Out of the Piney Woods

Piney Woods Cattle
Hadley Alonzo Dyer (1875-1935) center, with young daughters Susie Dyer Lafleur (1901-2002) and Bertha Dyer Fontenot (1898-1982)

When my great-grandfather Hadley Alonzo Dyer was just 10 years old, he and his brother Machen, aged 12, would “hitch up their teams and haul loads to and from Lecompte, often camping in the woods by them-selves.” So wrote a reporter for the Alexandria Town Talk in May 1885. He made that twelve mile trip from the piney woods along Spring Creek to the plantations on Bayou Boeuf many times over the years: driving cattle from the hill country, delivering meat to the lumber companies and more.

In five decades, he moved his family from Loyd to Forest Hill, up to Boyce on the Red River, then back to Forest Hill again, finally settling on a dairy farm near Oakdale. All dutifully reported by the Alexandria Town Talk. My grandmother was always vague about where exactly she was from. Now I know why.

About Photo+Story: Inspired by a competition at the RootsTech 2018 genealogy conference, the series distills family stories to a single photo plus 150 words or less.

A Truck Full of Cousins

Truck Full of Cousins
After Sunday dinner when the weather was fine, our grandfather would load us cousins into his truck and drive us to his camp by Lake Chicot. There, we’d throw hickory nuts, scare each other with cries of “Snake!” and shriek and jump for no good reason at all.

I’m sure my grandmother sighed with relief when the truck pulled away. No more kids running back and forth through the kitchen’s swinging doors, no more chicken fighting in the living room. To this day, none of the cousins has fessed up to breaking the glass top of her coffee table. I swear it wasn’t me.

My entry to the RootsTech 2018 Photo+Story Competition for the FAMILY category.