Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


My Favorite Tombstone

I didn’t know the Johnsons, but I know of them. I’m really sorry I didn’t get to know Glenn and Modena.

I’m most familiar with two things about them.

Their headstone. It’s famous in C-Town’s Woodlawn Cemetery.

At the top is the brand they used. I don’t know what it was called or meant (anyone know?) but it’s different. Down lower they put the names of their sons. Can you read it? Their names are Tally, Muggyown, Coyote and Woodly. I absolutely love those names. Especially Muggyown and Coyote. Aren’t they fantastic?

Here’s the back of the stone.

Don’t you love the longhorn? I don’t know if Glenn and Modena raised only longhorns, but it would be interesting to find out.

Here’s a closeup.

Can you read it?

I was laid to rest on the old Perry Trail that leads toward Tod Holler in a narrow grave just 6-3 where the hungry coyots will howl over me. I have roam these hills for a many year but I’m afraid I’ve turn my last long horn steer.

Modena–just think of me as the days goes by and I will meet you and the boys in heaven in the sweet by and by. Glenn Johnson.


The other thing I remember about the Johnsons is the Long Horn–their bar? Saloon? Hony-tonk? I was never there, but if I remember right it was a hony-tonk, a skating rink and a church all at the same time. 🙂

There’s a family story about a couple of my (much!) older cousins who went there one night. One got into a fight, the other jumped in to help and Glenn, thinking they were the instigators, broke the fight up and loaded up my cousins to take to jail.

Before he drove off, someone stopped him. “You can’t lock up those boys, Glenn. They’re Ray Spess’s grandsons.”

Glenn didn’t hesitate or question the guy. He just opened the truck door and stepped back. “Get on home, boys.”

BTW: Granddad would probably have left them in jail. He didn’t hold with such goings on.