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DEWEY AND EASTER JOHNSON
By Marshall McClung
All you have to do is mention Dewey or Easter in Stecoah or the surrounding communities and people readily know who-you are talking about without you mentioning any last name. Dewey is 95 and Easter is 92, and most of their lives have been spent in and around this area. Dewey was born on Dry Creek a short distance from where he now lives. Easter was born at Locust Cove near Cody Branch which is also just a short distance from their home. Easter moved around a little more than Dewey when she was a child as her father followed logging jobs and once lived on Hazel Creek across Fontana Lake.
Dewey and Easter were married on the courthouse lawn in Robbinsville in 1923. Easter was a Carringer and said she was first named Esther, but at the request of her brother Virgil Carringer, her name was changed to Easter in memory of his deceased girlfriend.
Dewey and Easter have nine children; four girls: Dereva Cable, Pauline Crisp, Maxine Daniels, and Bernice McKenna of Bryson City, and five boys: Doyle, Richard, Herman, Cecil, and Marlin.
Dewey said he worked at whatever work he could get to feed the nine children including farming, logging for Ritter and Bemis Lumber Companies and others, getting out "rough wood", "acid wood", tanbark, and hewing crossties. They provided most of their food through, growing a large garden and other crops and keeping a variety of. livestock including hogs and chickens. They kept horses and mules to work the crops with. Easter would can and preserve large amounts of food each year.
Dewey said they never owned a car. They either walked or used a horse for transportation. The first car Dewey ever saw was a "T Model" when he was around 15 years old. He said the car was advertising a traveling circus which had a couple of elephants and camels. Dewey said when they heard the noise of the car coming closer, they had no idea what they were going to see. Dewey saw his first airplane while visiting relatives in South Carolina when he was 16.
Marlin Johnson said he can remember his father starting out walking to Robbinsville before daylight with a "tow" sack to get needed supplies. He would go through Locust Cove and down Beech Creek to Robbinsville and it would be dark when he got back home. Now we see people park in the fire lane at Ingle's to get their groceries or park in the drive-thru at Hardee's to avoid making a few extra steps. Dewey recalled that he used a team of horses to pull a wagon load of apples to Robbinsville to sell when he was about 18 years old. Dewey said he saw his first biscuit when a small child about four or five years old. He said his father had a small sack filled with flour out of a large barrel in the George Walker store.
Dereva and Marlin recalled that when they were small children, they and another brother Herman would take lunch to their father and older brothers Doyle and Richard who were working in the woods on Panther Creek.- Easter would pack the lunch in a water bucket and the children would carry the lunch on foot from Dry Creek to Panther Creek. They would boil coffee in a lard bucket over an open fire near where the men were working.
Dereva is the oldest child and has memories of the Depression or "Panic" as many in this area refer to it. Dereva said there was no money and jobs were scarce. She recalls seeing her father put cardboard in his shoes to cover the holes and tie "haywire" around his shoes to keep them together. She said that now days one family wastes or throws away more than tour or five families would have used then.
All of the relatives of Dewey and Easter with the exception of their children and grandchildren are deceased. There is an abundance of them though: 76 grandchildren, 37 great grandchildren, and three great-great grandchildren.
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This page is maintained by Tom Livingston, Robbinsville, North Carolina