The fifth of seven blogs
HERE COME RALEIGH
Perhaps this glimpse of the family in which Raleigh Ryan was born sheds light on his later life style. His aunt Gertrude and Pickensville were his safe port in an unstable childhood. His visits to our house provided another port when not sailing with the Merchant Marines.
As Raleigh aged and tired of his wandering life on the seas, he returned to Pickensville and unpacked his bags for good. Gertrude had sold her property in Pickensville and moved to Arizona. Raleigh moved into the house in which she had lived where he remained until his death. My brother, Garland, purchased this property from Raleigh’s wife, Ruby, and utilized it as a second home while working as a counselor in the Mississippi school system. Each workday morning he crossed the bridge that replaced the ferry over the Tombigbee River which was operated by Raleigh for so long.
I conferred with my siblings regarding their recollections of Raleigh. Lots of shared memories were recalled of many things, our “Here comes Raleigh” excitement being one of them. Our memories, however, varied as we recalled specific incidents.
Lora, my older sister remembered a trip to Pickensville with our father. She was young and the trip was a special event for her. She recalled a store near the house in which Gertrude lived that had a row of post between the two. She was impressed that the posts were painted (or whitewashed) white with red tops. The house also was white with red trim.
Lora said that a later trip revealed that her young mind had perceived the store to be larger than it actually was. Next to the store was a raised stone or brick platform which supported a large tank that was filled with gasoline. Cars waiting for, or leaving the ferry could fill their tanks from the gravity fed filling station. The old store building, house, platform and road bed can still be seen on the property.