Americans are fond of believing that they have somehow created themselves and achieved greatness because of their efforts and personal goodness.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  We were created by God Almighty.  We are the products of the genetic make-up we inherit from our ancestors through our parents, the environment in which we are allowed to grow, and the experiences encountered to develop those unique talents and abilities.  We owe more to God and those persons who have cared for us and encouraged us than to our own efforts.

Man did not create himself; but, was fashioned by God “before the foundation of the Earth.”  God himself created each of us and implanted into us his divine nature.  This nature requires continuous maintenance by the Creator to help us to develop our inherent capabilities, to reach our maximum potential, and to maintain that level of achievement.  This can happen only when we live in association with him and allow him to lead us to his ultimate plan for our lives.

Children need both parents to properly lead them in their development.  God has given the family for this purpose.  A child who is born to Godly parents is truly blessed more than words can describe.  Such parents provide not only food and shelter; but, lead their children to know God Almighty.  To Christians, he is Jesus Christ.  My parents led me to Jesus Christ at an early age and continued to provide leadership by example as long as they lived.  There is no greater gift.  The spiritual gifts provided by my parents will live forever.

Our parents did not provide a wealthy home for my brother, Leland J. Eaddy, and me to experience.  They did not possess lofty educational credentials nor business titles.  They did provide more than adequate food, clothing, and shelter along with abundant love and encouragement beyond words.  They taught us how to live by faith, trust in the provision of the Almighty, and be guided by the truth of his Word.  Because of these valuable gifts, I was reared as a Child of the King.  Our parents possessed undying courage and could not be defeated by their circumstances; because, they would never surrender as long as they had the means to resist.

Dewey P. Eaddy was born September 18, 1899 in Prospect Community, Florence County, South Carolina and died April 1987 at home in Indiantown Community, Williamsburg County, South Carolina.  He moved with his family from Prospect to Indiantown about 1914.  They acquired a tract of land on the Boggy Branch and established themselves as farmers just as five generations of Eaddys before had done.  The record will reveal that among them were a large number of farmers, teachers, and preachers.  Only after the end of World War II did many of the descendants of the Eaddy family seek employment away from the farm.  Many of them resisted working for anyone other than themselves and even when necessary they typically disdained “public work.”

Farming was a way of life which provided independence, a wholesome living environment, and an extended family which provided a support system for growing children.  This network supplied strength to overcome personal weaknesses of either parent and absorbed children who had lost one or both parents.  As children, we could walk no more than one fourth of a mile and eat at least four meals for lunch or dinner.  Each of our grandparents, uncles, aunts, and relatives would invite us in without reservations and insist that we eat heartily unless one resisted by revealing that the meal had already been taken.  No matter how good the food was at the last place visited, a growing boy could always manage another serving of something good or at least a dessert.  The growing boy could also experience discipline metered out with the same measure of enthusiasm if it were needed away from home.  Family was more than one’s parents.

Poverty is not a blessing; but, a curse!  The family of Robert James Eaddy, Sr. tasted the bitter fruit of poverty following his death in 1863 while serving in the Army of the Confederate States of America.  He died of disease and was buried in an unmarked grave in Vernon Community in Madison County, Mississippi following the Siege of Vicksburg.  The wealthy and influential family of his father, Edward Drake Eaddy, was quickly reduced from ownership of plantations, slaves, and antebellum homes to become “dirt farmers.”  The period of “Reconstruction” was intended to punish the South, and especially South Carolina for its leading role in Succession from the Union and the ensuing Civil War.  The “Great Depression” did not make this family poor; but, it probably prevented the progressive recovery of their losses as a result of those chaotic years leading up to this economic disaster.

When Robert James "Jimmy" Eaddy, Jr. died, his farm was divided among six heirs.  The three living male heirs received about 40 acres each and they each purchased approximately 40 more acres from the three living female heirs.  Eighty acres of land was known as a “two horse farm” and was an economical unit for “subsistence farming” where a majority of the food needed was grown and consumed on the farm.  Tobacco, vegetable (truck) crops, and cotton was sold for cash to purchase farming supplies and limited items needed by the family.  Following World War II. and the rising cost of living, 80 acres became inadequate to support a family and the farming way of life for my branch of the Eaddy family slowly ended.  Dewey Eaddy was unprepared for any other occupation as he possessed only a ninth grade education and a drafting course in a technical school.  He had worked only briefly as a Rough Carpenter; but, had no desire to become a laborer.  He lived to the senior age of 88 with the last 28 years in failing health; but, all of it on the land he loved.

Production credit became a severe form of bondage as money was borrowed each year to produce the crop for next year.  Dewey Eaddy possessed an unblemished credit record.  This resulted not from prompt payment in full; but, from his reputation for keeping his word and making it good whenever successful crop years were had.  He was honest down to his shoe soles.  His word was his bond and frequently served as the only legal document to bind a loan or business agreement.

Dewey P. Eaddy was a farmer who understood the principles of sowing and reaping.  The seeds he planted always came up year after year.  One of the principles he understood so well was that the seeds of character one plants in life will eventually come to harvest.  He was eternally stubborn, possessed a quick temper, frequently rushed to judgment before knowing all the facts, and as a young man was given to excessive consumption of alcohol, smoking, and swearing.  One day he overheard me lambasting my toys with the same blasphemous words he had just been applying to some livestock which escaped from a broken fence.  He immediately gave all these vices up to become a better example.  As a teenager, I asked him why he had ceased these habits we observed being done by other men and he answered, “Son, I gave those up for you”.  Thank you Daddy, I will always love and appreciate you for the many sacrifices you made for me.  He was the most unselfish man I have ever known and would gladly give or loan anything to someone in need, regardless of his circumstances.  He rarely had money to give; but, gave himself freely.  He actually enjoyed hard work and would not be satisfied until each chore was performed correctly.   His work ethic and endless perseverance made the impossible come to pass.  Daddy, we’ll finish those jobs we left undone and continue those incomplete conversations when we meet in heaven.

My father was a living Christian who insisted that Jesus was “the way, the truth, and the life”.  He served as a deacon at Indiantown Presbyterian Church for many years and on cold Sundays, would arrive early in the morning to start the heating system to have the church warm when everyone arrived.  He loved to talk and would be one of the last standing in circles with his friends discussing current events and matters of interest long after the church service ended.  These conversational opportunities were some of the most enjoyable social events of the period.

Dewey P. Eaddy was an amateur genealogist who repeated stories about many of the persons in the Eaddy family as well as their kin.  He knew from memory his family history and could associate marriages, children, and historical events surrounding each person.  He never tired of repeating these anecdotes and was eventually shut out by a younger generation which did not understand the reasons for his endless presentations.  Oh how I would like to be able to request his assistance in reconstructing the history of the family which he so dearly loved.  His seeds are now coming to harvest.

Effie E. Rogers was born October 18, 1912 at Cedar Swamp in Williamsburg County, South Carolina and died October 1984 in Florence, South Carolina.  She was the best thing ever to happen to my father.  When Dewey Eaddy called on Leland Laranza Rogers to request permission to marry his daughter, Mr. Rogers said, “Well maybe so; but, I have a lot of hoeing to be done in my crops”.  Dewey quickly retorted, “I also have a lot of grass to be hoed from my crops”.   And, now you know the rest of the story.

Her character was effectively molded by the strong role model examples provided by her father, Leland Laranza Rogers and her mother, Rebecca Jannetha Brown.  They inspired her with character, undaunted courage, efficient management decisions, and effective planning.  My grandfather died young as a result of an automobile accident leaving my grandmother who was in poor health to support the family.  Effie became the farm manager and never looked back until Lucius Laranza Rogers, Sr. became of age.  She was persistent, untiring, and could be a harsh taskmaster for a sharecropper or a lazy boy.  Her endurance in laborious tasks was legendary.  It still hurts to think about those countless hours of transplanting, suckering, harvesting,  grading, and tying tobacco.  She was only 5' 4"; but, bullet proof and treetop tall as well as an excellent cook.  Translation... she was a hard working lady who was always there to lead the charge with unlimited  love and generous compassion!   Generations of children at Indiantown Presbyterian Church have passed through the nursery and known the love of Ms. Effie.  We’ll see you in Heaven Momma... and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Of material gifts received from my parents the greatest was the opportunity to attend Clemson Agricultural College (Clemson University) 1955-1959.  They sacrificed more than I will ever know to make this dream a reality.  Both of them regarded education highly and put their opinions and words into actions.  They had always taught us that anything was possible for those with vision, who would plan ahead, and be willing to pay the price.  They paid the price with their lives.  I owe them a debt which can only be paid through my children and grandchildren in their honor.

As Told By

Dear Uncle Vanik (Vanik S. Eaddy):

I have read your story on grandmother and grandfather and find it good but unfinished.  I understand that space can some times be a factor and lives can only be told in so many words.  I hope that the story you are telling will be never ending and will not be confined to the size of a server or the storage space of a hard drive.  Where your memories grew dim, mine had just began.

I remember trips through Roper's Woods with grandma on the way to Lake City and stops along the way to pick up long leaf pine cones so we could make turkeys for thanksgiving.  There were fun trips with granddaddy to the fish pond and a stop along the way to dig worms out of the rich black and sandy bottom of boggy swamp.  Great fish stews followed and questions were asked such as, "Why do you leave the eyes in the fish when you clean them granddaddy or why do eels taste like cat fish?".

My first real job was with grandma at Henry's Department Store.  I still savor the smell of the dry goods on the shelves.  Unforgettable was the taste of the lunches that she had wrapped in the used tin foil.  She did not waste anything.  One cannot forget her never ending words of encouragement.

I remember the great live oaks that were cut to make room for large farm machinery.  There was a huckleberry field to which every one from the area came to visit and fill their baskets.  They also took home with them a large dose of red bugs (chiggers).  The only prevention, as there was no cure, was grandma's old diesel coated rag tied around the ankles.

I remember the wash house and the big fig tree that always had a fresh supply of fruit.  An artesian well provided a drink of the best water that could be found in the county.  I remember grandma fixing my leg when I fell off that same wash shed and cut my right leg to the bone.  She fixed it with scotch tape, diesel fuel, a rag, and a lot of love.  She was good at improvising and could make a little go a long way.

Grandma made flat biscuits that were rolled and cut on wax paper that seemed to have a never ending list of uses.  The old paper bags were stacked in the corner and when asked why they were there, a smiling face just said, "so hard times won't be so hard".  There was a secret closet behind the kerosene heater, that had an endless supply of surprises, to include a brass horn that could never carry a tune.   Questions were never answered about why did it take so long for the butter churn to make butter.

There were vivid memories of driving into the front yard at night and seeing the old yellow light come on and a soft voice saying why don't you boys come in and get something to eat.  I recall nights of laying in the old iron bed and hearing the rain tap on the old tin roof or seeing the plastic bellow out from the windows on a cold winter day.  Fall days were spent in the limbs of the pecan trees or slipping around the house to climb the television tower without grandma catching me.  There were trips to the old chicken coup to get the eggs.  There were many walks across the field behind the house, in hopes of finding a spear head or two. There is the memory of walking down the highway to grandma's and granddad's, while thinking about how the paved highway in front of their house never hurt your feet.  It was easy to remember that sandspurs only grew in one part of the yard because grandma always kept them pulled up elesewhere.

I remember going to see grandma the day before she died and her asking me in a child like voice to please take her home and feeling of being powerless and empty of words.  I remember daddy and me being called to the old white house because granddaddy had died in the home he had loved.  I was reminded about how he had asked, "Where is my Effie?", just the day before.  I remember daddy and I having to wrap granddaddy in a sheet and with tears in eyes that never cried, place the last memory on a stretcher to the funeral home.  Daddy and I took him down the old block steps and by the old pear tree to the waiting vehicle that we both knew would take the last memory home.   Memories are like tear drops, they just build up until one day they have to find their way back to the seaaaaaaaa.  Then one day when they splash on the shore again, maybe there will be some young boy standing there to catch that memory and take it to the next generation.

Phillip W. "Phil" Eaddy

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