THE BOOK OF HURT MEMORIES - Collected by Ron Johnson


A particular memory that I have is of my Grandpa Tell Hurt. I was about 5 (so probably summer of 1952) and loved to ride with him into Casey in his 2-ton stake-bed truck. I often wheedled him to buy me stuff they sold at Arntd's five and dime store (now there's a term that's no longer in the young folk's lexicon). On the occasion, I got a cool little cap pistol and a couple of rolls of caps.

Driving back to his farm I was merrily shooting caps out the passenger side window when the truck hit a pot-hole going over the East-Branch creek and I lost my new toy (which either ended up being run over or fell into the creek, I can't remember which, but it was lost. I was heart broken -- to have a new toy and lose it so quickly!

Grandpa didn't say anything, just turned the truck around at the next farm and drove back into Casey to Arndt's. We bought another pistol... and the only thing I remember him saying was 'hang on to this one when we go over the bridge.'

This man was my ideal for patience and unqualified love over the years.

Jon Wallace -- Glen Ellyn, IL

Grandson of Elmer Charles “Tell” Hurt  & Pearl Edna Wood

Grand Nephew of Alva J. “Lyle” Hurt & Sarah Ann Lewis




            When I was 9 years old (1950-1951) I had the good fortune to have lived a few months with my Grandma and Grandpa Hurt in Cumberland County, Illinois. I say good fortune but it wasn’t all good because Grandma was very ill at the time and my mother and I moved in to help in whatever manner we were able. Of course Mom was the help and I was the tag-along.

            I became familiar with the countryside and roamed quite a lot, spending days in the fields and woods. I had for playmates the children of Noble and Eva Hurt who lived about a half-mile south and uncle Ernie Hurt’s step-children who lived about a half-mile north. I attended the first half of my fourth school year at Hazel Dell and there met my first girlfriend, Martha O’Dell.

            I remember Grandpa as being tall (I was quite short at the time!), slender and soft spoken although it didn’t seem to me that he talked much. In retrospect I realize that he was concerned about Grandma’s health and he was also working full time at the shoe factory in Casey so he probably simply tolerated me.

            Grandma Hurt was the epitome of what I believe to be a true grandmother. I think that she truly loved children and that she doted on her grandchildren. Each time a grandchild came to visit they could expect to be picked up (if small enough) and given a mandatory hug and kiss on the cheek.

            I truly miss my Grandma and Grandpa Hurt.


Ronald Edford Johnson – Durango, CO

Grandson of Alva J. “Lyle” Hurt & Sarah Ann Lewis


My Grandparents, Jesse and Iva (Simpson) Hurt helped Jesse's father, Lige Hurt, run the old Paint Lick Ferry in Garrard Co., KY during the 1920's.  My grandmother was a "good hand" with horses and she had broken in a grey mare that, in her view, was an exceptional horse.  She told me that the horse was a high-stepping, gaited mare that made heads turn when she went by.  Several noted horsemen in the county wanted to buy the horse from her and she wouldn't sell until my grandfather decided he wanted a Model T Ford.  So they went into Richmond, KY to trade her mare and buggy.  Neither of my grandparents could drive and the salesman only showed them how to start the car.  I asked her what happened to the car (I was the oldest grandchild so I was her favorite straightman) and she always said, "the durn thang wouldn't gee or haw" so they run it into a creek on the way home.  As far as I know, the carcass is still resting in the mud of some old creek.  She said she tried to buy her mare back several times but the new owner wouldn't ever sell.


Jesse Hurt, born 1891 and died 1928, was the great-great-grandson of James Hurt and Elizabeth Morris.


Iva Dale Simpson, born 1892 and died 1988, was the daughter of Mike Simpson and Mary Anderson of Garrard County, KY.


Sandra Hurt Norris – Hilham, TN

Granddaughter of Jesse Hurt & Iva Dale Simpson



When I was about 16 and 17 years of age, I had my own car (a 1936 Ford Coupe) and often I would drive down from Champaign to my Grandma and Grandpa Hurt’s home,  which was  between Greenup and Casey and out in the country.  My Mom was staying there taking care of Grandma Hurt who was ill from cancer.  While there I would often go squirrel hunting, using Grandpa Hurt’s .22 rifle.  Ted Hurt was also living there at that time and also loved to squirrel hunt.  So Ted would go with me.  He could spot a squirrel quicker than me and point it out.


One day while out in the woods hunting, Ted saw a squirrel up in a small hickory tree.  He pointed it out to me, as I was the one who had the gun.  I looked up and scanned all over that Hickory tree but could not see a squirrel.  Thinking Ted might be wrong, I told him that we better go on looking elsewhere.  We started walking away, but Ted turned back toward the tree, positive there was a squirrel there.  Again I told him we should move on, and finally Ted reluctantly came with me.  We had not walked more than 50 feet from the tree when Ted turned and ran back to that little tree. Turning around I saw a squirrel coming down the tree and just as he hit the ground Ted grabbed it.  He shook it around and managed to break its neck.  He than picked it up again and brought it over to me, dropping it down at my feet.  He than sat down and looked up at me, not saying anything but I knew he was thinking how dumb I was about a squirrel not being in that tree.  Ted Hurt was the best darn squirrel hunting dog I ever knew.


Jerry Arlen Johnson – Arvada, CO

Grandson of Alva J. “Lyle” Hurt & Sarah Ann Lewis



I cannot remember exactly what year it happened or even how old I was but it is etched in my mind forever!  Of course, my brother, Mike, could probably tell you exactly when it was since it is also etched in his mind....or actually more like his forehead!  It was back in the days when kids played out in the street since there weren't too many cars flying up and down the roads.  And if a car did come down the road, you would all move to the side and let them pass............not stand in defiance like the kids do nowadays!  Anyway, Mike and I and some other kids who I don't remember were playing baseball in the street in front of our house in Brunswick, Gary, Indiana, where we grew up.  It was my turn at bat and Mike was the catcher.  I kept telling him to move back a little because for some reason when I hit the ball the normal thing for me to do was let go of the bat.  Yep, you guessed it!  I hit the ball, let go of the bat and smacked him right in the head!  I hadn't even reached first base and heard him scream!  Of course, Mom and Dad came out and grabbed him up and said something harsh to me and away they went with him to the hospital to get stitches.  Just left me standing there!  Of course, I did not mean to do it but knew that I was gonna be in big trouble when they got back.  I was told (don't remember this part) that I packed a bag and was ready to run away from home when some friends of Mom and Dad's came by and stopped me.  Of course, to this very day my brother still makes comments about when I hit him in the head and shows everyone the scar above his eye.  I tell him that I was just trying to knock some sense into him but he doesn't think it's very funny!!!


Sharon Rae Kincade Prosser – Portage, IN

Granddaughter of Alva J. “Lyle” Hurt & Sarah Ann Lewis



One of my favorite childhood memories are the times I spent at my cousins' house in Crown Point, Indiana.  My cousins are Cathy, Karen and Doc Hurt.  Their mother, my Aunt Irene, was a wonderful woman.  I loved her dearly even though at the time I felt she was kinda mean to me!  By that I mean, she was always smacking my hand if she caught me biting my fingernails!  Would she be surprised now to see that my nails have grown and I no longer bite them down to the quick!  I still nibble a bit tho!  She also used to make me eat everything on my plate!  And, of course, when I was there she always seemed to serve spinach.  No matter how I tried to hide that spinach she would find it and scoop it back onto my plate!  To this very day I still hate spinach and there is none in my house at all!  Then there was my Uncle Wayne!  I never understood why but he always called me "Turd Bird"!  I am sure he had his reasons but cannot remember anyone ever telling me why!  I remember he loved really thick white gravy that he called "machunka".  I am not sure where the name came from but one of my favorite foods is thick, white pork chop gravy and I think of him whenever eating it.  We would go to their house on weekends for dinner and then the "old folks" would play cards afterwards.  Cathy, Karen and I were in charge of doing dishes.  I clearly remember that Cathy always got to wash dishes and Karen and I would have to dry them.  I'm sure that cousin Karen will not like everyone to hear this next part but I swear it is the truth and I mean no harm by it!  As we would start to dry the dishes one time Karen decided that she needed to use the bathroom.  So off she went to do her business and Cathy and I continued on with our chore.  By the time Karen came back from the bathroom we were finished with the dishes!  So each time after that so that she couldn't do it to us again...when she went to the bathroom, we would sit down and wait for her to come back before we finished the dishes!  I am afraid that I can't recall too much about cousin Doc other than he and my little brother, Mike, were probably pains in our necks always following us around. 


Sharon Rae Kincade Prosser – Portage, IN

Granddaughter of Alva J. “Lyle” Hurt & Sarah Ann Lewis





            It is hard to pick out any one particular memory and write about it. After all at my age, I have a lot of them, more good than bad ones, I think, that is if I can remember any of them. Several years ago, I had written about the first 17 years of my life and put it in a small booklet for the family. I told Ron pick something out of that phase of my life, to put in his booklet.  I don’t believe that was what he wanted.

            Being the youngest of the seven (7) children of Alva and Sarah Hurt, I must say I had a lot of guidance in growing up, clear into adulthood.

            I will try and recall some of my memories of my mother and father as well as my brothers and sisters.

            I only had my mother around to guide me for 17 years of my life but she had a profound effect on me. She was a loving and caring person, always trying to get me to do better in school, as I was one who cared less about book learning, back then. She was a hard worker. She worked outside of the home when she was able. I used to go with her and help out with the laundry at Oak Grove Lodge. This was tourist court with a lot of individual log cabins. This was a mile and half walk each way and if I remember correctly she was paid 40 cents an hour and her lunch.  This was during the years of World War II. Any money that I earned, from what ever odd jobs a kid could get was turned over to my mother. She used that money in part to help pay for my clothes, shoes etc. for back to school. Of course I never got an allowance as a kid, but would get a quarter on Saturday afternoon when we always went to Greenup or Casey, my mom and dad to shop. That quarter would get me into the picture show, double feature 12 cents, nickel bag of popcorn and a 5 cent coke. If we were in Greenup, I would go to the Candy Kitchen and spend the other 3 cents on penny candy.

            My dad was a person who didn’t like to tell you more than once to do something. You knew that when he got up and went to the sink and picked up that double razor strap and accordion it, pulled it back and it made a loud snapping noise, you had better do what he said. But again he was a very gentle and loving person, all you had to do was see him take a grandchild on his lap and play with them. He would pull his pocket watch out and hold it to their ear and that would stop them from fussing. My dad loved to hunt and fish. I remember as a small child, I followed him just about everywhere he went. I loved it when he would take me coon hunting, he would go with several of his friends. It seemed like what they done a lot of was, get out in the woods, build up a bond fire and set around telling tales, tall ones, I think. Dad also ran a trap line in the winter; this was one thing that I enjoyed with him. When I was 11 or 12 he turned the trap line over to me.  One year during the war, he was ready to go back trapping himself, fur prices were pretty high and I had caught over 300 muskrats and a several minks that year.

            In 1952 when I was discharged from the Army, I came back home and lived with my Dad for a month or so. He asked me one day if I was going to get a job and stay at home, if I was, he wasn’t going to get remarried. I told him that go ahead and marry Mrs. Berry as I would go up to my brother’s house and look for work.  He got married, they eloped, went down to Corinth, Mississippi. I went and lived with Wayne and Irene. I guess for the next 12 years, I would go back down to see him and go fishing or hunting. After I was married, my neighbor would go with me, down to Dad’s to go rabbit hunting. Now my Dad had some prejudice’s, not racial, but he had no use for Democrats or the Catholics. Well my neighbor  Don Tealing was a Democrat as well as a catholic.  I was afraid that there might be a conflict. I need not have worried, as they became good friends, Don would go down to visit and hunt even when I couldn’t go. One time when we down there, he asked Don if he would be a pall bearer at his funeral when his time came. Don told him, sure but that will be a long time yet. Less than a year later, Dad died and Don was there as one of the pall bearers.


            Written this 1st day of February 2007.

                                                     Jimmy R. Hurt



Jimmy Richard Hurt – Rio Rancho, NM

Son of Alva J. “Lyle” Hurt & Sarah Ann Lewis





I don't recall ever seeing Great-Grandpa Hurt in the city.  It was always us

coming down to the country for a visit with him.  The image of an old white frame house surrounded by ancient trees is inseparable from the image of Grandpa himself.  He smelled of tobacco juice like the house, and both were old, settled, and very much a part of the Illinois farmland. 

The house had a history, too.  It contained the bedroom where Great-Grandma died ten years before.  She had a  cancer, and Grandpa just sat and held her hand as she drew her last breath.  My dad had been sitting in their living room, waiting, when Grandpa came in and said "The old girl's gone."  It must have been peaceful-like, I guess.  That was the way I imagined death to be:  falling asleep without a struggle.  Close your eyes and the old girl's gone.  Well, I wasn't even born yet when Great-Grandma passed away, but I was there when

Great-Grandpa had his day of reckoning. 

We had driven for the past three hours down a two-lane state highway, me
sitting in the back seat (between my Grandma and a bowl of potato salad),
and my folks riding up in front.  It was a typical August day of 1963, with the sun high in the sky and the day full of promise. 

As our car turned into the dirt drive that led up to Grandpa's house, I leaned out the back window expectantly.  Grandpa's old hunting dog (mostly blind now), was slumped under an elm tree, waiting.  The black pump stood at attention as always, right in the middle of the front yard. Off to the side was an outhouse and, beyond that, the fishing pond.  We four tired travelers stood on the little front porch and waited for Grandpa to answer the door.  Grandpa was hard of hearing, perhaps?  Daddy tried the door, but it was locked.  Pressing his face against the glass, trying to see through the lacy white curtains, his voice tightened as he
told us Grandpa was lying on the floor in there.  Mama gasped an "Oh, No," and Grandma rushed to the nearest open window to begin yelling out "Dad!  Dad?"  while my dad tried to pry the screen loose. 

I kept my place on the porch while the grown-ups disappeared into the house.  I could hear Grandpa moaning a little bit.  He couldn't remember his grandson.  Now Grandma was talking to him, and maybe he recognized her.  Daddy was saying how Grandpa must have hit his head on the stovepipe, as he had fallen right below it.  "He might have been lying here all night, not able to get up."  The women murmured concern. 

There wasn't any telephone in Grandpa's old house, so daddy tried to get help on the early-model citizen band radio back in the car.  He couldn't seem to get in touch with anyone, and so he and I went racing off in the Buick to the nearest gas station.  After he telephoned for an ambulance, everything would be all right. 

Back in the house, we waited for the help to  come.  It came in the form of two strangers with a stretcher disembarking from the white ambulance that finally arrived.  A lot of groaning came from inside the house and I heard the word "stroke."  Then, right in front of me, I saw my Great-Grandfather for the first time that day, being carried out flat on his back.  He looked like he always did, but the face showed great emotion.  He was scared. 

As the strangers tried to maneuver him out the door, he suddenly grabbed the doorframe with one old wrinkled hand.  And he wouldn't let go.  All of his strength was being used now to keep himself home.  He didn't want to go into a city hospital.  He might not come back, after all.  I was so young then, I didn't know the reason why he gripped the doorframe so hard that his knuckles turned white.  I didn't know why my father had to use all his strength to pry that old man's fingers loose.  I only knew that Grandpa didn't want to go.  I stood on the the porch and watched him leave, anyway. 
The day should have stopped right there.  The sun should have set and the
darkness descended, with the land resting for the night.  Instead, it just got hotter. 

Mama had to throw the potato salad out. 

And Grandpa never did come home again. 

Jill Arlene Johnson Jackson – Ft. Lupton, CO

Great-Granddaughter of Alva J. “Lyle” Hurt & Sarah Ann Lewis

            My dad customized a little red wagon for Eli for his 1st birthday.   They were still living in Texas back then (1998) and met us at Villanueva State Park for a weekend of camping and to get Eli’s wagon.  They brought their travel trailer and we tent camped.  On Saturday morning I was inside the trailer with my mom and Eli.  Eli and I were looking out the window and I was attempting to get him to say “Grandpa”.   When he finally said it, it came out as “Grumpa” or “Grumpy”.   We all know how grumpy my dad can be and had a good chuckle over this.

            My parents moved back to New Mexico about a year after Jacob was born.  When Jacob starting talking, he could not say “Grandpa” no matter how hard we all worked with him.  Finally, Dad suggested to him that he call him “Grandfather” and it worked.   Jacob called him “Grandfather” for several years but now calls him “Grandpa”.

 (Nicknames Uncle Joe Heldt had for Brenda and her siblings)

Rose(Spice), Brenda(Sugar), Andy(Jeepers), Tom(Pinto Pete).

Brenda Jean Hurt Trujillo – Espanola, NM

Granddaughter of Alva J. “Lyle” Hurt & Sarah Ann Lewis