Buying hogs from Boone & Audrain Counties
At its peak, Central Hog Buyers was running six days a week. It was everything Buddy, Luther, Aunt Esther and L.W. could do to keep up. In 1957, L.W. Angell, Junior purchased the recently closed Centralia Livestock Auction barn. In 1958, L.W. started a new venture called “Central Hog Buyers.” In Boone County in the late 1950s, all the farmers in the area had hogs on their farms.
Luther said, “We worked as fast as we could, but we were always in a hurry and way behind. L.W. was often impatient and he didn’t like to wait around for more hogs to weigh, so we always drove our straight trucks real fast when we were picking up and hauling hogs back to the hog barn. We knew how to get to every single farm in Boone and Audrain County. There were a few times when all that rushing made our driving skills less than the best.”
L.W. realized that there was a need for some one to buy, sort and group up the small groups of hogs owned by local farmers. This would get the small groups of hogs from each farm into uniform groups of large enough size for the packers to purchase and kill. At that time, both sides of the industry needed a “middle man” to function more efficiently.
Luther continued, “One day, I pulled in with a load of hogs just as Buddy was heading out the driveway for more from a different farm. We both drove straight trucks with stock racks. When I met and passed Buddy, I noticed that he was trying to flag me down to talk to me. This was before cell phones, so we had to talk in person when we could. But we were both going too fast to get stopped. Our trucks had manual windows, but I didn’t take the time to crank down my window. Instead, I threw open my door and shifted into reverse. I was going too fast forward and I’d be darned if I didn’t go too fast heading backwards, too!
“I didn’t know it, but Buddy didn’t take the time to roll down his window either, so we both had our doors sticking out. As we backed up we got too close and before we could get stopped, both of our doors caught each other and ripped right off at the hinges. They dropped in a crumpled pile in the driveway! Even though we were way out by Highway 22, and far from the Hog Barn, it didn’t take long for us to hear L.W. cursing. To add to his impatient nature, he also had a temper! Of course, we didn’t quit working after that incident – we still had hogs to haul! For the rest of the day, I was still driving fast and in a hurry and but now there was a large, dusty draft blowing in my cab.”
“You knocked the doors off your trucks?” I said with disbelief to my grandfather.
Luther grinned and said, “And a few months later, much to L.W.’s dismay, I’ll be darned if we didn’t do it again! That time we were up in Yates. It is a small town west of Higbee. We were having another busy day and we knocked the doors off our trucks a second time!”
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