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Lonnie Brooks Remembers Pendleton SC

Updated on November 9, 2015

Lonnie Brooks of Pendleton, SC

Growing Up On The Mill Hill

Lonnie Brooks grew up on the Pendleton Mill Hill during the 1930s and 1940s. Times were tough but that is not the only thing that Lonnie remembers about those days. He remembers a loving family, wonderful friends, and the people who made a difference in his life. Lonnie shares these memories and the days after he left Pendleton in his recently published book.Lonnie now lives in Huntsville, Alabama and had contacted me through one of my Pendleton Old Photos pages. We became friends and I enjoyed hearing about his days in Pendleton. He had shared with me that he had written his memoir and on one of his return trips to Pendleton, we were able to meet face to face.

Photo - Lonnie Brooks - This photo was provided by Lonnie with his permission to use it on this page.

Lonnie Brooks Memoir: - "Historic Pendleton, South Carolina, a Real Life Experience From The Other Side of the Tracks"

There are many folks about the age of Lonnie who remember growing up on a Mill Hill because this was a very familiar way of life especially in this part of the country. Cotton was king in the South and textile plants provided a livelihood for many a family. The mill provided housing for those who worked there thus the name "mill hill". Lonnie says that people who lived on the Mill Hill were referred to as "lint heads" because the lint from the cotton would often be seen in one's hair. The folks that lived on the Mill Hill in Pendleton have a reunion every so often and I am sure everyone is going to want a copy of Lonnie's book. According to him, they were all like one big family - everyone caring for one another.Lonnie will have a book signing in Pendleton and the date and place will be posted here

Purchase Lonnie's Book Here - Just click "Buy Now"

Historic Pendleton, South Carolina, a Real Life Experience From the Other Side of the Tracks!
Historic Pendleton, South Carolina, a Real Life Experience From the Other Side of the Tracks!

It has been fun to hear folks enjoying reading Lonnie's book and then listen to their memories of growing up in Pendleton. Lonnie combines his wit with his wisdom to bring us this story of his life. It is a joy to read and a treasure to all who own a copy.Just click the book or the link to be directed to Amazon to purchase. Thank you. Lonnie has certainly had an amazing life as he went on to graduate from Pendleton High School, serve in the US Navy, graduate from Clemson University, enjoy an engineering career, and a wonderful family. He shares it all in this book with honesty, humor, and humility.

 

Mr. Hurley Badders was a big help to Lonnie as was his book - Lonnie told Mr. Badders that he would certainly promote his book

Remembering South Carolina's Old Pendleton District
Remembering South Carolina's Old Pendleton District

Mr. Badders was the Director of the District Commission for many years and is an expert when it comes to the history of the Old Pendleton District. I enjoyed reading this book so much and like Lonnie, I learned a lot that I did not know. This book is filled with interesting information about our area's history. Mr. Badders passed away November, 2015.

 
Lonnie and the Brown boys
Lonnie and the Brown boys

Boys Will Be Boys!

Lonnie shares lots of funny stories in his book

Photo: Left to right: Lonnie Brooks, Doug Brown and Leonard BrownFrom reading Lonnie's book, I found out that life on the Mill Hill was anything but boring. The kids always found something to do and some kind of mischief to get into. Lonnie expresses these great tales with the expertise of the celebrated toastmaster that he is. Here is one such example according to Lonnie:

"Leonard and I were in his car one day, coming back to the Mill Hill from the East and going down the hill that led to the railroad tracks. All of a sudden, Leonard asked me if I believed that he could put his car in reverse. We were doing about 20 MPH. I told him that I didn't know. He suddenly, pushed in the clutch, we didn't have automatic transmissions back then, and slammed the gear shift into reverse. The car shuddered really bad and came to a stop. Leonard spent that whole weekend repairing his transmission! I have no idea what made him do such a stupid thing as that. I'm sure he must have known better. Who knows?Doug and I were at the Ford Motor Company one day and I was parked really close to the car next to me. While I was backing out I asked Doug if he could see and he said "yes". I kept backing out really slow and knew that my right front of the car was getting really close to the other car. Suddenly, I heard a crunching sound and I knew that I had rubbed up against the other car. I said "Doug, I thought you could see!" and he answered "Lonnie, I was looking right at it"! He didn't care. Luckily, back then people didn't think much of fender benders."

Photo Credit: Photo provided by Lonnie Brooks. Lonnie says that he probably only weighed 100 lbs in this picture which he figures was in 1946. He said that he only weighed 110 lbs when he joined the Navy at age 19.

Old Gulf Station in Pendleton, SC

Old Gulf Station run by Deck Gossett
Old Gulf Station run by Deck Gossett

Lonnie Remembers What Mr. J.B. Ouzts Did For Him

Photo is the old Gulf Station at the corner of Exchange St. and Queen St.

Lonnie tells the story of going in the old Gulf Station to get a coke and Mr. Ouzts, school principal and superintent, was there. He recognized Lonnie and asked him why he quit school. Lonnie told him that he was working in the mill and it was too hard to work and go to school so he just quit. Lonnie said that since he quit they had added the 12th grade so he didn't figure he would ever go back. Mr. Ouzts asked him if he would come back if he only had to complete 11 grades. Lonnie told him he would. Needless to say, Lonnie graduated and Mr. Outzts made a special recognition of him during graduation explaining about his determination and how he had worked and gone to school. This really had a great impression on Lonnie and he says that he will never forget it.Photo - provided by Becky Gossett Oliver - daughter of Deck Gossett who was also the former Mayor of Pendleton. Mr. Deck ran the old Gulf station. This building still stands and is now owned by Scott Ward.

Where is the old Pendleton Cotton Mill? - South Depot St. and Blue Ridge St.

The Blue Ridge Railroad runs by the old mill that most recently was occupied by Fibertech Columns but they have left and it is once again empty. Hopefully, someone will have a vision for this old structure and bring it back to life. Wouldn't that be wonderful?Lonnie said that a lot of people on the mill hill were members at Second Baptist Church located on Church St. Many shopped and had running accounts at Broadwell's Store.So much of the history of this mill has not been written down and this is why Lonnie's book is so important.

A markerOld Pendleton Cotton Mill -
250 S. Depot St., Pendleton, SC
get directions

The Old Pendleton Cotton Mill - Smokestack completed in 1920

The smoke stack at the Pendleton Cotton Mill in 1910 (photo contributed by Nell Seawright Reeves).On the back of the photo was this note written by Virginia Boggs McKnight:Papa (Charles Jackson Boggs) helped build this. A turkey dinner is being serve
The smoke stack at the Pendleton Cotton Mill in 1910 (photo contributed by Nell Seawright Reeves).On the back of the photo was this note written by Virginia Boggs McKnight:Papa (Charles Jackson Boggs) helped build this. A turkey dinner is being serve | Source

What experience have you had with mill villages?

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Lonnie Brooks US Navy 1949
Lonnie Brooks US Navy 1949

Lonnie Joined The U.S. Navy in 1949

Graduates Clemson University in 1957

After his memorable graduation from Pendleton High School in 1949, Lonnie enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He finished boot camp and sonar school in San Diego, California. It was there that he met the love of his life and his future bride, Alice Marie Grisham. Lonnie and Alice were married in 1952 and enjoyed a wonderful life together until her passing in 2009. Lonnie says that they never had an argument and they raised their family and enjoyed a wonderful life together. While in the Navy, Lonnie served on the destroyer, USS Gurke, DD 783, for 3 years and also served in the Korean War.After being honorably discharged from the Navy, Lonnie and Alice returned to this area to continue his education at Clemson. He graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering in 1957 and began a successful career in engineering. Lonnie retired from 30 years with Teledyne Brown Engineering in Huntsville, Alabama in January 2010 but he never forgot where he came from and those people who made a difference in his life.

Lonnie Brooks
Lonnie Brooks

A Few Words From Author Lonnie Brooks

August 25, 2013

"When I started writing my book about Historical Pendleton and my life about six years ago, I really didn't know where I was going with it. I started out with the title: "My Life and Things Remembered", but as I progressed and received so much encouragement from many friends and fielding many questions about my hometown of Pendleton, I started focusing on my hometown of "Historic Pendleton, S.C. and my life there. I am so glad that I did.Pendleton is a wonderful town with a wonderful history and a great place to have been a part of anyone's life. I am so glad that Our Good Lord, led us there when I was so young. The people that have moved in and out of Pendleton were fabulous and I will always have precious memories of those that I knew and grew up with. Even today, I would recommend Pendleton to anyone who is looking for a great place to live. Not only is Pendleton a great place to live, but it is centrally located in upper Anderson County and very close to Clemson University, Seneca, Central, Liberty, Easley, Anderson and Greenville.I am so glad that a lot of people, like Ms. Nancy Hellams and others are working so hard to not only advertise Pendleton, but are making great efforts to get the word out about how wonderful Pendleton is and what a great place to live. So many dedicated people working very hard to preserve this wonderful town.Lonnie Brooks

Thank you, Lonnie Brooks!

Thank you for sharing your memories and thank you for your service to our country.I enjoyed reading your book and appreciate my copy. I especially enjoyed meeting you and hearing your stories in person. It is always wonderful to meet someone who loves Pendleton and its people as much as I do.Sincerely,Nancy Tate Hellams aka OhMe

Did You Grow Up On The Pendleton Mill Hill? - Share your memories here

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    • profile image

      Lonnie Brooks 2 years ago

      Thanks, Barbara! Your brother, Bud, was my very best friend! I will always remember him! He was the greatest!!!!!

    • profile image

      Barbara Foster Hughes 2 years ago

      I remember you from when you would come home to visit. I guess my brother Bud was about your age.I was very young of course. My mama loved Maude like a sister.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 3 years ago from Florida

      As I told you on another Hub you wrote about Pendleton, my daddy worked at that textile mill for many years!

      I will get this book by Lonnie Brooks for sure!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 3 years ago from Central Florida

      My father-in-law worked in the weaving mills and shoe factories in Maine. I wish I'd collected some stories from him before he passed away.

    • OhMe profile image
      Author

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      @CherylsArt: Thank you for visiting and commenting. Did you have Mill Villages in Baltimore?

    • OhMe profile image
      Author

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      @anonymous: I sent Lonnie an email and told him that you wanted to talk to him

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 4 years ago from West Virginia

      I grew up on the outskirts of Baltimore, Md. Thank you OhMe for introducing Lonnie to us.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Lonnie, I really need to talk to you. I live on West Blue Ridge Street on the corner of W. Blue Ridge and Major Street.

    • OhMe profile image
      Author

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      @SheGetsCreative: I love that story, too. It is amazing the difference that someone can make in a life just by showing some compassion

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Fun lens - I love the story about his 11 vs 12 grades :)

    • OhMe profile image
      Author

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      @SusanDeppner: Thank you Susan. It has been wonderful to be able to share things about Pendleton on Squidoo.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks for introducing us to Lonnie!

    • OhMe profile image
      Author

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      @opatoday: Wow, thank you. I sure enjoy using Squidoo for anything to do with my hometown of Pendleton SC

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      It's always interesting to learn more about your community. So nice that you got to meet Lonnie Brooks!

    • opatoday profile image

      opatoday 4 years ago

      This is what Squidoo is about (PERFECT)

    • OhMe profile image
      Author

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      @collingiusti: Thanks for stopping by. Much appreciated.

    • profile image

      collingiusti 4 years ago

      very nice work

    • OhMe profile image
      Author

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      @anonymous: Thanks for visiting and commenting. I, too, am so glad that Lonnie wrote down his memories and shared them with the world.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      You have worked hard on an enjoyable task, and have brought back good memories that may have been forgotten. Good job, my friend.

    • profile image

      jimmymanleyman 4 years ago

      @anonymous: LOREAN,I remember you when I was coming up on the mill village. Had the sameteachers several years later.I remember when you used to live on what we called "Lower Street (MajorStreet.)Jimmy L. Manley

    • OhMe profile image
      Author

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      @Michey LM: Michey, thanks so much for stopping by and yes we do have a lot of great writers to come out of Pendleton.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I grew up (well almost) on Pendleton Mill Hill for the first 14 years of my life anyway. I began grammer school in 1946 and had many of the teachers named. Mrs. Martin, Miss Odell, Mr. J.B. Outz was the principal for all of my time there, from the 1st grade through the ninth grade. Bought a lot of candy and Pepsi from Mr. Broadwwells store. His Daughter Eloise taught me a lot of things about singing. I went to school all nine years with Rita Smith, Flora Jean Littleton, Johnny Medlock, Marlene Patterson, and a whole bunch more. Also had a Mrs. Strickland as Home Ec. teacher in the ninth grade (1953-54). We moved to Seneca in 1954. I have many fond memories of Pendleton. Lorene Earle , maiden name.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 4 years ago

      Another great writer from SC, it must be the water, flowers, or the good school as I know now so many writers, some are my friends and I treasure them... thanks Nancy, you just add one more to the list...

    • OhMe profile image
      Author

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      @anonymous: Yes, I remember that day Jimmy and hope to get a video of Lonnie the next time he is in town. Yes, he definitely needs to have a book signing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have known the book was coming for quite awhile now. Glad to see that it has been published. Since I know Lonnie personally, I will get my copy from Lonnie himself when he visits Pendleton. Maybe he ought to have a book signing here soon. The library would be a great place to hold it. I read a part of the manuscript when Lonnie met with you and me at the Mexican Restaurant in Pendleton. I met with you that same day at the Old Hunter's Store for the purpose of you making a short film of where my first book (THE CIVIL WAR STARTED FOR ME AT THE OLD HUNTER'S STORE) started for your web site. Lonnie came to see you to get your input on his manuscript. You gave him some useful information. I appreciate all the assistance you have rendered me by helping to promote my books. I know Lonnie does too. Thanks

    • OhMe profile image
      Author

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      @anonymous: Thanks for your help, Betty. You are such a great proof reader and sister.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I so admire those who capture and share local history and memories. Yes, I agree that these books become true treasures. Looking forward to reading this one! Great presentation here!