Telephones sure didn’t have many numbers

Telephones have been around for a long time. I was probably 15 or 16 when we got our first phone. We were on a party line and ours was three longs and a short. I spent more time listening to other people talking. If you had a long distance call, it was usually bad news. Mrs. Cates was the first person I can remember running the phone office in Rochelle. Usually the numbers were short, like 21 or 9. I don’t have a phone book of early Rochelle, but I have one for Mercury, probably from the late teens or early 20s. There are about 300 names in it, and a lot of businesses, such as: John B. Cawyer Mercantile Co. at Mercury and Placid. “We sell what you buy and buy what you sell. Mercury Ph. 162 or Placid Ph. 971.” Others were “Bank of Mercury, S.J. Cox, president, T.J. Beasley, cashier, Capital Stock 10,000, Phone 31; John P. Matlock Drugs, medicines, prescriptions, Ph. 142; C.F. Wagner, blacksmith and expert horseshoer. “Penn & Beakley Hardware Co.: hardware, furniture, implements and undertaking, Ph. 166; Cox & Beasley Bros. Dry Goods-Groceries & Shoes-Stetson Hats, Ph. 31; A. P. Squyres Jewelry, cold drinks, auto supplies, gasoline & oil, Ph. 3215; “J.F. Cawyer Dry Goods, boots, shoes, hats, leather goods, furniture, undertaking, Ph. 818; J.S. Lovelace Blacksmith & Carriage Work, southside of square, Mercury; Keystone Hotel, Mrs. Fannie Cawyer Proprietress, food for the hungry and rest for the weary, Ph. 8151; “South Texas Lumber Co., E.H. Beakley, mgr., Ph. 143; Mercury State Bank, J.F. Cawyer, president, Roscoe Cawyer, cashier, April 1915 loans $30,230, deposits $28,153; Mc D. Towsend, agent for John Sexton & Co., high grade groceries and Wendell washers, makes washing easy, $1.50, Ph. 237.” I never did like to talk on the phone, and now that we have four or five in the house and car, since I can’t talk, that solves that problem.

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