Monday, August 31, 2009

Just incase this “Automotive Thing” doesn’t work out…..

Alvin, Cora and the boys remained in Indiana until 1919 or 1920. Grandpa Everett told me that he graduated from High School in Roanoke. I do not know exactly how old boys were when they completed their schooling back then. I am assuming 16 or so which would have made it around 1920. He had a post card picture of the Roanoke High School in the dusty old box of pictures. I’ve been told that Uncle Fred, James Fredrick, Grandpa younger brother finished his school in Flint, Michigan…
Sometime between 1919 and 1920, Alvin must have gotten restless. There was a lot of talk about the new Automotive Industry as it began to really take off. He must have decided that he wanted to do a different line of work. He was working as a dairy farmer in Indiana.

Listen in as Alvin talks to Cora….

“They say the work is really stable.”
“I can make more money and would not have to work so hard.”
“It will be better for the boys.”
“ They will be able to work there too when they are done with school.”
“ We will have a bright future to look forward too.”
“It is not that far from Indiana.”
“We’ll be able to get our own car.”
“ We can drive to Indiana to see our family when ever we want.”

Can’t you just hear him trying to convince Cora to leave her family in Indiana and move 195 mile away to the small town of Burton, Michigan, just outside of Flint. Flint, Michigan was the location of a flourishing Buick plant with many new jobs.

Alvin convinced her so they decided to move. All their household belongings were loaded into a rail car including the "Smith Cow and the dairy equipment". As he told Cora, “We’ll take the cow and the Dairy equipment just in case the “Automotive thing” does not work out.” Alvin and James Fredrick rode in the rail car to the Flint area with the belongs and the cow while Everett and Cora rode to Burton in a motor car.

Not only did the Automotive thing work out, it brought about radical changes to society and the industrial revolution. Alvin's brother Frank is found living with Alvin on Term street in Burton in the 1920 census. Frank Smith brought his family from Indiana to the Burton area where he was able to get employment at Buick/GM. He retired after more than 30 years. Working at Buick/ GM became a bit of a family tradition. Frank’s son, James W Smith worked at Buick for more than 35 years and so did his son, Lawrence F. Smith. Eventually Buick became a part of General Motors and James W. Smith (Frank's son)transferred to a GM plant in the Fort Wayne area of Indiana which is also the location where Lawrence worked.

In 1925, tragically, Alvin died of a heart attack while working on the factory line at Buick # 3 according to his obituary. Cora, Everett and James Fredrick (Fred) remained in the Flint area. Uncle Fred worked at Buick/GM for his entire career (43 years)and live in the home build by his Mother and Dad on Term street all his life. He and his wife Hazel raised two daughters, Louise and Helen Jane. This true family story came to me through Helen Jane.

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