Buford Fortson as told to Ann Hart

I, Buford Fortson was born in the lean years of the 1920s on a farm six miles west of Dothan, Al owned by my grand father Thomas Jefferson Fortson, 40 acres he homesteaded.
My father was a sharecropper. He rented 40 acres of land from my grandfather, one half of everything we made was shared with the land owner. We was the proud owner of one mule, two plows, four hoes, one two-man saw, one cow, 6 hogs. In the spring we planted a garden. In the summer months we ate what the garden produced: peas, butter beans, corn, egg plants. We canned enough for the winter months. All was bought from the grocery store was coffee, sugar, salt. Didn’t take much money for us to live on, no monthly bills. The house we lived in had no electricity, no plumbing; the out-house was down in the woods, no running water in the house. We would put a tub of water in the sunshine all day so it would be warm for a bath in the evening. For light at night we used a kerosene lamp. Fuel for the lamp was $0.05 a gallon.
Transportation: Only 3 families in the community had a car. Our transportation was a mule and wagon. If you had to go to town you went with somebody who had a car.
Food was cooked on a wood stove. It was used to heat in the winter.
“Despling” (Discipline) was done by my mother. She knew where we was 24 hours a day.
Was this living in poverty? No, we was just poor folks. Church was one time a month. Preacher served 4 churches; his salary was $100 a year.
A History of Living in Houston County, AL as told by Buford Fortson, former Fire Chief, City of Dothan, AL. Submitted by Ann Hart

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