Page 11 – Autobiography – Benjamin Lafayette Smith
 
        since November, I felt like a bird out of a cage, could scarcely wait for the boat to carry me
         to Memphis. While on the trip going there, I got acquainted with a gentleman that lived there, 
         whose name I do not remember, who lent me enough money to defray my expenses home.  I reached
         Artesia about the 26th June, and found my father there in his buggy waiting and watching to see if 
         he could not hear something from me. I found that he had not heard a word from me since my brothers 
         left me in Col. McGroucks in December on their retreat from Nashville. I reached home and met my 
         mother, it was to her, almost like the dead coming to life again.
              This ended my army life, at the end of four long years, of toils hardships and
         wounds. I found Sherman and Penn at home well and in good health. Neither of them had
         ever been wounded or seriously sick, during their soldier life. Father and Mother both well
         and all his negroes, but our family remained at home after Lee’s surrender, and were at
         work in the crops, doing fairly good work. He had plenty of stock and corn and meat
         enough to lay by and gather the crops. He made a fairly good crop and gathered it in good
         shape about as soon as could be expected. He hired them for a part of the crop for the next
         year. The next year (1866) was a wet year and the crops were not so good, but it was
         gathered in good time. Sherman attended to the hands, and was fairly tactful in his
         management, but further being to strict as to the lost time of the hands, and buying the
         negroes share of corn, instead of encouraging them to put up individual cribs for themselves,
         and some of their things of like character, every hand on the place let, and Sherman planted
         and made a small crop of corn himself. His first wife died in December of 1866 and he
         married Lizzie Bryan early in 1868, and went to keeping house on the King place and got
         enough of the old hands back to cultivate 250 or 300 acres.
              When I reached home from prison, several of my neighbors requested me to teach the
         school where I was going when I went to the University at Oxford in Sep. 1860. I finally
         agreed to do it, and taught four months in the Fall, giving general satisfaction in teaching.
         Some of the larger girls and and boys that I taught were going to school with me to
         Thompson when I left for college. The next year 1866, I taught nine months, having 45
         scholars at $5.00 per month each for Latin scholars, and $4.00 for the others. I was assisted
         by my brother Sherman’s wife, who was a Miss Kearon, the daughter of Auanias Deearon.
         The patrons of the school wanted a graduate to teach the next year. I secured a school at
         Coward near Cobb’s Switch (now called Bent Oaks). I agreed to teach nine months on a
         guarantee of $1000.00. After teaching four months, I had indigestion so bad, I had to give
         up teaching. I was giving general satisfaction, and the patrons wanted me to continue, but I
         knew that I could not stand the confinement. I went to Shinn Spring and staid there a month
         recuperating. I staid at my fathers. I staid at my fathers, and in the Fall began to prepare to
         make a crop for myself the next year, moved two cabins off my fathers place to the Jim
         Johnston place, and hired some hands and made eight bales of cotton and enough fodder and
         corn to do me the next year. I sold the cotton for 20 cents per pound. In the summer and
         fall of 1867 I took the hands and built a crib with shelters on two sides for my work stock,
         and in winter I moved to the place and began keeping “bach”. I hired a framed room put up
         and lived in it. My father let me have eighty acres of land free of charge and rented me the
         balance. I bought a mule and young horse from him, also a milk cow and he gave me one,
         and I started out to make a crop, giving the hands as before a part of the crop. I had chills
         all the fall on 1868, and occasionally one during the winter and spring. I cultivated a little
         more land and made a fair crop of corn and cotton. On the 15th of April 1869 I married