I would like to relate some Hickory County history from around 1920. I have heard my Dad
Lewis Crawford tell this more than once. He and his oldest brother Jessie were sent to mill at
Preston with the team and wagon. They were to go to mill, get their grinding done and go up
town to the store.
It happened that some of the older men of the community were having their weekly target
practice. There were about 15 or 20 of them with their percussion rifles. It was the custom for all
contestants to pay an entry fee which would pay for a hog which was to be the prize.
Dad was a bit apprehensive about the whole affair since this was his first trip so far from his
home. He was only about seven years of age at this time. The Crawford family lived about three
miles east of Nemo in the Pleasant Valley community. Jessie was very interested in the
commotion so they had to stop and check it out.
Dad said the land west of the mill was in heavy Black Oak timber. This is where the target
range was located. The riflemen would lay down in the mud to rest their cap and ball rifles on a
fallen log and then shoot away. It seems there would be several winners. The winners would
butcher the hog at the mill and divide the meat.
The only men Dad could remember was John Landreth and Mr. Mabary, father of Dewey and
Lee Mabary. John's wife Mary called him "pap". She would say "Hee hee, Pap won a side of
meat or ham". Mary was first married to George W. Crawford and after his death she married John Landreth. George W. was the great uncle of Lewis and Jessie.
Dad said when they started home he didn't think they would ever get home through all that
dark woods. The boys were not more than four or five miles from home, but it wouldn't have
looked any different for a young boy had it been 500 miles.
Preston was first called Black Oak Point and perhaps this patch of Black Oak timber was
where the town got its name. The mill was located just south of town.
This article is submitted by Jack Crawford January 30, 2001