ColumbiaMagazine.com
Printed from:

Welcome to Columbia Magazine  
 





























 
Memphis to Big Creek, 1936: Mr. W.L. Grady's wild ride home

By JIM

In early March 1936, the Adair County News published a lengthy letter written by William Luther "W.L" Grady, then 74 and a well-known stock trader and horseman of the Gradyville section. This letter detailed Mr. Grady's recent trip to Texas with a full accounting of the myriad kith and kin with whom he and fellow sojourner Bruce Caldwell visited during their two-month stay in the Lone Star state.

All things come to an end, however, and so it was on the morning of Saturday, February 1st, 1936, he and Bruce, with the latter behind the wheel of a V-8 motor vehicle, pulled out of McGregor, Texas, a few miles outside of Waco and about 100 miles south of Fort Worth, heading north to Kentucky and the village of Gradyville, hard by the banks of Big Creek.

It's at this point we pick up Mr. Grady's travelogue. (Brownsville, Tennessee, mentioned herein, lies about 50 miles northeast of Memphis on modern-day US 79.) Wrote he:


The weather was fine and the road was dry to Texarkana and Little Rock. It sleeted from Little Rock to Memphis. The road was a solid sheet of ice and Bruce had to get out several times and kick the ice off the radiator. So we stopped at West Memphis for the night.

Next morning we started about 8 a.m. in the snow from Memphis til we arrived home Sunday about 7 p.m. It was a very dangerous drive, as the highway was a solid sheet of ice and we saw several cars wrecked on the way. I never was scared so badly in my life. I would say, "Bruce, be careful, boy, or we will be killed," and Bruce would say, "Don't be uneasy; we will make it all right."

Down this side of Brownsville, Tenn. we met a car and he did not divide the highway with us and Bruce got over too far and the right rear wheel skidded off in a ditch about 15 inches deep. He stepped on the gas and the V-8 jumped back on the highway like a grey hound. I said to Bruce, "Be careful, boy, or we will be killed." Then he said, "Cousin Luther, count telephone poles by fives."

I could not count them at all and I looked at the speedometer and the V-8 was rolling on at 80 miles per hour.



This story was posted on 2021-09-19 12:13:49
Printable: this page is now automatically formatted for printing.
Have comments or corrections for this story? Use our contact form and let us know.



 




























 
 
Quick Links to Popular Features


Looking for a story or picture?
Try our Photo Archive or our Stories Archive for all the information that's appeared on ColumbiaMagazine.com.

 

Contact us: Columbia Magazine and columbiamagazine.com are published by D'Zine, Ltd., PO Box 906, Columbia, KY 42728.
Phone: 270.403.0017


Please use our contact page, or send questions about technical issues with this site to webmaster@columbiamagazine.com. All logos and trademarks used on this site are property of their respective owners. All comments remain the property and responsibility of their posters, all articles and photos remain the property of their creators, and all the rest is copyright 1995-Present by Columbia! Magazine and D'Zine, Ltd. Privacy policy: use of this site requires no sharing of information. Voluntarily shared information may be published and made available to the public on this site and/or stored electronically. Anonymous submissions will be subject to additional verification. Cookies are not required to use our site. However, if you have cookies enabled in your web browser, some of our advertisers may use cookies for interest-based advertising across multiple domains. For more information about third-party advertising, visit the NAI web privacy site.