IF THE SHOE FITS
S: Well, me and Uncle Edn started up, he lived at White Oak, now he said, I ‘s down there and stayed overnight, ” ‘Pon my honor,” he said, “I have a notion to go home with you in the mornin'” Well I said “do please Uncle Edn by George go” and he had a, he had a pair a canvas shoes, Edn did, and he said “I b’lieve I’ll wear my canvas shoes.” Well, I said he wore about the same, about nine or ten. Got on up there about, well, got up there about the Needle Branch, what they call the Needle Branch, and, uh, ” ‘Pon my honor” he says “the shoes is a’hurtin'” he said, “Let’s swap.” I said “You reckon I can wear them?” “Yes, ‘pon my honor” he said, “I think you can”, he said, “Let’s trade.” Well, down I took and put the shoes on. I walked about a mile in them things and they began to draw to my feet, just a, just seem like they got smaller every step,and afterwhile I swear them things got to hurtin’ me s’ bad that I didn’t even have no feelin’s. I said I’ll be damned if you won’t have to either take ’em or I said we’re gonna have to go back because I ain’t one of the two. And I pulled them damned things off and walked, I know I walked two or three miles barefooted, and they turned my feet, just drawed ’em as white, just right white. And I never, never would wear a dang canvas shoe after that.
Yeah he said, he said ” ‘Pon my honor, you know one thing” I said “What is it?”
“‘ell, you take a shoe that’ll fit one Hammons, it’ll fit another!” I said, “I’ll be damned if these fit me.”
Sherman (b1903) would probably have been in his teens. The Needle Branch (run) empties into the Williams River close to ‘Three Forks’. The Williams River runs westward from Pocahontas County into Webster County. At the point where the Needle Branch flows into the Williams River, the Williams might have reached 35 ft wide, although just a few miles back it would have been less than 10 ft wide. This was the main branch of the Williams River. The tiny Middle Fork and Little Fork branches meet the Williams River at a place the Hammons called ‘Three Forks’, and later, during the days of the timbering operations, the small village of Three Forks grew around there. One interesting note, when the early ‘longhunters’ were leaving the Shenandoah Valley in the mid-1700s and ‘invading’ the mountains to the west, they were taken aback to see waterways flowing westward!
Sherman and Edn would have probably been walking on one of the railroad lines which were built to carry the logs out to the sawmill in Webster County. The railroad line would have run through the Three Forks village. Edn lived at a place that Sherman called ‘White Oak’ which was a short distance away from there. As with many other ‘boom towns’ there is very little evidence that a village ever existed.