Rochelle had its fair share of characters

There have been a lot of characters down through the years in the Rochelle area. A few of them were bad, but a few were funny and pleasant to be around. The one I think of the most is Dick Jones. The first time I met Dick he was staying with Harold Woods and picking cotton. He was a quiet man but had some funny sayings. He told me one time that he would hate to be like Rollie White. I asked why’ He said Rollie “has to worry about the cattle market, the bank interest, when it rains, etc.” He said, “I don’t have a thing to worry about except something to eat.” Dick always had a .38 caliber pistol in his pocket. He had been tried a couple of times for murder, but it was always self defense. He spent most of his days sitting in front of Gainer’s Store on those black cans. There were usually three or four men sitting there visiting, talking and laughing. I have a picture of Dick Jones, Clement Woods and Lee Fuller sitting on those cans. Dick had a police whistle that he would blow when a car came through town going too fast. Once I was there and a man turned around and came back and asked what the whistle was for. Dick told him he was going too fast and would appreciate if he would slow down. The only people I ever knew that were related to him was a daughter he had that lived in Goldthwaite. I don’t know what ever happened to her. I think when he was old, she left and died in another town. Red Conner was another old gentleman who lived here in about 1935. He had two mules and lived in a tent down by the gin. Once when I had a sore throat, he came and mopped my throat with his homemade remedies. I think he worked by moving boxcars on the railroad tracks. Will and Ollie Warren also lived here for many years. Will once ran a cafe in Rochelle. Ollie followed him around like a little kid, going everywhere Will went. Will told Ollie when to eat, where to work, etc. I think Will’s wife was in an insane ward a long way from here. I remember when Will passed away, everyone said, poor Ollie, what will be do. Well, “poor Ollie” bought himself a little house just south of the Post Office, bought himself a new car and enjoyed being his own boss. Arthur Wingo was another one of my favorite Rochelle characters. He always had somehting funny to say or he would pull a prank on you. He told me once that Will Warren gave Ollie a spanking this morning. I asked him why, and he said he caught Ollie carrying matches in his pocket. I can’t tell all the funny things Arthur said, but he was a jovial character.

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