Uncle Joe's Journal

Joe Speer (1925-2001) was a lifelong resident of Chattooga County who kept a daily journal from 1944 until his death. His journal entries are a window into the life of a typical Chattooga County resident through much of the 20th Century. To see photographs and read about Joe and his wife, Haynie, please scroll to the end of this page. The following journal excerpts were compiled by his niece, Susan Wallin King.

April 1975

Sunday, April 6, 1975

It has been a beautiful day today. We had a good crowd at church today. We had a man from Rome, Rev. Talmadge Barnes, who came to try out for our church. He is from Lake View Church and he has five children.

Thursday, April 10, 1975

We had a pretty good rain last night., but it hasn’t rained much today. When we finished supper, Haynie and I got the yard mowed. We were both proud of it and it sure did look good.

Saturday, April 12, 1975

It was cold this morning. We had a good frost. It was 30 degrees at 6:00, but it really did warm up today. We went to town early this morning. We got me a new suit, new shirt, new tie, new shoes, and new socks. It all came up to $133.03. It is a summer suit and it is really nice. I really did hate to put that much money into clothes, but I sure did need a new suit.

This afternoon, I cut brush over on our lot next to Harold Pickle. After that, I got on the tractor and cut two rounds in the garden, but it was too wet so I stopped. I just worked around the house after that.

Sunday, April 20, 1975

It sure was a beautiful day today. After church, Haynie had my family at our house for lunch. Martha Hunter and her family, Robert Speer and his family and Haynie and I were the only ones here, but we sure did have a good time visiting with each other. We enjoyed our meal and we enjoyed our afternoon together. We voted to call Rev. Talmadge Barnes to be our pastor this morning at church. We had 143 to vote for him and there were 4 against him. That was a very good vote. Of course, it will be up to him to accept or not.

Tuesday, April 22, 1975

It was still fine weather. We had some frost again this morning, but it warmed up this afternoon. After we got home from work and finished with supper, we had some company. Vera Palmer (our former Pastor’s wife) from Macon, and her mother and sister came by for a short visit. They stayed about 30 minutes, but it sure was good to see them.

After they left, we went to the garden and planted six rows of little yellow corn. The garden worked up real good, so when we finished with the corn, I cut the rest of the garden. When I got through and got in the house, it was 9:00.

Sunday, April 27, 1975

It sure has been another beautiful day. When we got out of church, Haynie and I went up to LaFayette and ate lunch. Today was our 23rd wedding anniversary. It sure doesn’t seem like it. We have been real happy and have enjoyed each other so much.

When we started home, we stopped at Wallis Funeral Home for Ola Mae Broome’s father. He passed away sometime yesterday. Haynie and Ola Mae work close to each other at Menlo.

March 1975

Saturday, March 1, 1975

It sure was cold this morning. I had to work this morning, but I got home at 11:30. Haynie had gone to Centre, AL with Maurene to get some material for dresses. When she got back home, she had to turn around and leave again to go get her hair fixed. She had a 1:00 appointment. I got dressed and spent the rest of the afternoon setting out pine seedlings around the pasture. I finally stopped at 5:30 this afternoon as it had gotten real cold and had started to rain again.

Thursday, March 6, 1975

I had a dental appointment in Chattanooga with Dr. Felts at 8:30, so I took the day off for that. I got a real good report from him. I got home about 10:30, so I changed my clothes and went outside to set out more pine seedlings. I have just about got all of them set out and I am really proud of them. I should have a real good stand of pines around the fence, if nothing happens to them.

Furman Owens died late last night. He had only been sick about three or four weeks.

Sunday, March 16, 1975

It has rained most all day long. It has been one of those messy days.

After lunch, we went down to Thomas and Pam Gilreath’s house. They have a new baby girl. She was born on Wednesday, but Haynie did not know she was born until yesterday. She sure is a pretty thing and Thomas and Pam are really proud of her.

Mildred and Bob Allen have been to Texas to see Judy and her family. They did not stay long because it took 17 hours driving time both ways.

Wednesday, March 19, 1975

It is still raining and messy. This afternoon, about 2:30, a Mrs. Ragland who lives close to the Bolling Bridge on Hwy. 100, saw a car run off the road and go into the Chattooga River, right at the bridge. They started dragging the river, trying to find the car. At 9:30 tonight, they had not found the car and did not know for sure who was in it. From the information they can put together, they think it was Cooley Dodd’s wife. They think she was alone at the time because the lady who saw it lives on a big hill, right up from the river, and thought she was alone in the car.

Thursday, March 20, 1975

The law enforcement folks and the rescue people worked all night, dragging the river, trying to find the car that ran in the river. They finally found it this afternoon, around 2:30. It was Mrs. Dodd and her body was still in the car. Harold Pickle watched them pull the car from the river and remove her body. It was about 250 yards south of where the car went in the river and it was in 35 feet of water. Since we’ve had all the rain, the river was really out of its banks. She was only 45 years old. It sure is sad.

February 1975

Saturday, February 1, 1975

I had to work until lunch time today. It has been cloudy and real warm all day. Haynie cooked some things and carried down to Aunt Nellie Pickle’s house for their supper. She stayed and cleaned some in Aunt Nellie’s house because their son, Elmer Pickle, is real bad sick.

I did several odd jobs around the house this afternoon. I cut some lumber to take over to the block house in the pasture so I could fix the porch.

Mrs. Thelma Bishop, a member of our church, passed away this morning.

Sunday, February 2, 1975

It was raining before we went to bed last night and it rained most all night long. It quit raining around lunch time today.

Haynie and I went over to Gore after church today and ate lunch with Joe and Mary Frances Dawson and their girls, Paige and Pam. We sure did have a good time and had a wonderful lunch. As we came home, we went by J. D. Hill’s Funeral Home to visit with the Bishop family.

Friday, February 21, 1975

It sure has been a beautiful, spring-like day today. It was so nice and warm. By the time we got in from work, it was too late to start any jobs on the outside. Our pine seedlings came in today, so I will have my work cut out for me. I want to get them set out just as soon as I can.

Friday, February 28, 1975

It has been a real nice day today, but it seemed to turn cold this afternoon. Haynie had to be off today, so I came right on home after work. After we ate supper, Haynie helped me and we set out pine seedlings until dark. It sure did help for her to help me. She always has a seedling ready to hand to me just as soon as I get the hole punched. It is just nice to have her there with me.

January 1978

Monday, January 2, 1978

It has been real windy and cold all day. Haynie had to go back to work today, but I don’t go back until tomorrow. I worked around the house all day. I cleaned all the floors first thing this morning. After that, I built some shelves in the upstairs north bedroom for Haynie to put things on. We have talked about doing this for a real long time, so I was very pleased with the way I got along with it today.

Barbie Pickle (Haynie’s niece) came by Mrs. Pickle’s house this afternoon and said that she was marrying Greg McCollum in May of this year. He gave her a real pretty ring for Christmas.

Tuesday, January 3, 1978

I went back to work today and it was pretty rough all day. It was 15 degrees when we got up this morning and it was cold all day long. It only got up to 34 degrees this afternoon. The weather men are saying that it will be cold again tonight. Haynie was doing some sewing after supper and I did a real odd thing. I called the airport to check on prices to fly to South America. We are thinking about going to see Ray Zuercher and his family who are missionaries in South America. We’re thinking about going this spring.

Saturday, January 21, 1978

It was 20 degrees when we got up this morning. All the main roads are in real good shape after the snow and the back roads are clearing off. I had to work until lunch time today. Haynie has really been busy in the house today, getting ready for Preacher Steele and his wife to eat lunch with us tomorrow after church. This afternoon, Haynie, Maurene Wallin, and Mrs. Pickle went to Rome to see Grady Bryant’s baby. She is in Floyd County Hospital real sick. She turned 15 months old just a few days ago. After they left the hospital, they went on to Centre, Alabama to King’s Cloth shop to buy some material.

Sunday, January 22, 1978

It has been clear and cold all day today. Preacher and Mrs. Steele came home with us after church for lunch. We sure did have a nice visit. They left about 2:30 to go home and rest a while before they had to come back for church tonight. After we got the kitchen cleaned up, I went over to Gore to see my brothers Bill and Jerry. I stayed about two hours with them. I sure did enjoy seeing them. By the time I got back home, it was time to go to church. Michelle Pickle sure has been sick with a cold.

Monday, January 30, 1978

Mrs. Pickle sure has been sick with a cold the last few days, but she is a good bit better today. Haynie has been checking on her and cooking for her while she was sick, but she was able to fix something to eat today. It was 8 degrees this morning and it only got up to 28 degrees through the day. We still have a good bit of snow and ice on the ground.

December 1979

Saturday, December 1, 1979

It was 15 degrees when we got up this morning. It did get up to 48 degrees this afternoon. We are using heat each night on the porch where we put Haynie’s flowers for the winter. It sure has been cold at night.

I went in to work this morning at 6:00 a.m. I worked all day and I’ll have to work most all day tomorrow too.

Saturday, December 8, 1979

The weather has been unbelievably ice today and we sure did make good use of every minute! Harold, Rose, their grand-daughter Michelle, and Mrs. Pickle all left this morning, going to Macon to see her brother Doyle Brady and his family. It was really quiet around here today as far as the children were concerned.

Haynie and I went to the pasture and got our Christmas tree for this year. It’s in the barn until we are ready to bring it in and decorate it.

Monday, December 10, 1979

It is still fine weather. I came home from work on time today and we decided to go ahead and put up our Christmas tree. I brought it in and got everything ready. We got the lights on it and some of the other decorations. By that time, it was almost time to get our baths and get ready for bed.

Tuesday, December 11, 1979

I had to work late tonight, so I didn’t get home until around 9:00 p.m. Haynie was really glad we got our tree up last night. She decorated a good bit more tonight. It really does make the house look like Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 1979

We did not set the clock last night, so we slept until we woke up. We had a wonderful day today, although it rained most of the day. I spent most of the day out in the barn, cracking pecans we picked up at Uncle Jess Brady’s house in Griffin. Haynie spent most of the day, finishing her Christmas cooking.

We will be going to Wilburn and Lola Pickle’s house for the Pickle family dinner tomorrow. All of the Speer family will go to Jim and Martha Hunter’s house for breakfast in the morning.

Tuesday, December 25, 1979

We got up at 5:00 a.m. and got ready to go to Martha’s for breakfast. It started raining, just as we left the house. All of my family was there except for Bob and Spo (Mildred) Allen and Bill Speer. After breakfast, Spo called from Texas to talk to all of us. They were out there, spending Christmas with Bob’s daughter Judy.

We got home around 10:00 a.m. and Haynie finished up her dishes to take to her family dinner. We ate at 1:00 p.m. All the family was there except for Harold and Rose. We enjoyed our dinner and when we came home, we started taking down our Christmas decorations. Jerry Speer and his wife Shirley came by after that and we sure did enjoy their visit!

November 1979

Friday, November 2, 1979

We sure have had a beautiful day today. Believe it or not, I came home on time today and it was period-ending at the mill.

Johnny Cunningham got real sick at work today around 3:30. He left to go home and didn’t want anyone to drive him. Allen Greene drove his own car and followed Johnny home. Allen turned his car around and came back to the office, once he saw Johnny go inside the house. Johnny was in the house about five minutes when he had a bad heart attack and passed away, right there in the living room in front of his wife and two children. Johnny was only 44. His daughter was 12 and his boy was 16.

Saturday, November 3, 1979

I went in to work at 6:00 a.m. and worked until 6:00 p.m. Haynie and I got ready as soon as we could and went to LaFayette to be with Johnny Cunningham’s family. There was a real big crowd. The family was really sad.

It sure did turn cold this afternoon. Haynie put up plastic on Mrs. Pickle’s windows this afternoon. Our former pastor, Dick Dendler, and his wife Jan came by for a visit this afternoon. Haynie sure did enjoy being with them. Aunt Leila Woods came by to get some currants to make jelly with.

Wednesday, November 7, 1979

We had our usual small crowd tonight at church. It seems like some of our main leaders have just lost all interest in the church.

Our Music Committee had a man at church tonight. He is going to try out Sunday to be our new Music Director. His name is Ken Smith, Edward Smith’s son. We don’t know if he will accept our church, but I hope he does if he gets a majority vote.

Tuesday, November 27, 1979

When we got up this morning, it was 30 degrees. Our high was only 38 degrees today. It is really turning winter time in a hurry. The weather man is saying that we are really in for a cold night tonight.

I had to work late tonight. Haynie was going to drive to town for some things, but the car would not start. She borrowed her mother’s car and she came to pick me up from work when she got through in town. When we got in, I checked the car battery. One of the cables was loose and was almost off. I fixed it, so when we tried it again, the car started like a new one. The battery is a five-year battery and we had only had it for a year or so.

October 1979

Monday, October 1, 1979

We have really had a beautiful fall day. It was cool and clear as a bell. I got home from work on time today, so as soon as we finished supper, we worked a while in Haynie’s flowers. I did several things on the outside of the house. I forgot to turn the switch on the tractor off the last time I used it, so when I got ready to use it, the battery was dead. I hooked the charger up to it and it will be ready to go tomorrow night.

Tuesday, October 2, 1979

It was still beautiful fall weather today. Haynie had to go to town after work. As soon as I got home, I changed my clothes and jumped on the tractor to start mowing. I was mowing behind the barn and Michelle Pickle (Stricklin) came by, selling candy for her school. I bought some, of course, and as she was leaving, Haynie came home. She bought some, too. Michelle stayed and visited with us for a little while before she went home.

Sunday, October 7, 1979

We have really had a pretty day today. Preacher (Jimmy) Bryant and his wife Esther and their two boys ate lunch at our house today. We really did enjoy having them. This was the first time they had eaten lunch with us since they have been at our church. After we finished our meal, the boys went on home. The Preacher and Esther stayed until about 4:30.

Harold and Rose Pickle went to Atlanta this afternoon. Rose’s brother, Russell Willingham, had a bad stroke sometime early this morning.

Hill and Lucille Owens’ house burned early this morning. They are from Little Sand Mountain. They lost everything they had except the clothes on their backs!

Friday, October 19, 1979

It was 68 degrees when we got up this morning. Our high went up to 82 degrees, so it was just like a summer day. I took the day off, so I was in the field mowing by 8:00. I mowed the Hancock field, the I mowed the field next to Harold Pickle. I finished up the day mowing around the block house over in the field. I really did keep that little tractor moving around.

(Note: The “little tractor” Uncle Joe referred to in this month’s journal is still operational today. My husband Mike and my cousin Tim use the tractor whenever they need it. Uncle Joe would be so proud it is still running. Years ago when he bought the tractor, women still wore hats to church. Aunt Haynie was willing to do without a new hat for him to buy the tractor and make payments on it. She always laughed and said that any time she would get to wanting a new hat, she would just go to the barn and sit on the tractor!!!!)

Wednesday, October 31, 1979

We had a right nice day today. The afternoon was a little bit cooler. As we started home from work, Harold Vernon told us that Norman Wade passed away around lunch time today. He had been real sick for a good long while now. He had been in the Centre, AL hospital this time for several weeks.

(Note: Uncle Joe passed away 22 years later, on October 31, 2001. We lost a wonderful man! Although he was not large in stature, he was gigantic in all other ways. I still miss you, Uncle Joe!!!)

September 1967

Saturday, September 2, 1967

This was my weekend to work at Trion. As soon as I finished at work, I went straight home. We got some things together and went back over to our new place and worked over there the rest of the day. I mowed all the yard in 2 hours. Some of the yard was pretty rough, but now I have all of it under control and it should be a lot easier. I used our mower today and I made out with it just fine.

Waynie (Joe's sister-in-law) and Glenn Barton were up for the weekend. When we got home, Waynie and Glenn came over with some ice and wanted to make ice cream. They left at 10 o’clock. I had to go back to Trion and work about two hours after they left.

Monday, September 4, 1967

Haynie had to work at the mill today so I went over to our new place. I painted upstairs and I almost got finished except for a little bit of the ceiling. I ran out of paint. I got my ax and started at the front walk, cutting that big old hedge row down. I think it sure did make the place look better.

Billy Brooks came over and talked to me about buying the place, but we didn’t even get close to a deal because he wanted me to take another house in the deal.

Friday, September 15, 1967

It was a nice fall day today. We came home from work and worked on our furniture that we’re re-finishing. We went to Sears and Haynie bought some curtains. I bought two gallons of paint for the outside of our house.

Sunday, September 24, 1967

Haynie and I stayed home all afternoon. We are so tired from working on our new place. We just sat around all afternoon. Haynie got some cards ready to mail and I had a nap. It sure was nice to be home and not working.

Thursday, September 28, 1967

We got up this morning and it was pouring down rain. It rained all day long. Brice Evans called me this morning before we left to go to work. He sent two men over to our new house to put up sheetrock. They also worked on the closet in our bedroom. We went by there on our way home from work and it sure did change the looks of the old house, even though the sheetrock was not painted. Haynie and I scraped paint off the windows.

August 1967

Thursday, August 10, 1967

We had a good bit of rain today. I got off work for about two hours and Haynie and I went to Summerville to settle up everything with Jack Poole about buying his place. It is ours now! We gave him $22,000 for all the property he had on the west side of Dry Valley Road (now Mahan Road). We bought his old home place and 65 acres of land. We think we got a pretty good deal. I mowed our yard after I got in from work. I am always proud when I get our yard mowed on Thursday night so I won’t have to do it on Saturday.

Saturday, August 12, 1967

Haynie and I carried our dining room chairs down to Cartersville to a lady to have new cane bottoms put on them. We cannot hardly wait to go back and get them because we know they are really going to look good. This afternoon, we went up above LaFayette to look at some rugs to put down in the living room and dining room of the house we just bought.

Monday, August 14, 1967

It sure was foggy this morning and just plain cool. I wore an old shirt until I got to work and it really did feel good. We bought an old dresser down close to Rome Saturday so the man brought it to us this afternoon and we started stripping it after he left. He nearly had a fit when he saw our dining room suit and he especially liked our china cabinet.

They carried Aunt Mary Anderson home from the Summerville hospital today. Daddy was really mad about it because he knew she was not able to go home.

Sunday, August 20, 1967

After we got in from church and finished our lunch, Daddy, Haynie and I went over to the house we just bought. Daddy and I walked over all the pastures and fields. Daddy talked like he was well pleased with the place as a whole and that sure did make me feel good!

Saturday, August 26, 1967

We went to Summerville this morning. I got my hair cut and Haynie got hers fixed. When we got through, we went on over to our new house to do some work. I borrowed Mrs. Pickle’s lawn mower and mowed all the yard. It really did change the looks of the place. It came two real hard rains while I was mowing, but I would start back mowing just as soon as it stopped. Haynie bought some paint and she started painting on the upstairs bedrooms. She finished one of the rooms and got the ceiling of the other one painted. They sure do look better.

July 1967

Tuesday, July 4, 1967

Haynie and I picked about 3 gallons of blackberries yesterday afternoon. We spent the morning today making blackberry jam. After lunch, we started stripping our dining room table. Boy, that was a job! We spent most of the afternoon and evening working on the table and it was really looking good when we quit for the night.

Mildred (Joe's sister) and Robert Allen came out to Mother’s house for the evening and they came on out to our house for a little while.

Saturday, July 8, 1967

Haynie and I fixed and froze 6 pints of corn this morning. This is the first corn we’ve frozen this year.

We went to Cartersville this morning to see a lady who does caning on chair bottoms. We wanted her to put new cane bottoms in our dining room chairs. She said that she could, so when we get finished with them, she’s going to re-bottom them for us. She sure was a nice lady. She showed us some of her work and she does a real good job! We were in some really hard rains, going to and coming from Cartersville.

When we got back to Summerville, we went over to Haynie’s mother’s house to see Waynie (Haynie's twin sister) and Glenn. This was the first trip home since Glenn got out of the hospital.

Our county sheriff, John Frank McConnell, died this evening at 6:40 p.m., sitting at his desk. Haynie and I saw him out on the street this afternoon, about an hour before he passed away.

Monday, July 17, 1967

We had a really cold night last night. It broke the record for this time of the year. It was down to 54 degrees! That was the news from Rome as the low, but it warmed up in the daytime real good.

We heard today that Jack Poole wants to sell his place over in Dry Valley. It joins our property on the north side. I’m planning to go talk to him about it tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 18, 1967

It is still cool at night, but it warms up real good in the daytime. It seems just like fall of the year weather. Haynie and I have been sleeping in our winter-time pajamas.

I talked to Jack Poole about his farm. His old home place is on 65 acres. Haynie and I went over this afternoon after work to look over the house and most of the land. The house needs a good bit of work, but we talked about it tonight and we’ve decided that we will buy it and do some work on it and live there for a while. We won’t try to build at this time.

Wednesday, July 19, 1967

It is still hot in the daytime and cool at nights. I talked to Jack Poole this morning and told him we would buy his place. It will give us 90 acres in one body of land.

We sure did not have many at prayer meeting tonight.

Haynie has poison oak on her right leg and it really looked bad tonight. Her mother gave her something last night to put on it and I do believe it has blistered her leg. It looks worse tonight than it has at all. 

June 1978

Friday, June 2, 1978

Haynie did not get her hair fixed today because Inez Smith was sick again. She is going to get it fixed tomorrow. I am going to ride to work with Betty Smith in the morning. This is inventory weekend. We worked until 9:00 p.m. tonight and it looks like a long day tomorrow. Haynie worked outside a good bit tonight in her flowers. We sure did have a big rain at Trion this afternoon, but it did not rain a drop at home. It is still hot and dry.

Saturday, June 3, 1978

I went in to work this morning at 7:00 a.m. It was almost 7:00 p.m. when I got home tonight. It was a real rough weekend at work. It just seemed like they kept finding orders tonight. Some of the Customer Service Department worked with us until around 7:00 p.m.

Haynie spent a real busy day at home. She got a lot of housework done today. By the time I got home and we ate supper, we did not get much done on the outside. Haynie carried four kittens to Charles Morton. He wanted them for barn cats.

Haynie and her mother went to the funeral home. Mrs. Clay Stowe passed away. She was a sister to Mrs. Beatrice Webb, who goes to church with us.

Tuesday, June 13, 1978

It really has been nice today. Mr. Carl Himes came and cut about 7 acres of hay this afternoon. He said that if the weather holds out, he would cut the rest of it in the morning. He’ll probably get started baling it tomorrow afternoon, if it works out in his favor. I really hope it does.

Haynie and I hoed some in the garden tonight. It was just a little wet, but the okra was really getting ready to be in a mess if it happened to rain again before I got it plowed.

Tuesday, June 20, 1978

Tonight was our Brotherhood Meeting. It was the month to honor the ladies in the church, so we all went to Armstrong’s BBQ and ate supper. It really was good. We got home in time to water Haynie’s flowers before we got our baths and went to bed.

Friday, June 30, 1978

I plowed over everything in our garden tonight but the corn because it is too big. As of now, it sure does look good. If the corn makes anything like it looks, we sure will have some good corn. Our young corn over in the field looks real good too. We have a real good stand of peas in the field. I did not get to plow them tonight as I just did not have the time. Another reason was little Tim Pickle was on the tractor with me and he went to sleep just as soon as I started to the field.

We were all scared that we’d have to work over at Trion tonight, but we were in good shape at 5:00 p.m. I sure was proud to get home on time.

May 1978

Saturday, May 6, 1978

I had to work until lunch today, so I really had to move around in order to get to Rome in time for Barbie Pickle and Greg McCollum’s wedding. It was at 2:00. Mrs. Pickle (Haynie’s mother) went with us and they needed her to be there at 1:15 for pictures. Mrs. Eva Webb, Mrs. Pickle’s friend, went with us too. The preacher pronounced them man and wife at 2:15.

After the reception was over and they left, it was late when we got home. I did have time to mow the yard. It sure was a beautiful day, just perfect for a wedding. Not a cloud in the sky. We didn’t know where they were going except they did say they were going north.

Thursday, May 11, 1978

It has been a real nice day and clear as a bell, just a little windy. The weather man said we have a good chance of rain again tomorrow. We set out two rows of tomato plants tonight on the upper side of our garden. It was a little wet, but we do not have anything started in our garden. After we finished that, I helped Haynie a little with her flowers. I walked Michelle Pickle home.

Thursday, May 18, 1978

We worked in our garden this afternoon after work. We planted corn, squash, cucumbers, and things of that nature. We planted some corn about three weeks ago, but it was so cold that it didn’t come up. So really this was our first planting, you might say. We could have planted some more, but the lower down in the garden we got, the wetter the ground was.

Saturday, May 27, 1978

Boy, it has been hot today! We did several jobs around the house. I finished with our new clothes line. I dug up the old posts and got them out of the way. Our garden is looking pretty good. We have a real good stand of everything. Haynie did a good bit of work in the garden. She has been real busy this week and had to let lots of things go. We’re planning to have our new pastor for Sunday dinner tomorrow. We’ve really had a busy day today.

April 1974

Friday, April 12, 1974

It sure has been a nice day today, but it set in to raining about 2:30 this afternoon and it rained really hard. It was still raining when we went to bed tonight.

Waynie and Hubert Edge got in this morning from Warren, MI around 6:30 a.m. They are home for Easter. Since they have not been to bed all day, they came by the house this evening and stayed for about 30 minutes. They drove all night and they were just about give out.

We got the word that Mr. Ben Gardner had passed away this morning around 2 a.m. He lived in Lyerly and worked at Trion. He sure was a fine man.

Saturday, April 13, 1974

It was a real pretty day today and we really did put in a day’s work. We worked at the church until noon, just cleaning up and getting things put in their place. After we got in, I tore down an old cross fence, just back of the barn. I had wanted to get it down ever since we moved here, so I sure was glad to finally get it done. I spent the rest of the day cutting low limbs off the cedar tree out in the pasture. That way, I can mow up closer to the tree when I’m mowing.

Once we ate supper, Haynie and I went up to J. D. Hill’s Funeral home to be with Ben Gardner’s family. He passed away yesterday. He took sick about the middle of January and he really did go down fast.

Sunday, April 14, 1974

It was real cloudy this morning when we got up. It set in to raining about lunch and rained off and on most of the afternoon. After church, Haynie and I went over to Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Hamby’s 50th Wedding Anniversary reception. They had it at their home and it was set up really pretty. All their children and grandchildren were there. It was good to see them and visit with all of them.

After that, we stopped by the cemetery. We went on over to visit with Bill (Joe's brother). He was doing good and seemed to enjoy our visit.

Friday, April 19, 1974

It was cool again this morning, but I don’t think we had any frost. It sure has been a beautiful spring day. After we finished with supper, we went down to Uncle Chele Brady’s house to look at a disc harrow he wanted to sell. Even though it looked old, I bought it from him because it was in good shape for its age and he was just asking $50 for it. I hope I can get it home tomorrow.

Sunday, April 28, 1974

It sure has been another beautiful spring day. Haynie and I went to Rome after church to eat lunch. Yesterday was our 22nd wedding anniversary. We decided to eat at Shoney’s in Rome and it sure was good. We really did enjoy our meal!

We stopped at McCall Hospital and visited Mr. Leonard Martin. He sure is real sick. Then, we stopped at Floyd County Hospital and visited Mrs. Ben Powell from Menlo and Mrs. Linda Johnson. Mrs. Powell is doing real good, but Linda is real sick.

As we started home we stopped and visited Joe and Mary Frances Dawson for a while. Their daughter Pam (Hammonds now) fell and broke her right arm this week, but she is doing good. They built a new den over the past winter and it sure is pretty. My sister Mildred Allen (Spo) left Bill’s house early this morning, going home.

March 1974

Sunday, March 3, 1974

It sure has been another beautiful day. This makes about five days in a row of just perfect spring weather. The wind sure has been “walking around”, but it is really drying off the top of the ground.

After dinner, Haynie and Maurene cooked some food to carry to the home of Mr. J. C. Padgett, a member of our church who passed away yesterday. I went over and stayed about two hours with Bill. He seemed to really enjoy my visit. Haynie and I also visited the Guyton family at the funeral home. Mr. Buck passed away yesterday.

Tuesday, March 5, 1974

Bill and Jerry got the potatoes planted. Bill had to give $25.00 for a hundred pounds of potatoes. Haynie got her hair fixed tonight so it was 7:15 when we got home. Just as soon as we ate, we went up to J. D. Hill’s Funeral Home to be with Mr. Frank Dawson’s family for a while. He had a stroke Sunday and passed away yesterday.

Wednesday, March 20, 1974

We had a real nice day today. It was cloudy and looked bad for a while this morning, but the weather improved as the day went on. There was some real bad weather all around us during the night, but we didn’t get much of that and we sure were thankful.

Our pastor, Richard Dendler, is leaving early in the morning going to Ohio for a visit. He is not taking his family, so he asked us tonight to spend Thursday and Friday nights with Janice and the children. Of course we said yes.

Haynie and I went by to visit with Leonard and Nell Martin for a little while. Mr. Leonard has been sick for quite a while now and he sure did look bad tonight. We stayed with them until church time. They gave us some sweet potatoes to bed for some slips, so we’ll have a few sweet potatoes this time.

Sunday, March 31, 1974

It sure has been a beautiful day. Robert and his family and Martha and her family ate lunch with us today. We sure did enjoy our meal and being together. After lunch, I enjoyed going outside with Clint. He was really busy, showing me how to fish just above the dam. He was running that little tongue 90 miles an hour. He was asking one question after the other. Before I could get one question answered, he would ask two more. I sure did enjoy him.

Our crowd was really off tonight at church. We just did not have many there.

February 1974

Tuesday, February 5, 1974

We sure have had another beautiful day. It was 24 degrees this morning and our high was 54 degrees. It has been clear as a bell. Mr. Jimmy Butler brought about 100 chickens and put them in our barn for a few days until he could sell them.

Monday, February 11, 1974

The low was 24 degrees and the high was 42 degrees. I rode to work and back home with J. L. Maples today because Haynie had a dentist appointment and she needed the car. Tonight was her night for W.M.U. meeting at the church, so I stayed home and did several odd jobs here in the house so it would help her out in the morning.

Friday, February 15, 1974

It has been rainy and bad all day long, with some real hard rain at times. Robert (Speer) had to work over last night and tonight. Mildred (Speer) Allen came up to spend the weekend with Bill, so I didn’t go over there tonight. All of us kids are planning to meet at Bill’s tomorrow at 1:30 to talk about the home place and to get some plans on how to handle it since Daddy did not have a will or anything at all to tell us how he wanted things done.

Saturday, February 23, 1974

It was down to 28 degrees this morning, but it warmed up and was real nice all afternoon. Haynie had to work at Menlo this morning and I did several things for her here in the house. After we ate lunch, I went out in the pasture and cut some brush along the ditch banks. I was not able to get to those places with the tractor, so I was really proud of all my work. We had our Brotherhood meeting tonight at the church. Haynie helped Maurene (Wallin) with the meal. Everyone sure did enjoy the meal. I mean it was good!

January 1971

Friday, January 1, 1971

Haynie did not have to go to work today and I sure was proud. Her breaking out is just getting worse by the day. I had to work until lunch time so when I got home, I just stayed in the house with her. I am really worried about her rash. It just looks terrible. Uncle Doyle and Aunt Bert Brady came up for a visit. Aunt Bert came over to our house and said that she’d never seen anything like it (she was an RN). She gave Haynie some pills to help her sleep so maybe that will help her. It has been a beautiful day.

Saturday, January 2, 1971

This was my messed up weekend so as soon as I got home, we headed for Rome to see Haynie’s doctor. She had a terrible night last night and is still getting worse today. The doctor changed her medicine and by dark, we could tell her condition was improving. It really does get our hopes up. It has been a beautiful day. It was 24 degrees this morning and went up to 60 degrees this afternoon.

Friday, January 15, 1971

It was a messy and rainy morning. Around lunch time, it began to clear off and it turned out to be a really nice day. Now the weathermen are saying that we are in for a few days of cool weather. We had a supper at our church tonight and a former pastor, Jimmy Swinson, was in town. He came down and ate supper with us at the church. We had about 40 people to attend.

Wednesday, January 27, 1971

It sure did turn cold overnight. It was down to 18 degrees. It sure did hurt since it had been so warm for the past two weeks. Tonight, when we started to church, I got out my overcoat and it sure did feel good when we started home after church. The weathermen are saying that it will be close to 10 degrees tonight. I hope they miss it.

Sunday, January 31, 1971

It is still cold and windy today. The Pulpit Committee went to Peavine Baptist Church in Rock Springs to hear Rev. R. V. Wells. He was really good, but I don’t believe he would think about leaving. Boy, the people sure didn’t act like they were proud we were there. Only three people spoke to us-two men and the Preacher. They have a beautiful church.

December 1971

Thursday, December 2, 1971

It sure has been a messy day. It has just rained enough to make things a big mess. The weather man says that we have a really good chance of some snow or ice by tomorrow. I hope they miss it, but it sure looks like they just might hit it.

Friday, December 3, 1971

When we got up this morning, it was still raining. I went out to feed the cats at 6:00 and the rain had turned to sleet and the ground was almost covered. By 7:00, we had a good bit on the ground. We got ready for work and I took Haynie out to the Menlo Highway to meet her ride. The roads are really in a slushy mess, but they weren’t freezing over. By 10:00, the roads were clear and it was still raining. By lunchtime, most of it was gone. I had to work tonight until 9:00. We were having a bad time tonight because it was the end of the period.

Tuesday, December 7, 1971

It has been cloudy all day today, but it has been a nice day. In fact, it has been an unusually warm day. It was 60 degrees this morning when we got up and the high got up to 72 degrees. Haynie met me in town this afternoon since she wanted to buy a few more things for Christmas. Somebody broke into to Aunt Lil Woods’ house yesterday. They got her color TV and that was all that was missing.

Tuesday, December 21, 1971

It sure has been a pretty day today. It seems like spring because the red birds are singing, just like it was planting time. J. C. Grimes and his family came by for a little while tonight. Ruth had made Haynie something real pretty to hang up in the kitchen. We had given them a good many squash and things out of our garden this summer and she wanted to do something for us.

Saturday, December 25, 1971

It is still beautiful weather today. It got up to 72 degrees today. We went over to Martha and Jim Hunter’s house for our Speer family Christmas breakfast. All the family was there and we had a really good time. Haynie and I went over to Wilburn Pickle’s house for the Pickle family Christmas lunch. We ate about 3:00 and all the family was there except for Glenn Barton. It sure was sad in lots of ways since Wilburn and Lola’s daughter Charla had passed away last month in a car wreck in Carrollton GA. When we left there, we rode down to Charla’s grave at Alpine Cemetery. When we got back home, we were settled in for the night and did not leave to go anywhere else.

November 1963

Friday, November 8, 1963

It is still nice and warm today and the weather looks settled. Jerry called to Mother and Daddy’s house tonight. Mother told me to watch for their porch light. They would turn it on when he called so I could pick up on our phone and listen in on the call. (Note from Susan King: This was one good thing about a party line.) I got to talk to him some tonight and I could hear him real well.

Don Gordon is fixing to get married. They did some bulldozer work down there yesterday and today. They are planning to build where the old Gordon house was.

Friday, November 22, 1963

About 1:30 p.m. today, someone shot President John F. Kennedy in the head out in Dallas, Texas. The President died at 2:00 p.m. He was assassinated. The Governor of Texas was also shot, but he was still alive at 8:00 p.m. In just a few minutes after the President’s death, the police had arrested Lee Harvey Oswald., 24 years old, for the shooting. That was all that was on the TV and radio this afternoon.

“Spo” (Mildred, Joe’s sister) and Bob got word today that the man in Trenton, Tennessee has them a house and they will be moving next week. Today was Spo’s last day at Trion and they gave her a big dinner.

Saturday, November 23, 1963

It rained a little, early this morning and some during the night. I had to work about 3 hours at Trion today. I had to make 2 trips because they didn’t finish with the file until nearly lunchtime. Daddy and Mother got their water heater, washer, and dryer wired up today. Haynie went to Summerville and got her hair fixed. She is planning on having all my family for lunch tomorrow.

Sunday, November 24, 1963

It sure has been a pretty day. All of my family ate lunch with us today except Bob Allen and of course Jerry. “Spo” and Bob got them a house in Trenton, Tennessee and the moving people are coming tomorrow to pack up their things. Daddy and all of them stayed until around 4:00 p.m. At 5:30p.m., Haynie and I went out to Mother’s . Around 6:15 p.m., Jerry called home and I was sitting close to the phone so I answered it. Jerry said he was doing fine and he was still gaining weight.

Monday, November 25, 1963

It has been cloudy all day. “Spo” called about 8:00 p.m. and said they had everything packed except their bed. They are going to spend the night there so they can make sure the movers don’t leave anything behind. The company Bob is going to work for is paying all their moving expenses. Haynie called her mother tonight and she said that Sam Lambert is about as low as he can get and still be alive. He has been real sick now for several weeks. Haynie spent the day at Mother’s house today. They watched President Kennedy’s funeral on TV. Mother called her at 9:00 a.m. and she stayed out there until 4:30 p.m. The funeral was all that was on TV today.

Friday, November 29, 1963

It rained all night and up until lunch time today. I mean it rained! As I was going on to work this morning, it snowed a good bit on the mountain. It sure has been windy today. Haynie baked her fruit cake this evening. She mixed it at home and she carried it out to Mother’s to bake it. Daddy turned Jerry’s bird dog, Old Sport, loose around 4:00 p.m. this afternoon and she still had not come home at 8:00 p.m. They were all worried about the dog when we were out there, baking Haynie’s cake. About 10:15 p.m., Mother called and said they had heard a noise under the house, so they all went out to see about it and Daddy had fastened Old Sport up under the house this afternoon.

October 1973

Sunday, October 7, 1973

We sure have had another beautiful day. After church and lunch, Haynie and I went to Floyd County Hospital to visit a friend who had surgery last week. When we got back, we visited a good while with Daddy and Bill. Our preacher, Richard Dendler, is carrying on a revival this week in Tracy City, Tennessee. Of course, he wanted us to spend the night with Janice and the children while he was gone. We went to their house just as soon as church was over tonight.

Monday, October 8, 1973

It was raining a little this morning when we got up. We ate breakfast with Janice and the children and then came on home to get ready for work. Since lunch time, it has been a beautiful day. Haynie and I picked our butterbeans after we got in from work. We watched the weather tonight on TV and out in Denver, Colorado, they were having their first big snow storm of the season. Haynie went to W.M.U. at the church tonight.

Saturday, October 13, 1973

It sure has been a beautiful day. Haynie left home this morning expecting to work until lunchtime, but she called at 10:00 a.m. and said that she was going to work all day. I worked all day long in the pepper relish, so it was ready to start cooking when she got home. Haynie cooked one pan on the stove and I cooked one pan on our little Coleman stove out in the yard. We had 20 pints of relish and Haynie was real proud of it. She was real proud that I had it ready to cook when she got home. We are going down to spend the night with Preacher Dendler’s wife and children tonight. He will be home tomorrow.

Thursday, October 18, 1973

I took a day of vacation today. When we got up this morning, it was down to 36 degrees. We had a pretty good frost, but nothing like a killing frost. The first thing I did was trim the hedge and then I went out in the pasture to do some bush hogging. When I finished that, I mowed our yard and it took most of the day for that. When Haynie got home, we ate and did some work in the garden. We took down all our old tomato stakes.

Wednesday, October 31, 1973

It has rained off and on most all day. We had four little Trick-or-Treaters before we left for church. After church, we did not have any more, as it was still raining some. I guess the rain kept some of them away. We sure didn’t have many at church tonight.

September 1973

Sunday, September 2, 1973

It is still hot and dry. After church, we went over to Daddy and Bill’s and stayed about an hour. Robert and Steve (Speer) came over and it wasn’t long before Sam (family nickname for Joe’s sister, Martha Hunter) and Jerry (Speer) both came. That was all the children there at the same time except for Spo (family nickname for Joe’s other sister, Mildred Allen) and that did not happen very often. Robert got Steve a brand new car yesterday. It is a big Chevrolet and it sure is a pretty thing.

Thursday, September 6, 1973

Still hot and dry today. When we got in from work, Haynie went to gather the garden and I started mowing. I just did get it finished by dark, too. You sure can tell a difference in the length of the days now.

Thursday, September 20, 1973

It sure has been a beautiful fall day. I went to Rome this afternoon and got our glasses and I got my cold shot. It cost us $45.00 to get our eyes checked, then it cost $104.00 for the glasses. I sure can see better. Haynie said that she didn’t know that she needed different ones so bad. We are both well pleased with them.

Tuesday, September 25, 1973

We had a good bit more rain today, so we are still good and wet. I am not complaining as we had been so dry for such a long time.

Wednesday, September 26, 1973

We sure did have to hurry around again tonight in order to get the peas picked before church time. I just didn’t know how we would make it if it was not for Mrs. Pickle and Aunt Lizzie (Cannon, Haynie’s aunt). They are going to shell the peas for us tomorrow. That sure is a life saver!

August 1978

Tuesday, August 1, 1978

We gathered over the okra, squash, and tomatoes tonight. We got a real nice gathering of everything and I think our tomatoes are the best tasting that we have ever had.

Thursday, August 3, 1978

We gathered over our garden again tonight. Boy, it has been another hot day. I cut some in the garden with the disc where we didn’t plant anything and we didn’t want it to grow up in weeds. I have been keeping it cut up real good with the disc all summer. Mrs. Julia Owings passed away this morning around 3:00 a.m. She was in Atlanta in a rest home down there. She was 94 years old.

Wednesday, August 16, 1978

We had our usual small crowd at church tonight. I just can’t understand why our people seem so unconcerned about our church. Our pastor is explaining the Bible so plain that even I can understand it.

Sunday, August 20, 1978

Haynie fixed lunch today for our pastor and his little girl. We were at home all afternoon. We enjoyed the rest we got as we were just about used up since we have been so busy with our garden.

Thursday, August 31, 1978

I fixed our garden and sowed our turnip seed tonight as this is my messed up weekend at work and we thought it might start raining again one of these days. The ground is really dry now. After that, I went to the garden to help Maurene and Haynie pick some peas and we got a real good gathering. We worked late again tonight.

July 1973

Wednesday, July 4, 1973

I done a good bit of mowing in the pasture today. Haynie just lay around the house as she is just plain sick (she had severe case of poison oak). We went to church tonight and we didn’t have many at church.

(Susan King notes: This day and time, most every church calls off their church services on holidays, but they didn't back in those days.)

Sunday, July 8, 1973

It has been hot today. About 2 p.m. we sure did have a good rain. We were needing a rain, from the looks of things. Everything was sure looking dry. We stayed home this afternoon.

Wednesday, July 25, 1973

About the time I was getting home from work, we sure did have a cloud. You talk about rain, we had a real hard rain. Even after we got to church, it rained for a good while. Now I guess our peas and butter beans will really grow.

Monday, July 30, 1973

We are needing some rain now as we are getting pretty dry. We gathered the things in the garden tonight. We staked our tomatoes this time and they sure are fine.

June 1963

Sunday, June 9, 1963

We didn’t go over to Mrs. Pickle’s (Joe’s mother-in-law) today. We called several times to see about Harold (Pickle, Joe’s brother-in-law), and he seems to be doing OK (Harold had lung surgery in Chattanooga, TN). We went to Rome this evening to Peggy Vines’ wedding. It was at 2:00 P.M. The preacher pronounced them man and wife at 2:15 P.M. They had a very simple and nice wedding. We saw a good many people that we knew.

Friday, June 14, 1963

I plowed our garden after I got in this evening. Harold (Pickle) is some better. It sure has been hot today.

Sunday, June 23, 1963

It rained most all day so we just stayed home, except for going to church (Pleasant Grove Baptist). We had a good crowd this morning, but tonight it was a shame!

Wednesday, June 26, 1963

It hasn’t rained much today. Jerry (Speer, Joe’s youngest brother) got home about 5 minutes after 4 and he called me to let me know he had got home. He was OK for the Army and he sure was tore up and upset because he is thinking that he will have to leave pretty soon for the Army.

Friday, June 28, 1963

It has rained some today. I did our washing and everything this afternoon while Haynie got her hair fixed.

May 1963

Thursday, May 2, 1963

It has been a real nice pretty spring day but the ground is sure wet and water just running out on every little bank. We had a frost this morning like nobody’s business. It was down to 28 degrees. I counted our tomatoes last night and I guess they still looked fair tonight.

Monday, May 6, 1963

It sure has been summertime today. Mr. Paul Westbrooks died about lunchtime today. He was in a wreck one day last week with Bobby Cook. It didn’t hurt Bobby, but Mr. Paul never knew anything after the wreck. It happened at the Triangle Shopping Center at Trion at the south intersection where Old (Highway) 27 leaves going to Trion.

Wednesday, May 8, 1963

We slept with our house open last night and it was warm enough till we didn’t need much cover. (At the church revival) Little Jim Doster was saved at church tonight. He is 8 years old. We had a big crowd tonight. Several of the other churches turned out their prayer meeting.

Sunday, May 12, 1963 – Mother’s Day

All of Mother’s family was at church this morning, her children and all the in-laws. We all fixed dinner and it seemed as though everyone sure enjoyed themselves. Mother got the flower at church for having the most children there. Haynie and I went over to her mother’s after they finished with all the dishes. Wilburn (brother-in-law) and his family were at Mrs. Pickle’s. Susan (Wallin, Joe's niece) stuck a nail in her foot out back of Harold’s (brother-in-law) house so Haynie and I carried her home.

Sunday, May 19, 1963

It sure has been a pretty day. Waynie (sister-in-law) and (her husband) Glenn came up this morning. They brought two of his children, Pat and Becky. They have a brand new convertible Plymouth car. It sure is a pretty thing. We all took a ride in it. They ate dinner with Maurene (Wallin, sister-in-law) and Waynie didn’t even help do the dishes.

Saturday, May 25, 1963

It has rained just a slow wintertime rain all day and, of course, I didn’t get to do anything outside so I guess our yard will sure get big before I get to mow it. We had to leave home at 12:15 p.m. because (a family member’s) funeral was at 3 and it rained all evening. She was buried out near the paper mill west of Rome, Georgia.


Joe Franklin Speer was born at Trion Hospital in 1925, one of six siblings. The family later moved to Menlo where he attended school and met the love of his life, Haynie Pickle. They were married in 1952.

the speers

Joe joined the Navy in 1942 and was discharged in 1946. During this time, he began keeping a daily journal, commenting on the weather, family members, church and community activities, and births and deaths of family, friends, and acquaintances. 


Joe began working for the Trion Mill (Riegel Textile Corporation) in 1951 and advanced at the company until his retirement in 1993 at the age of 68.

Haynie Speer says that her husband "loved to garden, work in the yard, and on his tractor. He was kind, thoughtful, and there never was a child that did not love him instantly."

happy couple

school photo


Joe Speer's name tag from Riegel Textile Corporation on which someone misspelled his name. Joe always said, "There's only one of me."


Photographs and journals courtesy of Haynie Speer.

Journal excerpts compiled by Susan Wallin King, a 1972 graduate of Chattooga High School. She is married to Mike King and both are now retired and enjoying their time together. Susan retired in 2011 from Chattooga County E-911, but finds herself busier than ever. She is the church pianist for the Presbyterian Church P.C.A.

"Everyone who knew Haynie and Joe Speer called them Aunt Haynie and Uncle Joe," Susan writes. Susan can truly call them that because Haynie is her mother’s (Maurene Pickle Wallin) sister. Even though there was no blood kinship to Joe, she loved him and continues to miss him.
"Those of us who knew him, loved him, and were much better for it! Uncle Joe was truly a child’s dream uncle. He played with you as if he was your age. He would listen so intently to anything on earth you had to say!"

If you’d like to contact Susan, she would love to hear from you. Her email address is

Copyright 2013 Greg W. McCollum.  All rights reserved.