Sunday, June 30, 2013

SUE'S BEST-EVER COTTON CROP of 1832


             Susannah couldn’t sit still. Every nerve inside and out stood at attention. She giggled. “When those pickers showed up, I praised the Lord right then and there. Must have been a dozen counting the ones who fired up their steam powered gin. I’d never seen anything like it in my life—oh, the Baylor Brothers’ saw mill, but they only cut up trees. This machine ate sacks of cotton like a calf sucking its mother’s milk.
            “The pickers traveled those rows like they were steam powered, too, stuffing two hundred pounds of that soft white cotton almost so quick that if you blinked you’d miss it. I swear I knew every row like my baby’s sweet smile, and the very ones I figured would be the best produced lots extra just like I thought.
            “The gin men fed those full bags into their wonderful machine, and on the other end, out popped a five hundred pound bale. Every time they stacked another one on my wagon, I thanked the Lord for His bounty.
            “One after another, until the first wagon was filled. I figured eight bales, two tons each total would be about as much as I wanted to load on the wagons. I sure was proud Andy and Jacob had beefed them up for hauling timber.
            “I couldn’t believe it when Levi pulled up the second wagon. Becky and I did a little dance, then Levi even came and joined in. The children were so excited, too. I never thought—and you know I’m a guardian of the truth—I didn’t ever think for a wink that my thirty-two acres would produce sixteen bales! Can you believe it? Sixteen! That’s four tons of cotton, eight thousand pounds! And Littlejohn’s offered three-and-a-half to four cents a pound depending on the quality. I’m no expert, but I think it’s really good lint.
            “Anyway, that’s three hundred and twenty dollars. With Levi and Becky, and the Lord’s help, of course, we’ve earned three hundred and twenty dollars. God is so good! So, I figured if I didn’t have to spend the month going to Jefferson and back, I could stay home, and Levi and I could get the fields plowed and ready to plant wheat. Everything was working out better than I’d ever hoped. Isn’t that just like our awesome Heavenly Father?
            “Now, all I have to do is deliver the cotton to Mister Littlejohn at the Sulpher Fork Trading Post morning after next. I told the children we could spend a night there, you know, for a treat. I intend to let them order a new pair of shoes and pick out a bolt or two of fabric for some new clothes.”
            She sighed and her vision blurred. A tear rolled down her cheek. “For the first time since the accident—since me losing my husband and Levi losing his daddy—we’ll finally have extra. Getting through the year won’t be so hard. You can’t imagine how grateful I am to the Lord. He’s truly blessed me.”
  
VOW UNBROKEN begins on that next morning after when Sue and Levi drive their wagons to the trading post to meet Mister Littlejohn..