An Interview with
W. C. AMOS
April 7, 1955
When a group of friends, relatives and descendants gathered a couple of weeks to celebrate the birthday of Mr. W.C. Amos of Cloverdale, it was an event well worth noting. The group numbered about forty persons, but the important fact is that Mr. Amos was 86 years old this year. As one of the older residents of the county, Mr. Amos can recall days when Dade County looked considerably different than it does today. He has a remarkable memory and can remember events from his childhood when he lived, as he does today, in the shadow of Lookout Mountain.
Mr. Amos was born not more than half a mile from where he lives today, on the Cloverdale Road. On the day that he was born it had not been more than seven years since Yankee soldiers had passed near the farm to mass for the battle of Chickamauga. U.S. Grant was made President that year.
The place of Mr. Amos’s birth was a log house that his father
had built some time before. As he recalls it, it was a stout structure with hardwood floors, which were pegged with wooden pegs and planed smooth with a hand plane. The chinks were daubed with a mixture of mud and sticks, and the entire chimney was made of the same substance. A comfortable house, he said, and one in which his entire family was raised.
Mr. Amos says that times now are not as they were in his childhood. Folks just do not live in the same neighborly fashion as they did then. There was no need for anyone to apply for welfare, even if it had been available, for when a person was down, the entire neighborhood helped, and expected nothing in return. Mr. Amos recalls that when he was a boy, a neighbor fell sick and could not do his plowing which was urgently needed. When he and his father showed up at the neighbor’s farm, they found about thirty plows already at work.
Of his childhood, another incident stands out in memory. His mother was a strictly religious woman who disapproved of any frivolity on Sunday. The children were all sent, to Sunday school on that day, and they were expected to return directly when it was over. Mr. Amos and his brother, however, always like to take a swim in the creek on the way home.
When his mother discovered what was happening, she began sewing them in their clothes so they could not take them off without her knowledge. However, he and his brother stole a needle and thread and hid them at the creek so that they could sew each other up after they ripped their mother’s stitches out and had been swimming. As everyone knows, the winters are not what they were in the old days. Mr. Amos says that he can remember when snow stayed on the ground several days at a time, and when Lookout Creek froze almost solid. He can recall, he says, the time when his father drove a team and wagon across the creek without the ice cracking. On the night his daughter was born, in 1895, there came the hardest snow
he had ever seen. Everything was covered. Flocks of wild birds gathered around his feet to pick up grain while he fed hay to his cattle.
Mr. Amos is the father of several children, including two sets of twins. Most of them are scattered now, but a daughter lives near in Cloverdale, and a son lives the next house down the road.
Around 1900, he bought the mill that has come to be known as Amos Mill. He operated the mill for a number of years, but does no longer. He says that he found milling was even more unsure than farming. Some years, he says, a man will make a good deal of money and the next will make nothing. He still owns the sturdy ole mill building, however, and it is still used as the polling place in the precinct.
Although Mr. Amos has seen days somewhat more primitive than today, he has not let progress leave him behind. He still drives his own automobile, although he does not venture out on the pike because he does not trust his eyes. He has plugged up his old fireplace and has substituted a modern oil heater.
Mr. Amos has seen a lot. He has lived in days when men thought nothing of walking ten miles, and he has lived when men get into their cars to go around the corner; he has lived when men shot rabbits with muzzle-loaders and when H-bombs destroyed whole islands. He is not the kind of man who looks always to the past, however. Still young in heart, he looks with anticipation to the future. (DADE COUNTY TIMES, April 7, 1955)