© 2017 by William B Hardison, Jr.

Grandpa is the Hero of our Story

He was born near Jones Bend in Maury County Tennessee on November 21, 1889.  He was the oldest of

twelve children.  His mother named him Lēgiē with long-e's.

 

          Lēgiē is a Welch given name, pronounced LEÉ-ghee (with long “ē”s).  It may be derived from the Old English “liege,” meaning “lord of the land.”

 

          Lēgiē’s mother, Mary “Mollie” Jones, was of Welch ancestry.  She had eleven children, and she gave seven of them Welch names.  In addition to Legie, there was Cordie Mai, Zuleika, Sula, Scottie, Oslin, and Alta.  Those were unusual names in that remote Tennessee farming community, filled with Joes and Sams, Buds and Bills, Sues and Annies and Lauras.

 

          According to U.S. Census Records, as of 2010, there was only one man in American who had the first name Legie.  He was unique is more ways than one.

           From my perspective, as a six-year old child, he was a giant, standing 6'4 he loomed over me.  Raw-boned and grizzled, weighing in at 230 pounds, he had the reputation of being the strongest man in the county, but he never fought another man.  He was a man of peace and could have passed for a Quaker.

           Put a black hat on his balding head, dress him up in a white shirt with a black vest, then let him off on any street corner in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and he would pass for an Amish, no questions asked.  They would probably loan him their buggy too.  Just by looking at his face, they could tell that he was "good for it."  To complete the picture, if you observed his work ethic and personal code of conduct, you would think him a Puritan from New England.  But he wasn't Amish, or a Quaker, or a Puritan.  He was none of these, but in some amazing way, he was all of them rolled into one.

           My dad told me that my grandfather was a nature mystic meaning that he could talk to the animals, and they would talk to him.  Even now I marvel, for it seemed to me then--and I am more certain now, as strange as it sounds--the owls in the woods held counsel with Grandpa whenever mice got into the feedbags.  The hawks flying high overhead, normally a bane to young chicks just out of the coop, knew that there was a "no-fly zone" over his farm. And it was as if the squirrels paid him rent for the use of his trees as they laid up their nuts in storage for the winter.  In a mysterious, mystical way, he was "the lord of the land," a mystic in bib-overalls, the St. Francis of Sowell Mill Pike.  Maybe the rocks didn't speak to him, but they listened.

           Now that you've met Grandpa come along with us.  Lace up your boots and grab yer hat and join us cause we're going on an adventure.  Around Grandpa  there was always something fascinating happening.   The adventures came fast and furious pouring forth like grain out of a chute.  

           Welcome to the wonderful world of Grandpa, a man named Lēgiē, the "lord of the land."  Come join us.  You'll be a better person for it.