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.
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.
young man’s life, there is always one particular girl,
and that particular girl, Louie Gibson, was to become my
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
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.
lots of company for her, as he was all she had at home
now. Robert is now an A&P Grocery Store manager.
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.
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.
Uncle Jody's picture below to enlarge)
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.
Daddy's picture to enlarge)
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.
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.
few years, I got a job with the Coca Cola Bottling
brother, Forest, was working for me on the truck.
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
information on Uncle Forest, click
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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