Redneck Rounder

"My biological grandfather was a huge bear of a man..."

Redneck Rounder [1]
Series
Work In Progress
Original Broadcast Date
1992
Cast
JB Allison
Format
Real People, 59 minutes
Preceded by: On The Edge
Followed by: El Cholo (In The Beginning)

Redneck Rounder is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series Work In Progress. It was originally broadcast in 1992.

Synopsis

JB Allison tells stories from his life - and makes some up.

‘My biological grandfather[1]was a huge bear of a man[2]that killed somebody in a fight[3]and bailed out on my grandmother when, I guess, my dad was about 10 or 11.[4] …There must have been 7 or 8 kids when my grandfather blew out of town.’[5]

‘my Uncle Homer is my dad's older brother.[6]He was Neil's father[7] and he killed my aunt,[8] threw her out of a car at 90 miles an hour when Neil was a little boy.’[9]

‘His dad went off to jail and his mom was dead. And he was shipped off to Iowa to live with some maternal relatives’[10]

‘he [Neil] finally came back east and lived with my dad and lived with us… he was into guns and he knew how to take guns apart when we were 10, 11, 12’[11]

JB tells of Neil stealing a submachine gun, then a truck, shooting up a bunch of cows in Ohio, going to reform school.

‘He lied about his age and got some papers forged or whatever and he joined up [the Army].’[12]

JB tells lurid stories about Neil's service in the special forces, almost certainly not true. He was a mechanic in an engineering detachment.

‘But he re-upped twice for Vietnam. He spent a total of three years over there, three and a half years.’[13]

‘He went to 'Nam, actually, he went to 'Nam in '63 or '64.’[14]

‘I'd gone in the Army myself at the same time and I was down in the Dominican Republic.’[15]

‘I came back from there and we both ended up at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.’[16]

JB tells of their happy reunion, the fights they got into in bars.

JB decided he didn't want to do the day's work one morning, went AWOL on his motorcycle for 45 days. When he returned he refused the plea deal the Army offered him, spent the rest of his enlistment in the stockade.

The day he got out, they went to a bar, got into a big fight. JB was arrested, stayed in jail until Red Nabors of Meridian Motorcycles[17] hired him as a motorcycle mechanic.

JB claimed 2 young women, hot for biker action, showed up at work. They (JB and his friend Sleepy.) gave them a ride. Later, at a party, they were arrested, charged with statutory rape because the girls were too young. They were convicted. The judge offered to suspend their sentences if they could pay the cost of their incarceration, $150. JB said the wife (Jody) of a biker friend (Deacon) turned $10 tricks to raise the money.

The cops set Deacon up for a drug bust. He eventually broke out of jail, lived with Jody on the run.

JB and Neil moved to DC. Neil killed a Black man at a party in Accokeek (Maryland) with his M-16, got off on self-defense.

Neil started roadieing for JB's band, but he couldn't fit into society, abused drugs. He put all his money, and a year's work, into restoring a Harley Sportster. He blew it up on its inaugural ride because he forgot to put oil in it.

Neil got obsessed with a green towel that he said JB stole from him. JB told him he can have all the towels. Neil threatened to come over for a fight. JB prepared; Neil didn't show.

Neil met the ex-girlfriend ‘of a very famous biker that rode with the Pagans’ motorcycle club… he started going out with her and they had this thing, and that's why I think he was killed. We buried him out there in Acapulco.’[18]

‘there was a scene a few years prior to that where this bike club had been on a run in Southern Maryland, Chesapeake Beach, I believe, and got into some trouble and got arrested. And a couple of the guys were thrown in jail there. And they went down to Southern Maryland and blew the jail up. Do you remember that? That was big headlines. They literally blew the jail up with dynamite’[19]

‘his little brother, Roger, who I never did know too well because he ended up living with other relatives. He got in Neil's van, inherited in Neil's van. He went down to Florida and got arrested. And they found him hung in a jail cell in Florida.’[20]

‘I got an uncle that was blown up in a truck during a trucker strike, dynamited his truck.’[21]

‘Got two uncles that died in motorcycle accidents.’[22]

JB tells of his 6th-grade girlfriend, their relationship. Another girl gives him a note that says she'll give him what he wants. They meet. ‘I immediately fell down on my knees and lifted her dress up and buried my face in her muff.’ He gets away with it because he has the note - and the testimony of his friend Red - for a quarter.

Now in the Bay Area, he prefers going to San Francisco for fun than home. He prefers fat, fun women to ‘straight girls’: they have better sex and snacks.[23]

Legacy Synopsis

A man talking in a crowded bar. His grandfather killed a man and left town, leaving his grandmother in a one room shack in the hills. His cousin Neil father killed his wife, was sent off to family and treated like a slave. He stole a machine gun, drove west, shot cattle for sport, volunteered to fight in Vietnam. Killing people in hand to hand combat and loving it. The speaker enlists. Bar-room brawls. He goes AWOL, gets discharged. He's arrested in a bar-room fight. He gets a job at a motorcycle shop. He's arrested for trespassing and found with a general's under-age daughter. He's given a suspended sentence and a fine and told to leave the state, but is not allowed to use a phone to find money. His buddy's girlfriend turns tricks to pay for their release. Being poor and hungry. Breaking into a restaurant. His buddy gets arrested in a drug sting, breaks out of prison on a horse. His cousin Neil kills someone in a racial fight at a field party. Vietnam vets return to find the country changed. Neil turns to drugs. Registering dogs for Medicare. Neil accuses the speaker of stealing his towel. Dead family members. Schoolyard passion, being accused of rape. Dating overweight women.

Music

External links


Commentary

2 things made identifying the narrator possible: Richard Looney's note that JB Allison told this story, from the first extant published notes about Joe's shows. I asked him where he got this name. He doesn't remember; it was a long time ago. (personal communication). The second is the obituary of Guy Sterling Allison Jr (1966-2001, died in an auto accident), which includes, among the survivors, a brother, ‘J. B. "Willie" Allison of Petaluma, California’. This is the only mention of JB Allison in the available records of the Allison family descended from Guy Elzie. He's nowhere in the 1950 Census. A JB Allison of Petaluma has a LinkedIn page; he's an ‘independent events services professional’. Ancestry.com's ‘Life story’ of Guy Sterling reads ‘He also had one son from another relationship. ’. One of his daughters, communicating with me on Reddit, says JB's mother was a German lady Guy Sterling met while serving in the war.

Guy Elzie was raised in rural Appanoose County, Iowa. The rest of his family stayed there. Why did he end up a servant in a tiny town in rural Harford County, Maryland in 1910? It's a puzzler. He was a servant in the 1910 Census, a laborer in a sawmill in the 1920 census, a ‘farm helper’ in his draft registration in 1942. In his draft registration he wrote, for middle name, ‘E (no middle name)’. Odd that he repudiated it but gave it to his third son.

Why did a 15-year-old girl marry a 39-year-old servant? She gave birth 2 months later. I think rape is more likely than love.

Gertrude Ellen Lowe Allison is identified as in the household of her parents in the 1930 Census, just 5 years into the marriage. She's the head of her own household in the 1940 Census. Guy Elzie is in neither household. She filed for divorce on grounds of desertion in 1942, according to the historian at the Harford Historical Society, something that requires 5 years of absence. In 1943 she married Wilber Scott Norris Sr, bore 3 more children - sturdy woman.

Homer applied for a gravestone for Neil from the VA. He identified Neil's unit as the 582nd Engineering Detachment (which isn't in the 82nd Airborne), which is a field maintenance detachment. On Neil's death certificate he identified Neil's occupation as ‘motorcycle mechanic’. The Army would rather have a skilled mechanic than another foot soldier. I think it more likely Neil and JB were mechanics together.

Neil's death certificate reads, ‘laceration right lung gunshot wound abdomen’ and ‘gun went off as he broke it’ (opened it up as one does for reloading or cleaning). No serious gun owner points a gun at himself except to kill himself. It's more convenient to point a gun away from you if you want to clean it or reload it.

Homer successfully fought his discharge from the Air Force, spent the rest of his career there. He married again, had 3 more children. He made a statement to the ‘Washington Post’ for the 2000 January 1 issue:

‘I'm Homer Allison, 74, retired USAF, served in two wars. Two wives, six children. First wife died when she fell out of a car. They said I pushed her and I served two years’ jail time for manslaughter. Fought dishonorable discharge and won. One son in Vietnam; both sons killed, one in a gun accident, one hanged himself and I never knew why. I survived a plane crash, two auto wrecks and a killer hurricane. I love my God and church, my wife and family, my country and its heroes. Impatiently and breathlessly awaiting new millennium and my next 25 years.’


Guy Sterling Allison Sr, JB's father, married in 1961 to William Elzie's widow, Billie Elaine McIntire (1934-1983), who had a daughter by William already. She had 3 children with Guy Sr., including Guy Jr. Her obituary lists only her daughters and Guy Jr as survivors, not JB. Guy Jr's obituary lists all the daughters she had (including the one with William Elzie).

Guy Elzie is buried in Waldorf, Maryland (Charles County). Homer moved to Charles County, is buried there, as are his 2 sons. Charles County is in the southwest corner of Maryland, on the Potomac, south of Washington. Harford County is just northeast of Baltimore, on the Pennsylvania border, different places culturally. I wonder if Homer ever saw his father, who lived until 1975.Arthur Peabody (talk) 18:31, 26 March 2024 (PDT)

Footnotes

  1. Guy Elzie Allison (1882-1975). JB says ‘biological’ to distinguish him from the husband his grandmother had when JB knew her.
  2. 5'10", 155 pounds, according to his registration for the draft in 1942.
  3. I asked the Harford County Historical Society. (Guy Elzie and family lived in Harford County, Maryland then.) Henry Peden replied, ‘I spent quite some time looking into this alleged murder, thinking if it occurred then it would be in the newspapers. I searched the entire 1930s in the extant local newspapers, but found nothing.’
  4. JB's father, Guy Sterling Allison Sr (1926-2005), This would put the alleged murder in 1936-7.
  5. There are 6 in the records. Guy Elzie was still in Harford County in 1942; a murderer might have run away. He died in 1975 in Waldorf, Maryland.
  6. Homer Arthur Allison (1925-2019) was born to Guy Elzie and Gertrude Ellen Lowe (1907-1995). They married when she was 15, he 39, 5 days shy of his 40th birthday. She gave birth 2 months later.
  7. Neil Arthur Allison (1947-1972).
  8. Rosie Ann Matthews (1928-1952).
  9. In 1952 Neil was 4. The Baltimore ‘Sun’ covered the story extensively. He was convicted, served nearly 2 years for involuntary manslaughter.
  10. There were only paternal relatives in Iowa. Why Neil and his younger brother and sister were sent away from Maryland, where their grandparents and many aunts, uncles, and cousins lived, is a puzzler. They were sent to a farm, where they worked, which may be why. The 1950 Census places Gertrude and Guy Elzie's third son, William Elzie (1934-1957), as a nephew on the farm of one of Guy's brothers in Iowa.
  11. Guy Sterling Allison Sr, JB's father, didn't marry until 1961, when Neil was 14. It seems odd that a single man would be given custody of a child not his own back then, or that he would want one.
  12. He joined 38 days after turning 17, 1964 October 31. He didn't need to lie or forge papers.
  13. Neil enlisted 1964 October 31, was discharged 1967 October 30 - 3 years. He didn't reënlist.
  14. Regular Army troops deployed first in 1965. Neil wasn't out of basic training before 1965.
  15. The US deployed the 82nd Airborne Division to ‘stabilize’ the Dominican Republic 1965-6 - Operation ‘Power Pack’.
  16. Now Fort Liberty, the base of the 82nd Airborne.
  17. a real person and business in Fayetteville
  18. Neil shot himself with his own gun at home, is buried in Waldorf, same as his father Homer and grandfather Guy Elzie.
  19. The Pagans were based in Chesapeake Beach then. I lived in Maryland, read the paper, never read about this. The sheriff said it never happened. The Redditors at r/Maryland said it didn't. If Homer killing his wife made the paper, this should have.
  20. Roger Steven Allison (1950-1975), hanged himself. I don't know where.
  21. William Elzie Allison (1933-1957), the third son of Gertrude and Guy Elzie, crashed his truck into another that was stopped for a red light, killing himself.
  22. They must be on his mother's or grandmother's side of the family because he's fresh out of Allison uncles.
  23. He's big on snacks.