Bill Dodd shared these memories of Life in Semmes at the Semmes Heritage Park Meeting November 2008
I was born in 1920 and it was a very strict time of life, but a wonderful time. We (my brothers and I) milked the cows, fed the chicken and pigs. We had a barn that had a hay loft. I did not learn how to read until after I had an exam and it was found out that I could not read.
I remember someone came down from Iowa to see if we could grow plants to sale in one year. Plants were shipped bare roots, tied together 20 to 40 plants to a bundle on the train. We had Roses and Privets.
My brothers and I had chores. We were to carry buckets of water for the workers working in the field. We had to work in the field too. Sometimes one of my brothers would climb a tree to be the look out while we rested. He would sound the alarm when he saw someone coming so we get back to work..
Roses were a big crop in Semmes. Tyler Texas undercut the prices of roses so the rose business went to Tyler. One of our jobs was the budding (grafting) of roses and multi flora Japonica with budding stock. You took a knife made a t shape into the plant and budding stock was inserted and wrapped.
Dan McDuffie was a farmer that hauled pigs to market on the weekend. He cleaned his truck well and it became the school bus during the week.
I remember classmates Dorothy and Melody Pollard, and eating lunch with P.J. Christopher whose grandmother ran the railroad station. We played under the schoolhouse. The Schoolhouse was high up because the land would hold water.
Mr. Kino had children in school. He bought a Victrola for the school. Classical music was played every Friday as it was rolled from one class to the other.
There were two stores in Semmes, Mrs. Pringles and Mrs. Tiffin and I went to meet the train to get the bread and deliver to the stores. Bread came from Mobile.
There were section houses close to the railroad. The Havard house was made from section houses.
P. J. Christopher would meet the train and if he did not like the way a person looked he would tell them to get back on the train and keep on going.
Daniel Christopher would put on his Confederate Uniform to come to town.
Will Christopher worked for the railroad as an inspector of the railroad tracks.
Preserving our History