James Marion Autry (My great grandfather)
By Robert M. Leverette

James Marion Autry and Emma Johnson were my great-grandparents whom I called Grandpa Autry and Grandma Autry. As far back as I can remember, Grandpa Autry always used a cane to walk; WALK! I should say shuffled along. It would take him several minutes to walk from the back of grandma's (Mary Malissa Autry Leverette) house to the front. The cane was a source of nightmares. Once grandma told me to run up to the grocery store and tell Grandpa Autry to bring home some flour. Grandpa Autry walked the block or so to the grocery everyday weather permitting to play checkers with another relative whom I can't remember the name of. Well, I ran up to Grandpa Autry and said "Grandma wants you -," that is as far as I got before that cane came around and tapped me on the head, "You do not interrupt adults when they are talking!" I had to stand there until he finished his game and talking and then he turned and ask me what did I want to tell him! Yes, he was of the old school, children should be seen and not heard. Grandpa Autry always insisted that all tableware were to be set on the dinner table upside-down until Grace was said. On several occasions I would forget and turn something over before Grace and received a tap on the head from the cane. Maybe that is why I am so baldheaded today!

Grandma's house had a front porch the entire width of the house and to the left of the front porch and about twenty feet distance was the old water well. It was approximately six feet in diameter and floored over with wood to a square wall about three feet square where one lowered the bucket. It was roofed over with wood and needless to say all this wood was well on the way to rotting and my standing orders were to stay away from the well. When I was about six years old, Grandpa Autry was then 79, he was sitting on the front porch and I went to play at the well. He said "stay away from the well." Well, I knew I could out run that old man who had to walk with a cane, so I continued to play at the well and before I could move, Grandpa Autry jumped up, ran the length of the porch, jumped to the ground (about three feet), grabbed me by my shirt and wore my butt out with a wire flyswatter. Then to add insult to injury, he told me to go fetch his cane so he could walk back up the steps and to his chair!!!!!!!

James Marion Autry was a school teacher all his life until he had to retire so I guess he had plenty of training handling children. He was extremely intelligent. But sometimes he made people wonder; did he have precognition or did he use his intelligence to foretell events?

Once in 1935/36 when my father, Euston Leverette and my uncle Luther Leverette, were sitting on that front porch with Grandpa Autry, and both had told me of this, Grandpa Autry told dad and Uncle Luther, "Do you see that freight train carrying all that scrap steel? Well it is going to Japan and the next time you see it, it will be in the form of falling bombs. But only one of you will have to fear them." Dad later worked for the Civil Service as a carpenter foreman and was classified as essential personnel when the war broke out so was not drafted but Uncle Luther was drafted and sent to the Pacific Threater to fight the Japanese. Precognition or intelligent thinking?

Another time in 1939, all of them were sitting on the front porch with dad holding me, a small baby, and Grandpa Autry pointed to a small black boy walking down the street playing a rhythm on his legs with his hands, "Euston do you see that little black boy? Well his children will be allowed to go to school with white children at about the time Mike gets out of school." In 1956 we had the Little Rock demonstrations and forced integration in 1957; I graduated from high school in 1957! My mother, father and grandmother all told me about his foreseeing of events. Precognition or intelligent thinking?

After the Civil War was over, Grandpa Autry's father David was released from POW camp and I have no idea how this happened but David arrived home with a Springfield musket he had picked up from a battle field and used before being captured. This firearm was given to Grandpa Autry when he became of age and Grandpa Autry, with the permission of all his children, said the gun would go to me when he died since I was the only gun fanatic in the immediate family. Well when Grandpa Autry died a third world war broke out over who was to receive the gun and Uncle Enoch, my great-uncle, won since he was the oldest of James and Emma's children. While I was in the Marines, Uncle Enoch's house burned down, completely destroying the weapon. I am still a little upset by this.

James Marion Autry died April 19, 1952 and is buried at Liberty Hill Cemetery on Hwy 202


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