Saturday, August 8, 2009


The Luther M. Lindley Family
Our family moved to the Gunsight Texas Community in west Texas in the winter of 1929. Our house had no electricity, running water, indoor bath etc. Our house was heated by a large fireplace and a wood cook stove. Our outhouse was 50 yards from the back porch. At that time our family consisted of my Mom and Dad, 7 boys, 2 girls. Our house was 3 miles west of the community school and church. Our property consisted of a farm and ranch land of 640 acres. 150 acres was farm land. The rest was ranch land. We raised cattle, hogs, horses, turkeys and many, many jackrabbits which we ate. We grew our own crops and gardens. Our crops consisted of cotton, sorghum grains, and various garden products. We were poor but never ever went without food. We were lucky and happy.
In the years 1941 & 1942 as WWII came on 6 sons joined the Military Service. About that time the REA (rural electric association) came thru that area of Texas. A REA supervisor came to our house and told our Dad that the REA could only build the lines 1 mile off of the main road which is now US highway 183. He informed our Dad that he would have to pay for the rest of the poles. About 6 or 7 poles because we lived about 1&1/4 miles off the main road. The poles would cost $3.00 dollars each. My Dad told the man we did not need electricity as we were doing just fine with our kerosene lamps and daylight. The man was
Dumb-founded. He insisted that my Dad sign up now or we would be passed by. Our Dad said “no-thanks” again stating that we were doing fine without electricity. The man left and our dad went back to his farming and ranching duties with the help of our sister RosaLee and our brother Billy Gene who was afflicted with sever Epilepsy and our youngest brother Harold who was too young and to be of much help.
And Rosalee and Harold were attending school.
A 2nd supervisor (upper-level) from the REA came to see our Dad about the pole situation. He had heard that our Parents had 6 sons in the Military service at one time and wanted to do what he could to help bring electricity to the farm. Again our Dad told the man he did not need electricity since we had live there all those years without it. The man then stated to our Dad that he had been authorized by the REA to furnish all the poles but the last one, which would be in our yard. And he said it would only cost $3.00 dollars total. Our Dad again said no and the Supervisor left. But 2 days later the Supervisor came back again and said the REA would furnish all the poles now. Our Dad asked him what he could do with the electricity since the house was not wired for electricity? The man was amazed and said he would report this to his high ups? Within 2 weeks all the poles were installed, and then the installers wanted to know where my dad wanted the meter installed? Our Dad told him anywhere he wanted was ok---but our Dad again told them he could not afford to have the house wired. And he would continue to use the kerosene lamps. The REA workers shook their heads and left after installing the meter and running the lines to the house.
Within a few days the same higher up Supervisor came back and told our Dad that he was now authorized to wire the whole house, since our parents had 6 sons in the service of our Country. Our Dad asked the man how much the electricity would cost him per month? The man said $1.00 (dollar) per month. Our Dad argued with the man and said he and our Mother would not use the Electricity. Again the man left dumbfounded.
By the time the electricity was turned on, our brother Ben had been sending our Parents a soldier’s allotment each month, about $30.00 dollars per month. Although the other 5 brothers tried to send the money, the military would only allow 1 allotment per family. This $30.00 dollars came in handy for our parents as our parents income was cut way back with only our dad left to do all the farming and ranching.

When the 1st electricity bill came in it was $1.03 total. Our dad took the bill to the REA office in Breckenridge, Texas and complained to the clerk about the $.03 excess charge. Our Dad stated that they seldom used the electricity and only used it when they had company to run the lights. This clerk knew our family real well and about the 6 sons in the Military. She waived the $.03 and it was a long time before the minimum was ever exceeded again. Only when all 6 Brother’s came home from WWII did the lights stay on after dark. We celebrated into the night when the last brother came home from the service in the Good Old days.