Capt. Thomas Paine And his family lived North of
Nocona, just South of Prairie Valley school, where they
raised 12 children on about 2000 acres.
Capt. Thomas P. Pain
By Mary Weeks McCall
piece is not meant to be a factual biography of my Grandfather, but merely a
record of some of my impressions of him, drawn from a very Sketchy memory, some
of them formed in retrospect on the contemplations of past events.
Grandfather must have been a very intelligent person. He
mentioned often that he had had practically no
formal education, yet he did many things and seemed to do than all well.
say that he was a strong-minded man is a vast understatement. He had an opinion
on every subject and had little regard for those who didn't. However, if their
opinion happened not to agree with his, he just put it down to their bad
he Should be in a lecturing mood, which he very often was, he would admonish
everyone within hearing distance to "take a stand -make your voice heard -
think things through carefully - form an opinion and don't deviate from it -
make your vote count". Perhaps this one aspect of his character is the
thread that manifested itself all through his life. He was always on one side
or the other and didn't hesitate to voice his opinion. We need many, many more
people who will stand up and be counted regardless of personal consequence -
but only after "thinking things through carefully".
don't recall that my Grandfather did a great deal of reading, remember most of
my impressions were gathered in the years of the mid-teens and early twenties
when we received no daily papers. We did get some weekly publications, although
I don't recall what they were other than the Texas Christian Advocate and
Cappers Weekly. As I have grown older, I have often wondered what he did read,
as he was in possession of a great deal of knowledge that one would not pick
up just anywhere. Some of the things he seemed to be very distressed about, and
which I paid as little attention to as possible, and probably remember them
because they were so often repeated were: The National Debt - he thought
"it was disgraceful' - said positively "it should be paid
immediately" - but politicians being what they were and the enormous
amount of the debt being what it was, it would probably never be paid - never
be paid - never be paid. I wonder what the poor dear would think now!
conclusion: "we will eventually have to fight "Rooshia"-- he
gave the reasons for this opinion but I don't remember what they were. My
opinion at that time was that my poor Grandfather was indeed ill informed and didn't
even know where Rooshia was, else he would know we could never get there - besides
why would we want to fight Rooshia anyway. Well, so much for my opinion!
of his favorite subjects for oration was the "Dole". At this time in life
I had no what the dole was and couldn't have cared less. I only thought it to
be the most doleful word I ever heard. He would go on at length declaring that
no country should ever start the dole - to do so was to enslave its people,
take their initiative and break the backs of the tax payers of the country
involved. "England has made the mistake
and would one day pay dearly for it."
was just as vocal on "States Rights". Big government should not
meddle with the affairs of the individual states--besides
Washington didn't know what was
would have, no doubt, heard a great deal more of the things my granddad thought
were important enough to emphasize over and over had he not used such a cross
and crabby voice for his preachments. I was terrified of him and usually
scurried out of range as rapidly as possible. He never chastised me in anyway
but I had no doubt that one day he would really do me in. Perhaps one reason
for this extremely uneasy feeling
that he often emphasized every word he said by banging his elegant gold-headed
walking cane on the floor - he didn't necessarily have to be walking to do this
- he employed the cane just as well while sitting.
gold-headed walking cane is a story all its own. Another of his strong
convictions was that a man's word should be as good as his bond - if not he
wanted no part of him. Once a man wham he had known since childhood wrote
Granddad and told him that he was in dire financial straights and needed his help
badly. My grandfather didn't hesitate a moment to send him the money, without a
note or even an I.O.U., although my grandmother was violently opposed to it.
One of the very few serious disagreements they ever had arose from this
misadventure. Granddad was just incensed to think that Grandmother would doubt his
friend's verasity. I expect you have guessed the end of the story. Granddad
never saw his money again, but years and years later he received the beautiful
ebony and gold-headed walking cane. It was really the prettiest one I've ever
seen up to now. It was beautifully monogrammed with the T.P.P. in Old English lettering.
Included in the package was an elegantly engraved card carrying the name of his
friend. Thereafter he referred to it as his $2200. walking cane.
grandfather was a very plain man and would never have bought anything so showy
or extravagant, but I think secretly he took a great pride in it. One memory is
especially clear in my mind. When Granddad was really dressed up he wore his
"Sunday" hat, a black felt similar to what is called a stockman now,
his black silk alpaca coat and carried his gold-headed cane. In the winter he
wore a wool suit for dress but it didn't do for him what the silk alpaca coat
almost seemed to strut when thus dressed.
of my grandfather's favorite nephews, Tom Skinner, told me several interesting
things that occurred when they were together. Granddad had seven boys of his
own but somehow managed to have time for Tom too.
said my grandfather rode a very large horse, and some of his most memorable
times were when my grandfather took him up behind him and allowed him to ride
the fields and pastures with him. He was so little and the horse was so big
that his legs stuck straight out when he attempted to ride astride, so often
when he got tired he would just fold his legs and sit cross-legged and lean up
Grandfather's back. Tom said Grandad lectured him constantly on these long rides
about finances, honesty, religion, politics and hard work. One of the things
that stuck in Tom's mind, although he was a very small boy, was this:
"Tom, it doesn't take a smart man to make a dollar - anybody can do that -
but it does take a smart man to know how to keep it and make it work for you."
story he told happened when Tom was was a young man in his midteens. He had
gone with his father Bawlie Skinner over to Mr. Tom Hobens where some men who
were interested in horse racing were trying to build a track - but try as they
would they couldn't get it to bank properly. Finally Mr. Hoben said "Tom,
get on your horse and go and get Tom Paine to come and build this track, he can
do anything." Tom did as he was told and although Granddad was very busy,
he stopped his work, took several teams of mules and whatever equipment he had
and he and some of his sons went to build the track. It didn't take him very
long to get it slanted just right, and when he had finished he said "Now
boys, I don't believe in horse racing and it will take most of you less time to
lose your money than it did me to build the track" and with that
pronouncement he departed at once and left them to think over what he had said.
Tom laughed about Granddad telling him to "have patience" when he
himself was about the most impatient man Tom had ever seen.
the many talents my grandfather had was his ability to work with iron. He had
his own blacksmith shop there on his place. He shod his own horses and mules
and made many of the impliments used on the farm. If a piece was broken, he could
most always make a piece to repair it with. He also made wrought iron andirons
and fireplace sets (pokers and shovels) used at the house. My grandmother had
very small hands and he made small smoothing irons to fit her hands.
I have grown older and know something about the complexity of building, I am
simply astonished at his ability to build. After he came to
County, he planned,
supervised and help build two lovely homes on the land north of town.
had the stone quarried for both houses from a pit north and west of the first house which was fartherist north. This house
he later sold to his brother, Polk Paine. This house was rather on the rustic
side, but very interesting. It would probably be called a split level now, for
the reason that the south wing of the house was built over a half-dugout. This
is where the family lived until granddad had time to build the remainder of the
house. This served as the kitchen and
area when the house was finished. The walls were rock and the ceiling was built
over heavy logs (that would now be called a beamed ceiling). The rooms above
this were used as bedrooms when my grandparents lived there. There were two
steps (maybe three or four, I don't remember for sure) down to the north wing
of the house. The house had an open hallway running north and south (or a dog
trap)and one room east of the hall. Some of this house still stands, although a very
small part, but enough to see the beautifully arched windows. I can't leave the
basement (half-dugout) without mentioning the huge dug well over in one corner.
It was lined with stone and enclosed in wood with a door opening to make water
available in the kitchen, but then continued up to the veranda where water
could be drawn for the upper level of the house.
Harry and Aunt Lura later lived in this house. The land belongs to Dennis Paine
and the children of Thomas P. Paine
III and at this time Lew
Lobban, grandson of J.I. Paine is living on the land.
second house my grandfather built was about one mile south of the first. It was
a much more refined structure. It was built of the same kind of stone and was a
two story house with plastered walls and beautiful woodwork. Each room had a
transom over the door to insure good ventilation in the summer. My older
brother, Wilton Weeks, told me the outside walls of these houses were about two
feet thick and the interior wails were about eighteen inches. This made the
house very nice and cool in the summer. As I recall them, they really weren't
too warm in winter but I imagine this was because they were only heated with
fireplaces and a few stoves. The east wing of this house had wide porches on
all three sides. The house really faced north, but the north entrance was seldom
used. Most people, even guests, came in the south door as that was where all of
the activity took place. This house also had a large central hall, but in
contrast to the first house, it was closed by two hugh wooden doors on each
end. Above these were arched fan lights. The parlor and the upstairs bedroom
had a beautiful bow window going from bottom to top and these gave a very
elegant look to the north side of the house. I doubt many people ever saw it as
everyone came to the south entrance. These houses were as nice, or nicer, than
any in the country at that time, but the most remarkable thing about them was
that my grandfather built them with common laborers for helpers. The materials
for this last house were hauled up from
could not end any piece about my Granddad without mentioning the Civil War. He
fought it over and over in his mind until he died. And as he got older, I think
the horror of it returned to haunt him, even though he may not have dwelt on it
quite so much in his middle years.
was only sixteen years old when he left home to join the Tennessee Volunteers
of the Confederate Army. All of his brothers were conscripted into the U.S.
Army. Although he did not believe in slavery, he did not believe for a minute
that slavery was the issue. He recognized it as an economic war. He was
violently opposed to only one section of the country forcing its will on
talked incessantly about the hardship, the cold, hunger, disenterv, frostbite,
lack of shoes and other clothing. He went in a private and came out a captain.
At the end of the war he had only seven of his original one hundred and eleven
men. He was attached to General Lee's army but when it became apparent that
General Lee would have to surrender, he left and joined General Jackson's
North Carolina. It soon became a
hopeless situation and when Granddad saw that
Jackson would surrender, he
took fourteen men and went into
Virginia. It was his proudest
boast that he had never yet surrendered!
was commander of the Bob Stone camp and organization of Men of the Confederacy.
Each year they held a reunion on land designated for this purpose west of the
Nocona. This was the really
big social event of the year. People came from near and far. Many came in
wagons and buggies and camped out for the duration of the celebration. Dinner
was served each day in a large open air pavillion. This of course was only for
the veterans and their families. For this momentious occasion the women cooked,
washed, starched and ironed for days. I thought I was indeed one of the Lord's
truly blessed - my grandpa got to ask the blessing and I was given the
responsibility of getting to shoo the flies off the table with a nice white tea
very vivid memory of my childhood was a very dramatic performance that my
grandfather enacted ever so often. He would take to his bed and announce in a
very weak and trembly voice that he was about to breathe his last and demand
that Grandmother call in all of the children admonishing them to come at once
although he doubted he would be alive when they got there. Somehow they always
fell for it and came flying. He would call than all to his bed and such a
dramatic performance you have never seen! When he had than all weeping and
wailing and after he had played out his scene, he would just turn over and fall
asleep. We all walked about on tiptoe and talked in whispers until everyone
decided nothing more was going to happen and one by one they departed for
their homes. I don't know How many times this performance was repeated but it
proved to me without doubt that I can add another accomplishment to his long
list of special talents--he would have been a wonderful actor.
closing, I would have to conclude that Thomas P. Paine, Captain in the
Confederate Army, Farmer, Stockman, Irormith, Builder, Father, Grandfather,
with all of his crochetyness and idicsynorasies was quite a man!