Saturday, August 27, 2011

Installment no -27 - August 27th 2011

This is begin installment no –27 -

This picture shows a wide view between the planer mill and the large sawmill area. Picture number-13

Looking in the center of the picture you are looking at the dry shed where we unloaded and separated the lumber from the dry kiln lumber. In front of the separation shed, you see the lumber ramps to the left that goes into the planer mill, to the right it leads to the lumber yard where the lumber are stacked in storage and drying. The ramp in the center moves lumber in to the dry lumber storages shed. You see the five smoke stacks at the large boilers that creates all the steam that powers all the engines. You may observe that one of the smoke stacks is belching black smoke and that is because the fire has gotten smothered probably because too much green saw dust had fallen in the furnace and smothered the fire. You hardly never see much of black smoke when the fires are burning good.

A truck being loaded for delivery-Picture number14

This is a truck being loaded at west end of the planer mill. I recognize three of the workers, to the left this tall lanky man was Aaron Gaither (High Pocket), and the person helping pushing lumber on to the truck I do not recognize, the next person standing looking on and goofing off is Charlie Frank Dennis, the person receiving the material and placing it in the truck is Malcolm Camp and he was the driver, I do not recognize the person checking the material

This is end of installment no 27 -

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Installment no -26 - Ugust 24th 2011

This is installment no –26 -

\\or office. This shed is where we started making ammunition boxes before and during the world war (2). This was the first place that we started hiring women to work in the box shed. I believe that was the only place that we had a saw powered with an electric motor.

Another dress lumber shed picture number-11

This shed was at the foot of the hill of the road entering in to the town. It also was across the road from the church. We commonly called this shed the number (3) dry shed and we stored two-inch lumber material. We would pull the trucks along side of the shed and load from the stalls and load in to the truck bodies. You will see the fire hydrant in front of the shed we had fire hydrants all throughout the plant buildings. We had two-inch pipes burried in the ground and we had 2” hoses and nozzles and usually kept about three 50ft sections of hose in each.

This picture number 12—Planer mill

In this picture you will see the east end of the roughdry shed where we kept kiln dry lumber stored. On the lumber ramp attached to the planer mill to the dry shed, this where we could roll lumber dollies loaded with rough lumber to be dressed for shipping. In the planer mill building we had four planer machines. We had two machines that we could dress 1” or 2” material on them. Many times we would be dressing 2” material on one machine and dressing 1” material on the other machine at the same time. The large steam engine was large and strong enough to power all machines at the same time. We had a large machine that we could dress timbers on it. We had a planer machine for making molding material. You can see steam exhausted from the large steam engine that powered all the machines. Notice the large metal pipe overhead this pipe has a cyclone effect with a large fan that would pick up the shavings and blow them into the dust house and there were a conveyer that would go on into the furnace and heat the water create steam. You will notice another fire hydrant depicted in this picture. See the two wheel dollies we had many of them we used them in the planer mill and on the green lumberyard to transport lumber from one place to another.

This is end of installment no –26 -

Installment no - 25 = August 24th 2011

This is begin installment n0 –25 -

This is the only church for the white people and it was not any particular denomination. All of us use it regardless of our particular denomination. Most of the people in town were Baptist, however there were other denominations as well. Mr. Rich built this house for us and he built a same size and type church house for the black people. I never remember seeing Mr. Rich attending service at the church. I really do not know if he protested to be a Christian or not, but I know he was a good man and had compassion for his employees. I always thought that why Mr. Rich did not attend services that he thought that it would make us a little uncomfortable with him being there. I think that he had to be strict and not fraternize with his employees and families. I know that my Dad, Hillary Gardner, Canine, McClain were Baptist deacons and could have been others. To my knowledge we never paid a minister a salary. I know that Bro. Windel Smith preached for us lots his brother George Smith served us lots and bro Braden for a long time. To the best of my knowledge we just donated money and give them love offerings. We did not really have many organized activities in the church. Occianlly we would develop Sunday school classes or training courses if someone would volunteer to teach them. I remember that my sister Helen developed the BYPU class that went along for a long time.

Usually when we had preaching service most every one would attend regardless what denomination was being preached. Some times we would have a visiting preacher come in and put on a revival for us. It was in this church during a revival that I joined the Baptist denomination faith, I believed, but I did not really trust my Lord the way that I should. I was baptized in water but it was quiet a while that my Jesus baptized me with the Holy Spirit, and I was born again. It was one year that we used the church as a school classroom while Mount Moriah School was being enlarged to accommodate the Hillwood children. We usually used the welgufka creek as our baptism place for baptizing. I was baptized in the Weogufka creek on a Sunday afternoon at the old overhead bridge at the Harmon place. I remember that I bought myself a new pair of white paints and a white shirt for the occasion. It is my recollection also that my young brother Tony Jr., and my good friend Billy Bullard was being baptized with me. I also remember that my good friend John Duncan (Junior Guy) was climbing up on top of the overhead bridge where he could observe the event, when his Mother notice him about half way up and pulled him down and was about ready to switch him good. I know if my brother had not been wading in to the creek for baptizing he would have been right behind Junior Guy, because what one did the other was right with him.

One of the dry storage shed picture number-1

This picture shows the first shed the nearest from the store down under the store. That is a double dry shed the shed to the left was where we stored one inch dressed lumber material, the shed to the right was where we stored rough one-inch dry lumber material. Notice that we had lumber ramps around the sheds so we could transport material from one shed to the other or from the planer mill. You can see that we had sixty gallon oil drums sat around in the sheds and other building filled with water for fighting fires, in these drums we had a fire bucket in each one. The box looking objects you see sitting on the scable are truck bodies, we used them when we were transporting one inch material to the railroad to be loaded in to a box car and ship to destination. We normally referred to this shed as the number one dry shed because it was the nearest to the store
This is end of installment no –25 –

This is installment no -24 - August 24th 2011

Following is installment no –24 -

This is the house that was built for Mr. Fred Anderson; Fred was a brother of Mr. Rich. This house was a little larger and a little more elaborate then most of the other houses. Fred severed, as a plant supertendent for a period of time, but to the best of my knowledge Mr. Fred did not do much of any thing productive for the company.

After Mr. Fred left Hillwood Mr. John Lewis moved in to this house. Mr. Lewis was a lumber salesman and his family consisted of his wife one daughter Tabatha, two sons Jimmy and I do not remember the name of the other son. To my recognition this house was vacant when The Sterling Company come to Hillwood and Mr. W.G. Moeling and family moved in to this house. The Moeling family consisted of his wife Dorothy (Dot) and son W.G. Moeling the 1V, and their daughter Ann was born in that house. The three people reflected in this picture are W.G. Moeling111, his wife Dorothy and son Wink.

The town church Picture-Number –9

This is end of installment no –24 -

This is installment no -23 - August 24th 2011

Jeff I am sending a short installment to see if they will send picture

This is installment no –23 -

important families that lived in the town. After a period of time stokes left from the boarding house and moved in to

the Cranford house. The Cranford family became the caretakers of the boarding house. The Cranford family consisted of Mr. Virgil, his wife and one son Bobby, and daughter Carolyn. The Crawford’s stayed there for some period until Mr. Cranford and Mr. Rich had some confliction disagreement on the little sawmill that Mr. Cranford was operating.

Mr. Cranford quit his job and left Hllwood and moved to Birmingham, AL. The Stokes then move back to the boarding house and took over supervision again. I do not know who took care of the boarding house after that, because I was in the service.

Fred Anderson house picture number-8
This is end of installment no –23 -

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Installment no 22 - August 23rd 2011

I have skipped the picture of the boarding house because my computer want send it, it says it is over capacity. I use to be able to send a whole document and not if I try to send several pages it throws it in outbox.

This is installment no –22 -

The large room that you see in this picture was Mr. Rich’s room where he lived. The boarding house mangers families live in the backside of building. There were tow or three two-room buildings where people could stay. Some would

Stay there for long periods or lived there and took their meals at the boarding house. I remember Mr. Bill Bindman live there for several years and I know that one of our night watchmen lived there for a long time. Our first boarding house manger was a widow woman name of Mrs. Miller; I

Believe that she knew Mr. Rich back in Laurel Mississippi. She had a grandson named Sonny and he was about our age. I used to be a little jealously of Sonny because Mr. Rich had a couple of nice horses and he let Sonny ride them and in the earliest years and he did not let us to ride them. O course in later years he allowed some others to ride them. I thought Mr. Rich was a little partial to Sonny. I later found out that Sonny was having to taker care of the horses feeding and their other needs.

The boarding house had reparation for serving good soul food. In the earlier years they had a little black man that could really know how to cook country soul food. His name was Shortly George and was only four ft. in height and he worked there for many years. Every body knew him and loved him. The next Family that took the job of taking care of the boarding house was the Stokes family. The Stokes family consisted of Sam Stokes, his wife and two daughters and both of them were good friends of mind. But oh course I considered everyone in town to be a good friend of mine. The Stokes family was one of the many
This is end of installment no – 22 -

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

This is installment no -21 -August17th 2011

This is installment no –21 -

This picture reflects the doctor’s office next to the post office. Picture number-6

Also the building to the right of the post office is the warehouse storage house adjacent to the commissary the two characters is my oldest brother and my self; I had unloaded a truckload of supplies for the commissary. Mr. Blankenshipm owned the automobile parked between post office and commissary, he always parked there.
Dr. Goff was our first company doctor, he lived at Rockford, but he would come over about two days each week to serve us, for our medical needs. He also served the Mt. Moriah community needs. O course he would come over in any emergency, but we would have to go over to inform him of the emergency because we did have accesses to the phone. He always had medication in his office to give to his patients; he kept different kinds of pills, such as Carter little liver pills and others. He kept different liquid medication like cough syrup and others in brown gars. He would give us typhoid shots and he did nit have any way to sterilized his needles and to the best of my recognition he would wipe them with alcohol sponge. For as I know he did not keep any drugs in his office, but if he had, they would have been safe. I do not know how they were paid for their service, I thought they were on salary and was paid by the company because I never did see any money being give to them.

Our next doctor was Dr. Maddox, at first he lived at Rockford, and later he and family moved to Hillwood. I never did know why we changed from Dr. Goff to Dr. Maddox. I know that there was no conflict with any thing or with any one about the service, because every thing was friendly with Dr. Goff. Dr. Maddox family consisted of his daughter Marie Wideman and her sin Joe Wideman, and I do not know if his wife was living at that time Dr. Maddox was quiet elderly when he came to Hillwood. Dr. Maddox had about the same of practice as Dr. Goff only since Dr Maddox lived in the town he was on duty 24 hrs each day, whether he was in his office or at home. His Grand son Joe drove him around in the surrounding community visiting patients. Marie fell in love with Mr. Joe Scroggins and they got married. Joe Frank was a dear friend of mine for several years and we were classmates as well.

This is end of installment no – 21 -

This is installment no -20 - my story August 17th 2011

This is installment no – 20 -

A package of ready roll Wing cigarettes .15 cents, a pkg. Camel or Lucky Strike was .18 cants, a bag of Bull Durham tobacco .05 cents, a bag of Golden Grain tobacco .05 cents, a pkg. Bugler tobacco to roll your own .12 cents, a can of Prince Albert smoking tobacco .18 cents, a plug of Days -Work chewing tobacco .10 cents, a plug blood hound chewing tobacco .05 cents, a small can of Burton or Garrett snuff .10 cents a large can was .25 cents, a package of sweet granger chewing tobacco .12 cents. A yard of broad cloth sold for .10 cents per yard. A spool of thread was a nickel. A 1940 ford car sold less then a $1,000. Dollars, I know because we bought one.

We purchase coffee, dry lima beans, dry pinto beans, dry peas, sugar in 100 pound sacks and we would scoop them in to small brown bags making .10 cent bags and .25 cent bags. A pocket watch sold for a dollar, work glove was .35 cents, work caps was .25 cents, a twenty four pound sack of flour was .75 cents, a peck of corn meal was .30 cents, a pair or overalls was $1.25 a blue denim shirt was .50 cents, a blue denim jumper coat was $1.00. The flour sacks came in various colors of nice broad cloth and familiars made dresses out of them.

We had a screened in compartment to keep our loaf bread into and some bakery goods like some sweet rolls or jellyrolls. Our mail carrier Mr. Blankenship brought us fresh bread from Sylacauga bakery two or three times each week. I am sure that he was not paid for performing this wonderful deed I am sure he was doing this deed in the goodness of his heart because he was a good Christian man.

The Post office building—picture number-5

In the very earliest period time we did not receive any mail in the town because the town had no name and no post office building. We would receive our mail on the star route and we would have to meet the mail carrier at the forks of the road at Mt. Moriah and receive our mail. After the town was name “ Hillwood “ Mr. Rich had us a post office building built and Mr. Rich or Mr. Duncan Guy, contacted the postal department and we were assigned a postal carrier and a postmistress. Mr. Blankenship was assigned as our mail carrier and I do not know or remember any one ever being our mail carrier but Mr. Blankenship. Mr. Blakenship would pick up mail in Sylacauga and bring it to us in Hillwood at exactly 12:00, noontime, and you could check you watch for his prompt arrival time. Mr. Blakenship would stay in town until 3:00 afternoon and retrieve all the mail and take it to Sylacauga to the postal department. Mr. Blakenship did not live in Hillwood, he lived in the Weogufka community.

Mrs. McMain was our first postmistress and to my knowledge was the only one. My sister Helen served as an assistant when she was needed. So was the sister of Mrs. McMains, Mrs. Russell. Mrs. McMain had two children a daughter Evelyn and a son Gaden, and her brother and her sister live with them.

This is the end of installment no –2 0 -

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

This is installment no - 19 - August 16th 2011

This is installment no – 19 -

The store (the commissary)

The commissary is the only store that exists in the town of Hillwood. The commissary is a very important focal point of the town. This is a place that people would congregates and hang out, this was a place that you would meet people that were coming to meet with you. It was the place where the school children would meet and wait for the school bus comes pick them up and take them to Weogufka schoolhouse. This is the place where the peddler’s would come on brass days where they would park around the building where the customers could observe there wares and produce. This is the place where you would learn any town news or town gossip.

Many peddlers came from the Mt. Moriah community on brass days but many others came a father distance away. Over the years there were two rolling store that would come thru the town selling there wares. One was P.N. Davis was from Rockford, AL. and the other was Virgil Williams from Weogufka, AL. There was a period of time that we had an ice truck and milk truck that peddled their commodities to us. They kept their milk in glass gars and kept it cold in tubs of ice. The cost of a quart of sweet milk was 10 cents; a quart of buttermilk was .05 cents. The cost of ice was .40 cents per 100 pound.

There were many people that worked in the store over the years I will not remember all but I will name a few that I can still remember. I have already mentioned that Johnnie Anderson was our first store manger. To the best of my recollection Walter Lee was our next store manger and Walter served many years, he was still manger when I left Hillwood and went in to the Army. When I came back home to Hillwood Curtis Wood was store manger. Curt Wood was married to the sister of Mr. Rich Anderson.

In the earlier years Rena Pearsey the wife of Jim Pearcey served with Walter Lee and along with Blocker Kilgore, Lowell Dunlap, and Lester Bullard. This group worked and served for a long period together. I will try to name several others that I remember and I will miss some, so forgive me if I leave someone’s name off. Albert Howell, Windell Smith, Abby Thornton, Allie Phillips, Mary McGrady, Frank Dennis, Buddy Dennis, Author Dennis, and myself John Davidson. I worked in the store back in the year of 1941 and worked there until I went in to the service in October 1942. After being discharged from the Army in January 1946, Mr. Curt Wood, store manger ask me to come work in the store and be his assistant in the store, and I accepted and was working there when the Sterling Lumber purchased the Ralph Lumber Company. After Sterling Company purchased Ralph Company Mr. Wood resigned as manger and moved to Mississippi. The Sterling Company hired Mr. Elgin Williams to be store manger and they transferred me to be purchasing agent for all mill supplies. I remember they hired Lucille Knox and I cannot remember what other clerks they hired; I know that Mr. Windel Smith was still working there.

Since there was no other store in the town we carried a long line of goods in the commissary. We had a small shoe department, dry goods, a small over the counter, of medicine, gas and oil, cold drinks, meat dept. candy and good line of can goods and other groceries, a few truck and automobile parts, truck tires for the company trucks and a few automobile tires for the public. You could almost buy all the necessities that you needed. I used to tell people that you could buy anything from a spool of thread or to an automobile at the commissary. Actually you could because Mr. Rich owned a ford dealership in Laurel Mississippi and he would sell us an automobile and fiancée it without any interest and we could pay it with payroll deduction, and several of us did. My oldest brother and I purchased a practically new 1940 ford and paid it thru payroll deduction. Many of the boys did the same thing. The biggest problem was my brother joined the army in 1941 and left me to finish paying for it.

I want to describe some of the inside appearance of the store, it had several large glass show cases, and wooden counters. The wooden counters had shelves underneath to store various goods to be sold. The wooden counters were an ideal place for us boys to sit on and pass away the time eventhou the manger would chase us out sometimes. We had a glass candy case that we kept our candy into. WE kept a fair variety of candy on hand to pick from.

There were shelves built from floor to the sealing behind the counters to store goods on to. We had a large warehouse attached to the side of the commissary building to store extra stock commodity material. We had a large home made walk in refrigerator where we kept cold drinks, fresh produce, meats, and some blocks of ice. This refrigerator was powered with a gasoline engine. This refrigerator was about three steps lower from the commissary floor and that was very tiring to run up and down the steps going in to get items for the customers.

I am going to quote some prices that I still remember of the years of 1941 and 1942. You want believe some of these prices. A big baby Ruth candy bar was .05 cents; a small baby Ruth was a penny, Mr. Good-bar was a nickel, suckers on stick a penny an all day sucker was a nickel banana kisses was a penny, a snicker bar a nickel, several other nickel and pennies candy pieces, Juice fruit or spearmint or teaberry chewing gum .05 cents for a five block or we brake a block and sell one piece for a penny, a large piece of blow gum for a penny.

A gallon of gasoline .18 cents, a quart of Quaker State motor oil .20 cents, a five quart can of Quake State motor oil .75 cents, a lesser expensive quart of oil for.15 cents, If we were short of can motor oil we always had bulk oil in a large container with a hand pump in it and you could pump you own for .15 cents per quart, Kerosene was a important commodity because everyone used kerosene for their lamps and kerosene sold for .20 cents per gallon. Late every evening there were many sales of kerosene and most of the sales were .10 cents a 1/2-gal, and since I was the junkie boy it was my job to pump the kerosene and the old pump would spew if all over you and make me smell like kerosene.

This is the end of installment no – 19 -

Monday, August 15, 2011

This is installment no -18 - my story August 15th,2011

This is no installment no -18 -

The Main office of The Company

The main office or the only office of the company and that is where all the administrative business was conducted. Mr. J. D. Guy, (John Duncan Guy) served as office manger, chief accountant, and assistant to Mr. Rich, thru out the life of the Ralph Lumber Company. The Guy family consisted of his wife, two daughters Nell, and Elaine and one son Junior, (John Duncan Guy Jr.). The Guy family arrives in Hillwood shortly after my family arrives there in 1932. Mr. Guy left the Ralph Lumber Company and departed from Hillwood in the year of 1946 and moved to Laurel Mississippi right after The Sterling Lumber And Supply Company purchased the assets of the Ralph Lumber Company.

The Davidson family and Guy families kept in contact with each other over thru these long years. My oldest brother married Nell Guy and they lived a long happy life and raise four beautiful children. There are only one of the original Guy family are sill living as this story is being told.

There were several clerks and other office workers over the years and I will not attempt to try name them all because I certainly can not, but I will mention a few that I remember Millie Norris serve many years as a clerk or book keeper Evelyn Jones also serve as a clerk, Nell Guy (Davidson) served as a clerk, John Lewis served many years as a lumber salesman, Bill Bindman served as a timber curser.

After the sale of Ralph Company to Sterling Company, Sterling Company brought Mr. W.G. Moeling in as president of the southern division, their Chicago attorney Mr. Bill Pokorny spent several weeks helping set up their office personnel. They hired Mr. A. B. Crull to be office manger and chief accountant, hired Charles F. Thomas to be lumber salesman and supervisor over the yard and planer mill. George Fryer as a payroll clerk, A. B. Crull Jr. as timber cruiser. George resigned shortly and went to work with Elmer Dunnam in Goodwater as his store manger. Helen Dennis (Davidson) was hired to replace George as a clerk and payroll clerk.

The Ralph Lumber Company paid off ever other week if you had any money left off after your advances on your wages. The estimate changed on the first and the 15th day of every month. The company would advance you money on your future wages on these days; we called these brass days because we had our own kind of money, which were brass coins in denominations a nickel was round and was a little larger then an American dime, a dime was a hexagon shape, a quarter was round and was about the size of American quarter, a half dollar was m hexagon shape, the dollar was round and was about the size as an American half dollar. This money could only be spent at the company store, the commissary. In lieu of the inscription “ In God we trust”, it had the inscription “ RALPH LUMBER COMPANY. Mr. Rich had a desk in the office and he had a large double executive desk and we kept that desk in our office at Goodwater all thru the existent years thru the Sterling Lumber and Supply Company. My computer now sits on one of the desk that was in the office in Hillwood. Back in 1973 when we moved in our new large modern Sterling office, we purchase new modern desks and office furniture, I had this desk refurbished and put it in my home. I sit here and look at this old desk and reminisce over old times. I truly enjoy reminiscing old times and writing about some of them.

This is the end of installment no – 18 -

Installment no -17 -August 15th 2011

Thus is installment no –17 -

Mother that now I can go swimming now because I can swim and she ask me how did you learn how to swim in a number-3 tub.

As we grew in to older teenagers we would go to hatchet creek and take the girls with us. We use to go in swimming under the old overhead bridge and sometime we get in trouble with the swift current when the water was high after a lot of rain and whirling current. I remember one afternoon about four of us boys had gotten in to the whirling current and we really had a hard time getting out of the swift current. I remember reading that there were some drowning there later years. My brother Tony Jr. and Junior Guy were daredevils anyway and they would climb on top of the overhead bridge and dive off in to the water.

As young boys would play marbles and our mothers would get on us for getting down on our knees and get our overalls wet and muddy. Us boys would take broomsticks or cut a limb and play what we call hockey by hitting tin cans. As older boys we would play cowboys and we would chase and catch the young bulls and ride them, we would tie a rope around them to hold on to them. We would play cops and robbers in the large dry sheds we would play army in the green lumberyard and hide behind in the lumber stacks.

The boys built a clubhouse and we would spend considerable time in it we sometimes would spend the night in them. We would make ice cream there and sometimes we would steal one of Mr. Fed Andersons chicken and cook it there. As children we use to spend considerable time in the woods and we would climb tall pine saplings and swing out of them and play Tarzan. On Sunday afternoons a large group of teenagers would take long hikes thru the woods. Boys would go out in the woods and pick heckler berries; we could sell then for thirty cents per gallon. We would build wooden sleds and sand the runners where they would slide fast down the large hills that cover with pine straw. We made log wagons and we would ride them down the hills as well. We also used our log wagons for work, we would take our wagons in the woods and load them down with pine knots and take them home for fuel heating.

As we stroll thru the woods hiking we would pick up hickory nuts, come across a Muscatine vine and we would harvest Muscatine, and some time we would cut the long Muscatine vine and swing on them. We usually had a Muscatine swing in the swimming place where we cold swing in to the water. Many families wood go to the woods and harvest various fruits that grew in the wild and made many jellies and jams such as dew berries, black berries, hackle berries, Muscatine, plum orchard and sometime we would find an apple tree or a pear tree.

The boys would play hide and seek in the lumberyards and hide around in the stacks of lumber or in the storage sheds and the hay barns. We played the game of throw the whip, that was a game that we would form a long line of boys and girls and pick a large boy be the leader or be the whippier we all would run as fast as we could and the whippier would stop and pop the whip and the person on the end would get pitched in the air.

Earlier years we constructed what we called be our park that is where we played many games such as pitching horseshoes, washer game, played marbles, we built several ridding contraptions such as swings with tires attached to the ropes, some with seats attached to sit in them. We built some flying Jennies, we constructed a Ferris wheel with four seats and that was a lot of fun. The children would congregate there days or nights and have a lot of fun.

We also constructed a roller coast that run from the large hill down to the white church. I estimate that the tract was about 250 ft long. We took 1x12 rough boards and built scadling to attach the boards together. We took 2” X 2” square timbers and attached in the middle if the boars to guide the roller cart. The roller cart was about 2-1/2 ft. wide and about 3ft long. We attached two roller skate wheels on the bottom of the four corners to give speed. We attached two runners in the middle of the cart and attached roller skate wheels inside of these two runners to ride and guide the cart on the 2” X 2” on the track. We built two half circle loops on the track over a ditch and one over a big branch. If you took the cart to the top of the track and take off you would go out born and land in the branch. O course we dare each other to go to the top and we would give a pack of wing cigarettes to our good black friend Cushion Ben, to ride from the top and of course my brother Tony and Junior Guy would dare each other and would ride from the top and land in the water.

We also played several other ball games as young children. We played a ball game called town ball this game was played sorter like base ball only it was played with a rubber ball and as you ran from base to base they would throw and hit you with the rubber ball and that is the way that they got you out. Some of them were very good at throwing and hitting you while we were running. Some were strong enough to throw that ball so hard when they hit you it would leave a red spot where they hit you.

O course we jumped the rope, we played the game throw the whip in the event you haven’t played the game or heard about this game we formed a long line of children and hold hands and run as fast as you can and the leader would stop and pop the whip and the kids on the end of the line would be slung to the ground. A game called dodge ball

This is end installment no –17 -

This is installment no -16 - Augist- 15th 2011

This is installment no –16 – to Jeff


We had our own private phone line in to Hillwood, and I do not know where we connected on to the public company line, even thou I helped to work on the line several times, but I never remember going any further then Weogufka to work on it. When we had bad weather we all had to run the line and get the limbs and trees from the line. Most of the time we were not paid for that chore son Ralph or store manger Walter Lee would pick two or three of us boys and say come on go with him to check out the phone line. We were always ready and willing just to have something to do. There were only two phones in the town in the town one in the office and one in Mr. Rich’s room in the boarding house. These two phones were the old models that hung on the wall and had to crank the operator. The phones were so nosey and stasis that you had to be pretty experienced with them to carry on a conversation. No one would use the phones except the office personal or Mr. Guy or Mr. Rich, unless an emergency it would be a death message.

Recreation, entertainment and games played

We did have a battery radio o course the batteries cost so much we had to select the programs that we could listen to; our parents would usually decide what programs we could listen to. The radio was about the extent of the entertainment for our parents or the adults. Some of the family programs that we listened to were Fiber McGee and molly, The Goldberg’s, Rudy Valley, Jimmy Durante, Jack Benny, Lum and Abner, Fred Allen, Town Hall Tonight, Mary Pickford, Major Bowes Amateur, Guy Lombardo and others and most of performers went on in to television. My Father created a battery charger for his radio. He took his car battery and he welded a fan belt pulley on the end of a shaft under the sawmill and connected a belt from the pulley and connected a car generator and he would have a fresh battery, the only problem with that he would load that heavy car battery on his shoulder and carry that about one-half mile and that would get pretty heavy. When Joe Louis would have a champion fight we would sort make a party about it gather at some place or some ones house and listen to the fight. I remember that 7th. Day of December of the year 1941, my Dad came to the window and told us that Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor. I distinctly remember that moment there were several boys were preparing to go to town and go to a movie. We were preparing to fix a couple tires in the event had a flat tire. By that time our tires had worn pretty thin and it was not uncommon to have a couple flats on going to town. I remember that put us down, it made us mad and sad, we could not understand how they could do that to us. We did go on to a movie but it was not an enjoyable afternoon, I do not remember what the movie was showing. I was thanking about going into the service, my older brother had already volunteered in to the army about eight mints prior before. I was remembering how badly my Mother hated seeing my brother volunteering and I knew she was going to try to persuade me from going, and I tried very hard to please my mothers wishes and desires. Families played games such as horseshoes, we did not use store bought horseshoes, and we would pick some large shoes that was being dislodged from the company horses. We played a game like horseshoe but use large washers and pitch them in to a 2-inch round hole. We played checkers and usually played on a homemade board with soda bottle caps for checkers.

Children created and played various games

The children created many other forms of entertainment and games. The children would have parties at some ones home and the parents would serve refreshments sometime and some times we would have a winner roast in a large bun fire. We would have a water Mellon cutting for refreshment, sometime we would splurge and have an ice cream party. When we had our parties we never sent out invitations to certain few, when we had a party everyone was considered to be invited. Invitations were sent by word of mouth by each of us. Sometimes we would make peanut brittle candy at our get together.

We would play various games at our parties, we would spin the bottle, and I cannot remember the rules and how these games were played. As I can recall the spinner could impose a penalty on to the person that the bottle was pointed to.

One of our favorite events that we enjoyed was swimming and fishing and boating as we grew in to older teenagers. Us boys used to walk the mile to weogufka creek to swim most of us learn how to swim in weogufka creek. My mother always told us boys to stay out of the water until you learn how to swim. One day I went in and told my
This is end installment no –16 –

This is installment no -15 - to Jeff- Ugust

This is installment no –15 – dent to Jeff

The pet monkeys

Mr. Rich brought two monkeys to Hillwood to live and entertain us. I never did know where he got them and why he had these monkeys, some said that Johnnie was a medical student and he used them in his studies and that sound logical to me. Mr. Rich had a large garden wire cage made for the monkeys to live in for a couple years. This cage was out front of the boarding house, and everybody could view and watch the monkeys and entertain us with their Shenanigans. After a couple years he turned them out in to the back yard of the boarding house and they stayed out in the vicinity area and appeared to be happy there. Everybody watched the monkeys and enjoyed them for several years. Many had their own names for them some called them mutt and Jeff and other different names such as Pa and MA, my special name for them was Adam and Eve because there were a large apple tree in the corner of the boarding house yard and these monkeys spent consider time playing in apple tree and eating the apples. I saw Eve hand Adam a nice red apple and he did eat it. (Not Really) Mr. Rich use to get on us boys for knocking the apples from the apple tree, he told us to leave the apples for the monkeys.

Refrigeration no ice or milk deliveries

In the earliest years we did not have ice or mild delivered to us. If any one wanted to buy ice you would have to go to the icehouse in Sylacauga and bring it back in your car and very few of us could afford to do that. Sometimes a truck driver would bring some back for some one and it would all just be melted by it got delivered. Many people had cows and furnished us milk and we would tie a bucket of milk and lowered down in to the well to keep it from spoiling or some would put bucket in cool spring and weighted it down with rocks to keep it from turning over and spill. In later years in the late thirties and early forties some one had an ice truck and some one had a milk truck delivered ice and milk to us by coming thru the neighbor hood and sell us what amount we wanted or could afford. If my recollection serves me correctly you could buy about a 20 pound for a dime. I remember that our family usually bought a 40-pound chunk, which cost 20 cents. At this time none of us or very few had ice boxes so most of us store our ice in a number-2 tub and cover it with old quilts and news papers we would punch a few nail holes to let the water drain. We considered it to be a special treat to have ice tea instead of muddy water, and I say that because in dry weather the wells would be low in water and when you let the well bucket hit the bottom of the well you would have muddy water. The milkman kept the milk in glass gars with cardboard stoppers to keep the milk contained in the bottles. He transported milk to us in tubs of ice to keep cold. Some time we would splurge and make ice cream.

This is end installment no – 15 – sent to Jeff

Thursday, August 11, 2011

This is installment no -14 - my story August 10th 2011

This is installment no –14 –

Ironing Day

Ironing day was an all day detail. In the winter they would heat the smoothing irons on top of the old cooking stove These smoothing irons weighed around four to five pounds each and had to have some means of protecting your hands to keep them from getting burned usually they had a thick cloth pad like a glove. In the summer time my Mother would have a fire built out in the yard and heat her irons in the fire near a shade tree and have a ironing table there to feel a little breeze to help keep her cooler. You had to be very careful to keep your irons clean from smut from the fire. Heating irons on an open fire you would have to be very careful the irons may get too hot and you may scorch that pretty white shirt.

Out House-Toilet

Since we did not have a bathroom or water or toilet inside, it was necessary to have a toilet outside, we referred it as an outhouse it was unpopular to say toilet in mixed company. This outhouse was always several yards from our house for obvious reasons. At our house when the strong wind was blowing to the west from the east we would have to close the shutters on the windows. Our outhouse had two round holes to sit on or fall into. I never did know why they had two holes because as for as I ever know no one went there together. We always kept a couple catalogs on the bench beside the two holes. It was very important to be careful when you took a laxative because you sure did not want to go in the middle of the night in freezing weather. When you saw a flashlight sailing thru the yard at mid night it was time to say a little prayer for the light carrier. Our family usually brought in what we called slop gar each night for using to urinate in to; it was place in a hidden place in the house. It wasn’t so bad as we were children but when we got to be teenagers it was to embracement for us so we learned to hold until morning.

Our lighting-kerosene lamps

Our family used about five kerosene lamps, everyone used kerosene lamps for no one had any electric lights. It was necessary to fill the lamps every evening and clean the lamp globes because the globes will get smoked if you did not keep the wick trimmed. We would often let one light be lighted thru the night so where you could move around. We would extinguish all the other lamps to save on oil, because oil cost 20 cents per gallon. Our family had a routine most of the time especially school season my father required a lamp for reading the paper and studying his bible. My Mother required a lamp to do all her chores and she had many. She would clean the kitchen wash the dishes she would wash the dishes in a large dish pan with soap and water, she then had another dish pan with rinsing water and then drying them with a large dish towel. After completing the kitchen chores then she would prepare the beds for the night and another hundred details before going to bed herself. I never did see my mother have any time to sit down and relax as we children growing up. During school season there were five of us children attended school at the same time. The five of us would all gather around a table and it was the dinning table and we would use two or three kerosene lamps and study our lessons. The boys usually had to have a little persuading from our Father because we did not like school anyway. He customary had his old razor strap by his side and we called it a persuader.

This is end of installment no –14 -

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Increment no -13 - Hillwood syory August 9th 2011

This is increment no – 13 -

We usually kept our drinking water in a galvanizes tin bucket or some time we had cedar wooden bucket and that kept water a little cooler in the summer. We al drank water from the bucket with a dipper and kept it in the bucket at all times, where ever one could use it. When we had company visiting us we would go to the well or spring and get a bucket of fresh water to serve to our company that is the only drink that we could offer to them.

Taking Baths

We had different methods for taking baths mostly our primary method was with a pan of water or bucket of water with a washcloth. We kept our bodies reasonably clean; it was not like a hot shower. Our family had some rules regarding taking baths usually the boys would take our baths at night behind the old wood burning stove and the girls would take there baths in the morning. That served different purposes one was for warmth and the other for privacy. Taking baths in the summer time was very different we could heat water in a number –3 tin tub in the sun shine and take it in to the kitchen where we could sit in the tub and take an all over bath. O course we took some over body baths by heating water on the old wood burning stove but we did not take them that frequently as we did in the summer time. The boys and men went to branches and creek to take baths as well. After us boys became teenagers and my father built a bathhouse down near the well. This bathhouse consisted of sprinkler to take showers a place for the water to drain, a dressing room, just like down town. We took a 60-gallon oil drum cut the bottom out and welded a ¾” pipe in to it and sat it down on a scafle and run the pipe to the bathroom. We sat the drum near the well and we could draw water and pour it in to the drum and let the sun heat the water.

Wash Days

Washdays, washing our clothes were an all day job. Our Mother or some other lady of the family mostly did it. The wash place was near a spring or a dug well so we would have plenty of water. Our family wash place was at our dug well and consisted a wash bench with three large tin tubs, and a boiling pot. The three tubs and the boiling pot had to be filled with water to start the washday. My Mother always started washing the colored clothes first because they were the dirtest. It was the boys job was to draw the water and fill all the tubs and build a fire around the boiling pot. We carried hot water from the boiling pot and mixed with the first pot where my mother would rub the clothes on a rubbing board to scrub the dirt loose, and if our over alls had much pine resin on them she may have to use a batten board to loosen the resin loose by beating it loose. After rubbing the colored clothes she put them in to the hot boiling water pot to boil. After they boiled around twenty or thirty minutes she put them back thru the rubbing procedure again. We empted all the tubs and refilled the tubs with fresh water and start the sane procedure for washing the whit clothes. After all of the clothes run thru the scrubbing tub they were passé thru the two rinsing tubs to get all the soap out. She would twist and squeeze the clothes to get as much water out she could and they are ready to be hung on the clothesline to dry.

After the washing detail was completed she would shake the garments to remove the wrinkles and hang them on clothesline to dry she fasten them with wooden clothespins. Since the clothes lines were of wire it was necessary to take wet cloth line to remove rust from the clothes line other wise you would get rust marks on the garments.

End Of increment no – 13 –

Monday, August 8, 2011

Increment no -12 - of my Hillwood story August 8th,2011

This starts increment – 12 -

A tall tale

Let me tell you a little humorous event that happened one night that a couple of families were digging a well. We had gotten down about thirty feet deep and come on solid rock and about the only thing that we knew to do was try dynamiting thru the rock. None of us had any experience using dynamite. We drill a hole about two feet into the solid rock and stuffed two sticks of dynamite into the hole and we connected a long wire to the dynamite and attached it to an old car battery, someone told us how to do that procedure, and when we tried to ignite the charge from the battery and nothing happened. There were several spectators watching this unusual event and my mother was in this group. My Dad and my brother were two of the demonstrators of this crazy event. While we all patiently waited about five minutes and nothing had happened, so my Dad and my brother was going to go down in the well to try find what happened. Just about the time that they were ready to go down then came the big explosion sending big rocks raining rock on top of us. My Mother had heard the plans that my Dad and brother were going down to check it out. When the big explosion occurred someone hollered out real loud in a hysterical voice that got the both of them. They mint that both sticks had exploded, but my Mother thought they were thanking that it got my Dad and brother. She fainted away and it requires quiet a while to revive her. The point of this story is during the depressed years we had to do with what we had to do with, we could not hire an experience technician professionally to do it for you. Any way we completed the well and it served us several years.

It was a tremendous chore to keep enough water in to the house for the family needs. When there were no boys in the families many of us boys would hire out to carry water and wood in to the house for them. They would pay us any where from 35 cents to 50 cents per week. I remember having two families that I hauled their wood and water each day for a long period of time. It would require about 1-hour on each customer. I also had to help my brothers to take care of our house.

This is end of increment no - 12 -

Sunday, August 7, 2011

This is Increment no - 11 - of my story-August 7th,2011

This is increment no –11 –

They were using Oxen’s to snake the logs to this small steam mill, that is the only time that I had ever watched oxen’s at work.

The dwelling houses

Most of the houses were built for families just as the house was built for our family. They were built for the family when they were being hired to work in the town of Hillwood. All of the houses were being constructed with rough green lumber and with the wind and the sun it dried the lumber so the lumber shrank the lumber so bad that cracks developed between the boards that you could throw a cat thru the cracks. Most of the houses were built in the same design most were three or four room of shotgun style and no porches to sit on. We used 1x4 baton boards to cover the cracks devolved from the drying process.

None of the houses that had any of the convenience that you enjoy now. Very few had glass windows, most had shutters on the window openings, no screens on the windows. Homemade doors with no lock on them most had homemade latches to keep them shut, no screen doors. No electric lights or no appliances of any kind, no running water, no bathrooms or toilets.

Home heating

Our heating was a wood burning potbelly heater. Our cooking was done on a wood burning on a cook stove. The wood cook stove helped to furnish heating as well. There was plenty of wood material of several kind, we could harvest for fuel, we could cut down trees for fuel, there was plenty pine lectern lying loose in the woods that we could retrieve, there was ample supply of pine knots that we could pick up if we desire. The knots was good fuel, you could fill that heater at bedtime and lot of time we would still have heat in the morning. We could get cut off blocks from the sawmill or from the planer mill. Fuel was plentiful

Water for the family

Water had to be retrieved from a spring or a dug well. There were several good springs within the town limits. There were several dug wells over the years, I remember helping dig at least four wells over the years. It was usually the boy’s job to get the water from the springs or from the well, if there were any boys in the family. There were large quantities of water required for drinking, washing dishes cooking meals, and for baths. It was long distance between the houses and to the springs. The dug wells were usually some distance from your house because several families would go in together to dig the well and we would locate the well for it be convenient for all participants, and we would pick a spot that we thought we would find water.

This is end of increment no 11

Saturday, August 6, 2011

This is increment no -10 -of my story August 6th 2011

This is increment no – 10 -

30-Two hay houses to hold hay for the animals.
31-One lot for horse and mule barn.
32-Two cattle barns.
33-Four to five Ford lumber trucks with trailers used to transport lumber to destinations or to transport lumber to Sylacauga an loaded in to box cars or flat bed cars to be transported to final destination.

34Ten or twelve large horses and mules, to use to snake the logs.
35- Five or six log trucks and trailers used to transport logs from the woods to the log pond.
36-Three dozers used to snake large logs from the deep valleys and loaded on log trucks and transported to the log pond. Also used to make log roads for the log trucks.
37-One road patrol to scrape the roads

Picture of John Davidson who is the author of this Hillwood story.

My name is John Davidson; I am the author of this Hillwood story and my life story, I am attempting to tell the story of this wonderful little town that originated way back in the great depression years. I will attempt to tell some of the hardships that we endure and also for a lot of the happiness and pleasures that we shared and enjoyed there. I will try to tell how my family lived and assuming that most families lived the same way as we did.

My family arrived to the sawmill camp in the year of 1932 even before the town had been named. My Dad had been unemployed for about a year when he received that letter from his brother Ben Davidson.

My Dad had been hired to be the sawyer on a small one boiler steam mill that had been set up in the area that the town was to be built that was a neat big little mill that produced about twenty five to thirty thousend board feet per day, the workers were very efficent in their performance of their job. Later there were two more of these little steam mills was operated about five mile from the Hillwood town. All three of these little mills were discarded after the big band mill was put in operation.

This is end of increment no – 10 –

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

This is increment -9 - of my story August 3rd 2011

This is increment – 9 -
The Pigs and hogs

Mr. Rich also brought truckloads of pigs and turned them out in to the wilderness to fend for them selves. I do not remember him feeding them any feed. These hogs were not good breed of animals. We called them piney wood routers or razorbacks; they would not get fat maybe because they were not fed. Some of these hogs wondered in to the woods and become wild. I do not know of any of the hogs being butchered but I am sure they were.

I believed that all the people of the town both white and black loved and admired and respected Mr. Anderson. Since our town was not incorporated, Mr. Rich served us as our leader and made most of the rules and more less severed as our mayor. We had very little conflict or disturbance that required law enforcement. As a rule we all got along together without but very little conflict. In Infrequent occurrences there may be a conflict between a couple and Mr. Rich could get them together and settle their differences without law enforcement. I had high admiration of Mr. Rich, I always thought of him as a big- little man that he did so much for so many during a period of precautious time during the great depressions years.

Mr. Rich was a strict boss man, he expected a good days work, for a days pay, and he usually got it. Mr. Rich had his own room in the boarding house and when family members came to visit, they stayed at the boarding house as well. Mr. Rich frequently went back to Laurel to visit his family and to check on his other business interest there.

Following is a list of company owned Assets
Company Assets

1- Company family dwelling houses
2- Three small one boiler, circular sawmills, in early years.
3- A large band sawmill cable of producing 100,000 board ft each day
4- A small circular sawmill, powered with diesel engine.
5- A business office
6- A post office
7- A doctors office
8- A store (commissary) the only store in town, this building had a small building attached that housed a small generator that furnished electricity for lighting and a big walk in refrigerator
9- Two churches one for white and one for the black
10- A boarding house, where Mr. Rich stayed
11- Two small 2-room buildings for people that live or stayed at the boarding house.
12- Three large storage sheds for dressed lumber.
13- Two roughdry lumber sheds, for storage.
14- Lumber ramps thru the stacked lumber yard and connecting the storage sheds and the planer mill.
15- A dry kiln to dry and cure the green lumber.
16- A log pond to hold the logs in inventory.
17- A water resolve to hold water for five large boilers, a boiler shed.
18- We had a pipeline from the pond to weogufka creek. This was used to pump water from the creek in to the pond in dry seasons.
19- A dust house to hold fuel for the furnaces.
20- A large sawmill building holding all the machinery, for the big band sawmill, the main mill manufacturing lumber

21- A large filing room adjacent to the sawmill building to repair all saws including the large band saws.
22- A large planer mill building housing four large planer machines a large steam engine.
23- A winching machine used to pull the logs from the log pond and deposit them into a trough to go into the big mill.
24- A lighthouse with generator powdered by a steam engine, this furnished lights for the company business owned buildings, and none of the dwellings had any lights or electric.
25- A black smith shop for shoeing the mules and horses and many other jobs.
26- Automotive shop for repairing all automotive equipment.
27- Two feed houses to house all feed for company needs and for resale to the public.
28- A grease rack to service the automotive equipment
29- Two oil houses to store all the oil needs

This is end of increment no – 9 –more assets to follow

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Increment no - 8 - my story

\This is increment no – 8 -
Mr. Anderson, Mr. Rich, or Uncle Rich
Mr. Rich was the owner of the Company and town.
Mr. Anderson was a unique man; he was a kind gentle person and loved his employees and their families and they loved him. He was a small man in statue; he was about 5ft.-6 inches tall, and weighed about 150 lbs. He had a full head of white hair, and usually wore a gingery suit and straw hat. Everyone that knew Mr. Anderson or was a close friend to him called him Mr. Rich, or uncle Rich.

His immediate family consisted of his wife Ollie; they had two daughters, Edith, and Nina, and three sons Isaac, Johnnie, and Ralph. Only Ralph and Johnnie ever live at Hillwood most of Mr. Anderson’s family continued to live in Laurel Mississippi, but son Ralph. And son Johnnie spent some time there in the earliest years and Johnnie was our first store manger; he stayed in boarding house with his Father. Mr. Anderson owned other businesses in Laurel and Isaac took the supervision over them. I know he owned the Ford dealership, and another sawmill in Laurel. I believed that he had a cattle farm as well.

I do not remember or know much about Johnnie but he was running the store when my family arrived in Hillwood. I know that Johnnie had a reputation for being a fast driver. We would kid around with others that you better be careful Johnnie is on the road going to town. I know that Johnnie had cancer and did not work at Hillwood for a short time and went back to Laurel and died in a short period of time. I believe that Johnnie was very instrumental in choosing the name of the town and company.
The name of the Company was named Ralph Lumber Company for the son of Mr. Rich Anderson

The Cattle

Mr. Rich brought several herds of cattle to Hillwood thru the years and turned them loose within the 45,000-acre plat and let them graze in the woods and fields. He fed them hay thru the winter months but nothing in the summer months. He had a cattle gap built across the road half way between Hillwood and Mount Mariah school and church

that helped kept the cattle within the company land and stay out of the farmers fields and wonder from its home plat. There was only one road entering in to the town.

I remember that one year he had brought a new herd of cattle and son Ralph was put in charge of branding the cattle. One of our log truck drivers Archie Pearce called himself a cowboy, I think he had worked on a cattle farm over in Mississippi and he was pretty good. Mr. Rich owned a couple nice saddle horses and Archie would round up the cattle and us boys would help hold them down while some one would use the branding iron that was pretty exciting for us boys to experience.

There was a period of time that Mr. Rich decided that we would butcher some of the good heifers for beef. He put Jim Camp to be the chief butcher and had some of us boys to be helpers. We got down on a big nice branch where we had plenty of good clean water and Mr. Camp picked a nice big oak tree with a large limb extending from the trunk of the tree so we had a lot of room where we could work around the animal take the hide off and remove the entrails from the animal. Mr. Rich sold a lot of the beef to a canner to put in cans to be sold. We also sold some of the beef we would take a quarter beef and cut it into round steaks. A pound of round steak cost about .20 cents at that time. I never did know there was any other cut of beef but round steak until I went in to the army.
This is end of increment – 8 -

Monday, August 1, 2011

Increment no - 7 - my life story August 1st 2011

Story of Hillwood Town

Increment – 7 – My life story

year of 1931, and was dissolved in the year of 1947. This town was located in Alabama in the western part of Coosa County, about twenty miles west of Rockford, Alabama, which was the county seat of Coosa County. It was also about twenty-three miles south of Sylacauga, Alabama, which was the nearest railroad that we used for shipping our material to destinations. It was one mile south of the Mount Moriah School and church. Mount Moriah is and was a farming community.

This town sat within about 45,000 acres of original long leaf pine virgin timber and huge hardwood timber. The terrain of this plat of timber was tremendous large mountains and valleys. The size of the town would measure about one and half miles square. The name of the town was Hillwood, and the name of the company was named Ralph Lumber Company. I estimate that the average of employment all departments to be about 200- plus in most any particular time. Employees, consisting about half white and half black people I estimate the population to be around five or six hundred, consisting of about half white and half black. We had white and black quarters separated in town white on west side and black on east side.

I do not have any records or static’s that reveals any of this information. You must remember that has been sixty-four years since that all occurred. This town would be better described as a sawmill camp because it was not incorporated and we had our own rules and regulations, although we function within the bounds of the laws of state of Alabama. The name of the town “Hillwood” was deprived from the large hills and large timber.

The owner of the company and town was Mr. I.R. Anderson. Mr. Anderson hailed from Laurel Mississippi. I do not know why and how he acquired this large plat of wonderful timber and beautiful land, but it was a wonderful blessing for many people to live there for several years during the greatest deperossion.

I do not know how to insert my pictures correctly so you will see some skip spaces where I have tried to insert a picture.


This is increment no – 7 -

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Increment no - 6 - my story Jyly 31st 2011

This is increment no – 6 -

We arrive at this sawmill camp late that day and located uncle Ben’s house and after the families displayed their hugging and greetings to each other, uncle Ben cornered my dad to the side and told him Tony, I did not mean for you to bring all your family until later, there is no place for them to stay here, there is no accommodations of any kind for them to stay. For a long moment of silence, Uncle Ben noticed that my Dad was so sorry that he misunderstood, and uncle Ben, displayed that big grin that he wore so often, and stated to my Dad, son you all will stay here with us, we will manage some way.

There were ten members in his family, uncle Ben, aunt Laura, Willard, Milton, Ethyl, Joe Lee, Jessie, Bennie D. Mary, Annie Lee and there were seven members in our family at that time, my Dad Tony, my mother Mamie Lou, Helen, Lanoit, myself John, Tony Jr. Hazel at that time, because my young sister Peggy Ann had not been born yet. Can you visualize seventeen people living together in four or five room house, for six weeks while they built us a house?

They already had a large dinning serving area and they pulled off the end of that dinning room and extended it several feet to make it sort of like a army barracks and they hung curtains and partitioned it for the boys to live on one side and the girls on the other side. This was not uncommon during the depression years in the south where families moved in with relativities, it was hard but, we all survived it and it made families closer together.

I am now going to switch to my Hillwood story that covers the next fifteen years of my life including the thirty-nine months that I spent in the Army. This covers the period that the town first originated in 1931 to the year of 1947 that it was dissolved.

This closes increment no – 6 –

Increment no – 7 – will start with” The Hillwood Story “


Saturday, July 30, 2011

This is increment no - 5 - July 30, 2011

This is increment no – 5 – of my story July 30,2011

before but we did not get it all up to the house, we had left it in the woods until we had time to bring it to home. There was about an quarter mile to the woods and our mother stated for us to put on some warm coats that we are going to the woods for wood, and we told her that the wood was too large for us to handle we told her that we better wait until our Dad gets home and he would take care of everything, but she said that he may not be able to come home the snow may keep him stranded but she said for us to get the smallest pieces and she would get the big and heaver pieces. Well Santa Clause, in year of 1929, had brought me and my brother a nice large wagon with wide rims and roller bearings, so we went to the woods and we were able to haul several loads of wood and had enough to last thru the snow. We loaded our wagon pilled up and me and my brother put a large stick thru the ring of the tong of the wagon and we acted like a couple of jack-asses pulling the wagon and my mother pushed it with all her might, she only weighed about ninety pounds but you would have thought she was as strong as two ton Tony. All the morning the three of us kept remarking that we wish that Dad would come on home and then we thought that every thing would be alright, I guess we thought that he could just do about everything, by the way he was the boss turkey in our family.

After a while after we had gotten warm and started to rest a while I went into the dinning room which had several windows I laid my head on the dinning room table and was praying that my Dad would come home and after a few minutes I raised up my head and looked out of the window and I saw my dad drive into our yard, some may thank that was just a coincidence but to me it was an answered prayer, that may have been my first answered prayer, but I have had many answered prayers over the years.

Our family suffered the worst in the latter part of the year of 1930 and all of the year of1931. The depression was still in full swing but my father was able to make money enough to buy food enough to keep us from being hungry. In early part of 1932 my Dad received a letter from his older brother Ben Davidson and informed him that there was a sawmill camp being started over in Coosa-County in Alabama and he was the foreman or supertendent and he could give him a job. Uncle Ben had described where this sawmill camp was located in Coosa- County and my Dad call the family together and told my mother go pack up all our rags, and told my brother and myself come help him fix the flat tires and air them up with the old hand air pump. He said that he was going to make a little sign on the tag holder stating “ LOST TAG” hoping that would get us by the law if we get stopped. He stated if the Lord is willing we are going to this sawmill camp today if this old model “A” ford and these old tires will take us there.

I believe that I have completed chapter (2) of my life story at Buhl, Alabama.


What do you thank about my memoirs at this point are you learning how poor people survived the great depression. You better read it and learn all you can beacouse I believe that we are headed to another one unless we declair war on Washington and Satin.


Stay tuned in for Increment no – 6 -

Friday, July 29, 2011

This is increment no - 4 - of my story

This is increment no –4 – of my story

him laying there crying, and I went to the school house and class had already been assembled back in class room after recess period. So the teacher ask us why we were late and what we had been doing, and some of the other boys were very eager to tell her that John L. and Sullivan Kid had been fighting. The teacher started scribbling a note to the principal and she handed that note to us and told us to go give that note to the principal, which we did. When we arrive in to the principals office there were three or four senior boys sitting around and I was scared near to death my heart felt that it was in my throat, I have always thought that was when my heart trouble first started.

The principal was a large ugly man and had a deep source voice and sounded horrible when he laughed, so he read the note to the senior boys and they all laughed and clapped their hands, now I was beginning to get a little mad and loosening some of my fright.

Any way the principal was talking to the seniors and both to me and the Sullivan Kid and he said that these lads like to fight so lets us let them fight for us and show us how they can fight. So come own boys start fighting and he made us fight from then until lunch time and every time we slowed down a little, he would say come on boys you like to fight and he had a long ruler which was about an ¼ inch thick and he would tap us in our rear end come on boys and he and the seniors sat there laughing at us, that cured me for all my fighting for all my life.

Another memory from Buhl was my Dad went to the little town of Gordo, AL. and purchased his first and only new automobile that he ever owned. That was the year that that the stock market collapsed but my Dad was being paid a pretty good salary prior to the collapse of the market. The company that my Dad was working for collapsed shortly after the stock collapsed. The great depression occurred to our family shortly after the company ceased operations, because my Father had spent most of his cash purchasing the automobile. People that worked in public works was hit the fastest and hardest then others, people that lived on the farms survived fairly well at least they had plenty to eat, and people that worked in public works did not have any money and could not find any kind of work to make any money. So people had to do any kind of things to get some food for the family. The company started selling the houses the past employees as they vacated them, my Dad would contract to tare the houses down and pull the nails from the lumber, and stack the lumber in neat stacks and clean the brick stack the brick in stacks of twenty five in each stack. To my best recollection that he was paid about twenty dollars for this job, my brother and I helped him to pull the nails and clean the brick. If you don’t think that a nine or 11-year-old boys can do a man's job then you haven’t lived thru a depression.

When my Dad did not have a house to take down my brother and I would get jobs from other contractors to poll nails from the lumber and clean the brick and stack the lumber and the brick they would pay us ten cents to clean and stack a hundred brick. My Dad and my brother would hire out to farmers to strip ribbon cane or pick peas. They would be paid with syrup or peas. My brother and I would hire out to the mill foreman to straighten and stack the stacking sticks that came from the old lumber stacks and they would pay us twenty-five cents per day. My brother and I would catch crawfish and give them to the fishermen and they would sometime give us catfish to take home.

In one week probably along in the latter part of the year 0f 1931, Dad went to a local farmer and ask if his family could come and pick cotton and be paid. The farmer told him that would be fine that he would pay him .50 cents per one hundred pounds picked. My Dad and my mother and my big brother and I picked about two days and all four of us together did not pick a 100-pound, so we found out that we were not very good cotton pickers.

Another event that stands out in my mind was also in latter part of the year of 1931, my Dad had been given a job to run a small pecker wood sawmill cutting cross-tie’s for the railroad company. This little sawmill was located in Maplesville, AL., and was about forty miles from home, so he would have to stay there for the week and board there. This may have been early of year of 1932, because it was snowing when this event occurred. Anyway my mother got up that morning and looked up into the elements and stated that we are going to have a big snow and we do not have much burning wood for heat and my mother stated to my older brother and me that we are going to the woods and get burning wood to keep this family and this baby warm. My Dad and my brother and I had cut some wood the week

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Increment no -3 - of my story July 28th 2011

This is increment –3 – of my story

Fever and I probably was about age four. That was a serious illness and I suffered pretty bed with it. They quarantined me and There was another event that I remember was I develop scarlet my mother in one room of our house. They brought our food to us and they had to take care of bathroom needs as well. My sister would have been about the age of nine. What a responsibility for her to take every thing of the house taking care of my Dad and my two brothers. Well my aunt Leona was staying with us at that particular time and she helped my sisters with all the chores had not been for her help we could not have survived that detail. I do not know how long that illness lasted but they told me that it was a serious illness. The biggest thing that I can remember was one day that I was getting better and my mother brought me out side in the sun shine and took me where I could see my brother and sister and I started running after them and my mother hollered to my brother and sister to run away from me, I guess she thought that I was still contagious.

I do not actually remember this but my dad was employed with the sawmill company as a semi- skilled labor as a block setter, a block setter rides the carriage that carries the logs passed the sharp saw that cuts boards from the logs. The block setter sets the blocks to move the log for the thickness that the sawyer wants to cut from the log. The sawyer operates the carriage and these carriages can move really fast if the sawyer so wants it to move. The sawyer had a reputation to be a high strung and uncontrolled temper and he moved the carriage really fast and threw my father off the carriage and he landed in some scrap iron and it ruptured him and he suffered for that injury for a long time.

I believe that this pretty well completes chapter one of my story, so I will go forward to chapter two, which will be to the next town that our family moved to and live there was Buhl, Alabama. The town of Buhl was located in Tuscaloosa County, about twelve miles west from the town of Tuscaloosa.

Chapter – two

The best that I can determine our family moved from Coldfire to Buhl, AL. in the year of 1927. The reason that our family left Coldfire and moved to Buhl was that my father was hired to be the main sawyer of one of the large sawmills in Buhl. A sawyer was considered to be a high skilled job for a saw miller and the pay was quiet a bit higher from other jobs in sawmills. I would have been age of five years old. We moved in to an old parsonage home that had been vacated, it sat behind an old Baptist church that was no longer active, This old house was run down had long large kudzu vines hanging around the front porch, it was very scary and looked like a ghost house for small children. This is the house that my second sister Hazel was born June 14, 1927.

While we were living in that old parsonage home my older brother and I would go over in front of the old church and sat there and play around an old stump hold and wait for our father to come home from work and meet him there and walk home with him. This particular day my Dad had to work late and it was getting dusty dark and our mother had called us two or three times to come on back to the house and we had not responded from her call and my mother told my big sister to put a white sheet and drape it over her head and go thru the old church and come out of the church where we were playing. She opened the front door and jumped out and shouted out loud I am going to get you, well we both knew she was a real ghost and we started running as fast we could to the house and I did not take time to run up the steps, I just dived in to the steps and broke and skinned my nose. My mother and my sister both really felt bad about that incident for a long-long time, but we laughed about that for many years when we reminisced about old tales.

We did not live in this old house but a short time and we then moved across town in to a more modern nicer house. We lived in the town of Buhl for about five years. I remember several things or happenings that went along within our family during this period of time but nothing very interesting. O course this is where I started attending school in first grade, and I was scared to death to go, and for some reason my mother did not take me to school the first day. I just went with my sister and older brother. I further remember that on our way to the school house we went by my cousins house and he was teasing me and making fun to me about going to school, he was asking me John, do you have you little red hen book with you, and that irritated me very much.

I remember there was a couple Sullivan brothers that liked to whip on me and my brother ever chance they could, they were larger and meaner then we were and they usually sent us home crying. It was around when I would have been in the third grade and the younger Sullivan brother was in the same grade as my self, and he decided to whip on me some before the other boys to watch. I decided that I had about all of that that I wanted and I found a good large limb and I let him have it right in the middle part of his back and I left

This is end of increment –3 -

Letter To Mr. Lewis Scarbrough, July 26th 2011

Mr. Lewis:

Hi Lewis you should have received this one, but here it is again hope you enjoy reading my scribbling. I had thought about sending you and Karen much of my story documents and let you edit them and put it all in a readable form. I do not know how you and Karen do that kind of stuff and do have that kind of free time. I would want to wait until you completed the editing and completing the rearranging in a readable form before I give you permission to print it all in your peeper. You know that I am on limit of income primary social security so I could not pay for this service to you. Now if it becomes good enough to publish and put it on the market then I would include you in the proceeds. I do not believe that any one would buy this type of old material. I had hoped to finally get it in a cheap attractive book and donate it to the Coosa County Historical center. One problem I cannot understand I use to be able to send a complete large document on the computer and now I can only send a couple or three pages at a time, I know that there is a way to do that but I have not mastered this new procedure. I have a good bit of material of my short life but I have it all scramble all around and a lot of duplication. I know that history books have recorded about the great depression, but I can not find any thing any where about a little town of Hillwood that originated in year of 1931 and was dissolved in year Of 1947.

John’s Life Story

Some history of the old Author

I have been writing thoughts for several months and many of you know me and some of you may not but some may learn more about me that has never been told. So I have been doing a little scribbling about my life story so if it gets to boring you can delete my email or if you will let me know I will erase your name from my directory.


This story is about a little old man who considers himself to be a typical true southern country gentleman. He was born in the south in a little sawmill town name of Cold fire, Alabama. The population of this town was less then one thousand people and was not even incorporated so had no elected officials. The year and date was February 12, 1922, and it must have been a cold cloudy day. There was not much excitement at the birth party because he was a premature birth and only weighed about two pounds. He was born at home but the company doctor Smothers was present and assisted with the birth, and I doubt that there was much assistance was needed with the delivery since he only weighed about two pounds. The description of this child was more like an over grown field mouse. No one there thought that child would survive. The doctor’s name was Dr. Smothers and he mailed the application to the state of Alabama for a birth certificate stating no name child and the certificate came back reflecting no name child.

Dr. Smothers would come to our house every day and check on me and he would come in shouting out how is the great John L. Sullivan getting along this morning is he still fighting to live. John L. Sullivan was a great fighting boxing champion back in the earlier years. My mother and the doctor both thought that I was struggling and fighting really hard to live. I did live and survive to an old ripe age of eighty-nine and one half years young and still fighting to live every day. Thru out my story I will try hard to describe and explain how I conducted my short life here on God’s wonderful earth.

There were no incubators to put me in to keep me warm, so they put me in a shoebox and wrapped me with some swaddling rags and they built a fire in the old wood-burning stove and they sat me on the oven door to keep me warm. I have always thought how Jesus must have felt when they put him in an old wooden trough they called a manger and wrapped him with swaddling rags; I always thought they meant to say diapers.

As I grew stronger every one continued to call me John L. so my name just became automatically John L. My parent’s thought it was a good enough name so they named me John L. as well. It was in the sixty’s that I obtained a certified birth certificate from the state of Alabama. I sent in the old birth card that my parents had kept thru the years that stated no name child, my mother had kept it in an old tin trunk and the rats had eaten about half of it and had piss on it thru the years, but with that old card and with some other documents that I was able to prove that I was the person described on that card. Even thou that I was a seven-month premature baby; I had two teeth protruding thru my gums. My mother kept those two teeth and put them into a little medicine bottle and sealed them therein and they are still in some my old belongings somewhere as yet.

I was breast fed, as all of my siblings were breast fed as well. It was rarely to know that there were bottle fed babies in that time. My mother told me that while she often was feeding me and some time that the milk did not flow as freely as I wanted it to flow, that with those two teeth I would clamp down on her nipple and make her holler.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

increment No -2- John's story

This is increment-no-2- of my story- July 27th 2011

Let me now caution any one that attempts to read this little story that this person is a no body he never receive any kind of degrees or any noteable recognition no noteable accomplishments. You will have to read his story and decide what kind of person he is or was. He just considers himself to be a typical southern gentleman. This person did not even finish high school; he was suspended in the eleven grades for leaving school without permission. I will have more to say about that subject later in my story, Now I am sorter getting ahead in my story, so I must move back to the little town of Coldfire where I Was born, and tell what little memory that I can remember there.

I think that this is a good place for me to introduce my immediate family as they were at this particular time.

My mother Mamie Lou, born Sept.4, 1894
My Dad Tony born August 19th. 1896
My sister Helen born October 21st. 1917
My brother Lanoit (Hick) born Sept 20th. 1919
My self John L. born February 12th. 1922
My brother Tony Jr. born Sept 8th 1924

My God, I never realized that us siblings were born so close together. My mother and Dad sure did not waste much time to create a family. My how God blessed them and give them the strength to create a family so quick in life. There were two more daughters born into our family, so I will introduce them to you at the proper time.

My mother or Dad did not have any formal education, I believe that my mother finished the eight grades and I believe that my Dad only went to the sixth grade. I considered them to be highly education both with common sense and great wisdom. They used what little education they had received from books they applied it to every day living reading books, newspapers and mainly the bible. My Dad could have put a math professor in the shade any day. Most truly educated people realize that you do not learn wisdom from schoolbooks, wisdom you learn by reading the word of God in the bible.

Some of my memories of the town of Coldfire:

Now I did not remember the day that I was born my mother and family told all of the above information to me. This is one incident that has always stood out in my mind. I would have been about four years old when this incident occurred and that would have been the year of 1926.

This was a Sunday morning there were two or three boys that cane by our house riding horses; they were hollering out to my Dad, just showing out and greeting him. My Dad and I came out on the porch to greet the boys and my Dad hollered out to the boys and told the boys that they better take those horses back home.

He knew that those boys had slipped those horses without permission. One of those boys was my Dad’s half brother, and his name was Dutch, and Dutch probably would have been about fifteen or sixteen years old at that time. I think and believe that some of these horses were owned with my grand dad Davidson. My grand dad Davidson was a small farmer in the Coldfire community. We went over to visit my grand dad that Sunday afternoon and we found that Dutch had gone to bed and we learned that the horse had thrown Dutch and had stepped in his stomach and was having some pain. I guess that they did not think it to be all that serious or maybe no one had any transportation or money. We did not go to the doctor unless it was an actually an emergency.

After two or three days he continually grew more worse and what has always felt heavy in my mind was they were taking him to the hospital in Tuscaloosa and they had him on a cot and they had him at the depot and were waiting for the train to come and take him to the hospital.

The vision that is in my minds eye is seeing the cot-draped wit a large white sheet draped over Dutch and over the cot and seeing my Dad and My Grand dad and Dutch’s brother Raymond, and a couple other uncles waiting for the train to come. That was the end on my vision of this incident, I know that Dutch had developed gangrene and he died while in the hospital.

Another incident that occurred with our family while we lived at the town of Coldfire was my older brother and my mother had gone to the woods with some neighbors to cut some dogwood sprouts to make yard brooms to sweep and clean the yards. Back in that period of time you did not have grass growing in your yards, at lease in sawmill towns, no one planted grass and no one had a machine called a lawn mower, I doubt that they had been invented in that time. So we took dogwood sprouts and made yard brooms and swept and cleaned the yards, on a Saturday evening you would see a cloud of dust filling the elemis when many neighbors were sweeping their yards preparing for the Sunday when neighbors friends and relatives cone to visit.

Anyway my brother would have been about six or seven years old and he was carrying a sharp double bit axe on his shoulder and was running thru the woods and stomped his toe on a large tree root and he fell down and the sharp axe hit him on the back of his neck and cut a long gash on his neck. This was a large gash and he carried that large scar all the rest of his life. That created a big scary for my mother and the family as well.

I also remember that my young brother Tony jr. had pneumonia when he would have been about two years old and I remember that my mother so worried about him but of course he survived that just fine.
Stay tuned in for the next episode. John


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chapter One Life Story July 27th 2011

Thought For Today

Some history of the old Author

I have been writing thoughts for several months and many of you know me and some of you may not but some may learn more about me that has never been told. So I have been doing a little scribbling about my life story so if it gets to boring you can delete my email or if you will let me know I will erase your name from my directory.


This story is about a little old man who considers himself to be a typical true southern country gentleman. He was born in the south in a little sawmill town name of Cold fire, Alabama. The population of this town was less then one thousand people and was not even incorporated so had no elected officials. The year and date was February 12, 1922, and it must have been a cold cloudy day. There was not much excitement at the birth party because he was a premature birth and only weighed about two pounds. He was born at home but the company doctor Smothers was present and assisted with the birth, and I doubt that there was much assistance was needed with the delivery since he only weighed about two pounds. The description of this child was more like an over grown field mouse. No one there thought that child would survive. The doctor’s name was Dr. Smothers and he mailed the application to the state of Alabama for a birth certificate stating no name child and the certificate came back reflecting no name child.

Dr. Smothers would come to our house every day and check on me and he would come in shouting out how is the great John L. Sullivan getting along this morning is he still fighting to live. John L. Sullivan was a great fighting boxing champion back in the earlier years. My mother and the doctor both thought that I was struggling and fighting really hard to live. I did live and survive to an old ripe age of eighty-nine and one half years young and still fighting to live every day. Thru out my story I will try hard to describe and explain how I conducted my short life here on God’s wonderful earth.

There were no incubators to put me in to keep me warm, so they put me in a shoebox and wrapped me with some swaddling rags and they built a fire in the old wood-burning stove and they sat me on the oven door to keep me warm. I have always thought how Jesus must have felt when they put him in an old wooden trough they called a manger and wrapped him with swaddling rags; I always thought they meant to say diapers.

As I grew stronger every one continued to call me John L. so my name just became automatically John L. My parent’s thought it was a good enough name so they named me John L. as well. It was in the sixty’s that I obtained a certified birth certificate from the state of Alabama. I sent in the old birth card that my parents had kept thru the years that stated no name child, my mother had kept it in an old tin trunk and the rats had eaten about half of it and had piss on it thru the years, but with that old card and with some other documents that I was able to prove that I was the person described on that card. Even thou that I was a seven-month premature baby; I had two teeth protruding thru my gums. My mother kept those two teeth and put them into a little medicine bottle and sealed them therein and they are still in some my old belongings somewhere as yet.

I was breast fed, as all of my siblings were breast fed as well. It was rarely to know that there were bottle fed babies in that time. My mother told me that while she often was feeding me and some time that the milk did not flow as freely as I wanted it to flow, that with those two teeth I would clamp down on her nipple and make her holler.