Robert's Memoirs Page 6 (1937 to 40)
One of the black men I worked with named P.M.
Mitchell hunted with us and, after he retired, worked for us when he had the small farm on
Byrum Dr.. I asked him what the P. stood for in his first name and he told me his
mother called him precious when he was a baby. I asked him what the M. stood for in his
middle name and he told me that when he went on his first public job at Wearn Lumber Co.
his boss man asked him what his middle name was. He replied that he didn't have a middle
name and the boss man told him he had to have one so they put P.M. Mitchell on his record.
His nickname was Pie Mitchell.
When hunting with Pie and several others, a friend
of his Cicero Greer, was out in front of the dogs and when the dogs ran a rabbit out
towards Cicero. Pie took a shot at the rabbit and hit Cicero with about 10 or 12 shot. I
had my car near by and took Cicero to a black doctor on Brevard St. The doctor just
painted the holes with Iodine and sent him on his way. I don't know if Cicero ever had the
lead shot removed from his thigh.
Douglas Municipal Airport was built and named for
Ben Douglas, Mayor of Charlotte. It was used for both commercial and private flights.
Brockenborough Air Service is the only one I remember.
The U.S. government started enlarging runways and
built Morris field in 1941. Steel Creek Rd. was rebuilt and named Morris Field Rd. The
main entrance and gate house were just across Taggert Creek a few yards from Billy Graham
During W.W.II there was only construction on war
effort projects or industrial plants serving the defense. During this period there was a
demand for defense workers and people experienced in construction. Mr. Strawn, with his
construction experience, went to work at Morris Field. Mr. Strawn also worked in a DuPont
Chemical plant in Virginia making gun powder during W.W.I.
I knew a large black man named Gus that worked in
the shipping department and had bought an old Packard from a widow. The car had belonged
to her deceased husband. There was a store just up Wilkinson Blvd. where Gus and the
workers would sometimes go to eat or buy groceries. Sometimes when Gus would start to
leave, his car would not start and he would walk back to work and leave the car at the
store. When I would ask him why he came back without his car he would reply "Mr.
Robert, that man is in it." I would ask him what man and he would tell me the man
that used to own it was in the car and didn't want him to use it then. After work he would
go back and sometimes it would start. If not, he would leave it and come back the next day
and try again. Sometimes Gus would walk to work and when asked about the car he would say
the man was in the car and didn't want him using it that day.
One of the men at work had one of the first two
wheeled gasoline plows. It was built in a way that allowed you to lean the handles one way
or the other and let the plow do all the work. Gus had never seen one of these plows and
after watching different ones trying to manhandle the 5 hp. plow and give up in an
exhausted sweat, Gus wanted to show the others how it was done. Gus had plowed using two
horse drawn plows before and used other animal drawn equipment with ease.
When Gus had plowed for about 15 minutes he
was all wet with sweat and had to admit that he couldn't handle the plow either. One of
the men had used one before or was a fast learner and when he had plowed several rows with
ease, Gus wanted to try again but he never mastered the art of letting the motor do the
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