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A Mule With A Remarkable Memory, or To Texas and Back

This Strange (and Watson) Report proves there is no place like home, when that home is in Glensfork, Adair County, KY.
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By Mike Watson, Adair County Historian

The mule is considered a stubborn animal, or so we have been told. Those with experience with this true 'work-horse' of the farm can tell you that they are a special breed, in more ways than one. In mid-1895 the Courier-Journal reprinted a story carried in the Columbia Spectator, Adair County's premier newspaper of long-ago, as quoted here:

"A Mule With A Memory-Columbia (Ky.) Spectator--The remarkable memory of a mule that was driven to Texas from this county ten or twelve years ago was shown last year when he was driven back to the neighborhood of his old home. The mule was driven to Texas by Sam Strange, who lived in the Glensfork neighborhood, and was brought back by Jonathan Watson. The first night after his arrival he broke away and went immediately to his old home, where he kept his dulciferous voice floating upon the night air until daylight. It is supposed from his actions that he, like most people that go from here to Texas and return, had enough of that country and was glad to get back."--The Courier-Journal, Louisville, KY, 8 July 1895, Monday, p4.

Some additional information:

Jonathan L. Watson, born about 1837, was our ancestor. He was a son of Allen Watson who came to Adair County in the 1830s from North Carolina, via Tennessee, and his wife whose name has never been determined. All that is known of Allen Watson's time in Adair is that he was a tenant farmer in the neighborhood of Zion and Glensfork. He and his wife had three children that can be documented: Stephen, Jonathan L., and Nathan Gaither.

With the death of their mother, these three boys were left with a hard-working father who had little means to raise them, Nathan being under two years of age. The boys were apprenticed to neighboring families, as was often the case. Stephen was reared by the Taylors at Glensfork, but died with typhoid in the late 1840s. Jonathan and Nathan were reared on Crocus by the Strange family and treated equal with the children of the family.

In the 1880s when several of the Strange families moved to Texas, Jonathan and Nathan, both married with small children, did not go, but were given farms as their part in the separation. Jonathan, and perhaps Nathan, made one or more trips to Texas in the years that followed.

Nathan married and had children by at least two wives, but died young, and left no male heirs to carry on his name.

Jonathan married first Martitia Field, granddaughter of John Field of Columbia, daughter of William Buford Field and Sarah Powell, of Powell's Creek. After her death her married again. His children by his first wife included William Allen, father of Milton, our grandfather.

This story was posted on 2018-08-19 07:48:38
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