Our series on my late Aunt Louise Stansbery Sherwood (1915-2006) continues. She is one of the great grand daughters of Isaac (1822-1864) and Caroline Greer Wilson (1828-1911) of Sutherland, North Carolina. Her grandmother, Frances Wilson Osborne (1851-1940), was one of the children assisting her father in the Ashe County cornfield when he was shot from ambush during the American Civil War in June 1864.
Louise Stansbery, age 20, left Bristol, Tennessee in early December 1935, en route to Miami, Florida and then by ship to Havana, Cuba. The International Radio Club was sponsoring a beauty contest, and Louise - Miss Bristol that year - was tapped by WOPI radio to represent the station. WOPI owner W. A. Wilson and others accompanied Louise on this adventure.
They took the bus! Of course commercial flying was in its infancy and expensive. Why not the train? One suspects the bus was cheaper, and Wilson must have been counting his pennies and dimes in those early days of radio.
Left, a model 1932 Greyhound bus.
Heading south, one of the first stops was Statesville, North Carolina and Gray's Restaurant. Louise saved the menu, an elegant publication for its time.
What is remarkable to 21st Century bank accounts is how inexpensive the food was. Steak only 50 cents and sandwiches for a dime. Of course the average annual income for American families in the middle 1930s was approximately $1,500 per year and during those Depression years, many such as my Osborne and Stansbery ancestors, made do with much less.
It is a bit unusual posting a menu, but it captures the cost of an up-scale restaurant of its time...a cup of coffee for 5 cents!
In a quick post card home from Georgia, Louise complained they were running late. That probably explains the railroad timetable contained in her memorabilia. Remarkably, she was assigned a private room for the overnight run from Jacksonville to Miami, Florida. One suspects Mr. Wilson wanted Louise rested and looking refreshed when they arrived in Miami for the first phase of the conference.
After two days travel, the party arrived in Miami, and quickly, Louise sent a second post card home to her mother, Mayme Osborne Stansbery. Below is Flagler Street, Miami in 1935.
Next Posting, two nights in Miami....one of the belles of Radio in 1935!
We invite you to rediscover your heritage at a Wilson, Greer, Wilcoxson, Osborne, Forrester, Adams and other families Forum, Saturday, 9 :30 am, July 19, 2014 in the community room of the Boone, North Carolina public library. Sunday, July 20th is also the annual Wilson Homecoming at Sutherland United Methodist Church in Ashe County. In addition, a detailed family tree of the above families is growing at a MyFamily.com site. For details and schedule on the above event and web site, watch this space and/or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Isaac and Caroline Greer Wilson are great, great grandparents of this writer.