He s been a farmer. He s been a carpenter. He s worked for Consolidated Aircraft, primarily as an inspector. He s been a cattleman. And throughout his one hundred years of living, Roy Burleson has been a trader.
Born in Huntsville, Al., Burleson grew up with seven sisters, He had an older half brother that he hardly knew. He was quite young when his family moved to East Texas near the little community of Dike.
As a young man, he learned to play the fiddle and was often in demand to play for the community dances. He met his future wife, Lottie Goodman, at the little country building that served as both church and school.
Burleson, who answers to two different nicknames. Burley or Hub, recalls it was with money he d saved from playing for dances that he paid for his father s funeral in 1916. It was the custom to “pass the hat” after the dances to come up with an honorarium.
Burleson and Miss Goodman courted about three years before engaging a Church of Christ minister at a little church north of Dike to perform their marriage, Dec. 24. 1922. Their first home was with his mother and sisters.
“I should have known better, he says, in recalling the living arrangements when he and Lottie married. His mother, he explains, was too difficult to please and after about a year Lottie moved back home “So we found us a little house to rent and stayed there about a year. And we lived with Lottie s folks about a year.
The young Burlesons did not have a car. They were finally able to afford a used Model T Ford, which he thinks may have cost him $300.
Hub and Lottie and their little daughter, Ruth, moved to Olton in 1928, arriving here on Ruth’s birthday. Oct. 6. “The little shack we lived in is still out there,” says Hub of their place northwest of town.
He had purchased the 80 acres of land for $25 an acre. Making a profit, he sold that place and bought 160 acres south of Olton, paying just $18.20 an acre.
“Eight years later, I sold that farm for $110 an acre and bought a half section. Graduating from farming with a team of horses, Hub remembers his first tractor, a Little used Farmall with lug wheels.“It cost me $350 I used it six years, made the last payment on it and stilt! it for $600,” he says.
Hub remembers growing “a little bit of everything.., cotton, maze and even Johnson grass. It was on the place already so I just harvested it. I never did own tour row equipment."
He remembers that he usu ally had six to eight cows and recalls thirty cents a hundred wages for pulling bolls.
Selling the farm, Hub began building houses. which he would immediately sell, sometimes carrying the loan for the people who bought them.‘‘Made pretty good money doing that, he recalls.
In the early forties, Olton Independent School District had taken over numerous town lots because of failure of the owners to pay taxes. A large auction was scheduled. Hub and a friend, Ezra Whittington, decided to purchase the lots and resell them.
“So I was in real estate for a while,” he remembers. “We bought 222 lots scattered over Olton by paying the delinquent taxes. A good many of them located in the southwest portion of town. They cost its an average of $3.50 a lot. We sold a bunch for $15 or $20 an acre, even got $200 for one or two” he remembers.
Hub does not recall exactly when he and Lottie moved to Fort Worth, perhaps in 1951. He went to work for Consolidated Aircraft, most or the time In the capacity of inspector. “I knew very little about anything,” he adds.
They d purchased a trailer home, which they located near enough that Hub would walk to work. Ruth, by now married to Dick Hudgens and the mother of a little son, remembers their visits to Fort Worth and little fish ing trips that Hub used to plan for Dickie Roy s benefit.
From Fort Worth, Hub and Lottie moved back into “home country, living in Sulphur Springs.Hub rented grassland and bought cattle and operated a dairy farm. A year later, He sold that place and bought another four miles from Greenville.
“I paid $10,000 we for a hundred acres and put cattle there. We had a nice house. Two years later, I sold the place for $l2,000 and we moved to Portales, N.M. and bought a peanut farm.
“I didn't like it very much,” he remembers. An opportunity arose whereby he traded the peanut farm, taking in a house in Lubbock.
He still owns the house where he and Lottie retired. Lottie died in 1993. Hub continued to make his home there until moving to the nursing home in 1998.
Throughout the years, Hub has continued to love the music of fiddles, especially the old songs that he once played. A great granddaughter, Amanda Hudgens inherited that love and talent.
Visiting recently with Amanda about old songs that he knew and loved, Hub was thrilled to learn she knew some of the same songs and promptly played them for her great-grandfather. “You play that better than I did.” he said with pride.
Certain in his own mind that he was 100 in 2000, Hub learned a few days back that he might be two years older. A niece, Teddie Ratliff Gibbs brought the old Burleson family Bible to show him with his date of birth written as 1898. He questions its authority how ever because he still recalls reg istering for the service in 1918 at the age of 18.
Whatever the years, he is still blessed with a remarkable memory of a remarkable life.