Thomas Newton and Mary Mann McCright, with their six boys under the age of eight years old, lived under a cluster of live oak trees while their log cabin was built with the help of Brice and John Mann, her brothers, and others who were already settled in Wise County.
The one room log home with a south door, no windows and an eight foot fireplace on the east wall, was located just below the open prairie range where Comanche Indians traveled. The logs and shingles were split by hand with a broad axe and after erecting, the holes were chinked with wood and clay. The shingles were tied down with logs. The chimney stones were cut by hand. The new home was completed and the family of nine moved in Seprember, 1860.
Since there were no fences, all cattle had to be branded, especially newborn calves. Thieves would brand them as their own, if they could find them first. Sheep needed constant protection from wolves and other wild life.
At first, wild turkeys, wild hogs and sweet potatoes were the main diet. It must have been a relief to add the vegetables from the garden and a tamer variety of hogs. Laundry was done on battling-boards in Deep Creek about a half-mile from the house. It was necessary to go to Deep Creek in groups, for the laundry detail, as Indians were a constant threat.
Life was simple and sweet, despite the many dangers and hardships, with all the living done in one room, the cooking food hung in the fireplace in large iron kettles. At night, by firelight, grandparents read the bible and worked on the spinning wheel, as the youngers ones gathered around.
Before arriving in Wise County, Mary Mann, born Oct. 10, 1830 in Tennessee, had traveled with her family (parents John and Delilah Woody Mann) and eleven other families by a large river raft leaving Roane County, TN when she was eighteen years old in 1848. They traveled to TN, MS, and Red Rivers before traveling by land from a point near Shreveport, LA, to Upshur County, TX near Gilmer.
The family remained there at least two years. On November 12, 1850, Mary Mann and Thomas Newton McCright, son of Matthew and Charity McCright, born Feb. 24, 1826 in GA., were married. They remained in Upshur County nearly ten years before moving to Wise County. Their only girl child was born after they moved into their cabin near Deep Creek, in Feb. 1861, she joined the family of six boys.
They first belonged to a small Baptist Church located south of Decatur. Thomas walked six miles each Sunday morning to Sand Hill for services. Later a church was established at Deep Creek and the family attended there.
At the age of thirty-six, in 1861, Thomas Newton McCright left to serve in the Confederate Army. Treasured letters were sent home through the Aurora Post Office telling of his long marching and many hardships. He was captured and taken to a prison camp in Chicago, IL where he died on April 7, 1863 at the age of thirty-seven.
Mary Mann McCright gave birth to her ninth child, another son, in October 1962, just after her husband left for the Civil War. She also opened her home later to an orphan, Minnie May, who made her home with Mary.
With the Indians threat to so many families in this area, Mary had a large hole dug in front of the hearth and there she put the children under the floor and stood guard at the door with her gun. One time during a camp meeting at Deep Creek word was received that the Comanche Indians were on the warpath and headed in that direction. People were attending the meeting (preaching) from far and near, so they went to the nearest neighbors homes to spend the night. Two or three men kept constant watch all night for the Indians, but were very thankful that nothing happened.
The Deep Creek school house and cemetery were located on land set aside by Mary Mann McCright and her brother Andrew Mann. Their parents are among the first to be buried there. The children attende school along with the other children of the Deep Creek Community. They carried one large lunch bucket for the whold family, usually filled with baked sweet potatoes.
As the boys grew and married another log house was built a short distance away from the home place, but out of sight. The newly-weds all lived here and as time passed it became known as the "Weaning House."
Mary Mann McCright had requested that no water ever touch her grave and so her grave is completely covered. She and six of her children, two daughters-in-law, her son-in-law and some grandchildren are all buried on some of this land set aside at Deep Creek by her for the cemetery.
The children of this pioneer couple were:
John M., born Oct. 10, 1851, died Nov. 20, 1879. He never married.
Quinton A. was born Sept. 18, 1852 and died Oct. 18, 1852 William Jasper (Billie) was born Mar. 9, 1854 and died Feb. 26, 1895. Married Eliza Eskridge (b. 2/21/1861..d. 12/1/1936) on Dec 15, 1881.
Christopher Columbus (Christy) was born Nov. 3, 1855 and died Nov. 23, 1899; he married Nancy Hefley (b. Mar. 13, 1860) on Dec. 13, 1881 and after her death he married Mattie Smith Crounce who was born Mar. 11, 1866.
Owen Davis was born Dec. 15, 1856 and died June 29, 1887. He married Rebecca Alice Burns on Feb 16, 1879.
Matthew Ambers was born Feb. 27, 1858 and died May 23, 1917, never married.
Doctor Washington (Doc) was born Feb. 10, 1860 and died Jan. 2, 1912; he married Mary Anna Castle (b. Mar 17, 1874) on Jul 25, 1897.
Charity Emeline was born Feb 10, 1861 and died Nov. 10, 1938; She married William Newton (Billy) Rogers (b. Apr. 9, 1858, and died Mar. 17, 1927) on De. 21, 1881.
Thomas Houston (Tommy) was born Oct 1, 1862 and died Nov. 30, 1936; he married Malinda Elizabeth (Lizzie) Robertson (b. Jun. 20, 1871) on Dec. 23, 1890.
Minnie Mae (an orphan raised by Mary) was born Aug. 20, 1874 and died Feb. 1954; she married John H. Roper (b Sept 5, 1866 and d. Jan 1946) on Sep. 11, 1899.
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