Updated April 7, 2011.
January 20, 2012. JOHN BARNES Board of Education
March 20, 2011. Comment - Jayne Fentress: Frances Fentress Barnes who ran Barnes Hunting Lodge with her husband John Elliot Barnes was known as "Big Mama". This was their house. It is located at the south end. John Barnes, their son still runs the hunting lodge today. This is an older picture of the house - 1920's. They have since done some remodeling to the house so it looks a bit different.
Comment - Janet Williams Rose: She was called 'Big Mama' by some of her grandchildren. My brother, Richard Williams always called her that. Not sure how the name originated. I called her Nannie as did many of the other granchildren.
Comment - Judy Fentress Jarman: Aunt Frances and my Dad, "Bill
Fentress" were brother/sister. We did not use the name "Big Mama" but I
think that some of her children/grandchildren called her that. Sue and
I always called her "Aunt Frances".
She was a lot of fun and a wonderful cook. That is putting it mildly!! I'm sure her hunters/fishermen loved coming down to K.I. to spend time at her "lodge", even if the "hunting" was not very good. They always knew the food/meals that my Aunt Frances prepared were the very best that you could find anywhere!! It was a lot of hard work during hunting season, for those who ran the lodge, but they all seem to enjoy it. Aunt Frances had other family members that helped her out during this busy time.
Not only did my Aunt Frances run the hunting/fishing lodge, but she also helped to pick peaches during the summer at my Dad's peach orchard. (Bill Fentress). That was really hard work, especially during the hot summer, but I think that she really enjoyed it, and it also gave the "peach pickers" time to discuss the latest K.I. news that was going on. It was always quite a bit of news that went on in our small Knotts Island community, so I don't think they ran out of things to talk about as they were filling up their peach baskets!
My job in the peach picking business was to stay in the house, and monitor the phone calls of folks ordering peaches. I also had to babysit my younger brother. That was no easy job either, but I was paid for my babysitting skills so I didn't complain too much. There was one occasion that he was misbehaving, and I just gave him a pop right on his cheek, only to realize in a couple of minutes that my handprint was still on the side of his cheek!! I'm sure that I quickly went into a panic mode, but I can't recall what the outcome was concerning my parents reaction. Obviously it wasn't major!! After all, I was in charge, and it was my responsibility to make sure my brother behaved!!
Now we are all grown, and many of our family members have passed away. I have enjoyed going back and thinking about some of those growing up days on Knotts Island. They were truly special times in our lives, some sadness at the loss of these special folks, but also joy in the wonderful memories that we have of our growing up years. You don't find too many places like Knotts Island. Folks really looked out for one another, and they were always there to help out when there was a need.. I will always remember those years with much fondness, not only for the community we lived in, but also for all the wonderful folks who were our friends and neighbors.