The Springhouse on McNutt Creek

We remember the things that we love, and the springhouse on the 20 acre farm that Papa rented from Mr. McAllister in 1934 and was located on McNutt Creek was one of those loving memories. I was 4 years old and Tom, my brother was 5 or 6 years old.

The springhouse was built at the edge of the creek.. Separating the spring from the creek was a round clay pipe about three feet across. The spring was about two feet deep and the springhouse was built over the spring kept leaves and other debris from falling into the spring water. There was a dipper made from a gourd that hung by the spring. Anyone passing by could take a drink.

Every morning Tom and I went to the springhouse for a bucket of water, and if Mama told us to bring back a jug of milk or a jar with the butter in it we would do that. We didn't have an icebox, so the way we kept milk and butter cold was to put them in the spring. Sometimes we would put a watermelon in the spring. On the hottest days of summer the spring water was very cold.

In the spring water there were crayfish and little lizards that Tom and I would catch for Papa who would use them as bait to catch fish in one of the big rivers, either the Apalachee or the Oconee.

Going to the springhouse one morning we saw one of our cows giving birth to a calf. This was the first time that I had seen such a thing. I was both amazed and scared. We watched until the calf was completely born then we ran home to tell Mama. She went to the pasture to see if everything was all right and said that the cow will take care of everything. The next day we saw the calf frolicking near by her mother, and everything was taken care of, just like Mama said.

When heavy rains came, the spring would be flooded with muddy water from the creek. After the creek was low enough then Tom and I would have to bail the water from the spring with a bucket until the spring was empty. It would take about an hour for the spring to refill with fresh, cool, clear spring water.

It was a sad day for Tom and I when Papa dug a well next to the house and put up a windmill that pumped the water into a huge water tank. He also put some plumbing in the house so Mama would have running water in the kitchen. Papa was a genius because he also installed an automotive generator on the windmill that charged a six-volt battery that was connected to our new round top Philco radio. I remember listening to "The Crossroad Follies" and "The National Barn Dance" both from WSB radio in Atlanta. Papa said that this was progress, but Tom and I still went to the springhouse almost every day for a cool drink, and to talk about the good times we had over the past year.

From the memoirs of Charles Wesley Brown, son of Louise Elizabeth Autry and Joe E. Brown