Chapter Forty Three
August 31, 1939
As stated in a former chapter I went on the house work at Caroleen in June, 1895. I worked there until Christmas of that year. On the first Monday in January, 1896, I began working on some houses for Mr. R. R. Haynes at the present location of Avondale. It was called Midway then, being equidistant between Caroleen and Henrietta. There were only four or five of us who worked on these houses. We erected five houses there at that time. I recall the first day I went to work there I was not acquainted with the other men. They had been at work for a week or more and had the foundation laid for two or three houses, so when I got there that morning they were all there and ready to go to work. The foreman said to me, “Well, you have come to work.” “Yes sir,” I replied. ‘You are a framer, I believe,” he next asked. I admitted I was and had framed a few houses, so he took me to where they had a foundation laid and said, “I want you to frame in a place here for a three fireplace chimney.” He then took the other men and went to work on another house, leaving me to work by myself. In an hour or so I had the place for the chimney framed in. It appeared that he thought I did not know how to frame for a three fireplace chimney. After sometime he came back and looked around but said nothing. But soon he returned to the others and I heard him tell them “I’ll be doggoned if he didn’t frame it.”
In this same house I first met my first wife. Also, about two years after this house was built it burned down and I went back there and rebuilt it on the same pillars.
During the time we were building these houses at Midway we also built the big house at Henrietta in which Mr. Haynes lived until he moved to Cliffside. This is the house that Mrs. Florence Jenkins now resides in. I remember quite well a number of things that happened while we were at work on this building. Among other things I recall one Monday morning our foreman came in and he had about two drinks too many. He was an unusually good man to work for so I did not want Mr. Haynes to come around and find him loaded up so I sent a few of the men over to Midway to work and told them if Mr. Haynes came over there to tell him the foreman was over at the big house. We then took some planks up in the garret over the dining room and laid them down on a joist and took our foreman up there and laid him down and nailed up a little door that was left open to go out in this garret. It was understood that if Mr. Haynes came around we would tell him the foreman had just gone over to Midway. It so happened that Mr. Haynes did not show up that morning, so at 12 o’clock we opened up the door and woke up the foreman and went to dinner. Apparently Mr. Haynes never knew of the incident.
Mr. J. O. Simmons ran a boarding house at Henrietta, so I went to him to see about rates for boarding. He frequently used the word “Dadrotit”, and when I asked him about the price per month for board he replied, “I get ten dollars per month but dadrotit Robert, I knew your father and I will only charge you nine dollars a month.” I often wondered if he had known my mother if I would have gotten board at eight dollars.
Mr. Simmons was a fine old gentleman. I never had a better place to board. He and his wife celebrated their golden wedding while I was boarding there.