News from The Standard and Express

The Standard and Express
Cartersville, Georgia
June 27, 1872, page 2
Transcribed by:  

Cherokee County Sketches.
No. IX

As we have said, Wm. May was one of the early settlers of Cherokee county.  He and his sons employed their time for a number of years in working the Sixes gold mines.  The old man was a large, dark skinned, rough old fellow, and was familiarly called “Old Rusty,” a very appropriate nick-name.  He loved to eat and often boasted that his family, which was large, could consume a beef a week!  One member of his household boasted of having performed the extraordinary feat of eating ELEVEN roasting-ears at a meal.  The quantity of roughness taken at the same time was not stated.  If he could not find the gold, “Old Rusty” would buy provisions on a credit, and his creditors often realized the fact that it was not in his interest to pay the principal, nor his principle to pay the interest.  When asked to pay a note which had run for a long time, he would often remark with great coolness, “You may consider it paid!”  The sons, like their father, were also rough and large.  Owen May was six feet and seven inches high, and was a droll specimen of humanity.  He was a considerable wag in his way, and generally created a laugh in every crowd he entered.  William, the eldest of the boys, was considered to be the best gambler in all the country; but we have understood that the sharpers about Cartersville often trumped him after he came here.

“Old Rusty” claimed to be a good Presbyterian, but he loved to see his boys play cards, and would often stand by and watch the game with great interest and complacency.  We were very much amused at a report given us by one of the boys after they had all removed to Gilmer county.  We asked how William was getting along. “Oh, first rate,” replied our informant; “he is doing very well—has quit drinking—is making money, and is as well thought of as any man in all that country.”  “What business is he following now,” said we.  “Gamblin’” was the candid reply!

“Old Rusty” gave the most of his sons big names, as the following specimens will show: Napoleon Bonaparte, Andrew Jackson, Bolivar, and Marquis de LaFayette! (title and all!)  Some of the boys were great Methodists at times, and none enjoyed camp-meetings more than they; and in fact they enjoyed almost any occasion.  They were good hands to visit and wait on the sick, and in this way often made themselves useful.  They were also good hands to attend the frolics which occurred in the neighborhood.  They rendered efficient service at many log-rolling and corn-shucking, and made many a cabin ring with their “play songs,” and many a set of sleepers tremble as they engaged in the merry dance!  Alas!  “Old Rusty” and his boys are all scattered and gone now, and “we ne’er shall look upon their like again.”  They were useful in their way, and filled a place in society and in the world which none others could have filled; and we can’t help feeling lonely when we revisit the hills and valleys around old Sixes so intimately associated with them and remember they, together with many of the friends of our childhood, are gone to return no more forever!  So long as we appreciate good nature, kindness and friendship, we will remember “Old Rusty’s” family, and shall always feel confident that there are many who will make greater pretensions to refinement who are really no better.


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