The George Washington McCombs Family
The following information on the
McCombs family is told by Clarence
Crocker of Glendale.
Though I know little to nothing about
their roots, permit me to tell you about two of my grandparents who
were remarkable people in my mind.
George Washington McCombs, (1852-1943) was my maternal grandfather. He
was the son of William McCombs (1810-1892) and Arena McCombs
(1815-1892) Margaret Ann Zimmerman McCombs (1855-1937) was my maternal
grandmother. She was the daughter of David Rickenbacker Zimmerman who
died in the Civil war and Georgia Ann Muscogee Zimmerman (1829-1903)
Though I'm sure we had visited them many times before, I was
about six when we made the first visit that I recall. They were already
retired and near eighty. As you can see from the picture, Grandpa and
Grandma as we
called them, were a unique couple. He was about 6 feet 4 and she was
about five feet tall.
They were the parents of nine children, five boys and four girls. The
boys, LaFoy, George
Bryson, William, Vernon and Bunyan, all married, moving
away to follow the textile industry, one becoming a mill
superintendent, one becoming a mill overseer, one becoming the
supervisor of an installation team for a textile
machine manufacturer and two being textile mill section men. The four
Genie, married the master mechanic of D.E. Converse Company mills,
married a Preacher, Callie married the manager of Pierce Motor Co.
repair shop and Ella married Albert Crocker, my mother and father.
Grandpa had been a overseer in the D.E. Converse Company (Glendale)
mills but had retired before I was born. In retirement, they had moved
from their small farm on the Bethesda road into a small house which had
a vacant store building attached, some 1,000 feet from the river shoals
behind the mill. Mill property joined theirs on the left and back side
Being an avid fisherman, he was constantly going to the pond or shoals
with his cane pole to fish. One day when I was about 9, he agreed to
let me go with him. Giving me a pole, he showed me where to sit down by
a fish hole saying, "Now boy be quite and still or you’ll scare all the
fish away". I
was O.K. for a while, but after sitting there not even getting a bite
about 30 minutes while he was catching fish, I dared to get up and go
to where he was. Crossing over the pot hole on some small brushes, I
slipped and fell into the water up to my shoulders. Hearing the
commotion, Grandpa looked around, seeing what had happened, he said,
"Boy, you’ve scared the
fish away for a mile, we might as well go home". That was the first and
time he ever carried me fishing.
They had a cow which they kept for fresh milk and a few hens for fresh
eggs. Grandpa was mostly a vegetarian. Except for fresh fish which they
had once or twice a week, he ate very little meat. Sit him down before
a table with corn bread, buttermilk, beans or peas, turnips, turnips
green, potatoes, corn
and okra and the likes, and he felt like he was at an exquisite buffet.
never had a false tooth in his mouth, course he didn’t have any of any
when he died.
Grandpa had six customs which he religiously practiced:
He believed in signs and would check them out
before planting a garden, pulling a tooth or the like. He would go to
the porch about
sunset to see what the signs in the sky might be regarding the weather.
the moon was out, he always counted the stars within the ring to
determine if rain was in sight.
He retired early at night and arose early in the morning. He
believed in the old saying; “early to bed, early to rise, makes a
healthy, wealthy and wise”. He never became wealthy but he was a
healthy and wise old soul.
He took an NR, “Nature’s Remedy laxative tablet every night
He never drank a carbonated beverage; When grandpa was about
55 years old, he determined that carbonated beverages were the cause of
his headaches. He stopped drinking anything carbonated and claimed he
a headache since stopping. He died at 91 years of age.
He read the newspapers first thing every morning but never
owned a pair of glasses until about a year or so before he died. The
news print had gotten so small, he purchased a pair of magnifying
glasses from the drug store. He would close one eye and read one
column, open the other eye and read the next column. When asked why he
did that, he said, you only have one
brain, so rest one eye while feeding the brain with the one column you
He smoked a self made corn cob pipe, smoking George
Washington tobacco all the years I knew him. He would take a large ear
of corn, shell it, cut it to the right length, bore out the center for
the pot of the pipe. He would cut about a six inch limb from the fig
tree, burn the core out with a hot coat hanger to make the pipe stem.
His sons gave him pearl stem, Frank D. Medico filter pipes from time to
time. He would take them, thank them and
then give them away after they had left.
After Grandma died, he came to live with us for the last few years of
his life. He was sitting in front of a double window reading the
newspaper when I, a teenager by that time, shot a cherry bomb in the
back yard. My Dad came to the door calling me to come in to see what I
had done. Getting inside, Dad said, look at your grandpa. There he was
sitting, holding a lap full of
newspapers and glass. The bomb had thrown a rock through the double
About a year before he died, Grandpa got terribly sick. He had no
appetite and was running a fever. He was almost in a coma and Mama
called the doctor. Almost immediately, he told us that something had
put Grandpa in shock. Finding out that he had stopped smoking a few
weeks before, he decided that he was wasting too much money on tobacco.
The doctor took some of his smoking tobacco, dipped it in hot water and
squeezed a few drops in his mouth. Leaving the house, the doctor told
Mama to squeeze about 10 or 12 drops in his mouth every
two or three hours and he thought he would be O.K. The next day Grandpa
sitting up. In a few days he was back to himself. He lived for about a
after this episode
He had become addicted to nicotine but died happy smoking his corn cob
pipe. He and Grandma are buried in the upper Glendale Cemetery.
I was proud to call them Grandpa and Grandma, for they were indeed
(Since doing this article, I have found more information and photos
involving the family. This can be read at More
on the McComb Family.)
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