Tuesday, May 12

30 year debt

Uncle Jim Fields was known to some as “Bean Pole.” It seems that when the railroad was being built in Hazard, Uncle Jim and his good wife had a few boarders staying with them, mind you this was back in 1911. It seems that one of them left owing these good people about $13.00. Some 30 years later in 1941 – a man came to Uncle Jim’s house inquiring about a Jim Fields that kept boarders during the building of the railroad. Uncle Jim stated that he had. This man said to Uncle Jim, “I owe you a debt, I have been saved, I have come a fur piece to pay you.” Uncle Jim declined the money, he said, "anyone that has got right with God, I don’t want your money." The man insisted and Uncle Jim finally gave in and took only what was due him. Folks, this is just one of the typical traditions of our people of years ago. I sincerely hope that it will prevail for many years to come. Wouldn’t it be nice to go back to the people that once conducted a friendship of trusting people, of course it will have to come from our old timers.

I have fond memories of Mrs. Laura Begley, the mother of Ott Begley. During the time I carried her mail, I called her Aunt Laura. Many a stormy day I'd hit her porch and she would say, "come in son, it is too bad to travel." She would fix me a hot cup of coffee. I can recall when her husband was Police Judge. One of my friends had a little trouble one night. I called the judge to help him out. Judge Begley said, “just let me finish supper and I will see what I can do for you.” After he had his supper, he did what he promised. He turned a kid loose from jail that later made a very good citizen. In fact, I would say one of the best the city has ever had. 1960


  1. Keep in mind how much money $13 was in 1911.

  2. A small fortune, I'd say.

  3. I notice Roscoe refers to Jim Fields as "Uncle Jim" or Laura Begley as "Aunt Laura" although he was related to neither. It was an affectionate way to refer to your elders years ago. That is gone today. If you called a friend "Uncle" they may look at you like you'd lost it.