The Cunninghams moved to the Benefield Place sometime in 1938 and around this time also became acquainted with Charles Lester Vaughn. Charley, as he was always known, married Dorothy in 1939. Before that happened, however, he gave the Cunningham boys memories that none ever forgot. When these stories were told, none of the accounts completely matched further documenting the utter mayhem Charley caused. The account of some of their adventures with Charley are below.
From “Family Ties and Memories”, 1977.
“By the time the family moved to the Tom Took place which later became more commonly called the Benefield Place, the kids were in their teenage years. Also at this time, Charles Vaughn became acquainted with the family. These two circumstances produced some interesting results over the years spent at this house.
Most of their enterprises were at night. One, for instance, was the popular sport of Snipe Hunting. This particular game involved all ages. The younger children were in charge of getting down in a gully, and calling over and over, “Here Snipe. Here Snipe.” The older members of the crowd took the lantern and went out to round up the snipe and make them run into the gully. Since it was such a mild sport, the older ones usually lost interest and just went on home without telling the sack-holders who would usually drag in hours later very confused.
For the stouter of heart, there was always night prowling down deep in the woods. On one occasion all the Cunningham boys; a 300 pound neighbor, Charles Henry Myers; and another neighbor, Fowler Poindexter; as well as Charley Vaughn, were out on an expedition. There is some dispute about the actual purpose of this particular expedition, but no matter how it started out, it had a very interesting grand finale. After a while, the bunch sat down around a lantern to rest. At this point, Charley Vaughn took over with stories about the panthers roaming this section of the woods. He bragged that he could call one up if he wanted to and could even get one to answer him. To prove his point, he let out a blood-curdling yell and shut the lantern off at the same time. This was bad enough, but when some kind of animal nearby answered him, “all Hell broke loose.” The boys ran, terror stricken, full speed, through the pitch black woods. The inevitable happened. Charles Henry Myers ran into a pine tree and someone plowed into him. Another terrified boy hit a burned out tree stump. Charles Henry slammed into him from the rear finally going down with a grunt when he stepped in the stump hole. The sound of flight could be heard as all the boys tried desperately to reach the cornfield at the edge of the woods. Their only pursuer, however, was the booming laughter of Charley Vaughn. After this sobering adventure, the boys stayed close to home for a while.”