The House on Persimmon Tree Road, Part II

As promised, today I’m writing The House on Persimmon Tree Road, Part II. You can find the first part of the story here.  (I’ll post more of my photos in Part III.)

As you can very well imagine, the house is linked to the amazing family who lived there, once upon a time.

The White family who had the house on Persimmon Tree Road built in late 1800s.
(Left-right) Briggs, Daddy Boy, Hooper “Pete”, Lillian, and 2 unknown women in front of house.

About the House

Ray White’s great-grandparents had the house on Persimmon Tree Road built in the late 1800’s.

David Elmer “Daddy Boy” White (1879-1947) and his wife Lillian Jackson White (1884-1965) had the house built by a Mr. Hinkle and his business partner toward the end of the 1800’s.

Daddy Boy and Lillian were quite well off.

The house with pine floors has what is known as a “hip and gable” roof.  According to Roofingcalc.com, “A hip roof has slopes on all four sides. The sides are all equal length and come together at the top to form the ridge.”

In addition, there are 3 gables over the front porch.

Underneath that large roof, the White’s house has 4 rooms upstairs and 4 big rooms downstairs. The windows were nailed together with pegs. A winding staircase connected the floors, and Ray used to slide down the banister for fun.

The Sharecroppers who Worked the Farm

The elder Whites had around 1,000 acres where they raised cotton, corn, hay, cattle, and hogs. Sharecroppers worked the land. In return, Daddy Boy furnished them houses, a cow, mules, and horses to get their work done. Daddy Boy and Lillian had around 10-15 houses for the sharecroppers.

Sharecroppers often complained that their landowners mistreated them, but Ray insists that his great-grandpa treated his sharecroppers very well.

“They’d be a crowd [of sharecroppers] eating at the house. They’d all be doing something or other…He [Daddy Boy] did a lot for those sharecroppers.”

Briggs on bicycle and Daddy Boy with unidentified men. Early 1900’s.

The Next Generation of Whites

Lillian and Daddy Boy had two sons: Briggs (Ray’s grandfather who lived from 1902 to 1935) and Hooper (whom they called “Pete.”)

Daddy Boy and Lillian moved away around the 1920s, and one of Daddy Boy’s brothers moved into the house for a while.

Later, Briggs and his wife Lelia Simmons White (1847-1987) moved there around 1918 or so.

Ray’s Granddaddy Briggs.

The Piano on the Porch & the Good Springs Haunted House

Someone gave the piano to Lelia, but the weight of the instrument caused problems to the inside of the house. So they moved it to the porch, where it is slowly disintegrating, the ivory on the piano keys long gone.

Because the house is now boarded up, visitors can no longer go into the house without explicit consent from the current owner.  Glenda says it breaks Ray’s heart to see the house in its current condition.  It breaks my heart, too.  If only Chip and Joanna Gaines could have a go with it!

This lovely house served as the infamous Good Springs Haunted House until 2000, but that story will keep ‘til Halloween. (Stay tuned!)

The Irrepressible Lelia White.

Briggs and Lelia had two children—Marvin “Boots” D. White (Ray’s father who served in World War II and was missing in action for a while) and Louise.

Lelia was quite a trooper who raised four children by herself after her husband died. Her daughter died in October 1932. Her mother died in 1934. Both her husband and her father died in 1935.

She was a faithful member of Beulah Church of Christ, going whenever the doors were open.

“She never painted her lips,” says Glenda. “But she always took pride in her appearance. All of her children grew up to be strong Christians…She was a good person. She would write a letter and list the children’s sizes, and the store in Anderson would send them clothes. She didn’t have a phone until the 1970s, and she didn’t learn to drive. Now that is determination!”

Vintage photo 1900s. Husband and wife.
Briggs and Lelia White. I wonder what Lelia said as she turned to her husband and laughed just as the photo was snapped?
The face of determination:  Ray’s Uncle Marvin White, circa late 1930’s or 1940’s.

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