Henry Roosevelt Golden, 1904-1987 – Alabama

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Updated 2015.01.16

Henry Roosevelt Golden,

  • Birth: 20 Jul 1904 in (Jefferson County) Alabama
  • Death: 21 Nov 1987 in Dora, Walker, Alabama
Henry Roosevelt Golden
I believe this photo was taken at the Mt Olive Cemetary, Gardendale, Jefferson, Alabama but did not write down the cemetery name back in 1975 when I took the photo and when my grandfather took me to view his future gravestone and plot. He said that he had the money at the time so he wanted to make sure that he and grandma had a guaranteed burial place. He passed away in 1987 and grandma in 1993. I do not know if they ever made it to their plot. Both grandparents passed away in Dora, Walker County, Alabama.


Golden - Henry Roosevelt - at his dairy farm circa 1962 - outside of Montgomery Alabama - 600x811 jpg
Henry Roosevelt Golden (1904-1987), circa 1962 – on his dairy farm outside of Montgomery, Alabama.


  • Readie Mae Belcher (1907-1993), married 14 May 1927 at Birmingham, Jefferson, Alabama.


1930 – Gardendale, Alabama

The family’s name was recorded as  ‘Godden’ instead of ‘Golden’ in the 1930 census.

Henry Roosevelt and Readie Mae Golden lived at 540A Old Gardendale Highway, Precinct 47, Gardendale, Jefferson County, Alabama. The only child at that time was their daughter Helen.

The census notes that they rented the house, did NOT own a radio (yes, the census asked that year), and my grandfather’s occupation was ‘dairy helper’.

1930 Census - Gardendale, Alabama
1930 Census – Gardendale, Alabama

How Henry found his way to Gardendale is unknown, although the main road (Rt 31) was once the stage coach road that ran from Cullman to Birmingham. In 1930, it was a two lane road. Henry’s parents lived just up Rt 31 in Warrior, Alabama.

Puff the Magic Dragon

I spent part of 1962 living with my grandparents on the dairy farm. My uncles Charles and David still lived at home and were in high school. We all went to the same school. It was a K-12 … if they had ‘K’ back then. Each day was a long big yellow bus ride to and from school.

Charles and David Golden, c1962
David and Charles Golden, c1962

Back in 1962 I was finishing up First Grade. I remember constantly hearing ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ on the radio by Peter, Paul and Mary.

Each morning we would get up too darn early, eat lots of biscuits and some scrambled eggs and drink butter milk. It was fresh butter milk. I was not a dairy farm boy. I remember skipping butter milk whenever possible and getting regular milk — which still tasted strange to me.

After school I was on my own. The uncles had chores. Not me. Not sure why. I do remember that once I was supposed to use a swinging weed whacker. Was not quit big enough to make it work. Am not complaining.

I may have met other relatives. No memories if this were so. I remember folks coming to visit. The men would stand out in the front of the house under a big pecan tree, chew tobacco, spit and talk. My grandfather chewed tobacco from a block of compressed brick. He would take the little brick out of his pocket and cut off a piece to chew.

At this time I cannot say that I really got to know either of my grandparents. I was six and they were strangers to me that I was living with. Getting to know my grandparents would have to wait until 1975 — will tell those stories another time.

Once school was done for the year my parents come to take me to our new home in Macon, Georgia. That was a short-lived venture with little adventure. It turns out that we lived next door to a man that murdered his wife. We didn’t move due to the murder.

We moved because my father loved the beach and had fond memories of Jacksonville Beach — he had run away from the farm to Jacksonville Beach when he was 15 or 16. My father had little love of farm life. The family had a mule that was onery. Several times my father was caught hitting the mule with a 2×4. My grandfather told my father that if it happened again then he would take the 2×4 to him. It happened again. The chances of the threat being carried out were high. My father ran away. While in Jacksonville Beach he ran out of money and was picked up for truancy. My grandfather got into his truck, retrieved him … and the next time my father ran away it was to join the Marines a year later.

My father’s love of Jacksonville Beach, Florida was strong. We moved there in August 1962 (Jacksonville).

You are welcome to add to or to correct this story by contacting: Bill Golden, Norfolk1956@gmail.com BTW – I look forward to sharing your stories, photos and in-search-of quests. Contact me at the email address above.