We had my wife Bev’s cousin, and her husband visited us this past week. It was a busy week with a few days down at Cape San Blas and visiting some of the area’s sights.
It just so happened that on our trip to the old Wingate’s Lodge and driving back home we drove by the Spires’ home place.
It is in the northern part of Gadsden County less than five miles from the Georgia line in an area called “Glory.” My grandfather John Spires bought the land back in about 1918 and moved his family here by mule and wagon. My father was 12 years old when they moved along with his four younger siblings.
He had been a sharecropper in Lowndes County, Georgia when his wife passed away from childbirth. My grandmother is buried at a cemetery near Valdosta, Georgia.
My great-aunt, who lived in Blountstown at the time, took the baby. That set the stage for my granddaddy to buy the piece of property and move to Gadsden County.
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They first lived in a tent while my grandfather John built the house. John Spires would remarry and have four more children by his second wife. He would pass away in 1951 and the estate would be divided up sometime in the late 1950s. My step-grandmother would eventually remarry, and that husband would pass away as well. She then moved back to her family’s property that was across the highway from the Spires Place.
The old Spires house is still there by the way although it is in really bad shape. It sits at the end of Spires Lane, a short stretch of dirt road off the Glory Road.
We pulled into the front yard where we could see the old house. It seemed so old standing there among several ancient pecan trees and large oak trees.
There was a sadness about seeing it in such bad shape. At one time there were ten children playing in the yard and scampering up and down those trees. There are still the remnants of an old mule barn and corral to the side of the house.
Like so many farm families back then mules were used to plow the fields and bring the harvest to market.
The story goes that John Spires was one of the first people to own a truck in Glory. He worked at Shaw and Company in Quincy and farmed as well. The truck was used to get him back and forth to work, farm duties and on occasion when folks brought their dead home for viewing it was used as a funeral hearse to take the bodies to Old Mt. Pleasant Cemetery ten miles away.
As we drove away, I could not help but think how much things change over time. Except for the street sign at the highway there is nothing to say that the Spires ever lived in that old house or cultivated those forty acres.
All the children but one (in his late 80s and the youngest) have passed away and except for me and maybe one other cousin none of the family that is left could even find the place.
Sometimes that is just how legacy works.
Byron Spires is a retired newspaper editor. He has written dozens of short stories and serials in the Havana Herald. He recently published “The Curious Life of Marci Bell” in a series of three books. You can email him at email@example.com.