Editor's note: Bobbie Cannon Motley's family has lived at Oaklawn, in the Cannon Crossroads community for generations. These are memories of days gone by, before all the development in western Cabarrus County.
Fifty-six years ago on August 4, my daddy passed away at the very young age of 59. I am reflecting on the man he was and only wish my grandchildren and great grandson could have known such a wonderful man.
He was 6 ft. 5 inches tall and weighed about 280 pounds, a gentle giant is what I remember. He worked very hard from the time he was 16-year-old when his mother passed away. Times were hard then as he often reminded me that I was living in good times.
He lived through the Great Depression, picking up jobs as he could find them.
He was a guard on the Chain Gang for a number of years and often talked about his blood hounds named May and Thirty.
For those of you that did not know what the Chain Gang was, let me explain.
These were men who were convicted of crimes and were serving out their sentences by working on the roads in the state. Some were dangerous men and wore chains around their legs so they could not run. Others were trustees that were allowed to carry the water for their prisoners and helped the guard with other duties.
My daddy carried a loaded shotgun to guard the prisoners and I am sure he would not hesitate to use the weapon for his safety.
I remember Daddy telling about camping out at night with the prisoners and getting one of the trustees to run and hide so he could keep the bloodhounds doing their job.
I do not remember how long he said they would be camping while cutting brush along the roads, but I do remember him telling me that they would come from the prison and pick them up in a jail wagon.
Daddy did this for several years until he was drafted into the Unites States Army as a military policeman and later he guarded Cannon Mills.
I remember hearing about the blackouts that were done to practice for an air attack by the enemy. I am so glad that the United States was not attacked during World War II, but they were prepared in case it did happen.
My daddy met my mother and they were married in 1938 and move to Oaklawn. I remember Mother saying there was a tree growing up through the floor in the house and that she just sat down and cried knowing she had come from the big town of Huntersville and was no out in the middle of nowhere in a house that was almost falling down.
They both struggled during these times to provide a home for me. I was born in 1940.
Mother always said folks at Cabarrus Hospital looked in her room to see the old woman who had a baby at age 40.