Notes on Neely Culp

Stories related below are taken from correspondence with John L. Yarbro, a direct descendant of Romulus Sanders Swift and Sarah Salina Paine.  As I read the stories, preparing to rewrite them for this website, I realized John's words were the only words in which these stories should be told.  I'm sure you will enjoy them as much as I did.

A special thanks to Ron Twilla for providing this photo.

Notes on Jake Swift

     Grandmother's brother Jake Swift was a musician, had a horn tattooed on his hand, traveled around with the circus most of his life, he could play any brass instrument.  Fiddle too!  He also sharecropped.
     When I was growing up, he was an old man who lived downstairs at my grandmothers' house in an unimproved room behind the kitchen.  He raised a large vegetable garden behind her house, kept
the family in vegetables and sold some downtown too.  He told the most excellent stories.  Some were variations of Grimms or Anderson Fairy Tales and some were unique, that I have never run across since.
     My grandparents had 27 grandchildren ranging across 4 generations and we would all spend our time with Jake in that dark cold room, wrapped in one of his blankets that smelled like the pipe tobacco he smoked.  The room was usually lit by a dim light bulb hanging from the ceiling.  Uncle Jake would sit on his old iron bed and play the fiddle or tell a story.  He had a slow deep voice and would pause between his words, giving them more effect.  He always kept a can of King Leo peppermint sticks handy and would offer them to us.  I suppose everything he owned in the world was stashed in that room in either an old trunk or in a box under his bed.  Going in there was like walking into another world and for us kids, it was always a little spooky at first.  He rarely came into the main house and I never even wondered why he didn't sleep upstairs. I found out years later that he and my grandfather didn't get along very well, so he stayed in his own world most of the time.  Knowing that now and looking back, I suppose us grand kids were quite a gift to him.  I have one of his horns that my grandmother gave to me after he died. A Sousaphone.

Notes on Paul Swift

The other Swift brother I knew was uncle Paul.  He lived on our river farm for several years when I was growing up in a huge old farmhouse that used to be down there.  His wife, Bertha, really had the place spruced up!  (It had been vacant for a long time prior to them coming there.)  My father was always very busy and uncle Paul didn't mind me being dropped off there with them.
     This sounds really odd, being that we farmed and own land and all, but those days were the only times I ever spent on a farm growing up. My mother was from Nashville and refused to become a farm dweller, so I grew up in town.
     During the day uncle Paul and Bertha would chop cotton and my cousin Jenny and I would tag along, walking the fields while Paul told us stories.  It never was tiresome, walking and listening to him.  He hadn't traveled as much as Jake and Charles but he still knew some good stories.  He was a very gentle, kind man.
     Their life there was much more primitive than I was accustomed to.  They had electricity and running water, but one still had to go to the outhouse and baths were taken in a large washtub.  The old house had a enclosed dog trot down the middle, that could be opened up in the warm months and the rooms had fans.  No air conditioning, but it wasn't such a big thing to me.
     I do fondly recall sitting on the long back porch snapping peas for Aunt Bertha or Jenny and I sitting out on the front porch in the dark of night, watching lightening bugs and talking endlessly about God knows what.
     I was truly lucky to have known them.  Uncle Paul and Uncle Jake are buried at Fairview Cemetery in Dyersburg, near my grandparents and my mother.

Notes on Neely Culp

My grandmother's grandfather is Neely Culp, from Culps Chapel, which is across the river and north of Clifton, Tennessee.  Ever been to Culps Chapel?  Neely went to the California god rush and came home wealthy.  Built a plantation and owned slaves.  The foundation of the old house and a stone wall remain on the property.  He was supposedly kidnapped during the Civil War by locals who wanted his gold.  They killed him over in Decatur County and hid his body.  One of the killers confessed when he was older and dying.  Family tradition has it that after he was taken, a flock of crows flew up to the manor house and tried to get in the doors and windows.  One of the female servants saw this and turned to Neely's wife and said, "Marse Culp is dead."



Click on the links below for more information.

C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S ! ! ! ! !  

home                about us....      

For Family Historians ONLY    

Genealogy                    Bible Records

    Obituaries        Wills

Churches, Cemeteries

Bethel Presbyterian Church and Cemetery, York Co., SC
The Old Watson Cemetery located in Hardin County, Tennessee
Oakland Methodist Church and Cemetery
Portageville, Missouri Cemetery



 Those were the days.... School Photos
Hardin County Schools - Teachers - 1935


Most Wanted    The Illusive Hughes Family
                                            Silas and Amanda Hughes  

And then there was Uncle Jack!

Uncle Jack - the Outlaw and Lawman

       Reenactment of the Shooting of Jack Watson

                                Uncle Jack's Monument Unveiled                             


                Act to Create Mt. Etna

         West Tennessee Photos
               From the Private Collection of Richmond Powers   

                Family Photo Album

                Photo Memories of Trumann, AR & Hooker's Bend, TN
                from the album of  Pauline Allen Watson 1930's and 1940's

More memories of Pauline Allen Watson
taken from her scrapbook kept in the Early Thirties

Saltillo Community Fair Book - 1941


Biographies and Family tales          Newspaper Articles

Old Letters                Contacts          Favorite Quotes and other Musings

Pinson, Madison County, Tennessee

The Families of Hookers Bend

  Reflections of the Past
The Book Press
Drinking from the Saucer
Return to Hardin County
Grandma's Apron
If You Could See Your Ancestors

My Favorite Websites

Visitors to this site since November 6, 2000

RootsWeb Genealogy Site


Information on this website belongs to Jane Watson Ellis and descendants of the families included.  It is intended for the personal use of the guest.  Please note that all material has not been verified by me.  To include your related line and/or make additions or corrections,  please e-mail me at  You may also contact me at P. O. Box 524, Bald Knob, AR  72010.