February 2, 2013 by elhseven
Highway 71 seems like the root that connects the various ancestral paths that bind us together but it wasn’t always Highway 71 like Belcher wasn’t always Horseshoe. At one point highway 71 was a dirt path and Belcher was once home to Native Americans, planters, slaveowners, slaveholders, & slaves migrating west from VA, SC, GA & AL. Slavery was eventually abolished, freedman emerged, reconstruction came & left, Jim Crow set up camp, the African American migration out of the area increased, Jim Crow downsized, civil rights floated around and thus we are here 150 years later still putting the logistics to the puzzle together. My branch for the most part began migrating out of this area around the mid 1930’s. It was pretty simple. They wanted a different life from their parents & grandparents. They wanted job opportunities and there were few and far between along this leg of the Red River. At least none that they actually desired. My branched went to the military, went to school, became clergy, found employment on the railroad, and/or found employment in larger cities where the demand for steel/iron workers become plentiful because of the war. Evacuating the south in light of Mr. Crow seemed like the right thing to do. Oh but not everyone got on the bandwagon and many actually remained in their respective villages. If their ancestors endured slavery, they thought ‘surely we can endure this’. These fellow men & woman stayed and some did quite well. Living on the family land and working for themselves as oppose to sharecropping (slavery 2.0) made perfect sense. So what was life like for our previous Belchernites, Gilliamnites, Dixienites, Hosstonites, Vivianites, Rodessanites, & Miranites?
To be continued.
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