Cary, NC — For decades, Cary had only one man to run the whole town. From 1939 to 1960, Mr. Linville Midgette was the police chief, fire chief, town manager and go-to person for everything.
These four longtime residents remembered him well in interviews.
Mr. Midgette was our police chief, town manager, fire chief, he read the water meters, he was the whole thing. If Mr. Midgette saw somebody doing something wrong, he would just say, “I’ll see your daddy about this, now.” That was a bad punishment.
One of the worst things we ever did, when we were old enough to know better, we were out riding around. There was a deputy sheriff. I don’t know what we were doing to create attention, but the deputy caught up with us behind Len’s Grill on Chatham Street and put us in the sheriff’s car. That was the closest I ever came to being put in jail. He parked the car behind the jail and said, “No, I’m not going to do this. I’ll take care of your car.” He carried all of us home. The next day he made his rounds on the five of us and he saw each parent.
Every morning, my main ride would be down Academy Street to Chatham Street, because all the girls were on their way to school and they had to see me riding my motorsickle [sic]. We had a caution light and you had to stop there. There was no curb or gutter on Academy Street, and at the First Methodist Church some sand had washed out into the street. One morning, I came tearing down Academy Street at maybe 35 miles an hour, and I slid my motorsickle seventy-two feet on that sand-covered street. The chief of police, Mr. Midgette, and the mayor, Mr. Waldo Rood, were standing on the corner. I gingerly went around the corner and into the post office to check my mail.
Mr. Midgette came over and he said, “Speedy.” That’s what he called me. He said, “Speedy, I’ve got to do one of two things. The mayor told me I had to do something, so I either have to give you a ticket for speeding or tell Everett.” Everett was my father.
I said, “Please give me a ticket.”
He said, “I’m going to give you a warning. I won’t make you pay anything.” I don’t know how, but Everett eventually found out about it.
Someone came flying through town one day, really speeding. The fellow that was working with Mr. Midgette got into his dump truck and chased the fellow, caught him somewhere between here and Apex in the dump truck to give him a ticket.
Mr. Midgette was good to us. We had a teacher that we thought was too strict. One Halloween we put soap on her car, and he made us wash it. Some boys put some lawn chairs on someone’s porch roof, and he made them take that down. He loved all the children, but he would make us pick up when we misbehaved.
Photos courtesy of Jim Matthews and Stanley Lorren from the book, “Cary” by Sherry Monahan.
Much of Cary’s History column is taken from the book, Just a Horse-Stopping Place, an Oral History of Cary, North Carolina, published in August of 2006. The book is a collection of oral history interviews conducted between local citizens and Friends of the Page-Walker Hotel.
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