Pictured are Erasmus Taylor and Dicie Ann (Lowery) Knight (with dog). They stand near the middle of Cullman County, Alabama, in front of the home place. The photo was taken on the 4th Sunday in May, 1942.

The 4th Sunday was and is ‘Decoration Day’ at Valley Springs Cemetery - about two miles away from the scene. Valley Springs has been the burying ground for the local community from the beginning. Despite the name, brought from Georgia by early settlers, Valley Grove sits isolated on a flattened ridge top. Originally a day for the families to clean their graves, by the time of the photo it had become more an occasion for family reunions. At first, everything took place at the cemetery, including a noon dinner on the grounds. All the families tended to their graves – to do otherwise would be a sign of ‘trash’. As graves became abandoned, they were worked by whoever was close.

Somewhere in the ‘30’s, Erasmus, Dicie and the children, several grown and moved away – along with cousins, uncles and aunts – started gathering at the home place. Reunions were rare, except for funerals, but the 4th Sunday in May was an annual event and drew quite a crowd.

Erasmus and Dicie were married in 1893. He had just turned 18 and she was fifteen. Their union produced 13 children; ten were living on the day of the photograph. All had been born on the place – the first three in a log cabin and the next seven in some version of the clapboard house.

At first, they sharecropped and Erasmus hired himself (and his mule) out for additional money. His reputation for honest labor done well made him sought after help. By 1895, they had saved enough money to buy 80 acres. The land was taken out of the public domain in 1891 by a Pearson woman and subsequently changed hands before they bought it from a McCombs. They stand on it in the photograph.

The day they moved in, there was maybe 10 acres cleared, in three spots. These were separated by a hollow and what passed for the road. The rest was forest that the Cherokees knew. The west forty had a two room cabin – a big log room and a smaller plank side room with a cast iron stove – and a small but sturdy log barn. After Ted, the third child, was born, they built a three room plank house – two fireplace rooms and a kitchen/dining room. As the children continued to arrive, the house was expanded -on four occasions - to finally become the structure seen in the background.

The dog pictured was ‘Blue Boy’. According to Charlotte, the youngest child, he "was a good dog, but with a high regard for himself – he thought he should sleep in the bed and have a chair at the table." They did let him inside during bad weather and, at meals; he sat on the floor – off Erasmus’ left hand, waiting for his morsel of biscuit or cornbread crust.

Dicie was 64 and Erasmus 67. He lived for another ten years and more – she less than two.