nest.  She would almost always start off in the wrong direction,
then circle around to her nest.  If she saw me watching her, she would
go back to the house.  They like to bury themselves in leaves.  I once
found a guines's nest in the clover with half a bushel of eggs in it.
They lay and the run about one hundred yards before they cackle.  Where
clover grows tall, don't watch the guinea, but watch the clover shake.
We would have to keep the little goselings away from the creek on
account of the turtles.  They would get them by the foot and drag them

     "(Don't know what happened to the balance of this letter
       or why it was never copied).  The writer, Mrs. J.W. Cope,
       or Sue Cope, passed away on February 15, 1951, at the age
       of 93.  Her twin brother had died some time before, and
       she was the last of the twelve children named above.)"

     [Web page author calculates Susanah FINNEY (COPE)'s lifespan to
      be 91 years]

Click here to send e-mail to the web page author: C.W. Moore

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