Bert Aikman>UIS Collection A's>UIS Collection, Segment 5


duration 13:36
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In TX (town near Denison) Bert's father began cultivating cotton & chopping cotton. Describes planting of cotton & having to later chop some cotton plants out to thin out field. Chopped out cotton by hand with a hoe & at same time removed weeds. Did not have cultivators for this hard work. Got about 500 bales a cotton a yr. Recalls selling cotton bales at the cotton gin. Hay bales weighed 500lbs each were bound with pieces of hickory like those used for hoops on wooden barrels. Steel hoops all used to be hickory. Moved to "the timber" when Bert was about 11yrs old. Recalls cutting wood (hoop poles) for barrel hoops. These were very valuable. Describes making of hoops for barrels. Marketing of hoop poles. Describes machine that compressed cotton bales & replaced hickory hoops with steel hoops. Compress was steam-powered.
Made trip to TX by train. Recalls train was just seats put in an old boxcar. Describes cold ride on train through blizzard. Recalls arrival in TX & living on uncle's (dad's brother) place. Bert's father got homesick & the family returned to Illinois. Uncle in Raymond owned general store & was successful. Recalls hunting accident where uncle lost his arm & later died of blood poisoning. Uncle's boys continued to run general store. Trip on train was very disagreeable & uncomfortable. Describes train boxcar. Many cars on train because many people were homesteading in TX at that time. Before going to TX Bert's father went into restaurant with an uncle in Raymond. Restaurant failed. Came back to Raymond from TX & Bert's father then worked for railroad until he had enough money for horses & machinery to work Trout farm.
"My father was an awful hardworking man." Father had heart condition, but would listen when Bert told him to sit down.