Daddy's Autobiography

Part 3



(Written in 1967)


The family is growing up now and begin to leave the farm, some to school and some to jobs.  I became my father’s right hand man of the saw mill and lumber business. 

It is a pleasant memory, being in the forest and hearing the birds and watching the big beautiful trees as they fall to the ground, being conditioned, taken to the mill; to hear the ring of the saw as it ripped the logs into lumber, in the puffing of the steam engine it made to run the mill.  It took about fifteen men to keep the mill running all day.

 My father stayed on the farm most of the time.  I ran the saw at the mill and was responsible for keeping the mill running all day.

In every young man’s life, there is always one particular girl, and that particular girl, Louie Gibson, was to become my wife. 

She was twenty and I was twenty-five when we got married.  She was a school teacher when she was eighteen years old.  We had bought a home.  Six months after our baby boy was born, she was stricken with what the doctors pronounced meningitis and died after a very short illness.

 (This is not a pleasant memory, but I am trying to narrate a true-life story)  My mother took Robert, the baby, and raised him; and she cared as much for him as she did for her own children. 

He was lots of company for her, as he was all she had at home now.  Robert is now an A&P Grocery Store manager. 

 While my baby brother, Jody, and Robert were at home together, Jody had to go to the milk gap to milk the cows; and he wanted Robert to go with him every time.

Robert was four years old and sometimes he didn’t want to go, so Jody would pick Robert up under one arm and the milk buckets in the other hand and carry him to where the cows were, sit him down and tell him to sit there until he got the cows milked.  (click on Uncle Jody's picture below to enlarge)

When we were in the sawmill and lumber business, my father had a track laid to a boundary of timber so we could get the logs to the mill with a car.  It was upgrade and we would take the car up to where the logs were with horses and the car would drop back itself.  There was a platform built on the rear of the car that the brakeman would ride on to brake the car to keep it from going too fast and stop it when it got to the mill.

One day it was too cold to run the mill, so we decided to get some logs to the mill.  We took the car to the end of the track and loaded it with several logs and tied them on with a chain and boom pole.  I decided to ride the car; and, as there was some snow on the rails, we tied the front wheels with a chain so they would slide.  The brakes were on the rear wheels, and as the car began to pick up some speed, I tried the brakes; and it seemed to cause the car to gain speed when I put the brakes on.  So I tried pulling the brakes on and off, and it didn’t have any affect on the speed; it just gained speed.  I couldn’t jump as it was too rough beside the track; it was mostly rocks.

(click on Daddy's picture to enlarge)

 There was a bridge near the mill that the car had to cross, and there was a curve in the bridge.  By the time I got to the bridge, the car had picked up a lot speed, and I was expecting it to jump the rails any time.  Just as it got about half-way across the bridge, right in the curve of the bridge, I heard it split the rails; and I felt the car start over the bridge.  I just fell back on the bridge in the snow.  The rear wheels of the car caught on the track rails, but the logs shot over in the creek below, about a twenty-five feet drop.

 As I looked up the track I saw my father coming in a run all excited, as he was expecting to find me piled up somewhere along the track.  He saw the trouble I was in before I got out of his sight, but there wasn’t anything he could do after the car started.

After a few years, I got a job with the Coca Cola Bottling Company.

My brother, Forest, was working for me on the truck. 

He was offered another job and he wanted to ask me if I cared if he quit working for me; but he hated to ask.  I knew there something on his mind; he seemed so quiet and humble.  He followed me in a room in the house where we were, and with a very soft tone he asked me if I cared if he quit.  I assured him that I wanted him to better himself if he could.  It seemed to give him great relief.  After working for the A&P Grocery Stores for a while, he became manager and then he became supervisor, a job he still has at this writing (1976).

For more information on Uncle Forest, click here.

There was a business that moved into town, and the people that owned it moved just two houses from where I worked.  The most interesting thing to me was the beautiful girl I saw around the house, and I believe she saw me too. 

We didn’t waste much time getting acquainted; and after over thirty years and five grown children and nine grandchildren, Lillie Mae Robbins and I are still married and “acquainted.”

I decided to go into business in Jenkins, Kentucky and after being in business for some time I would make trips by train and by car to buy merchandise.  On one of those trips, I went by train to Lexington, Kentucky (about 150 miles), and it was a really cold winter night. 

As the train was coming back, it was about one o’clock in the morning, and I was taking cat naps and dreaming of that good warm bed that I would land in when I got to the town where I was stopping that night, but dreading the distance of about two blocks I would have to walk when I got off the train.

 As the train blew the whistle for the station, I made my way to the door.  I noticed the conductor looked inquiringly at me, but I was so sleepy I just went on out.  As I stepped on the ground the train pulled away.  I looked around, but I couldn’t seem to get my bearings, and as I started to walk it began to dawn on me that I had got off at the wrong station, one station too soon.  That was why the conductor was looking like he did; he knew I had a ticket for the next station.

 It was about 150 yards to the highway and not a soul in sight; but I finally made it to the highway and began walking, hoping to see a cab.  There was a small town about half a mile away, but every business place was closed and there was no traffic on the highway.  I felt like it was a God-send when I saw the lights of a cab parked about a hundred feet ahead at a house.  I picked up all the speed I could as I was afraid he would be gone before I got to him.  When I put my hands on that cab, it was the best looking cab I ever saw in my life.

I would make trips in my car and travel at night and never thought of having an accident or a hold-up.  On one trip, I got into Knoxville, Tennessee before dark; and it took me about two hours to trade before I started back.  I didn’t mind driving at night, and it was about one o’clock in the morning.  I had about ten miles to go when all of once the car battery went dead, and I barely got the car out of the road. 

When I saw the lights of a car coming, I stepped out in the road and flagged it.  There were two young men in it, and I asked them if they would help me get my car into Jenkins where my store was as I had $500 worth of merchandise in it.  They looked in the car and walked out behind the car and began to talk secretly, and I saw I was in trouble.  I felt like it was another God-send when I saw another car coming.  I stepped out and flagged it.  There were two young men in it.  When it stopped the first two men got in their car and left.  I asked the same thing of these boys, and they said they would be glad to help me as they were going that way anyhow.  So they pulled me the ten miles to right in front of the store.

I asked them how much I owed them, and they said “Just give us one of those tee shirts you have in the car.”  I didn’t think it was enough, but they said they were going that way anyhow, so I gave them another one; because I was so thankful to get the car and merchandise in and didn’t get robbed by the first boys that stopped.

When I was working for Coca-Cola Company, I had a room in a hotel in Whitesburg known as the Day Hotel.  One evening after working hours, I was sitting the lobby of the hotel talking to a friend and looking out the window.  The window faced the railroad with the regular automobile traffic between the railroad and hotel.

 We noticed a car stopped with one side of the car on the railroad track.  A man got out of the car and left the motor running and the door next to the hotel open.  I mentioned to my friend that if a train came along it would hit the car.  The man just came on into the hotel and spoke to us with a smile; we knew him.


Stay tuned for the murder!

Click here for Installment 4

Click here for Installment 1

Click here for Installment 2

Click here for Installment 4

Click here for Installment 5




Sign our Guestbook




Stained glass graphic by Ilaria Creations

Click below to visit Delores' websites



Copyright Kelsey Adams Family 2005

Hit Counter