Front Street 1890





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P.O. Box 118826
Carrollton, TX  75011-8826



Captain Thomas P Paine CSA   1845 - 1923


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 (granddaughter)

Born 1845-Died 1923


This 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. 

My 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. 

To 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 judgement. 

If 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".  

I 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!  

Another 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! 

Another 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." 

Granddad 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 good for Texas. 

I 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   was 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. 

The 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. 

My 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 did - he almost seemed to strut when thus dressed. 

One 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.

 Tom 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 against

my 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."

 Another 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.

 Among 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.

 As 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 Montague County, he planned, supervised and help build two lovely homes on the land north of town.

He 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  dining 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.

 Uncle 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.

 The 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 above

it 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 Gainesville and Sherman.

 I 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.  

He 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 another.  

He 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 command in 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! 

Grandpa 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 town of 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 towel.  

Another 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.

In 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!





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