L.T. Martin of Smithdale, grew up on his family’s farm in Franklin County. In this episode, he shares the history of the “old home place”.
Martin recalls how his father would grow cotton each year with the help of tenant families and how his role in the family business evolved over time.
In addition to being a farmer, Jeremiah Barnett was also a traveling minister. Laurel native, Lounett Gore describes her father’s ministry and his style of preaching.
After WWI, Barnett helped establish churches across Mississippi. Gore recalls her father’s skills as an orator and organizer and how as she got older, she would travel with her father and help out by teaching hymns to the new congregation.
Thomas Gonzales, Sr. was born and raised on Delacroix Island. He recounts how his family came to the area.
Gonzales also explains how his father and grandfather taught him to fish the Gulf using traditional methods brought over from Spain and why fishing was more than a way of life—it was freedom.
Ruthie Mae Shelton grew up on her family’s farm in Marshall County. At the age of nine, she began helping tend their cotton crop. Shelton recalls how her uncle would plant the cotton seeds.
Picking cotton by hand is physically demanding. Shelton remembers how the cotton bolls would sometimes prick her fingers and how “stinging worms” would cause welts.
Through trial and error, Shelton learned not to pack too much cotton into her sack before emptying it. And by the time she was 18, Shelton could pick 200 lbs. per day.
Born in 1885, Charlie Ainsworth of Hattiesburg began cutting trees as a teenager in the Piney Woods. Despite the long hours of difficult labor, he recalls that the logging crew would sing while they worked.
Logging was dangerous work and many men lost their lives. Ainsworth remembers how his last saw partner was killed by a falling tree.
Cut logs were hauled to the sawmills by train. Ainsworth details how he helped lay the tracks for several of the logging companies in South Mississippi.
Tom Brumfield and M.R. Reeves of McComb began working for the railroad in 1941. They explain how their family and friends influenced thir decision to become firemen shoveling coal into the massive steam locomotives.
Railroading has always been a dangerous business. Reeves recalls the time a locomotive he was on hit a car and went off an embankment.
With no work and no prospects at home, many men decided to travel for free by freight train looking for work during the Great Depression. Jim Kelly was a railroad telegraph operator in the 1930s. He recalls the large number of migratory workers or hobos that passed through English Lookout.
Hobos were always looking for their next meal. Kelly remembers how one made off with a prized watermelon.
Life on the road was especially tough during the winter. Kelly explains how he used to help the hobos when the temperatures dropped.
Easter Weekend of 1979, the Pearl River flooded, displacing some 17,000 families in the Jackson area alone. Ray Pope was the Jackson Police Chief at that time. He recalls the tireless efforts of his officers to warn those in the path of the flood.
With so many driven from their homes, there were concerns that widespread looting would take place.
Pope expresses his opinion of why looting wasn’t a big problem. Pope also remembers how police officers used their own personal boats as well as those loaned to them by private citizens to patrol and protect the flooded streets of the city.
Elbert Seal was born in 1892 in Harrison County. He recounts how his mother began homesteading land in Carnes, Mississippi after the death of his father. After serving in World War I, Seal felt restless back on the family farm. He recalls how he and his cousin went to Kansas for a while to help harvest wheat.
In the early 1900s, several Southern states made it illegal to transport cattle across state lines in an effort to eradicate cow ticks. Seal describes how they would purchase herds of cattle in Alabama and “bootleg” them across the state to sell in New Orleans.
Elbert Seal passed away in August of 1974.
Charles Grant began his career teaching in a one room school house in Basin, Mississippi during the Great Depression. He recalls what it was like to be a “faculty-of-one” at White’s Creek African-American school.
Grant remembers the effort that went into improving and expanding the tiny school. The school’s success was not without growing pains. Grant details the reluctance of some school supervisors to provide supplies and transportation for black students.
In 1962, Mississippi College graduate Clifford Charlesworth went to work for NASA. He remembers training to become a Flight Dynamics Officer at the Johnson Space Center.
As part of the flight control team for the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs, Charlesworth learned the importance of teamwork.
In the early days of the space program, it was important to maintain radio contact between the astronauts and Mission Control. Charlesworth recalls two astronauts who didn’t have much to say.
Larry Dykes was sheriff of Jones County in 2006. He describes a mysterious phone call he received in May of that year that led to a meeting with then President George W. Bush aboard Air Force One.
In this episode,
As the sons of Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson, Spence, Bob, and Kemmons, Jr. were expected to follow in their famous father’s footsteps. In this episode, Memphis native Kemmons Jr. discusses how the three brothers divide the duties of the diverse corporation.
Like their father, all three sons are veteran pilots. Bob Wilson details how they combined their love of flying with their experience in the hospitality industry.
In 1979, Kemmons Wilson retired from Holiday Inn. Two years later, he brought that same innovative spirit to the vacation resort industry. Spence Wilson explains.
In 1968, Tom Johnson of Memphis became a corporate trainer for Holiday Inn. He remembers the company’s commitment to quality training at all levels and the decision to locate their new state-of-the-art training facility, Holiday Inn University, in Olive Branch, Mississippi.
By the late 70’s it was clear that the Olive Branch facility was larger than necessary. Johnson details how that extra space was used to generate money for the company.