• Leta McCurry

Grandma and the Chicken Thief

Updated: Aug 18, 2018



It seems my great grandpa, on a trip to visit family in Alabama, saw Martha Ellender McKee, with her skirt tied up between her legs, handling a team of mules plowing a field. He said to his traveling companion, "I'm going to marry that girl," and he did. They married August 1, 1860, under the ominous cloud of the coming Civil War. They survived that historic event and were married for fifty-nine years, until Martha's death September 21, 1919.


Grandma was a tiny thing, and it's said her hair remained black, even in old age. Stories portray her as a soft-spoken, and gentle soul.


Grandpa was a circuit-riding Missionary Baptist preacher. He pastored several churches

simultaneously, riding his horse and rotating between the locations. He supported his family by farming. He also served a term in the Arkansas State Legislature in 1895. As the founding father's intended, he served his term and went back to farming and preaching when it was done.


Someone began stealing a chicken or two just about every night, so Grandpa got fed up. Well after dark this one night, he propped the wood door open and placed a chair just inside the screen, where he could sit and see the chicken yard. Grandma wasn't going to leave him sitting there by himself in the dark, with a shotgun, so she sat with him.


Sure enough, along close to midnight, there was a squawking, and then a shadowy figure with a chicken under each arm dashed through the yard. Grandpa grabbed the shotgun and ran out to the porch. So, Martha, the preacher's wife, who had never said a cuss word in her whole life, ran out right behind him screaming -

"Run, you son-of-a-bitch! He's going to kill you!"


According to the legend, the culprit avoided a behind full of buckshot, and got away with those two chickens. However, he was not seen in Grandma's chicken yard again.


Leta McCurry - Writer

Women's Fiction



























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