Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Brother George Monroe - 1908-1971

My Brother George was born in 1908 on September 23 in Mecklenburg County. Since I arrived on the scene twenty years later, all the things I know about him are hearsay. When George was a young boy somewhere around three or four, our family’s only mule got out of the barn and was eating in the turnip patch. George
took a hold of the mules tail to pull him out of the turnip patch; that old mule kicked him on the forehead which later caused him to have seizures from time to time. This event was the reason he could not do many things that others could do. He was away from home about all the time that I was growing up so I did not know him very well. George is pictured here in our garden with the corn crib behind him.

He married Amanda Beatrice Carter (11-19-1910) on July 15, 1939. This was the first of three brothers marrying three sisters. Beatrice, Bona, and Janice Carter married George, Fred, and Ernest Howard Gurley. Beatrice and George stayed with us for a while before finding a place for their own. They had two daughters, Beulah Estelle, called Cricket (10-9-1944) and Emma Louise (7-18-1946). Beatrice worked in a mill in Statesville and George worked with a crew on men clearing right of ways through the mountains for the Duke Power Company.

One time when the crew was coming home, three of them were in an old Ford pickup truck. They had the windshield opened as wide as it could be to get as much air as possible. It seems that they ran into a swarm of honeybees on the road trip home. I remember thinking that it would have been fun to see them along the side the road getting all those bees off of their skin and out of their clothes. Needless to say, they got stung all over and were hurting pretty bad by the time they arrived home in Statesville.

George was able to make it on his own. He was a good horse trader, one time Henry Carter had an old mule that was so old and skinny that he gave his son-in-law George five dollars to take it off into the woods to kill and bury it. He took the old mule but he didn’t kill it. Instead, he fed the old mule a big mess of dried peas and gave it a lot of water. The old mule swelled up and really looked good! He took it up to Beavers Store and sold it for twenty dollars worth of $1 raffle tickets. In about three days that old mule died. The fellow that won the mule felt like he got cheated so George gave him his dollar back and everyone was happy. He made 24 dollars on the scheme; from that point on, it was obvious to me that George could take care of himself. Listen as I share this story.

If you would like to know some of the things that my family had to live through, watch the movie Grapes of Wrath. George was the neighborhood barber, every Saturday he would set up shop on the front porch. The men around us would come over for a haircut which cost them ten cents. There were times when George would be gone from home for several weeks at a time while cutting right of ways through the mountains. During those long absences, the men talked me into cutting their hair since we had the barber tools at our house. That is where I got my start cutting hair.

George went to work for Archie Crouch who owned Crouch's Tavern up on Highway 64. It was a restaurant that included several small cabins for tourist to rent that were passing that way and needed a room overnight. Listen as I tell about my experiences working for Mr. Crouch. As Mr. Crouch got older, George took over running the tavern. The tavern was destroyed by a fire. Shortly afterwards, George just moved across the high way and built Gurley's Tavern. Sometime later, someone broke into the Tavern and shot and killed him on April 24, 1971.

Here is a picture of Gurley's Tavern and one of George kidding around in a grass skirt with his friend Tom Thorpe.

Pictured below is a picture of Cricket and Emma taken in 2010.

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