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AUBURN IN THE LONG AGO

 


J. Henry Burnett was the son of Rev. J. H. Burnett (Professor & Preacher). J. Henry lived in Auburn until the 1930s when he went to Atlanta, Georgia. His love of Auburn prompted him to write to the Auburn Times about the many people he knew and admired so well. He named his writings "Auburn in the Long Ago."

Subject:     Mr. C. L. Huckelberry, L&N Agent


Auburn Times –  October 21, 1938

With the tan-yard and tobacco barns, which prized tobacco (that is, put it in hogsheads) for shipment by rail to market in Louisville and other industries and farm and farm produce raised around Auburn, the L&N Railroad Company did a thriving business with outgoing as well as incoming freight. Mr. Huckelberry was freight and passenger agent, also agent for the Express Company. His work was very important and he was a busy man. He lived near the depot across the track from the station and only two doors from us. He and Mrs. Huckelberry had two children, Minnie, who married Mr. Haynes, and Ed. Who is still living, being a train dispatcher (and a good one) at Paris, Tennessee. He has been with the L&N Railroad practically all his life. I recall when Ed. And I would load the hogsheads of tobacco in the freight cars and his father would pay us so much a hogshead. They were heavy, but rolled easily.

Mr. Huckelberry only had one arm, but he did more work than most men who had two. Living so near to the depot, we had many visitors who would catch the trains from our home, and after father began preaching he used the trains quite a bit. I was the ticket buyer, they would give me the money and I would go over and buy from Mr. Huckelberry. So I suspect back in those days I bought more tickets from him than anyone. Just think of a restless boy buying so many tickets and not getting to use a one of them! Well, I am making up for it now, for I travel practically all the time. I know how to buy tickets, when someone furnishes the money. I remember very well the day when the rails were changed on the Memphis branch, so as to make the roadbed standard gauge (as it is today) instead of narrow gauge. The day was set and the whole thing was done in a day from Memphis Junction to Memphis – which was a some big day’s work.

Much wheat was loaded at Auburn and the tan-yards shipped quite a bit of leather, too. I also recall when a fruit-peddling car was run through Auburn. It was hooked on the local freight and did a good business in bananas and other fruits. If I am not mistaken, they had an ice-peddling car, too. The news-butch on the train was an important boy in those days, for people got their daily papers from him and he handled oranges, which were not sold in stores except at Christmas time or some outstanding occasion. Hollie Johnson, an Auburn boy was a news-butch and all the boys were envious of him because he wore a uniform and go to ride on the train all the time. The railroad station was an important place for freight, passengers, express and mail came and went from it. Mr. Huckelberry was agent at Auburn for many years and stood well with the L&N. He also represented Western Union.

 

Yours sincerely,

J. HENRY BURNETT
                        Macon, Georgia


 

 

 


 

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