Neal Jackson with his family in 1908.

Grandpa Rode The Whirlwind

Little Red River Journal, March 17, 1982


The following story was told to Ollie Faye by her brothers, Marlin and Carnell Jackson. Neal and Julie Jackson were their grandparents. Neil was born Cornelius E. Jackson November 4, 1858. He died in October 1925, after living at Hiram most of his life.

Our grandpa, as we called him, carried the mail from Pangburn to Hiram for about 10 years for $30 a month. His transportation was horse and buggy when the roads permitted travel; if not, then by horseback. He was known as a Closed Pouch Mail Carrier. This meant the mail was in a locked pouch and unlocked only at the post office by the one in charge; also he took the outgoing mail that was sent in a closed pouch. Five days a week he met the train at Pangburn to leave and pick up the mail pouches, then back to Hiram to the post office . At that time, there was no rural mail carrier; everyone called for their mail at the post office.

In his later years, grandpa, grandma, Uncle Whiston and Carnell were picking cotton at Hiram on the Sills Farm, which also was known as the late Jim Young place. It was a rather warm October day with plenty of cotton in grandpa’s field to picked.

Early in the afternoon a strong whirlwind was observed by the pickers coming across the field toward them. Before anyone could do anything, this whirlwind picked up my grandpa. The wind caught his pick sack, which had but little cotton in it, and as the pick sack was full of air from the whirlwind, he was lifted up and blown above the tall pine trees that were near the cotton patch. All the family were watching in fear for his life and they themselves holding on for dear life to some persimmon sprouts nearby to keep from also going up. It seemed like a long time that he was floating above the pine trees as the family looked on, but actually in a few moments the pick sack strap tore loose, letting my grandpa fall into the woods nearby.

Quickly, all who witnessed this horrifying event ran to see about him and help him to the house for he was badly bruised, skinned up but luckily no bones broken. Dr. C.M. Peeler, the Pangburn physician, was called to come to the house to examine and treat him. But he never did fully recover from this event. Later on, his glasses and hat were found beyond where he fell but the pick sack was never found.