By G. C. Ratliff
Pike County News - 1930
On the morning of September 4, 1864, Enoch Craft, a dashing youth of 22 years, lay under a blanket which had been stretched over a network of four cornstalks tied in the middle. Rain had poured throughout the night, and thousands of soldiers lay or sat around him in the large cornfield near Greenville, Tennessee, where they were stationed. All were anxious to see the light of day for the night had been very disagreeable.
General John Hunt Morgan was stationed in a farmhouse a mile or so distant, and their orders were to come from him. They knew not what the approach of day would bring, for no one knew what was in Morgan's mind. Today he is here, tomorrow maybe he will be 50 miles away; blowing up railroad bridges, capturing towns, taking possession of railroad depots, and having his telegrapher upset the plans of the Union forces, making a surprise attack or doing some other evil to the Federal forces.
About daylight the soldiers in the cornfield were attracted by the rapid firing of rifles near them. All were ordered to prepare to march. They soon were in their saddles awaiting orders, but no orders came. A few minutes passed, and they were informed of the death of their dashing leader, General Morgan.
General Morgan had taken up quarters in a three-story house the night before requesting the woman of the house to have an early breakfast. But during the night the woman stole through the picket lines and rode several miles, informing the Unionists that Morgan was stationed in her home.
Morgan was sleeping on the third floor. When he was aroused by the firing, he ran down to the second floor. Being confused by the sudden and unexpected firing, he jumped from the window into the yard and attempted to escape. But the yard was enclosed with iron-picketed fencing, and he could not get over. He was shot several times and fell to the ground dead. So passed the "ubiquitous" general.
Enoch Craft had fought over Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky; and for several months fought with John Wright. These two were side by side in the battle of Cynthiana, Kentucky, when John Wright was wounded.
When the great struggle ended, young Craft returned to his Kentucky hills. About 1867 he took as his wife Miss Polly Ann Caudill, an aunt of J. D. Caudill; a well-known merchant of Pikeville. In 1875 the couple settled two miles up Millstone Creek in Letcher County, two miles from what is now the Mayo Trail.
There were no neighbors nearby to annoy them, only a wilderness from which to hew out a living. A small log house was erected at first, and as the family increased the building was enlarged. They worked hand-in-hand throughout the long summers; raising corn, hogs, chickens, and other things with which to sustain life throughout the winter.
As the years passed the family increased until it became a large one. These all have followed the footsteps of their parents and have made useful, upright citizens worthy of the name of Craft and have spread out all over the country.
Today "Uncle Chunk," as his friends call him, stands as erect as he did when he served under General Morgan. His hair is snow white, as are his fine whiskers. His whiskers are not so long and are well-rounded and immaculately clean. His hair is always well-combed, and he is clean from head to foot as though he were preparing to stand inspection under the rigid general, whom he served.
Mr. Craft's home is located on the road to Floyd and Knott counties, and during the bitter feud between John Wright and Clabe Jones, he fed both sides whenever they passed. Sometimes a crowd of one side would come in starved, having been scouting for days without food, trying to locate the other clan.
Mr. Craft took absolutely no part in any feud, but advised both sides to drop the trouble. His doors were open to all who desired to eat or stay with him. Consequently he was never molested during those awful days, but was treated courteously by every man of each clan.
About a year ago "Aunt" Polly Ann, his wife, fell and broke her thigh and since that time has never walked. As soon as she recovered sufficiently from her injury, she began piecing quilts. In about ten months she had pieced 15 of them. Part of the time she lies on her bed, and part of the time she sits in her wheelchair.
Their youngest daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Ben Franklin, reside with them. Mr. and Mrs. Franklin have a large family, from young men down to tots, and there is not one of them who is not profoundly devoted to the happiness and welfare of "Uncle Chunk" and Aunt "Polly" Ann. The strong young men pick up the old lady from her bed and place her in her wheelchair. When a meal is ready she is placed in her chair and wheeled over to the long boardwalk out to the dining room, which is separate from the main building.
Mr. Craft likes to talk about his experiences with their automobile. He forgets and calls it "his" car. Then Aunt "Polly" Ann comes into the conversation.
"Now, I'd like to know how you can call it your car," she will say softly with a little smile on her wrinkled face.
Then Mr. Craft laughs and explains. Nearly every year he trades in his old car and buys a new one, paying the difference. He says that is the cheapest way to own an automobile. But the last one they bought, which was recently, Aunt "Polly" Ann paid half of the difference, and they owned it jointly. Soon her birthday came, and "Uncle Chunk" gave her his half for a birthday present, making her sole owner. But she says he forgets and calls it "his" car.
If you have ever wondered where happiness is to be found and what brings happiness, visit this home. From time immemorial man has sought happiness. He has gone from country to country; has explored the depths of the oceans; has flown around the world; has heaped piles of gold around him; has invented the modern conveniences, such as radio, television, talking pictures, automobiles, the fast train, the airplane, and many others; has given the best of his life to become famous, all because he was convinced that these things would bring him happiness.
But nay, they only detour you off the right path. Man has given the best of his life to acquire riches, and when these were secured he would gladly return all for the health or happiness he once enjoyed.
People today, with millions around them, servants to do their bidding, with not a thing to do, but enjoy themselves, are running to and fro seeking they know not what. Aunt "Polly" Ann lies on her bed or sits in her wheelchair and quilts.
Her heart is content. The only thing she desires in this life is her congenial companion, "Uncle Chunk," and the love of those about her. Her church meetings are her diversion. To these she looks forward with eagerness as that of a boy who wants to play, but with no more eagerness than her husband.
About 63 years they have spent together, and
the day for them is far spent. They look forward to a happiness
together in the great beyond, which will excel any on earth.