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The Horne Side: Ancestry of Helen Horne Penley

Uncle Charles Horne

Aunt Toop and Uncle Charles Horne

Charles was the only son who survived to maturity; Helen and her sisters had a heavy load of farm chores. As young girls they topped and suckered tobacco and removed the disgusting worms that plagued their crop. After the tobacco was cut, Helen struggled to "hand" the tobacco just right, but her Dad was seldom satisfied with her little handfuls. Dear brother Charles would often come through and improve on Helen's work before Frank came to inspect. Math was not Helen's favorite subject, but Charles was particularly good with numbers. He sat with Helen in the evenings, helping her with homework, and encouraging her through frustration. Whatever the problem, Charles' calm easy going demeanor and dry wit made the job easier or at least bearable.

Helen was twelve years old when Charles married. She remembers being horribly jealous and disappointed when he married Aunt Toop; she feared she was losing Charles forever. But Lona Ethel Daugherty was a wonderful addition to the family, and Helen soon realized what a blessing she was. Helen conveyed her love for Charles and Toop through the next generation.

Food from Aunt Toop's table is legendary. Forty years later fleeting thoughts of sights and smells from her kitchen throw the taste buds into overdrive. Everything in her immaculate kitchen was cooked from scratch on her wood stove, and in the summer it came straight from her garden. Janie Clark and Karen begged to visit there in the summer. Cobblers or cakes still warm from the oven and topped with blackberries and a bit of fresh cream from the morning milking were supreme. Some in the family still argue that her chocolate cakes were even better. Euphoria began when she said, "Go pick a few berries and I'll see what I can do" or "Try this, it's not much good, but maybe you'll like it."

Aunt Toop had a beautiful voice and if begged long enough she would pick her guitar for us. Her rendition of "Wildwood Flower" was never equaled. Helen remembers visiting Aunt Toop's musical family when her cousins would all sing and play instruments. She earned and learned her talent the old fashioned way, she was the niece of Sarah Daugherty Carter of the famed Carter Family, A.P. Carter's wife. Aunt Toop was the daughter of Sarah's brother, Robert J. Daugherty and Bonna E. Daugherty Addington.

Both Toop and Charles had sweet dispositions and seemed to enjoy our invasion each summer. They took time to make us feel important. When amused, there was a slow smile or Aunt Toop's husky chuckle. Uncle Charles eventually rented the Nan Bond house and raised his family there. An adventure to remember evolved from every visit to that home. We played Cowboys and Indians in the big yard and veranda that stretched around the house. Kenny tomahawked Linda with a hammer as she came around a corner. Bobby and Linda once set Uncle Charles' wheat field on fire, but her parents only learned about it decades later when Linda told them. Charles took care of the problem and never mentioned it.

Charles and Toop's eldest child was Sue Ella. Sue lived with us for awhile on Dora Street before her marriage to Glyn King. We visited every summer. While baby Mark slept, we played cards silently and stifled giggles until time to wake Glyn up for his graveyard shift. They eventually added Brett and raised their family in Shawnee, Oklahoma. We lost Glyn on March 2, 2001.

Bobby Mack Horne reminded us of James Dean's good looks. Bobby joined the Army and came home to marry Peggy Fraley. Bobby died after falling from a roof in a construction accident in 1978. Bobby and Peggy's baby Tina died as an infant. Their daughter Tammy Jean thrives, and fortunately shares interest in the history of our family.

June married Doug Nickels; from a little girl's perspective, he was the definition of handsome. They have Randy and David, and Randy's daughter Brandy. June inherited her mother's cooking genius, Jane would testify to that from her brief residence in Kingsport in 2007.

Kenneth married Dorothy Hamm and continued the Horne name through his son Michael Todd Horne and grandson Kevin Horne. Janie and Karen never threw Kenneth off balance with our relentless harassment, but we enjoyed our efforts and he put up with us. Karen jokingly told Granddaddy Horne that Kenneth had put one of his knives in his pocket. Unfortunately, Granddaddy could not be convinced that it was a joke, and he held a grudge against Kenneth for a long time. I'm still sorry, Kenneth.

When Aunt Toop became ill, Charles moved her to Wanda's house and cared for her. After Aunt Toop's death in 1979, Charles cared for his big sis Wanda until her death in 1988. Just as he lovingly tended so many people in his life, his children likewise cared for him at the end, They are in constant contact with their Aunt Helen today, and she treasures their kinship. Throughout his life, Norman Charles Horne was Helen's staunchest ally.