John's Top Matches
About John Exum Walton
From Doug Markham: Edith Markham reports that Exum and my grandfather Excell were close friends, and that they played baseball or softball on some teams up around Nelson. He wrote letters to Leona Walton, later Markham, his cousin from France where he served in the US Army in World War I. The letters are attached as documents to her profile, and will be here.
Exum became a little behind in school because he stayed out so much to help run the farm: so he was in my class at East Durham High School. By the time we finished the high school there were only eight of us in the class. I did not realize it at the time, but the members of that class became some of the best friends I ever had. A very dear Latin and German teacher taught there for a long time. She was Miss Iva Barden. Later she moved to Raleigh and taught there. Still later she retired in Raleigh.
Exum helped take the boys at the school to games and contests that took them away from the school. He was called “Big Time” because he was the one who could get one of the family cars to take them. After we returned to Nelson, he took the rest of us back to the East Durham School for about three weeks. That was an unusual situation in our time, l9l7. It is commonplace now, and usually any big school is a consolidated one, uses school buses, and has a crowded situation. I mentioned “one of the cars.” We had a Ford and a Studebaker at that time. Then we spoke of having a car and a Tin Lizzie. About the time I entered college, Exum went into the service. Little did I think at the time that the “war to end wars” was just a prelude to World War II and the Korean War, not to mention our long and disastrous sojourn in Vietnam.
By the time I purchased a car, a Studebaker, the situation had been reversed, now the Ford was the good car, and the Studebaker, sometimes called the “Rutabago,” was the one that had lost status. In other words, the two cars had exchanged positions. Before my poor little car responded to my poor driving and conked out, Studebakers were not even made in the United States, had moved to Canada.
After that joyous celebration we had a bit early about the Armistice and after Exum came home, he decided not to enter college. Perhaps the delay caused by his service time abroad canceled his ambition to attend college. He did some work at Newport News in riveting. He did some jobs in different fields, but most of his jobs were in some form of tobacco growing. He enjoyed curing tobacco for a farmer in Ontario, Canada.
Exum said it seemed that his arthritis started with a jump he made out the window while he was in the service, only to avoid going around by the door. At home he wrenched a knee when dipping water from a spring to water tobacco with. It seemed to start in his knee, but spread to different parts of his body. He has had trips to Hot Springs, Arkansas, for treatments there, has had his leg in a plaster cast, and has tried various treatments for it. He has taken many an aspirin for the pain, but still has arthritis, and it shifts from one part of his body to another.
He was interested in the development of the Research Triangle, perhaps more than the rest of us are, but we are all interested.
After Papa passed away, Exum lived with Milton and Corinne in the homeplace for a while, for some time in my house with me; then he bought a trailer and for a while parked it on his own land. Then he moved it to Verne and Ruth’s place in Pleasant Garden.
Exum got his driving license. (He did not have to have a license when he drove earlier.) He bought a car, tore the first one up a bit, and then bought another, which he used to enjoy attending baseball games with. He is now in a rest home in Greensboro. Exum’s other name besides Walton is John. He is the second of the children of Papa and Mama. Like Annie Lee, he has always been an industrious, intelligent person, always taking pride in doing his full share in the work on the farm. Like Annie Lee, he found mathematics easy, but also like Annie Lee, did not care to study Latin. Later he said if it were to do again, he’d study it most of all because so many words have roots or prefixes or suffixes in Latin. He enjoys poetry, especially the sonnets of Shakespeare.
I must have been a great nuisance to Exum and a friend and a first cousin. I tagged along after them. They would dare me to do things like jumping from the barn loft, and I'd jump. I couldn’t take some of their dares, for I never could climb a tree.
--Beulah Walton in "Some Wake Waltons"