65 Acres of Wheat
Lyle Davidson, Doyle's dad finished his freshman year of high school in the spring of 1922, and that was the end of his formal education. His dad, Luther Davidson and the entire Davidson family with spouses, moved to the Rolla, Missouri area to begin work on a section of Highway 66 in the fall. The year before, when Lyle was just fourteen years old, he planted 65 acres of wheat.
Those who are familiar with farming know the soil has to be prepared before planting can begin. Plowing, disking, chiseling, and harrowing are some of the operations performed to prepare the ground in those days and still are, for that matter. Lyle used a moldboard plow and the plow shear on a moldboard can be 12", 14" or 16" and there are also implements with double or triple plows, and some were made with wheels that the driver could be seated on and drive the team. The moldboard plow turns the ground completely over, burying weeds and the residue from the former crop and bringing the dirt from beneath up over the top. The chisel plow cuts deep and can be used to break through "hardpan". The disk plow breaks the rough soil up finer and kills weeds that are coming on. The spring tooth harrow is usually the last implement used before planting to smooth and level and again kill small weeds that might have sprouted between operations. The drill is then used to plant the grain. Later, some crops are cultivated with a cultivator implement after the crop is a few inches tall, to kill weeds in between rows and aerate the soil.
One can understand by the above description that planting 65 acres of wheat with horses was not a simple task and not only would it take physical strength, but it would require a fair amount of skill. Lyle shared with Doyle about planting those 65 acres, and that fall, he began work on the road crew for his dad, Luther Davidson when the family moved to the Rolla area. Planting that wheat crop was training for the job ahead and Lyle proved his ability in plowing with a team not only to himself, but to his dad. Luther's wisdom in sending what many would call a boy, out to do a man's job is evident; he was raising men, preparing them for the world. Doyle has said, "There was no room for weakness with the Davidsons" .
On the road, Lyle's job was to run the plow to break up the ground and then the team with the "slip" would come along and gather up the loosened soil to build the road and Lyle also ran the slip.
It should come as no surprise after hearing how Lyle was raised and what his dad, Luther expected of him, that Lyle expected no less of Doyle. He sent Doyle out to bid jobs and apply for permits when he was just fourteen. He'd say, "Go on, you can do it." One could venture to guess that Luther told Lyle the same thing, "Go on, you can do it." Doyle helped his Dad move houses, driving truck and working alongside his dad's crew and there was no special treatment because he was young, or the boss' son. He was expected to carry his weight alongside the rest of the men and they told him as much.
As written in previous accounts, in 1924, Lyle, his parents and siblings, were all born again while working on a section of Highway 66 in the Rolla, Missouri area. After he was born again, Luther made a decision to give up his work on the highway and return to Jasper County with his crew, walking away from a lucrative contract, and Doyle believes it was because his conscience would not allow him to continue "doing business as usual". It was around this time that Lyle became very sick with appendicitis and God showed him hell, three times. He told Doyle, "I wasn't just born again, I was converted." He told Doyle that after that experience he had a fear of God that he had never had, and he could no longer do certain things, because they were sin.
10) "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding, have all they that do his commandments."
It is the Father that "...hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation..." and God through Luther and Lyle, shaped Doyle's character. This testimony of 65 acres of wheat, offers insight into the the strength and character of the man God appointed to raise an apostle and prophet.
Contributed by Kathryn Currier
Posted October 23, 2010