Wednesday, June 11, 2003

How Cousin Peanut got his name

Actually that is an interesting...and factual story.

Vergie and Mz. Chappell had several children, five to be exact. They were simple folks without a lot of education. That is not to say that they were dumb. No sir, they were smart and inventive folks.

Back when Vergie was younger he invented the cotton gin. Not the machine for combing cotton, it was a drink made with cheap washtub gin that made you feel all fuzzy and bleached your mouth white. He also invented a substitute for margarine. Actually it was petroleum jelly with a little salt and flour and sawdust mixed in, but it was filling on store bought white bread.

Well anyway, back when Ms. Chappell was rearin' youngin's they weren't real creative and didn't have much book learnin'. Vergie's brother, Constantinople Chappell had his youngin's before Vergie and Ms. Chappell started and had taken all the good Bible names, like Baltheshazar, Abednigo and Selah. Why, he even named his mule Isme. That mule was a worker. It wouldn't want to stop onct it started plowing. You could hear Connie (that's what we called Constantinople) in the field, trying to get that mule to stop plowin', hollerin' "Whoa Isme!"

So when Ms. Chappell started having youngin's, she didn't have a stack of names for 'em. That's where Beulah comes into the story. Beulah was the local midwife and granny woman. She birthed babies, made healin' potions and sometimes hexed folks for the right cause and a little pocket change or some fresh vegetables from your truck garden.

When she delivered the first Chappell baby, Ms. Chappell didn't know what to name it, so Beulah helped and named him Chester N. Chappell. Even went to town...my home town of Beloved, Kentucky and registered the birth at the courthouse. Did the same for the other kids; Walter N. Chappell, Hazel N. Chappell, Brazil N. Chappell and Phineas N.Chappell.

For years no one thought much about it till some Collinses started beatin' Phineas up cause a' his name. He had enough and high-tailed it to Beloved and asked the clerk to look up his birth certificate and see what his middle name was. He figured he'd rather use that than Phineas.

The clerk, another cousin of mine on the other side of the family, Lucinda Carpenter, checked and told him his middle name was Nutt. Yep, he was a Nutt from birth.

He couldn't believe what his earbones was hearing. Nutt. Nutt! Nutt? What kind of name was Nutt?

Lucinda laughed and asked him if anyone round Little Jabez Holler, where the Chappell clan had lived since the 1840's, had ever asked Beulah what her last name was. 'Course no one did. They just called her Mz Beulah for respect.

Come to find out her last name was Nutt. Her late and much beloved husband was Ephriam Jubal Nutt, famed moonshiner and ne'r-do-well that got the attention of the local media (the Manchester Enterprise and WWXL radio) when he shot it out with the Revenuers there in the old abandoned outhouse behind the Henny Penny Broasted Chicken Restaurant and Pool Hall. Bessie Bowling saw the whole thing.

She was so shocked she tripped as she was skating an order out to Jim Bob Sizemore. Broasted Chicken flew everywhere and she went a slidin' under a 1957 Chevy Bel-Aire convertible. She slid so far under all you could see was her roller skates. She laid under that Chevy and watched the whole thing.

It took 859 shots to get Ephriam Jubal Nutt. The law was aimin' at the top part of the outhouse. Little did they know Nutt had snuck down to the bottom of the old abandoned outhouse and was just stickin' his head up through the seat to fire a shot every now an' then. They finally got wise and commenced to shootin' low and got him.

No one wanted to go down an' get him so they buried him right there.

So when Beulah's man was buried, she swore the world would remember him. She then proceeded to give every child she birthed the middle name of Nutt when she registered the birth at the courthouse.

So, Cousin Phineas Nutt Chappell decided to use his first initial and middle name. P. Nutt Chappell. Sounded kinda hi-falootin'.

And his brothers and sister? Yessir, you got it, Walter is known as Wal Nutt. Then there's sister Hazel Nutt and brother Brazil Nutt Chappell. 'Course Hazel don't get razzed as much since she married the preacher of the Booger Holler Holiness Church, Brother Woodrow Wilfred Budder. Yep, folks round Booger Holler show respect for Sister Hazel Nutt Budder.

Thanks to the legacy of Ephriam Jubal Nutt and his loyal wife Beulah, there are Nutts all over my home town of Beloved, Kentucky. Every time you turn around you'll see a Nutt. Why, some of my best friends are Nutts.

Over the years, P. Nutt was changed to Peanut by folks who didn't know the rich legacy left all the Nutts 'round Beloved by Beulah. Of course, as town historian, I do remember and will keep these precious memories alive for another generation of Nutts.
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