Eddie tried to maintain the farm and the house after James’s death. For about a year she worked the garden, sent her older kids to school, took care of the young ones, and kept the house. The farm yielded just enough produce each year to feed the big family, but Eddie knew that it would not be enough as the youngest children grew up.
Nineteen-year-old Eugene, Eddie’s oldest son and second-oldest child, moved away. He went north to Michigan, looking for work in Detroit’s burgeoning automotive industry. Eugene’s ten-year-old brother Henry, who had just completed the third grade, quit school and went to work for his grandfather in town. These departures helped Eddie makes ends meet each month, but there were still problems. Mildred and Harold had started school, which meant Eddie had to find money for books, clothes, and shoes. Old William Dixon was putting Henry up with his other farmhands as long as Henry worked for him, but he was also demanding rent. William was determined never to let his daughter or grandchildren have a free ride. He seemed happily unaware that with young Henry putting in between fifty and sixty hours of work on William’s lands each week, the ride would not exactly have been free.
Finally, in the spring of 1928, Eddie Robertson made the decision to move back to town and to place herself at the mercy of her father. It was the only thing she could do. The mortgage on the Stringtown farm was past due, and she was faced with the choice of paying the bank or feeding her children.
William Dixon allowed Eddie and her children to live in one of his houses on two conditions. First, he wanted the Stringtown farm. Even with the back mortgage payments that would have to be paid, the farm and the big house would make William a nice profit. Second, Eddie and the children had to work whenever and wherever William needed them.
Eddie Robertson and her children were about to become slaves of William Dixon.
Eddie Dixon Robertson