Bill Dodd-Semmes Heritage Park 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 chickens 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 sell 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 could 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 cut into the plant and the 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. Kiyono was a nurseryman that moved to Semmes in 1914. He had children in school and he bought an (RCA) Victrola for the school. Classical music was played every Friday as it was rolled from one class to the other.
Mrs. Tift and her daughter Mrs. Pringle had a store, Bread was delivered by train form Smith Bakery in Mobile to Semmes. I would go to the train station pick up the bread and deliver it to the store. I was paid a nickle, and at the end of the year I was rewarded with a Smith bakery Calendar. that had just expired.
There were section houses close to the railroad. The Havard house that sits close to the railroad tracks 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