Wannabe Art

A place where one old woman shares her daily ups and downs and her attempts at art with strangers and friends out in Internet land.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Six Toed Tom Morrell

Have started the research for my next lady piece.....Lura Ward McCook. She was also Lura Ward Williams and Lura Ward Padgett. Three marriages and no children. She was born in Alabama on Nov. 25th 1897. She passed away in a nursing home in Destin Fl. on October 26, 1992. Her story is a charming one that I will be sharing as I work on the piece. As you know I use Ancestry.com for most of my research as well as our local historical library section in the county. I contacted a researcher on Ancestry.com after I saw that he had Lura in his research family. He had written a book on the Wards of South Carolina...he shared my email with a wonderful 84 year old Ralph Odell Ward who was a friend of Lura. Odell has agreed to share stories of Lura with me. I tell you the Internet is a wonderful place when used correctly. Odell even shared a story with me about Six Toed Tom Morrell. (my married name is Morrell).

Tom actually had six toes on each foot. During WW 1 he was gassed in France by the Germans with mustard gas, so after retuning home he was never in good health. In 1934, his breathing problems got worse so he was carried to the VA hospital in Birmingham Al. With their help at the Va, his breathing began to improve, so the VA decided to remove those extra toes while he was there. They did just that, and Tom healed nicely and he no longer had those extra toes. When he returned home he didn't want to be called Six Toed Tom anymore, but as Odell explained he was still called Six Toed Tom behind his back until the day he died.

Odell went on to say, that Tom was a very nice person but he couldn't get his two sons to help him on the farm as much as he needed, so he hired Odell to hoe peanuts and chop and pick cotton. Odell enjoyed working with him. Later when Tom died his wife had him buried at the Live Oak Cemetery near Vernon Florida. Being that he was a WW1 vet he was entitled to a VA headstone. When it came to picking out the emblem to go on the tombstone, Tom's wife Georgia, chose the "Star of David". She didn't know that the Star of David was a Jewish emblem. She later said she picked out that symbol because she liked it best out of all the symbols she looked at. Then and even today, when folks and family members see his tombstone they all say "they didn't know old Tom was Jewish." Tom was born Feb 18th 1891 and died on July 14th, 1943. He was a Private in the 120 Inf30 Div.

Great Little story,hun? And I was able to find (using Internet of course) a picture of his tombstone and also find out his whole name THOMAS JULIAN MORRELL. He was married to a Georgia Estelle Strickland who was born in 1902 and died Aug 29th 1991. She and Tom married on Feb 18, 1919. They had three children, Lawrence A Morrell born in 1921 he went by Adie, Eunice L Morrell born in 1923, and Marvin D Morrell born in 1926 who went by Donald. What is really weird ...is that one of those lazy sons that Odell mentioned is named Lawrence, sometimes called Larry, and my hubby is a Larry Morrell....I've done a close check..... no 6 toes!!! The last item is his WW1 draft card.

My friend Odell remembered another story having to do with Six Toed Tom's youngest boy, Adie. Adie had an old bull dog that went everywhere that Adie did. Adie and Odell and the dog went out in the woods looking for a wild boar. They crossed the lake by boat and then trudged into the woods with the old bull dog leading the way. All of a sudden there was a rustle in the woods and a wild nasty looking boar came rushing out. Odell tells me he quickly climbed the nearest tree but Adie and his dog just stared at that old boar. Quick as a flash the old dog charged and grabbed the boar by the ear. The boar began to twirl and try to shake the dog off...but the old dog hung on. Then Adie pulled out a length of rope and he too jumped on the twisting boar. Now that old hog had a dog hanging on his ear and a grown man on his legs...it didn't take long for Adie to tie the wild boar's legs together. It was then and only then that Odell climbed down from the tree. They strung up the boar on a stick and carried it back to the boat and then home. Now for the icky part( this is why I like buying my meat from the grocery store) they castrated the boar so he would not want to fight other males or woo other females. It is suppose to make the hog have more meat on his bones for his later death date. This sounded really cruel to me so I asked my husband why they would do this. It seems that if they didn't do this the wild boar would have used his maleness and wouldn't fatten up ...still don't believe this to be true...but anyway they did that to the wild boar, but either they did it wrong or it just wasn't that boar's lucky day...he bled out and died.

CORRECTION: Odell read my blog entry and wanted me to add the following......"the reason that hogs are castrated is that the taste and smell of a boar hog is so bad, you simply cannot eat the meat. After castration (about six months) the hog will fatten up and the meat then becomes eatable, but if you ever tried to cook the meat of a boar hog, the smell would run you out of the kitchen, and the taste would be so strong and bad that you simply could not eat it. That is the reason that all male hogs are castrated, usually when they are small pigs. He also added that not ALL males hogs are castrated, only those that will be butchered for their meat are castrated, the lucky few who are NOT castrated are used for breeding purposes.


At 10:44 AM, Blogger carol said...

Your blog on Tom has been an inspiration to me in speaking out about my grandmothers' lives. Here is a link to some recent work. Let's continue to make the world a better place, one day, one person at a time. Thanks. Carol

At 10:45 AM, Blogger carol said...



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