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John Bun Pruitt Reynolds


John Bun Pruitt Reynolds was the fifth child and third son that was born to James R. Reynolds and Martha Jane Dukes. John was born on May 18th, 1882 in Jackson County, Alabama. I believe that John was named after Jackson Bunn Prewitt, a medical doctor who was born in Jackson County, Alabama and later moved to Titus County, Texas. It is possible that Dr. Prewitt was the one who delivered John. History books tell us that he lived and practiced medicine near and around Snow Hill, Titus County, Texas.

John was married twice that I know about. His first marriage was to Lottie Gandy on November 8, 1902 in Titus County, Texas. I am not sure just how this marriage ended, but it is possible that Lottie died at an early age. The Titus County birth records indicates that there was also a child born to this marriage. On December 4, 1904 a female child was born to J.B. Reynolds and Mrs. J.B. Reynolds, the birth is recorded in Book 1, Page 30. There is no name listed for the child, so it is possible that the child died at birth. It is also possible that Lottie died giving birth to the child.

His next marriage was to Maude Gertrude Taylor on November 19, 1914 also in Titus County, Texas. Maude was born on November 21, 1897 in Titus County. Her sister Mary Ellen Taylor married John's brother, Thomas Pence Reynolds.

There were a total of seven children that was born between the marriage of John and Maude Taylor. Their first born was a daughter, Mary Lillian, their next child was Marie Eveline, a little girl who only lived for 21 days. She was born on April 8, 1919 and died on April 29th. She is buried in the Cookville Cemetery in Titus County, Texas. Joe Bailey Reynolds, their first son was born next. After Joe Bailey was a boy, John Deward, and then Hubert James, then came Frances Roma, a daughter and then another son who was named Kenneth Dale. The first five children were born in Titus County with the last two being born in Greenville, Hunt County, Texas and Plainview, Texas respectively.

Around 1930 John and Maude packed up and decided to move to California. Their travels were sometimes short distances at a time, because they would have to stop and work in different locations along the way. I know that in 1932 they were in Greenville, Texas and in 1937 they were in Plainview, Texas. They got as far as Phoenix, Arizona and that is where they stopped to make their new home.

In a letter from Frances Newton, John's youngest daughter, she describes John with these words: I find it strange that dad didn't talk much about his youthful years, nor of any personal happenings in his life back then. He did talk about hunting and fishing with his brothers at White Oak Bottom, Sulphur River, and Horse Creek.

Dad was an uneducated man, couldn't read nor write, but he was very smart and extra sharp at arithmetic. He was so good with numbers that no one could short change him, nor would he ever cheat anyone in money matters. I have seen him walk right back to the grocery store to return a penny to the grocery clerk. Everyone who knew him called him "Honest John".

Dad was a natural musician and could play any stringed instrument, and also the French Harp. He had a tone true singing voice, but his best talent was playing the Fiddle. Mama told us that he played for many of the country dances before and after they married. He was a jolly and good natured man and liked good clean joke. He liked to tease us kids a lot, but he could have a high temper when being treated unfairly by anyone, yet he never ever laid a hand on any of his kids, but he could sure tell us off in nothing flat if we did wrong and deserved it.

He was a very superstitious man and believed in ghosts (haints) as he called them, and enjoyed sitting outside nights with the neighbors exchanging HAINT stories. He also believed that certain people had the "Evil Eye" and could put a Hex on anyone. He was not perfect of course, no one is, and he had his faults like everyone else, but he was a just and good man.

Dad had some deep fears, he was afraid of ALL dogs, didn't like them, and he was deathly afraid of storms. At the first thunder we were hustled to the storm cellar. He was also afraid of the world coming to an end, and whenever he thought any kind of danger was near he would look at Mama and say, "Well O Lady, I think it's LIT". They always called each other O Lady and O Man.

Dad was closed mouth about his people, but he did tell us a few things, such as how strict his parents were about all of the family working, and said they were told that if they didn't work, they were not allowed to eat. He was not that way with his own kids and he fed us whether we worked or not. He told us that Grandma Jane was as strong as any man and a very though woman. Said she would lift logs and things right along with the menfolks. When they were grown men, dad and one of his brothers (don't know which one) was struggling with a heavy log when Grandma Jane came up and pushed dad out of the way and easily lifted the log herself. It was said that one time Grandma Jane got on a train to meet Grandpa in some other town, and when she thought the train wasn't going to stop (dad said she was a cussing woman) she started cursing the conductor to let her off "This Blankety-Blank Train" then she just up and jumped off. Didn't hurt her a bit. Another time dad told us that they had a very mean Billy Goat around the place that would chase anyone who got near it. One day it made the mistake of charging Grandma Jane so she hit it between the eyes with her first and knocked it out cold. That goat never chased anyone again. I was told by close family members that she and Grandpa Jim were first cousins and that Grandma Jane was not the natural child of the Dukes.

Dad said that he was Irish, Indian, English and Dutch, said Grandma Jane was mostly Irish, and dad loved all Irish music and could really make his fiddle sing while dancing the Irish Jig. Mama told us that dad was such a crack shot with guns that they finally banned him from the turkey shoots. She also told us that when Lillian and Joe were little, dad had a whiskey still off somewhere in the woods, yet he wasn't a drinking man. He loved to eat though, and his favorite foods were Ham, Red-Eye gravy, Longhorn Cheese and Watermelon.

We grew up in Phoenix, Arizona during the war years of the 1940's, and times were hard back then. Dad and Mama and the boys would pick cotton, work in the carrot fields and nights and boys, Joe, Dude and Hubert would set pins in the bowling alley. Dad would do yard work and any odd jobs he could find to support up.

Dad loved to watch western movies and his favorites were Johnnie Mac Brown, Bob Steele and Buck Jones. He also liked to hear men and women who could Yodel. Dad was a loud yodeler himself. Mama was a good writer, and when we lived in Plainview, Texas where Kenneth was born, she wrote a western story called "The Phantom Riders", but she didn't make a copy of her story before she gave it to the agent of Buck Jones, so they made a movie of it which was a hit back then, and they never paid Mama a cent.

In Dad's last years, he always wanted to return to East Texas but never did. We couldn't afford to have his body shipped back there for burial in the Reynolds resting place. Even though we were not told much about our Reynolds background, I am very proud to be a Reynolds.

John Bun Pruitt Reynolds spent most of his life as a farmer and died on March 5th, 1950 in San Francisco, California and was buried there. Maude lived for another thirty six years and died on July 7, 1986 in Bakersfield, California.

 



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