He knows his onions

HE KNOWS HIS ONIONSLife and Casualty Ad GA March 6, 1930

There’s a man working here,
            His name is Mr. Dorris,
He lives here in town,
            But kinder in a forest.

His land is very fertile,
            It produces mighty well,
He raises lots of vegetables,
            But not enough to sell.

He makes one thing a specialty,
            He will lead all over the state,
That’s these Texas onions.
            He has one as large as a plate.

He has ordered him a boiler,
            It will take lots and lots of tin,
It will certainly take a large one—
            It’s to cook that onion in.

He says he raised that onion,
            But it’s whispered all around,
That someone sent it to him
            That lives away from town.

Any way the man that raised it
            Accomplished a might good deed,
If he was only thoughtful enough
            To save just two or three seed.

You watch my prediction—
            The price of onions will drop
As soon as the merchants of Nashville
            Find out he has dug his crop

I raised my little onion,
            And I thought it was very nice,
I kinder think he bought his
            And paid a right good price.

J. R. King, The Rambling Thoughts of a Night Watchman. Author: Nashville, 1930, page 104.

J. R. King was night watchman at Life and Casualty Insurance Company.  In this book he mentions, among others, A.M. Burton, Truman Ward, WLAC and likely C. E. W. Dorris and his onions.

2 thoughts on “He knows his onions

  1. DL despised insurance companies almost as much as he hated musical instruments in the church house. “I think many good men have taken out policies and become agents for the companies without understanding their workings,” he wrote in 1907. “But I feel sure that no man who understands the workings of the companies will take a policy or encourage others to do it.” Yet within a decade DL would introduce George Philip Bowser and his agent Annie Tuggle to his “good friend” Andrew Mizell Burton — and we know something of what what happened afterwards to them. CEWD, a disciple of DL in many things, is AMB’s principal agent in that debacle, and he remains AMB’s faithful retainer and representative for most of his working life. Had CEWD read DL more closely — or had DL not let down his guard with AMB — the tragic history of race relations among Churches of Christ might be something different than it is.

    In any case, the McQuiddys quite clearly did not share DL’s scruples against insurance.

    May God have mercy.


  2. Interview of Marshall Keeble by Julian Choate
    Circa 1966 / 1967
    Tape 7A

    11:08 J Choate: Now, there is one other thing that I see in reading through all the notes about the Silver Point School and the Southern Practical Institute and it was brother Burton’s point of view that what he wanted to do was to teach the young negro the Bible every day and teach him some useful trade. But then I could find in the writing of Annie Tuggle and others that they felt that he also needed to learn the liberal arts too. That he needed the cultural part of it as well as to learn how to do some useful trade in life. Now I agree with that Brother Keeble.
    11:49 M Keeble: Brother Burton’s idea was, as you said, just that one thing. He didn’t see to carry them both along together. If he’d have seen that we’d have that school right down there. And he wanted the class at Silver Point to farm. And one time he wanted to carry us and we went down to look over a farm at Dixon, Tennessee. Going to buy it down there since I’ve been with the Nashville Christian Institute. And I went down there and we did and looked it over and I told him this finally I said Brother Burton you can’t take a boy out of the country and carry him back to the country. You just … you just … you want to get him out of the country … you can’t … bring him on up here and teach him these principals.
    12:35 JC: Umhum
    MK: He don’t look like he’s advancing at all. You carry him right back to the farm? And that’s why Brother Burton was thinking the fella could feed himself. He had a good foundation there … but he made us think that he just wanted us to still work and farm. That might a fella dodge his Christian education, you see? And Burton’s talking about nothing but Christian education.
    13:05 JC: And Brother Burton has, he had … I forget how little … how few days he attended school.
    MK: He told me.
    JC: Maybe eighteen weeks?
    MK: Yes, something like that. He just didn’t got nothing, at least comparatively speaking.
    JC: Now Brother Burton, of course, has made millions and in reading Brother Burton’s writings and even now, Brother Burton is a person of genius
    MK: Yes he is.
    JC: And of great ability.
    MK: That’s it.
    JC: And he has a great natural intelligence that the average person doesn’t have.
    13:38 MK: Umhum.
    JC: Well Brother Burton, I don’t imagine has been able to see the value of an education just for the ordinary individual.
    MK: He hasn’t. He thinks it ruins him. Unintelligible … and make him worse than he is.
    JC: If they had organized a school for Negroes right here in town just like the Nashville Bible School.
    MK: That’s right.
    JC: And got right in behind it …
    MK: We’d of cleaned up with it and church would have been among our race like it among you all. That’s _______. We’d have swallowed the Negros here in Nashville, but he couldn’t … he couldn’t … he couldn’t see it.
    JC: And I regret … now, of course, I know that the Nashville Bible School, that they weren’t even out of debt until recent years Brother Keeble.
    14:30 MK: You see here … Brother … we are integrating now out there just cause we had to follow somebody else but we should have led.
    JC: That’s right.
    MK: We should have led! I would have been so glad if we could have led this. We missed a many a man that would have been in the Church of Christ if we had led it.
    JC: Oh, yes.
    MK: Years ago if had just opening the doors years ago, now the sectarian bodies had to open their doors first.
    JC: That’s right.
    MK: They had to open … and then you tell the Church … A lot of white brethren tell me Keeble now we got our doors open ….

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