Friday, October 24, 2014

Riding in Style: Willis Edgar Musgrove

My grandfather and his oldest
children on the family wagon.
In 1909, the year our grandfather Musgrove was born, eight businessmen formed the Hudson Motor Company. Their goal was to produce an automobile which would sell for less than $1,000 (equivalent to approximately $26,248 in today's funds). 

Our grand-dad never owned one.
Paternal grandparents Willis Edgar and
Carrie (known as) Mae (Merritt) Musgrove


Born September 9, 1909 in Blackshear, Pierce County, Ga, Willis Edgar Musgrove married our grandmother Carrie Mae Merritt, born  April 1, 1910 in Bickley, Ware County, Ga, on June 3rd, 1929. From the wedding they drove in a mule drawn wagon to the house of her brother, Joe, and his sister, Zilpha. Their siblings had married one another five years before.

He kept his wagon even after he got a car. His children remember riding in it, but mostly to church. It was rural south Georgia, early twentieth century and that wasn't unusual.

Shortly after they married, grandpa bought his first car. It was a 1928 Chevy, slightly used, so he got it for $150.00. The wing of a small plane had hit it. There's a story behind that but I don't know it.

It was no big deal. Our grandfather simply hacked off the back of the car, put down some boards for a bed and made it into a 'truck'. He was handy like that.

He kept that '28 hybrid 'truck' even after he bought his next vehicle in 1950.  Good thing, too. He bought a '48 Ford truck in 1950 but had problems with it 'from the get go'. In 1951 he traded the Ford for a '50 Chevy. He still had the '28 'truck'.

When my dad and his older brother were young teens they drove that 'truck' around their big, fenced in yard in rural south Georgia. One of them drove it into a ditch and got it stuck. The brothers still debate who wrecked it to this day.

Our grand-dad finally traded it to his brother for 10 or 15 chickens. By some family accounts, he got a milk cow, too. Not a bad return for a very old, $150.00 car, hit by a plane, made into a 'truck' and run into a ditch.

By then it 'had got to where' you couldn't keep it in gear. Someone notched a stick to keep in the truck. Once you got it into third you put the notch against the gearshift and wedged the stick against the dashboard to keep it in gear. 

I told you our folks were handy.

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