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Lonnie Brooks Remembers Pendleton SC
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"
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.
Lonnie thanks the following for their help with the history of Pendleton - Lonnie enjoyed visiting and speaking to many people and learning more about the town
- Town of Pendleton
The Town of Pendleton website offers a lot of information both past and present about our town.
- Pendleton District Commission
The Pendleton District Commission is located in old Hunter's Store and is filled with historical information about the Old Pendleton District which includes present day Anderson, Oconee and Pickens Counties.
Mr. Hurley Badders was a big help to Lonnie as was his book - Lonnie told Mr. Badders that he would certainly promote his book
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.
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
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.
The Old Pendleton Cotton Mill - Smokestack completed in 1920
What experience have you had with mill villages?
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.
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