Sister shares special memories
by Janet Rail
"Buford and I were always very close," stated Gailya Pusser Davis, the big sister of Buford and the middle child of Carl and Helen Pusser.
The Pusser family started from humble beginnings around the Finger-Leapwood area. All three children were born at home. "I believe by a Dr. Smith," stated Davis. The house in which we were all born is now gone, but the home where we spent many years, until moving to Adamsville, is still standing.
"I was trying to show a friend recently how far I had to walk to school and was trying to find the spot where the house was and to my amazement it was still standing. I just stood there and cried when I saw the house, it just brought back so many memories," continued Davis.
The Pussers had three children, John Howard Pusser, born in July of 1929, Gailya Pusser born December 2, 1933, and Buford Hayse Pusser born on December 12, 1937.
Buford Pusser weighed nine pounds and six ounces at birth. According to Galya, Buford was always mamaís baby. In fact, I remember our father saying, you have more than one child you know. I know Buford was special to mother.
At Finger, John and I used to walk two to three miles to catch a bus to school in Finger every day. Buford was too young to go to school at the time.
Davis remembers her mother being taken into Henderson by her uncle, a school teacher, Loyd Harris. "Mother would leave on Monday and stay in Henderson until Friday," stated Davis. Helen Pusser worked in a factory in Henderson at the time and the children would stay at home with their father. Buford was so young he used to stay with mama and papa (Bliss and Molly Harris), our grandparents.
Our father logged in the winter and farmed in the summer months. When Buford was old enough we would walk three to four miles to school in the Leapwood area. "We had a lot of fun on the walk to and from school so it didnít seem so long," continued Davis.
We later moved to Adamsville and my mother began to work in a factory there. Buford and I attended school in Adamsville and were finally able to ride a bus to school. "I guess we didnít realize that we were having hard times, but we were," Davis added.
Buford worked at Charlie Durenís store and played football. I left home in 1952 after graduating and have been in the Memphis area ever since.
I attended business college for a while and then went to work in various jobs. I lived in a boarding home and eventually went to work for Mid-South Title Company and worked there for about twelve years until I married William H. Davis.
We moved around up north for a while on construction jobs until we returned home to Collierville around thirty years ago when they started Davis Grading Company in Memphis.
Buford used to come for visits and we always had a good time. One time he and a friend Billy Joe Christopher left my house returning home on Hwy 57 and had an accident. My parents called me and told me Buford was hurt real bad and was lifeless in the emergency room at Baptist Hospital.
I arrived at the emergency room to find my parents at his side. Buford looked terrible and lifeless. I told my parents to go take a break and I would stay with Buford.
As soon as my parents left the room, Buford raised up and said, "what happened to the whiskey." I laughed and told Buford to lay back down and come out of that coma slowly when our parents came back into the room or mother and daddy would kill me.
He was very young and the whole time he was in Baptist he kept the staff in stitches. He hurt his back and had to lie flat. Buford was quiet most of the time, you really had to catch him in the right mood to talk.
It was after Pauline was killed that I saw more of Buford. We would see him about every two weeks. At my house, he could relax and no one knew where he was.
After Diane, his step-daughter, graduated from high school, Buford sent her here to live with us. Diane now lives in the Murfreesboro area.
Michael, his step-son, also came to live with us after high school. Michael worked with my husband and Buford bought him a dump truck and a travel trailer. Michael now lives in the St. Louis area.
We adopted a child in June of 1970. We named him William Hayse Davis after Buford. William is our only child.
It is hard for Davis to understand why her baby brother had to die first in the family. "I go up to the cemetery and they are all there but me. I wish Buford could still be with us. I know Dwana needs him, too," stated Davis.
Davis believes Buford would be proud, but he did not want to take the glory. "I am proud of what Buford did, he worked hard. I do not like to brag or use his name to glorify myself. I am proud that they have kept his memory alive. Buford was a though, quiet man that loved everyone, but you didnít lie to him."
"Buford was a neat dresser, and he liked his clothes, most everybody liked him, but I guess there were a few that didnít," continued Davis.
Davis commented that there are many things about Buford Pusser that will never be told. Her brother kept a lot of secrets in his heart. Davis believes her brother knew who killed Pauline, he would never tell, but he knew.
John the oldest brother worked at Brown Shoe Company in Selmer before moving to Illinois to work. He had a wife Carol, two sons Carl Wayne and Buford Wayne Pusser, also named after his uncle Buford. John died in 1992 and is buried in the same cemetery in Adamsville.
Gailya and her husband Bill live in Collierville, Tennessee. They have one son William Hayse Davis, named after his uncle Buford Hayse Pusser.
The late Buford Hayse Pusser and his wife the late Pauline Pusser, had one step- daughter, Diane Vance and one step-son, Michael Vance and one daughter, Dwana Pusser Garrison.
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