COULBOURN, Army of the United States
Young Private Coulbourn on bivouac with Co. E, 124th Infantry Rgt., 1917
(In third tent on right.)
Long Coulbourn, was busy
all his life, always in a hurry, and
yet he lived to be 98 years old. Dixon
He was born in a little
Bay on January 27,
1899. His dad ran an oyster business. The employees were all
African-Americans, and I am sure some of the older ones had been slaves at one
Watermen raked up tons of oysters and brought them back to Morattico to be processed. Black oyster shuckers worked all day, filling barrels with fresh shucked oysters, which were iced down and rushed to customers all over the eastern
. It was hard work,
and a typical shucker made $6 a week. They piled up mountains of oyster
shells. United States
1,500,000 young men boarded troop transports and were soon fighting in
. France was among them. The shells exploding
near him permanently damaged his hearing, so he spent the rest of his life with
very poor hearing.* Dixon
On November 11, 1918, Armistice was declared. People went from unit to unit, announcing the news.
remembered that vividly, especially
because a cook wagon came to the front lines and started cooking pancakes for
the soldiers. “Man, that was the most wonderful thing!” Dixon used to say. Dixon
As it has done for most men, and now women as well, combat made a lasting impression on
He was proud of his service. Dixon
[A note for those who despise war and demonstrate for peace: You are right-- war is bad, we should strive for peace! But when your country calls, and needs young men and women to fight, someone has to answer the call. ]
When the war was over, all the soldiers returned to
, and suddenly all those
young men were looking for jobs at the same time. America Dixon and his brothers went to work in
central , packing strawberries and trying all
kinds of schemes to make a living. Florida was gaining notice all over the
country because oil wells were popping up, new refineries were being built, and
workers were needed. In 1927, Texas Dixon got
himself on a freight train headed for . He made his
way to Texas Port
Arthur, in the southeastern corner of .
Real estate developers financed with money from the Texas had begun building a town here to
handle shipments of locally grown rice. They located the Kansas City Southern
Railways terminus here, and Dutch settlers came to live, followed by Americans.
Then a huge oil discovery at Spindletop, right where all the Dutchmen were
living, led to creation of several refineries here. Texaco and Gulf Oil
companies were created. Families began streaming here to make their fortune in
this oil boom town. Netherlands
Gusher at Spindletop, Jan. 10, 1901
Courtesy of American Petroleum Institute
For a young man, veteran of The Great War, looking for work, this looked to be the place, and
landed here. Dixon found a job as a bookkeeper at a local
grocery store. Dixon , who enlisted in the
Army before he had graduated from high school, now enrolled in correspondence
courses to learn to be an accountant. He earned his certificate. Dixon
He met a young woman at a
event. Katherine was the daughter of a doctor and a strong supporter of the
local Methodist Church and
the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. Methodist Church and Katherine were soon married. Dixon
I was born a couple of years later, in 1934, and my brother Dixon Wall Coulbourn was born two years later, in 1936.
In 1944 my sister, Martha Louise, was born, and our parents looked at the neighborhood where we lived, just over a mile from downtown, and decided that now, with a little girl, it was time to move to more idyllic surroundings. So, in 1945 we moved to
Here we had a cow pasture beyond our back door. Griffing Park Dixon ordered a flock of Plymouth Rock
chickens from a supplier in ,
and soon we were in the chicken business. Massachusetts
Dixon’s family, 1946
L to R:
Dixon, young , Martha, Sam, Katherine. Dixon
We collected the eggs each morning, and cleaned all the chicken mess up, and fed the chickens.
started his own accounting firm,
leaving for work after he had made sure that we were doing our chicken chores. Dixon
He had a friend who owned a store that sold outboard motors for boats and all kinds of appliances, from washing machines to record players.
Dixon bought an electric deep freezer, and then one of the new Bendix washing machines, with the window, so you could see the clothes swirling around inside. He bought my mother an electric ironing machine (mangle), which turned out to be a total waste of money.
When a new voice recorder came out, that you could record on a paper disk, he brought one home to try out, and took it back. Then a wire recorder came out that made a recording on a slim silver wire on a spool. He brought that home, and then took it back.
However, we were one of the last families in the neighborhood to buy a television.
Even though he loved gadgets, Dad was no spendthrift!
Dad kept his accounting business until he was 73 years old, then with all of us kids with families of our own, he and mother moved to
where he opened up another accounting business, and wrote a book, “Control Your Finances”. Georgetown, Texas
All his adult life, Dad was a loyal member of the Kiwanis Club and the American Legion. On his 90th birthday the local newspaper ran a front-page story of this crusty old World War I veteran. Dad wasn’t pleased about the publicity, because he thought the fact that he was 90 years old might turn away some of his accounting business.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad!
NOTE: I first posted this on Dad's birthday, Jan. 27, 2012.
*Dad had poor hearing. Now, after years of operations in and around gun turrets, jet engines and submarine diesel engines, I do, too. Technology has improved tremendously, but still.....