Recollections of My Grandparents
Ambrose Wilson Counts and Phoebe Edwards
By Carole Robinson
Ambrose and Phoebe Counts 1903 Ambrose Wilson Counts and Phoebe Edwards were married in March of 1903. Ambrose was 23 and Phoebe was shy of 14 by a few weeks. They moved into a small log house on his parent’s property. He helped his parents make a crop for their large family while making plans for his future family.
In 1905 they had their first baby. It lived only a few weeks, then in 1906 they had a second baby that lived about 6 months, then the third baby only lived about 7 months. With no way to travel, very little money and very few doctors, Phoebe had little doctor care during this time. Many of her babies were jaundiced and probably she had the RH factor, which doctors know now how to deal with, so that the babies can be born in good health. From 1905 to November of 1932 they had 14 children but only 8 of them survived.
In October of 1907 they purchased 75 acres of land for 300. This land was located on Skillet Branch off of left-hand fork. Most of the land was wilderness with a small log house. They worked very hard to build a house that they raised all their children in. They planted one hundred apple tree saplings and made an apple orchard on the farm. With no modern machinery, horses and homemade tools were used to till the land. Most everything was homemade or homegrown.
Phoebe raised a large garden every year. She canned all the garden stuff she could so that they would have food for the winter months. She made apples every way possible. Apple butter, dried apples, canned apples and bleached apples. Phoebe was an excellent cook. She could usually come up with something the children thought was a treat with what they had raised. Wild strawberries on some biscuit bread with “dip” (sweetened milk) was a delicious dessert. Phoebe made her own lye soap and she and the girls made quilts every winter.
Ambrose never went to school much. But, he learned to be a good reader by reading the Bible to the family by the coal oil lamp on cold winter evenings. Many times while listening to him read the family was peeling apples for the next days work.
“Papa and Mama” as most of the grandchildren called them, were very special to us. They had an empty nest by the time I can remember and I loved to go spend the night at their house. Mama always had time for a special hug and Papa loved to tease the grandchildren.
Submitted by a granddaughter