Ada Nell Moorehead



orchid

Home

Biography

Stories

Images

Genealogy

Documents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mountainBiography

Nell was born on the 30th of July in the year 1919 in Stone Mountain, Ga. She departed this life on April 16, 2010.

Childhood

childAs the 4th of five children, Nell and her siblings often played on their large back porch. Dolly and Maggie often fought. When their mother would catch them, Maggie would run, get caught & switched. Nell would leap off the porch and runaway. One time she ran to the bank across the street and refused to come back until her mother threw the switch away. Nell sat under electrical wires as a storm came up. Her mother finally grew too nervous to let her sit there, and threw the switch away so she'd come home.

When Fred would be bathing, Nell knew she could take his car out for a spin as he would often leave the keys inside it. She would drive around the mountain or do circles in the parking lot. This is how Nell learned to drive.

The Wells children:

Edwin Mallory 6/23/1908 -- Fred Thomas 3/12/1913 -- Maggie Frances 7/6/1917 -- Ada Nell 7/30/1919 -- Tolman Snow Jr 5/7/1922

 

High School

Nell WellsIn High School, Nell dated a guy named Lewis, who was very jealous and a stick in the mud.  None of the other guys would ask her out because she was "Lewis' girlfriend" even though she wasn't.  One day some friends were throwing a party where everyone had to dress up as a kid. Lewis didn't want to go and dress up so Nell told him that she'd go with someone else.  This other boy asked her and she said yes, as long as he dressed up too.  Well he shows up to pick her up in a nice dress suit.  And he explains that her dad might not let them go out if he showed up in his costume, which was in the car.  And she thought that was sweet.  They went and had a grand time together.  He died a few years after graduation in a car accident. (Collected by Rachel from Nell in 2009)

Maggie ran away one night and eloped with her husband.  This sadden Nell's mother a lot.  Maggie's husband worked for Nell's dad and wanted to fire him many times for drinking on the job, but didn't because it would hurt Maggie.  Maggie had there first child +/- 9 months after they got married, which made it even more suspect. (Collected by Rachel from Nell in 2009)

When Nell went to high school, you got 4 units in a year, and you needed 16 units to graduate. Nell took 5 units every year so that she would have an easy senior year. She added on Business courses after her sohpmore year, so that she ended up taking 5 courses every year through her senior year. She also was active in the 4-H club: sewing and cooking, and was given an extra unit for that. Therefore when she graduated, she had completed 21 units. She also had the 2nd highest grades in her class making her the Salutorian. Incidentally, the Valedictorian only had 16 units.

Post graduate work

After high school, she went to Crichton's Business College which was co-ed in downtown Atlanta. She would take the bus from Whitehall Street to the Comptometer's school on Marietta Street. At night, she would walk down Peachtree to Whitehall to Prior Street to take the street car home. She remembers reading Gone with the Wind on the street car. She would arrive home at 10:00pm.

In the mornings, her father would drive her to work with him. She thought she would get a job with the telephone company, and there was extra training needed for that type of work. After Nell finished school, she was lined up to take a job at the telephone company, but the girl whose job Nell would be taking wouldn't ever retire and get married.  So in the meantime, the school Nell graduated from set her up with a temporary (3 week) job in Athens to help get some of the backlog cleared out.  When she moved to Athens she rented an apartment at a big house across from the Fire dept on Prince Ave with two other girls.

The first day Nell was in Athens in 1935, she was bringing up her bags in her apartment across from the firehouse, and Leroy Sr ran over and helped her take in her bags up a large flight of stairs.  She thanked him and they went on their separate ways.  Leroy Sr then went back to work and told the guys there that he really liked her and that she had pretty legs and that he would marry her someday. (Collected by Rachel from Nell in 2009)

Later on he followed Nell to a sandwich shop and asked her for a date. Nell replied, later, maybe. He asked her to put a flag out on the balcony if it was ok for him to come call on her. When she got home, she asked the girls what they thought. They said she should, and they would if she didn't. So Nell hung a white hankerchief, though later Leroy would tell the story that she hung out a roll of white toilet paper.

One morning, the fire captain came and asked Nell to take a ride with him. He told her stories about Leroy and that he thought they should get married.

When Nell went back to Stone Mountain, Leroy would make up excuses to come see her. Nell was worried that he would run into her old boyfriend Lewis. When Lewis would come by, Maggie hid Nell at her house and their mother Ada would lie to Lewis about where she was. Lewis finally decided he would follow Nell back to Athens, and he camped out in front of her house. Nell let him stay in the front room of the house. Leroy saw what was going on, and wasn't happy. Leroy's mother phoned Nell to say Leroy was out of town taking his other girlfriend home.

Afterwards Nell sent Lewis home on a bus, and made up with Leroy on a subsequent date. Lewis wanted the watch back that he had given her, but she argued she had paid as much for it & it was hers.

Leroy SrLeroy Sr. was born in Greensboro, Ga in 1910.

Leroy Sr and Nell were snuggling (and snogging) on the couch of his place in front of the fire one night.  He then jumped up and went to the phone and asked for Stone Mountain Number One (Nell's parents). Nell was curious to what he was doing.  When Leroy Sr got connected to her parents, he asked to speak to her dad, and then asked if he could marry his daughter (specifically he said, "Daddy Wells, gotta question. I wanna marry your daughter.")  Nell's dad said yes that would be fine. Then Leroy Sr went back and sat on the couch with Nell and said, "Well will you marry me?"  Nell was quite miffed that he asked her dad first. (Collected by Rachel from Nell in 2009) Nell tells the story today though saying that suited her fine, of course.

Leroy Sr. ran Moose's Baitshop in Athens from 1955 until he retired in 1962. He'd been selling fish bait in the fire house before he got the bait shop. The man who owned Athens Sporting Goods complained he was taking away from his business which sold tackle on Clayton St, and that he was selling on city proepry. So Leroy opened the bait shop on Broad Street. Leroy had no money to stock it himself, but Nell's father Tolman gave him $1000 to finance it which he paid back in 2 months. It was the most profitable bait shop in Athens amongst the 3 like businesses. Nell and Leroy Jr. helped out at the bait shop too.

When Leroy retired, Nell went back to work. She called to have her Atlanta Civil Service reinstated. She spoke to the same man she had quit to earlier to stay home and have children. He said he needed an assistant right now. Eventually Nell was promoted to what was typically thought of as man's position, 7-11, GS-3-5. She was the 1st female program specialist for tobacco. She was known as the Tobacco Lady throughout Ga. She worked for 29 years and retired in April of 1985.

Family Life

In June of 1939, Leroy and Nell bought the house on Barrow Street. Harold Jr. painted a mural in laundry room with trees, vines, ivy and red berries. The mural was damaged in July of 1970 when a gas explosion rattled the neighborhood. On Doughtery Street behind the First Christian Church, a gas truck was filling up and overfilled so that the leak spilled into a nearby water heater which blew the tank up. A loud booming explosion was heard. The area was evacuated in case the other tanks might explode. Most homes in the area suffered from cracked walls, and injured chimneys and ceilings from the after shock of the blast.

When Rita's son Andy went to have his first haircut, he cried a lot. Nell spoke to him saying, "Don't cry, darlin." He tried to say Darlin back to her, but it came out Dolly. The name stuck.