The Richmond Register

September 11, 2013

The cattle truck is farmer's family vehicle

By Carol Prewitt

NEWBY — A visit with Dean and Elizabeth (Lib) Wells and Lib’s sister, Ruby Long provided some interesting tales of the family cattle truck.

Freeman Sallee (father of the two girls) was the man with the truck, and he and James Prewitt  took a load of cattle to Cincinnati one day.

Freeman was pretty tired and a tarp was already across the stock racks, so Freeman climbed in the back for a good rest while James drove.

After several miles, James decided he better pull over and check on Freeman.

It seems the tarp had been swinging with every turn of the truck, and by the time James stopped, Freeman was one sick puppy. His resting spot had become a rolling ocean and no sea sickness could have been worse.

Lib and Ruby remembered when a tarp was once used to shield them from the cold December weather.

It was Christmas time, and the family loaded up in the family truck and headed to Nana Lee’s for Christmas dinner. The girls rode in the back of the truck with a tarp shielding their backs from the wind. They were in such a holiday mood they thought it was a great addition to the trip.

The girls remember walking to church a lot and when they did, they would wear their old shoes as far as the Arthur Stotts place, across from the church, then go into one of his out buildings and change into their Sunday shoes.

After church they would retrieve their everyday shoes and carry their good shoes home.

When it was raining, they would all go in the truck. Another sister, Jane, would get in first and someone would hand baby Joe to her to hold in her lap. Then Lib climbed in followed by Mama. Ruby was smaller and could squeeze in next to the window so she was next.

After all five were situated, everyone took a deep breath and held it so Daddy could fit into the driver’s seat of the cab.

Now, that was a close family!

Ruby remembered a trip to Madisonville, Ind., with Grandpa Joe.

The bridge joining Kentucky to Madisonville then charged a toll. The cab of the truck had four people in it, and a couple of people were riding in the back of the truck.

The toll taker charged them 10 cents apiece extra for the ones in the back because they were standing up.

I can’t figure out the logic in that but that’s what they did!

Dean and Elizabeth went to Valley View one time to get sled runners in the old cattle truck, and Lib did the driving. Dean said she wasn’t afraid to drive anything.

Isn’t it great that just an old truck can generate so many happy family memories?

I will be leaving next week for a visit “across the pond.” I will be in Ireland for a couple of weeks but I will still be sending in my stories.

I hope to hear some Irish country tales and see how close their memories are to ours.

Hope you all will keep the past alive by sharing your stories.

Email me at or call 625-0355.