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JOHN BAKER IS
VERY ODD HAN;
Has Kept Two Coffins Stored
in His Parlor for Him
self and His Wife
MAN OF MANY TRADES
John W. Cannon, roving re
porter of the Greensboro Daily
News, has been to East Bend, and
there picked up the trail of one
of Yadkin's oldest and most ver
satile citizens. But let Mr. Can
non tell the story. Here it is:
East Bend. John William
Pledge Baker, 87, beekeeper,
As long as they
pass on curves
you 11 need
West Main St. Elkin, N. C.
■kURRY COUNTY'S OUTSTANDING
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JO S ™ E 20
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price $19.75. Sale sale price— Sale price—
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Jewelers Since 1893 Next to P. 0.
ELKIN, N. C.
farmer, dentist, brickmason, car
penter anri medical student, Is an
ideal man to interview in these
troublous times. No matter how
loud you shout questions at him
he will not hear a single one of
them on account of being stone
deaf. He selects his own subject
and says what he pleases, a free
dom of speech rarely witnessed in
this day of dictatorships.
If there are any questions to be
answered —and they do sometimes
crop up even in such an out-of
the-way nook as the Baker farm
in Yadkin county—he depends on
his 83-year-old wife, Mrs. Mary
Anne Scales Baker, to whom he
has been married for 67 years, to
hear them. Almost seven decades
of living together has resulted in
perfect cooperation between the
Fashions Own Coffins
The way we heard about Uncle
John, as he is affectionately
known around East Bend, was
through the word that was being
passed around the neighborhood
that he had fashioned his own
coffin and was holding it, await
ing its solemn time of use. Such
a step would even beat a defense
program for being prepared, it
seemed to us, and we went to in
vestigate. The neighbors were
not quite adequate in their infor
mation. Not only had Uncle John
built his own coffin but had also
made one for his .wife. Both of
the caskets, fashioned from the
best walnut timber that he could
find, occupy a corner in the front
room where they were placed
three years ago.
You are going to expect us to
tell you that Uncle John is a mor
bid sort of individual with his
mind always on death. Who
wouldn't think of the grim reap
er occasionally with a pair of re
minders like this among the
houshold furniture? But you pon
der without knowing the real Un
cle John, who is just as normal as
any father of 14 children would
be. He considers the two coffins
furniture just as essential as you
would your radio. He told us so
himself as he nonchalantly sat on
top of one of them which he
brought out into the yard that we
might see its fine points all the
Made Caskets For Eight Children
Of course not so much leeway
has been given the designers of
crypts. This architecture is nec
essarily limited. But Uncle John
made the most of a narrow field
of learning. He pointed to var
ious improvements he had incor
porated in his cabinet making.
Coffin manufacture is nothing
strange to him. He had a car-
THE ELKIN TRIBUNE, ELKIN, NORTH CAROLINA
penter's shop in days gone by and
used to make a great many of
them for his neighbors. He and
his wife have outlived eight of
their 14 children and it was his
own hands that made a casket for
each of them. He also made cof
fins for his father, who taught
him how to tend to bees, and his
mother. Why shouldn't he make
Uncle John has not always
been deaf. He could hear just a
little bit a short while before last
Christmas. But the perfect si
lence which now envelops him
has not put an end to his work.
Last summer he raised more than
500 chickens. The cold weather
of this year hasn't been so good
on poultry and he is cutting his
production, but there always are
his bees. He has many stands of
them in his front yard. He han
dles them as if they were pets and
no more minds a sting than he
does a briar scratch. His father
before him was a beekeeper and
he says he was almost reared on
honey, a sweet that he is giving
up now because he thinks it might
be damaging to his health.
Quit Dentistry Long Ago
He quit dentistry a long time
ago. His old footpower drill and
forceps have long since rusted
with non-use. But he still re
members and relates of the time
he pulled one of his patients
across a log while extracting a
tooth, which was in the days be
fore anasthesia and modern offi
ces. He made his rounds among
the surrounding communities do
ing such work as they required.
Liked Irish Peddlers
Uncle John in his prime could
build just as good a chimney as
he could a set of false teeth. He
was always in demand for his
ability with hammer, saw and
trowel. In his spare time he stu
died medicine, a course which he
never completed, to his sorrow.
No one has ever come to John
Baker's house asking for some
thing to eat but what it was given
him. That is the reputation he
has in his own neighborhood
and he mentioned something
about there being in the book he
was reading an admonition run
ning like this. "Inasmuch as ye
have done it unto the least of
these . .
Profit? Reward? He hasn't ask
ed for any. He does count on the
promise of an eternal home as he
has heard outlined many times
in the Union Hill Methodist
church, of which he is the oldest
member. But most of all he has
been busy in this life because he
liked just to be busy. That is one
of the reasons why he took time
after he was 80 years old to make
for himself and his life partner
the beds in which the two will
take their last sleep. They will
sleep just as well, we imagine, be
cause good heart walnut and hon
est workmanship went into their
(What Mr. Cannon failed to
learn about his subject is that he
is the oldest member of the Ma
sonic order in Yadkin county,
both in point of years and years
The Rangers Quartette of Ra
dio Station WBT, Charlotte, gave
a program in the Rockford school
auditorium last Thursday night,
sponsored by the Methodist
church. A large crowd attended.
Miss Mayrene Harrington of
Taylorsville, spent last week with
her grandparents, Rev. and Mrs.
Geo. E. Burrus.
Miss Evelyn Holyfield graduat
ed last Monday from Meredith
College, and is at home with her
parents, Mr. and Mrs. H. G.
Holyfield, for the summer.
Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Adams of
Concord, were the week-end
guests of Mr. and Mrs. Spencer
Mr. Spencer Norman of Dob
son, principal of Rockford school,
was a visitor here last Monday.
Mr. and Mrs. Jay Matlock and
family of Winston-Salem, spent
last Sunday as the guest of Mr.
and Mrs. Harvey Burrus.
Mr. and Mrs. W. E. Burrus and
family, of Winston-Salem, were
the Sunday guests of Rev. and
Mrs. Geo. E. Burrus.
Miss Beulah Polger of Rural
Hall, is spending several days
with Mrs. C. B. Davis.
Mrs. Edgar Boles and children
of Winston-Salem, were the week
end visitors of Mr. and Mrs. J.
The annual Sunday school
convention will be held at the
Rockford Methodist church the
fourth Sunday in this month.
The public is cordially invited to
A large amount of American
surplus food supplies will be sold
through the U. S. Department of
Agriculture to the Red Cross at
half price to feed war refugees in
Glass blackboards are being
made In ivory, green or black.
Dark chalk is used on the ivory
colored board and light chalk on
the green and black products.
We extend a hearty invitation
to everybody to come and be with
us each Sunday night for prayer
service. Mrs. Carrie West will
conduct the service next Sunday
Several people from this com
munity attended the funeral of
Mr. Houston Tucker last Satur
day at Cool Springs. He will be
greatly missed by all.
Mr. Sanford Byrd from lowa,
has been spending a few days
with his brother, Mr. Hilary Byrd
and Mrs. Byrd.
Mr. and Mrs. Marcus Tucker
announce the birth of a son, on
Friends of Mrs. Ruff Blackburn
will regret to learn that she is ill.
Her friends hope for her a speedy
Little Misses Betty Jean and
Angeline Holbrook of Traphill,
have been spending a few days
with friends and relatives here.
Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Darnell and
family were the Sunday guests of
their daughter, Mrs. Marvin
Lewis, and Mr. Lewis.
Mrs. James Ross of Fieldale,
Va., has been spending a few days
with relatives here.
Mr. and Mrs. Quincy Brown of
Winston-Salem, were the week
end guests of Mr. Brown's par
ents, Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Brown.
Before the Clerk
Woodrow Park and wife, Mar
varenne Park, vs. Mrs. Gertha
Park Hatcher and husband, J. O.
Hatcher; Mrs. Fannie Park
Saunders (widow); Mrs. Beulah
Park Hamilton (widow) and hus
band, Walker Hamilton and Nel
son Park, minor.
The defendants, Mrs. Gertha
Park Hatcher and husband, J. O.
Hatcher and Mrs. Fannie Park
Saunders will take notice that an
action entitled as above has been
commenced in the Superior Court
of Surry County, North Carolina,
for a partition of land, and that
said defendants will further take
notice that they are required to
appear at the office of the Clerk
of the Superior Court, said Coun
ty, in the Court House in Dob
son, North Carolina, within ten
days after'the 15th day of June>
1940, and answer or demur to the
Complaint in said action or the
plaintiffs will apply for the relief
demanded in said Complaint.
This the 22nd day of May,
F. T. LLEWELLYN,
6-13 Clerk of Superior Court
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In recent laboratory tests,
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Chevrolets than any other ■
X'u. r t ;e h : y n r.V' mel ° rilljl AUIIIN!
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Phone 255 Elkin, N. C.
where enjoy a happy minute with ice-cold
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THE PAUSE THAT REFRt S
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PHONE 32 NORTH WILKESBORO, N. C.
Thursday, June 13, 1940