|MAMIE CADLE CROSS DEVELOPED STRONG SURVIVAL SKILLS
By Bob Weaver 2022
In the early half of the 20th Century, the Stinson area along Rt. 16 and its deep dark hollows were noted for fighting, stabbings and shootings, usually associated with imbibing booze.
Famous fiddler Blind Ed Haley would frequent the area starting about 1920, and wrote a tune "Don't Go Up Stinson After Dark," and was involved in more than one fracas over many years.
While moonshine was a treasured elixir, the area give rise to a number of bars to dispense beer and whiskey, generally described by locals as "joints."
Mamie Mabel (Cadle) Cross shown above, aged photo)
was likely the most famous bar owner, nicknamed Coperhead Junction on the Calhoun-Clay line, a really tough woman who knew how to handle her drunken customers, and somehow managed to become an elderly woman, passing at the age of 97 in 1998, all her life wearing a sun bonnet.
She attended a one room school on Mud Fork.
It would be fair to say the area was plagued with murder - men, women and children being the victims. The murderous times faded by the 1960s.
Fiddler Wilson Douglas recalled stopping at Copperhead Junction, one of the roughest places around. "I would've rather went to Vietnam than in there," Wilson said.
A Mud Fork county store early 1900s
Ugee Hicks Postalwait, daughter of Blind Ed's best friend Laury Hicks, recalled one place was called the "Bloody Bucket" - a place of excessive drinking, fighting, and shootings - inspiring another tune created by Blind Ed called "The Mouth of Old Stinson."
Ugee was the daughter of Lawrence (Laury) Hicks (1880-1937) and married Calvin Postalwait in 1924 at Stinson. Ugee recalled "In the old days when they were logging that country they had a picnic at the mouth of Stinson. Old Harmon Carpenter was there that day. They had some musicians there. One of these fellows was a Hamrick and one was a Chennoweth. They was loggers, lumberjacks, bull of the woods - strong men."
"They got to wrestling. They weighed over 200 pounds apiece. They wrestled three or four hours, finally they just quit. The next day this Chennoweth got sick - evidently pulled something inside. That night he died. It was a sad time. That's how Hayley's tune 'Mouth of Old Stinson' started," Ugee said, an ode to the tragic event.
Mamie was the daughter of Charlie and Ida Morris Cadle of Stinson,
having her first child at the age of 16. She married Oscar Donald Cross in 1924, who was a mail and newspaper carrier at Stinson, having one of the first vehicles in the area. They divorced in the 1940s.
It appears they had five children, Mamie remarried, but still continued to use the Cross name.
Mamie stirring apple butter
A story told was about one of her sons Dorse, who had marriage plans, while traveling on a country road they came upon Rev. Carl Morris, flagging him down - they got married in the middle of the road.
Relatives and acquaintances said Mamie was a true county girl, who sprung at a time in the Calhoun backwoods that strong survival skills were important, largely developed during the Great Depression She was an outspoken and rough talker, who had many boyfriends.
Perhaps a a clue about her appreciation of the opposite sex, acquaintances said she posted a large Burt Reynolds nude photo of a Hollywood star on the bar wall.
She was remembered for her dancing, her favorite tune being "Old Joe Clark," and her ability to handle her drunken customers, sometimes with a beer bottle over the head.
One of her favorite stories was about she and her brother Dude Cadle would wait until her parents were asleep and they would take the family horses and ride over to Elana, Roane County, about ten miles, and visit and attend church.
Laughing and slapping her knee, she recalled that one night, Dude forgot and left the saddle on the horse. The next morning her dad found the saddle and turned in upside down, then just "beat them to death."
She rests at the Postalwait Cemetery.
See Â CALHOUN'S 'BLOODY BUCKET' WILD AND DEADLY - Famous Fiddler Blind Ed Haley: "Don't Go Up Stinson After Dark"