The Storys of Georgia Category



Henry Allen Story 1838-1913

A man named Henry Allen “Buck” Story played a major role in the making of the Story family in Georgia. Buck Story was born September 23, 1838 in Warren County.

He started out farming in Warren County, formerly a part of the St. Paul’s Parish. It was a place where the first white settlers were granted land by King George III of England, back when Georgia was a colony.

Warrenton of Warren County was a pass through settlement that was part of the Creek Indian Upper Trade Path. The path started in Augusta, Georgia, and made its way to the Mississippi River. Until the War Between the States, Warrenton had a mule-car transportation system. Buck Story came into this world thirty-five years before the true railroad came to Warren County. And before Buck Story was finished farming, he had acquired extensive farming interest in Warren, McDuffie and Columbia Counties. He was a planter, same as his father.

Yes, Buck Story was a planter and a very successful one, though he did not live in an antebellum plantation home, nor did he dress as a country gentleman. Perhaps that was due to his beginnings in the life experience.

Buck Story was the twentieth child of Samuel Gaines Story. His mother was Stacy Duckworth-Story. Samuel Gaines Story died while Henry Allen Story was still in his mother’s womb. Though the unborn child was provided for in Samuel’s last will and testament, young Henry Allen had to figure out how to survive without a father’s influence or love. He had to learn to stand on his own two feet and teach himself to be a man.

Farming and hard work was all young Henry Allen Story knew, and he knew it well. He saved every dime he made and thought long and hard on each and every business decision made. It was a matter of survival.

A story to illustrate his attitude toward thrift has survived for one-hundred-fifty plus years in the Story family oral tradition. It went something like this. After a long day of work in the field, Buck Story noticed one of his workers had on a pair of trousers, better than his.

“I want to know one thing,” said Buck Story, “how can you afford those two dollar britches? I must be paying you too much.”

The man looked puzzled and said, “No, Mr. Story, these are fifty cent britches.”

“No they’re not. I know where you bought ‘em. And he sells ’em britches for two dollars.”

“No sir, fifty cents.”

With that Buck Story handed the man fifty cents and said, “Here, take this and go buy me a pair. From now on, part of your job is to do my clothes buying. And don’t tell that scoundrel who you’re buying for. I won’t pay two dollars for a fifty cent pair of britches.”

Buck Story was hard pressed to depart with a dollar if he did not absolutely have to. It was the way he made it through life and that attitude served him well.

Marriage also served him well. Buck married Rachel Ann Montgomery, the oldest child of Mary Swint Montgomery and James Franklin Montgomery on April 2, 1854 at the home of her father. Unfortunately, Rachel’s mother passed away a month before the wedding.

The Montgomerys placed an ad in the Christian Index announcing the engagement a year before the event.

James Montgomery was a wealthy farmer and did not hold to the tradition of handing down inheritance to the oldest son. He made all of his children wealthy: Rachel Ann, Martha E., David H., John B., Lucy A., Jane R., and Mary F. Montgomery.

Though money was important to Buck, so was family. He loved Rachel Ann Montgomery, and together they had six sons, no daughters. Buck proudly boasted, “Each of my sons can do the work of ten men, couldn’t have a son who could be any other way. It’s in the blood.”

The Story family farmed cotton, sugarcane and other crops of the South, but cotton was king. Nothing made Buck happier than to sit atop his horse and admire the snow white covered land for as far as the eye could see, snow white cotton covered land that is. Buck owned several farms in the fertile land just east of Augusta: Moon’s Town, Silver Dollar Farm, Mistletoe, Marshall Dollar Place, Big Cotton Gin, Little Cotton Gin, and the Garnett Place.

He stationed his sons on the farms to live and oversee them. At the end of the cotton season, Buck and his sons loaded up mule teams and took the cotton to Savannah, Georgia, where he could receive top dollar. To Buck Story, cotton was “money in the bank.”

One such year, he was stopped outside Savannah by the law.

“What’s the problem officer?” asked Buck Story.

“Well, Mr. Story the problem is, you don’t have any brakes on your wagons.”

“Don’t need any.”

“Well the city council says you do.”

“City council, what they got to do with me and my cotton?”

“You got a twenty mule team here. City council says any wagon coming in with a twenty mule team has to have brakes on the wagon, and in your case, wagons.”

“That’s about the darndest thing I ever heard! I never had a wagon with brakes…”

“Well, Mr. Story, I’m sorry, but you’re not taking that cotton into Savannah without brakes on your wagons. It’s dangerous…”

“The hell you say! My wagons are safe! Ask anybody! Man, don’t you know brakes costs money?”

“Too many wagons out of control in the city, Mr. Story.”

“My mules stop on a dime! Anybody who knows Buck Story knows I wouldn’t own a mule that couldn’t stop on a dime! This is highway robbery!”

Buck Story argued his case to no avail. He grumbled and finally pointed out a team of men and sent them into Savannah for brakes. He stayed with a few men armed with weapons to guard his “bank account!”

Yes, Buck Story was successful and made sure his family was taken care of, that is if they pulled their own weight. Everybody had to work, everybody had a job to do, and it had to be done right. And “right” meant, Buck’s way.

Buck Story was tough, he was hard. Well after he had earned the respect of the community, he never let up. He worked from sun up to sun down. He faced obstacles in life and met them head on.

Buck Story was about thirty years old when the War Between the States ended. He lost his wealth, and his horse. Yes the Yankees captured Buck Story’s horse June 11, 1864. It is well documented. They got his horse, but they did not get Buck Story. When the war was over, he recouped ninety per cent of that wealth. Buck was no stranger to loss, or starting from a disadvantage. To him it was another day, another plan. The plan was tenant farming.

Buck struck an agreement with a farmer and allowed the farmer to live and work the farm. At the end of cotton season, the tenant farmer owed Buck Story the amount of cotton agreed upon. If the farmer came up short, it was time for the farmer to move on and another took his place. Buck was accused of being too hard on farmers especially when he asked a long time friend to move on.

“Mr. Story, you’ve known me for years! And I just short a little. Surely you don’t mean me and my family to leave this farm.”

But he did mean it. Buck Story was a hard line bottom liner. It was the only way he could farm thousands of acres and raise his growing family. Buck Story was a no excuses kind of man.

Nor was Buck Story spared his share of sorrow. A few days after his sixth son was born, Buck’s wife, Rachel Ann died.

Several years later Buck married a young school teacher, Susan Winston McDaniel, from Virginia. He met her through a connection with the Ramsey-Bentley family in Leathersville. With Susan, Buck had eleven more children.

Buck Story was man of his times, a man who knew how to survive anything; anything until December 2 of 1904, when he found his son, Rad Story, in a canebrake near Thomson Road dead. Some say he never quite got over it.

In his lifetime, Buck Story raised seventeen children to mature adulthood, educating them all.  He loved them all, but losing his Rad took part of his soul. No matter how many children he had, one could not replace the void left in his heart for Rad.

Radford Gunn Story was the third son of Buck and Rachel Montgomery Story. Rad was named in honor of their minister, Radford Gunn. Reverend Radford Gunn was minister at the Little Brier Creek Baptist Church in Warrenton, Georgia.

Rad died as a result of an altercation on one of the big Story farms.

Buck had a close relationship with all of his sons, but if he was soft on one, it was Rad.

Oh, Buck kicked and screamed and gave Rad what for just like the others, but more often gave into him. Was it because he saw something of Rachel Montgomery in his son’s eyes? Or was it his more gentle nature?

When Rad Story married Sallie Elizabeth Gunby in 1885, Buck moved the newlyweds into his farm called Mistletoe. Mistletoe was the farm that backed up to Buck’s home on the farm called Moon’s Town. It was a generous offer and anyone would have been happy enough for such a life, but Rad approached Buck with the fact that Sallie did not want to live on that farm.

Sallie Gunby-Story was from a staunch Methodist family in Lincolnton, Georgia, just northeast of Warrenton. Even though Rad and Sallie started their family at Mistletoe, she became disenchanted with life on that farm. It was too far from home. She longed for Lincolnton. It was only about ten miles or so, but back in the day of horse and buggy and no telephones, it was a long way from home.

The Gunbys were a pillar in the Arimathea Methodist Church and placed great value on higher education and every day Bible reading.

The Gunby Homeplace, g-g-g grandchildren of William Aurelius Gunby & Henry Allen Story

Buck Story so often disagreed with the Gunbys way of thinking. He did not have a problem with education in general. His eighth son, Zera Story, became a medical doctor. Buck wanted his children to read and write, go to church and read the Scriptures on Sunday – after their chores were done. Livestock had to get tended to – Sunday or not.

Yes, as a father, he believed in educating his children, but for the life of him, Buck Story did not get why anyone would want a PhD in the middle of cotton country. He shook his head in disbelief at the thought of reciting poetry and sitting around discussing Homer’s Iliad.

For crying out loud, Sallie Gunby-Story, named his grandson, “Horace” Lawton Story, after Quintus Horatius Flaccus, a Roman poet during the time of Augustus! Buck chose to call his grandson, “Buster,” and preferred Lawton over Horace any day of the week.

Poetry and the like were all a bunch of nonsense and a waste of time. And time was money. Didn’t the Gunbys understand that? And the notion that “old man Gunby” released his slaves before the War Between the States did not make sense to Buck Story.

Buck Story sometimes felt like his world was being invaded by the Gunby family along with their thoughts of society and curious way of life. And it did not start with Rad marrying Sallie.

Buck’s first son, Sam Story, started the “Gunby onslaught” by marrying Ida E. Gunby, Sallie’s sister. And then in 1885 Rad married Sallie. And Sallie just could not, would not, be happy at Mistletoe. So Rad pleaded his case to Buck Story.

To add to the persuasion, William Aurelius Gunby wanted to give land to his daughter, Sallie, so that she and Rad could live near the old Gunby home place in Lincolnton – near in proximity of the Arimathea Methodist Church and all the other Gunbys. The old man would stop at nothing to reel his family in close to him. There Rad would live and work as an overseer for Buck’s farms.

Buck fought it for as long as he could, but reluctantly, gave into Rad. And after all, the Gunbys were willing to deed land over to the couple. It was beginning to make good business sense, so Buck agreed to Rad’s move to Lincolnton.

Rad built Sallie a home on that newly gifted land. Though he was Baptist, he thoroughly embraced the Gunby-Methodist way of life in Lincolnton. Their son, Horace Lawton, volunteered his time to care for the horses during church services at Arimathea, while their daughters took to reciting poetry and making hats. The girls dreamed of a day when they could own their own millinery shop in Lincolnton.

Buck Story did not know what this world was coming to.

And with the untimely death of his son Rad, Buck did all he could to help his grandson, Horace Lawton.  He tried to teach the boy to be a farmer just like him. But Buck soon found out that although his grandson walked with the Story gait and bore the Story name, he was Gunby through and through. Horace Lawton could not be hard on field hands, no more than the “old man Gunby” could own another human being. The boy was most happy when singing hymns or discussing philosophical issues.

Horace Lawton continued to farm, but it proved most difficult for this young seventeen year old man to interact and work for Grandpa Buck. While living, Rad saw to it that his son was shielded from the sterner side of Buck Story. Now, that Rad was gone, young Horace Lawton had a different relationship with his grandfather. He now saw Grandpa Buck as Chairman of the Board. Horace Lawton withdrew into his own world on his Lincolnton farm, and had less and less to do with the everyday work on Grandpa Buck’s big farms.

Yes, Buck Story had overcome every obstacle in his world. He came to terms with growing up without a father, the War Between the States, and the invasion of the Gunbys. But he was never quite the same after losing his son, Rad. Some say losing Rad was the only thing that “just about whooped him.”

Later in life, his second wife, Susan McDaniel-Story, encouraged Buck to purchase an “in town home” in Thomson. As time went on, he stayed more in town than in the countryside. Eventually, to everyone’s surprise, he left his fields of cotton for a different way of life. For the first time in his life, he let go and let others.

Some say Buck just got old and tired. Others say that young wife of his wore him out. And again, maybe Buck Story’s heart melted a bit when the good Lord gave him a daughter when his thirteenth child was born. While others say that was not the reason at all. They say finding Rad in that canebrake dead in the middle of winter was the real reason.

Buck Story gave up the ghost and left this world May 19, 1913. He is buried in the Thomson City Cemetery, in Thomson Georgia, beside his second wife, Susan. Near Susan, rest Sallie McDaniel-Ramsey, wife of politician Caleb E. “Tip” Ramsey. Also in Plot 186 are buried, Banny, Francis, Sarah, Ocey and Gaines Story. Six more Storys are buried in nearby Plot 192.

Buck Story was ten years old when the American Women’s Suffrage Movement began, and women won the right to vote just seven years after his death. In his lifetime, Henry Allen “Buck” Story saw the world change dramatically in the area of human rights. If he had lived to 1920 and witnessed this victory for women, I feel certain that he would have perceived it as another victory for that  “old man Gunby.”

Henry Allen “Buck” Story’s sixteenth child, Miss Gaines Story, wrote about her father. Below is a portion of that statement.

My father, Henry Allen Story, was a remarkable man in many respects. He was a doer of good deeds, was not selfish, but was wise in the provision of the future.  He demonstrated business abilities which controverted the theory – a man’s usefulness is over at sixty.  He was a good father in the best sense, good provider and educated all of his children. My father was an accomplished businessman who recouped financial losses during the trying years of the (eighteen) nineties which broke up seventy-five per cent of the Planters. Rest that death brought to his tired body was a welcome. He was a consistent member of the Baptist Church and enjoyed the competence and respect of all who knew him. His first wife was Rachel Ann Montgomery. They had six sons: Samuel Walker Story, known as “Fox Huntin’ Sam,” James Montgomery Story, Radford Gunn Story, Henry David Story, Benjamin Franklin Story and Columbus Marion “Lum” Story. After his first wife’s death, he married my mother, Susan Winston McDaniel of Virginia in 1869. They had eleven children: Andrew O’Bannion “Banny” Story, Dr. Zera McDaniel Story, known as “Dr. Mac,” (Mr.) Stacy Story, Claude Story, Carl Story, Francis “Frank” Story, Mae Story, known as the “Queen of the House,” and was the heroine in the novel, “The Old Old Story” by Thomas E. Watson, Sarah “Sallie” Katherine Story, (Miss) Ocey Story, (Miss) Gaines Story, and Thomas Boyd Story, known as “Little Doc.”  (End of Miss Gaines Story’s notarized statement.)

Quotes from Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65-19 B. C.) English translation: Quotes from Horace

Coelum non animun mutant qui trans mare currunt – Those who cross the sea, change sky, but not the soul.

Non omnis moriar – Not all of me will die.

Author’s Notes:

Henry Allen “Buck” Story had twelve sons before becoming the father of a daughter. Mae Story must have truly been the “Queen of the House.” All total, he had thirteen sons and four daughters. His grandson, Horace Lawton Story, was my father’s father.

Regarding the birth date of Henry Allen Story: Recorded in the family Bible Henry Allen Story’s father,  Samuel Gaines Story’s death was February 28, 1838. Samuel’s will was probated on June 6, 1838. Henry Allen Story was born on September 23, 1838. The story about his father dying just before Henry Allen was born has been passed down through the Story family.