8-B Sunday, May 31, 1953 Kingsport Times-News Appalachian Tales JAMES TAYLOR ADAMS Sitting on my front porch the other night, listening to the sighing of the wind through the bows of my trees, memories of days long gone possessed me for the moment; and again I was a youngster, rambling the woods, learning the lore of the wilds under under the instructions of my uncle, Â·Samuel Simpson Adams, of whom there was never a more competent herb doctor in all the Cumberland country. Beginning at this time of year, and all through the summer and fall months, Uncle Sam spent a great deal of time in the woods, sang hoe in one hand and a flour bag, which he insisted on calling a "poke," In the other, collecting barks, roots and leaves, from Sam. All through the. task he kept up a running line of talk telling me and members of my family how dandelion was excellent excellent for Slight's disease; how squawroot would cure the colic : almost instantly; how wild cherry cherry and dogwood bark would blood and act as a general tonic and bring a fellow out of the "go-backs" in a hurry; and how white Walnut bark, boiled down, could be rolled into pills that would even untie the worst case of locked towels. Once, he said, that he made and administered forty-two white walnut pills to a patient before he got him straightened out. He had, hei said, almost despaired, and was just getting ready to call for a which he concocted remedies to I rifle bullet, when his remedy cure the every ill of his neigh-j worked. To those not familiar bors, all of whom believed in hisjwith the ways of our people, wisdom the same as they believed believed In the books of the Bible. Sometimes I would accompany Uncle Sam on his rambles; and it was from him I gained all the knowledge I now possess of our native plants and the medical value of this, that and the other. Uncle Sam, of the third generation generation of Adamses in East Kentucky, Kentucky, was the son of Elder Spencer Spencer Adams, a noted herb doctor, who, before he passed on at the age of 81, taught Uncle Sam, eldest of his three living sons, all he knew of harbs; and what each and every one were good for. It has been a long time since the dawning of December 27, :t852; and with the dawning of that long ago day, Uncle Sam Adams was born on the head of Pine Creek, a small north-flowing north-flowing tributary of the North Fork might say in explanation of Uncle Sam's reference to calling for a bullet, that in the olden times a rifle ball was the last and desperate remedy for locked or congested bowels. But Uncle Sam, could he would be disappointed in me, I know. For, although I have always always been interested in plant life, I have not followed in his footsteps as an herb doctor. He has a son who does some dosing with bitters and teas for slight ills in his own and his neighbors' families, particularly so when of as of in and as he ' as not me doctors are hard, to get; or illness Is not considered of 'Â· serious nature. He does gather and store away a goodly supply of the herbs, recommended by his father and his grand father, such as rattleweed, (local name for Black Cohosh) which our of Kentucky River; right up nexti family has always looked to Pine Mountain, where you will find every tree, bush and weed, native to the Cumberlands, growing in all their splendor. So, you see, Uncle Sam was born midst the things that were to be his life's companions and his life's work. Not that Uncle Sam did not do other things besides hunt herbs and roll pills. He did. He preached, he prayed, he 'horse-swapped, he hunted, and he farmed a little between times. And marrying people; Uncle Sam was an expert at twisting the marital knot; and it was his boast, on his death bed, at the _^ _^ __ age of 89, that very few knots | thlngs were too cold for him. that he had tied had ever raveled | G u e r r s r 0 j a Mex i canj explained as a cure-all. I remember that, when I was growing up, my parents kept a pot of rattleweed constantly-sitting on the back of the cookstove and they made take a liberal swallow of it both night and morning.. It was, I distinctly remember, a very bitter bitter dose; but, after so long, I used to it; arid I sort of liked stuff, the way one likes beer or coffee, I guess. COLD CITY DETROIT (UP) --%-rancisco only a few days when he decided the may "In said four to he But in 'Detroit or broken apart. I have always believed that Uncle Sam looked upon, me as his logical successor as an herb doctor. My reason for this is that, although he never mentioned it in so many words, he was fdrever discussing his "profession" with me. Once, not many years before he died (about ten years agoi he came to my house and insisted that I go with .him to the woods Â·to collect the herbs whiuh he Â·would need for the following winter's doctoring. His excuse for getting me to accompany him was that he was growing so old and tottery that he was not able to "pack" the poke, and that he might fall over .a log or stump and h u r t himself, " 'way out there by myself, with nobdy around." But I knew Uncle Sam was mighty peart for his eighty- odd years. Only the day before I had been surprised, even. awed, to watch him j u m p up and crack his heels together twice before he struck the ground. So, on that particular clay, as I followed his footsteps into the deepest forest, anywhere near Big Laurel, I was f u l l y aware that his real motive Â·was to talk to me about the various plants anil trees from which he plucked or skinned his medicines. He kept a running line of talk all through the day, telling me of his past experiences and many on-the-spot experiments. If I had carried paper and pencil and Â·jotted clown all that he said that one day I would have had enough material for a great big book. He wandered from herbs to charm- doctoring, telling me of how he had once cured a case of phthisic forty-some miles away. Late in the evening we returned returned home and I dumped the contents of the "poke" out onto the porch to be gone through, separated, c l a s s i f i e d , and wrapped in bundles by Uncle that he hadn't stuck his hand out when making a turn in his auto because Detroit's weather was too cold. The judge also cold--took away his driving privileges for 30 days. 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