By Norris Chambers

White Settlement Road seems to have a strange way of attracting and keeping some folks? Riland Martin, a barber in White Settlement for over 50 years, might be a living example of the phenomenon. Riland is approaching Old Timer status and spent most of his working years on White Settlement Road . He still lives on White Settlement Road . He has written the following account of his life in White Settlement.

            “I want to go over some things about the White Settlement Road . You never know what might be in store for anyone. I came to White Settlement to visit my brother Eugene in 1956 to spend three days. When I came off the spur on White Settlement Road I went down to Pemberton Street . I also got stopped and pulled over by the White Settlement police and got a speeding ticket. The gentleman who gave it to me was named Horace Evans. He and I became real good friends.

            I went to spend three days with my brother and his family on Michael Street . On the night of November 28 I went over to the Sinclair station on White Settlement Road . Garland Moore owned the station. He said he could use somebody for a few days to help him pump gas. At that time gasoline was like twenty five cents a gallon and I went to work for him.

            The second Sunday I worked for him my wife, Melba Hammonds, drove into the station to get gas and I thought that was the prettiest lady that I ever seen. We started dating. She and her family lived on White Settlement Road . John Hammonds was her father – a super, super family. We got married on February 22, 1957 and we raised two children. Susan was born in Harris Hospital in 1961 and she attended Brewer High School and graduated from Brewer. Robin, our youngest daughter was born in the White Settlement Hospital on Cherry Lane . She was born in 1970 and they both graduated from Brewer High School . I had a child by a previous marriage, Dale. We were active with the P.T.A. and the City of White Settlement .  A bunch of wonderful people back then and we still have a lot of wonderful friends in White Settlement – wonderful, wonderful people.  I served on White Settlement Planning and Zoning Board back in the middle seventies.

            Eighteen months after Melba and I got married I went to barber school and went to cutting hair for Jenkins Barber Shop on White Settlement Road in 1959 – wonderful, wonderful bunch of guys I worked with. There was Charles Jenkins, Bob Rankin, E. L. Jenkins, myself and Gilbert Duggins. I had a great friend named Chuck Pickett I barbered with for many years. He and I went to barber school together. A good guy with a great family and I wish him well. I met most all the barbers in White Settlement at that time: Mr. Brooks and Mr. Norton.

            Melba and I bought a house on Hanon Dr. and that is where Susan was born. We traded houses with Curby Mirike for one up on June Drive in 1963 and Robin was born in 1970. Both of our girls were active in softball. We had a wonderful time at the softball fields and met a lot of wonderful people. Melba and I went into business on our own. I had a barber shop on Cherry Lane and she had a beauty shop on White Settlement Road for a number of years, then she moved up on Cherry Lane .

            Now we live on White Settlement Road in Parker County . The reason I’m telling you this, back then the people were honest and good hearted. I remember Buddy White. He came in the barber shop when I worked for Jenkins. He said, “Riland, we need to raise eight dollars for this boy. He don’t have any money and he needs a ball glove.” Buddy would reach out and help children in need. We got the money for that kid’s ball glove. When Buddy came to talk to you about a kid he always said, “This boy might be a professional some day.”

            Over my fifty years of cutting hair, I’ve cut a lot of good people’s hair. I’ve cut hair in the nursing homes and hospitals. I’ve seen people come and go. I joined the Masonic Lodge on White Settlement Road in 1962 - lots of great guys.

            I just want to let the people know that the community of White Settlement is a trustworthy community and it’s a community where if you have friends they will be there when you need them. The moral to this story, I called it From Three To Life. I came to White Settlement to spend three days with my brother and his family. I lived on White Settlement Road , I worked on White Settlement Road most all these years in the White Settlement area and when I say this is the From Three to Life my burial plot is on White Settlement Road and I want to give back to the community some way. I would help anybody I can. I had a preacher ask me just recently, ‘Riland, who was the most inspirational person whose hair you have cut?’ It didn’t take me long to reply, I said, ‘Sir, the last one that got out of my chair. They made my living, helped me raise my kids and it’s very appreciated. I’ve cut politician’s hair, musician’s hair, athlete’s hair, preachers, lawyers and doctors - I’ve even cut street people’s hair and not charged them. I’ll tell you, life’s been good to me and this city has really blessed me in more ways than you’ll ever know.’

            My family wanted me to do this. My Grandson, Daniel, wanted to add a few words to this article:

Hi, my name is Daniel. I am Riland Martin’s Grandson. I am 13 years old. I love my family and my Grandfather. My Grandfather spends time with me almost every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We’re always going over so much together

            “We want to give back to the community with what we can.”

            Riland and Melba recently made a very generous gift to the White Settlement Schools and he is planning to contribute to other worthwhile organizations as his finances permit!