*My Great Grandfather's Great Depression FNV*
By: Helimech
6 October 2008

I thought this might be enlightening and inspiring for some folks here. It helps me to see the bigger picture for sure.

During the late Depression years my Great Grandfather (now deceased) had a decent job with a power tool company as a salesman. (Porter Cable or Black and Decker; the time line escapes me as he worked for both at one time or another) He was still able to sell the tools to larger industries and made some friends.

Through those friends he got hold of a large qty of old oak pallets and using his own two hands, built his first house out of them in what would become Azle, Texas. He then scrounged the sites he called on and found an old steam powered water pump, took it home and dug his family a well. His neighbors saw his running water and wanted some, so he scrounged up old pipe from the industry friends and plumbed his well water to their homes. He had just become the areas first water department.

At some point he realized he could charge a very modest fee and saved that money to get electricity run to his house. Once again his neighbors saw it and asked for a little bit, so he scrounged up old material from industrial sites, ran wire and gave them some of his electricity.

He had now become the first power company in what would be incorporated into the town of Azle. He was one of the founding fathers of Azle. His name was Burl Barnes; he is shown in the picture taken the day Azle was incorporated. Of course, once the town came to be, he had to stop his utility business.

The country came out of the Great Depression. He continued to work, got on with his life and raised his family. He was a hard worker and kept a garden until the last year of his life. He never forgot what it meant to live through hard times.

He told me this about a year before passing and one of the biggest regrets I have is the fact I never asked him for more stories like that. The best part was he produced pictures, newspaper article and letters to back it all up.

NOW JUST PONDER ALL OF THAT: can you imagine doing that now? Of course, I am sure the water through those pipes tasted funny and wasn't the most pure or up to Health Department standards, but it worked. He was no electrician, I know I have seen some of his wiring, yet it worked. All this cost him a barely more than the sweat off his brow and an internal drive to have his family thrive in a bad situation. Remember this started during the Great Depression. I am sure there are stories like this all over our great country; this is the one I hold dear and keep.

Just something to keep in mind as a Rubie.


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