We had no trouble finding the Old Pinson Road, and made our way to the first railroad crossing that I had mentioned. He had not been able to pinpoint but one railroad crossing on the map, but I was certain about there having being two. We passed where my grandparents’ closest friends, Cliff and Bess Gaines had once lived and the McFry place on our left and a little further up the road, we found the first railroad crossing.
I told him to wait before pulling across the railroad, and showed him where there had once been a dirt road that ran alongside the railroad to the old gin site. This road was no longer visible; now all grown up with weeds, but in my memory it was still there. Farmers bringing their wagons of cotton to be ginned had used it and also it was a convenient shortcut to the road that led to the old Calhoun Road.
Over 10 years ago, my aunt Joyce Sanders Wilson came to see me and I took her up to Pinson Station. At that time, this road was still open so I turned onto it and drove to the old gin, which was still there at the time, but in a very dilapidated condition. We sat there for a while reminiscing and since there was no longer a road leading over to the Old Calhoun Road, the land having been bought by Florida Tile, I turned around and made my way back to the railroad crossing. Even at that time, there was little left that looked in any way familiar.
However, when I turned right at the intersection onto the road that used to take one to the Pinson Station site, everything began to fall into place. The old railroad station was gone, but there was a small house behind where it used to be. My grandparents had lived there for several years when he was sharecropping for Mr. Porter. I pulled into the driveway of this house and since no one was home, we sat there for a bit remembering how it used to be. Then Joyce recalled that the house they had lived in had burned and another had been built in its place.
When my friend and I got to this house, he also pulled into the driveway and turned around for the road ended at the railroad. I noted that the gin was gone, also the England house across the road. In fact, nothing was at all familiar except for this house that looked almost the same as the one that had burned.
When my grandparents moved across the railroad into the England house, a Mr. and Mrs. Holder bought the house. They had a daughter, Eva Mae who was about the same age as my aunt Joyce. She later married Claude, one of my Great-uncle Deo Johnston’s sons and they lived in a house near Uncle Deo. Sadly, they are both dead now and I have no idea who lives there.
When we pulled back into the road and started back to the intersection, I could see nothing at all familiar. The Porter house was gone and a trailer sits where it used to be.
The old store building and Porter’s barn across the road were gone also, but in my memory, all was as it used to be. The Porters had two daughters. Mrs. Porter and her daughters kept a spotless house and the yard was always neatly swept and free from any debris. Mr. Porter used to laugh and tell my grandfather that he had to repaint the porches every year because his wife and daughters scrubbed the paint off them. I remember Mrs. Porter especially for the spotless white aprons that she always wore. Another memory of the Porter family is a bridal shower that was given by a neighbor, Mrs. Gaines, for daughter, Mary.
When I lived in Shannon, I had a nice visit with Mrs. Era Dodd one day and she told me that the Dodd family had owned and operated the gin at one time and also the little store at Pinson Station. I did not check it out, but I assume Mr. Porter had bought the farm from them, including the two houses, store building and barn.
One year my Aunt Joyce and I made little May Day baskets filled with candy and raisins and left them at the Porter’s front door. We knocked on the door, and then ran before anyone came to the door, but someway Mrs. Porter knew that it was us who had left them for her. The next morning when we walked past her house to catch the school bus, she came out with two paper bags. In them were delicious chicken sandwiches that she had made for us.
So many memories of when there was once a Pinson Station and my grandparents lived there. My mother used to herd us all onto the local passenger train, No. 32 and we would ride it to Pinson Station for a visit with her parents. When we started home, we boarded this same train, known as No. 31 for its morning trip to Atlanta and got off at whichever location along the Southern Railroad we lived in at the time.
I remember one time when my little brother Billy was a small boy. He was a little rambunctious and although he had been told to leave my grandfather’s tools alone, he slipped a hatchet out and was running with it in his hand. My mama was running after him to take it away from him, but before she could get to him, he slipped and fell, the hatchet splitting his nose. He was rushed to the clinic at the Brighton Mills where the doctor stitched it back together and he went to his grave with the scar to remind him.
We always liked to visit with my grandparents when they lived at Pinson Station for Grandmother would pack us a picnic lunch and Uncle June Bug (Frank Miller Sanders) who used to write articles for the Rome News-Tribune, would drive us in the family Model A Ford over to the Oostanaula River for an outing. Grandmother would take along quilts for us to sit on and I have several old photographs of these outings.
One Christmas when they lived there, I recall getting a small easel and several boxes of colored chalk that year. I was thrilled because I always liked to draw, but my mischievous brothers, Billy and Sam soon broke all of the chalk into pieces by throwing it at each other.
Another memory of Pinson Station is when my only sister, Shirley was a baby.
She had developed a bad cough and had a high fever, and this one morning when my mama raised her up, bright red blood gushed out of her mouth. Mama hurriedly got us all ready and we boarded the morning train No, 31 to go home to McPherson, Georgia. She and my Daddy took her to Dr. Matthews in his clinic in Dallas, Georgia who diagnosed double pneumonia and prescribed the first Sulfa drugs that I remember seeing or hearing about. The medicine had to be given every four hours, night and day and it fell my lot to sit up all night giving her the medicine. Really, that suited me just fine for I liked to sit up and read by the light of the Aladdin lamp that my Daddy had bought for us. My sister recovered from the pneumonia and lived a long life afterwards.
So many memories crowded into my mind the day my friend and I made a trip to locate the site of the old Pinson Station. Everything is changed now, but in my memory, I can still see it all as it used to be, hear happy voices long since silenced by the death of the departed, still alive today in my memories of a place then known as Pinson Station.
Bernice Couey Bishop Anderson is a Floyd County native and a freelance writer.