Joseph Ashford Atwood was born 26 August 1856 in LaClede County, Missouri. He was the youngest son of Thomas Jefferson Atwood and Matilda Hough – fondly referred to as “Dink” – and later as “Uncle Dink.”
One day, in 1862, when Dink was about six years old, his father, Thomas Atwood, took him (and his two older brothers, William Payton and Russell Columbus), on a fishing trip. While out fishing on the river bank a fierce thunderstorm blew up – there was much thunder and lightening all around them. Young Dink ran for cover under a large tree to get out of the rain. Suddenly, lightening struck the tree and poor little Dink was struck. He survived, but was never the same. While no details are known about the injuries he suffered, apparently the lightening strike affected his brain – as his mind remained that of a six year old boy for the rest of his life.
Dink spent a lot of his time after that accident in a rocking chair that his father bought for him. With the mind of a child, he rocked away on the porch, always content.
Uncle Dink died 30 November 1921 in Oplin, Callahan County, Texas. Upon his death, his special rocking chair was given to his brother William Payton Atwood – who in turn passed it on to his son William Riley Atwood – who then passed it to his daughter Clementine Elizabeth (Aunt Clemmie). When Aunt Clemmie moved to Houston to live with her son, she gave it to her niece Beverly.
It is a very beautiful old rocker and has a special place in Beverly’s heart. Now it sits in her house, tenderly cared for – a special reminder of the past.