F. M. Wiggins Autobiographical Sketch

Subject of this sketch first saw the light of day on October 27, 1889. I regard this day as the most important day of my life. Why shouldn't I? No birth - no life. My birthday has been celebrated every year since, just like Washington's and Lincoln's. I admit it isn't mentioned on the calendars, but I've always regarded the omission as an oversight. This important event happened in the east room of the Wiggins log house that stood at the end of the settlement road. In later years when we children saw anyone coming down the road we knew we were going to have company, in which case we would most likely have fried chicken for dinner (or supper) whichever came first. I am blessed with a good memory. I remember all this as clearly as if it had happened yesterday. I even remember the attending physician... Dr. J. D. Rush. He and I have talked about the occasion a number of times. No official birth records were kept in that day. When I applied for Social Security 65 years later, I had trouble proving that I was ever born. Farther, Mother and the Doctor were all, other than myself, who could of their own knowledge swear that I was, and they were all dead, and the man wouldn't take my word.

I remember when I was only three days old, hearing my mother say, "Isn't he beautiful and three days later someone brought a mirror to the bed and I grabbed it out of mother's hand and got a good look at myself. I couldn't see any beauty... none at all... just an unsightly red face, no hair, no teeth, no nothing but a big mouth. That is the first time I ever remember of getting scared. Thereafter, I've taken no one's word for beauty. At age 84, I still prefer to make my own appraisal.

My daddy was my first teacher. He taught me out of books, but the most valuable lessons didn't come out of books. Early in life, I displayed a stubborn disposition. Father saw I had to learn what discipline meant. I remember once we had distinguished company. They came from another county. Anyone coming from outside your immediate community was distinguished. After supper (it was supper then) all were seated around the hearthstone... but me. I had perched my proud little self on the center table, the only piece of furniture we had, and it was handmade. My greatest weakness in childhood was making myself conspicuous. Sad to say, but I haven't entirely outgrown my childhood. The executive authority of the household told me to dismount and take a chair. I was perfectly comfortable and didn't move. Disobedience was my next greatest weakness. Father didn't give me a second chance. He wasn't a Methodist. He politely took me by the arm, pulled me off of the table, undertook to lead me to the door... but I wouldn't lead. He literally dragged me to the door, out through the hall, off of the front porch around to the end of the house, and there gripping me with hand, reached down with the other and came up with a shingle. Then and there I got disciplined. I have often thought had I not learned what obedience meant then, there's no telling in what penitentiary I might have landed.

The greatest bargain I ever made was when I got Fannie to say "Yes." To her, I owe all the good I've done. She bore me four wonderful daughters who lassoed four wonderful husbands. Now, I have four grandsons, two granddaughters and one great grandson. Rich at last. Praise, the Lord.