From the unpublished autobiograpy of James McNitt, 1992
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|James McNitt's text
|Bill McNitt's annotations
|Then after 15 months in the business college, I received my first real offer. A Mr. John Hancock, who knew Mr. Heaney through Kiwanis, asked him to send out a prospect for an interview. My qualifications were satisfactory, and on March 15, 1937, I went to work as Representative's Clerk at The Texas Company on Steele Avenue near Hall Street.
the company was then known as the Texas Company, it soon became known as
Texaco. Today Texaco is owned by Chevron.
The city directory gives the address as 1356 Hall Street, but perhaps there was an entrance around the corner
|I had offered to work for $70 a month, big money in those days. When the application reached the Division Office in Chicago, Manager Bill Murdy said he would try to put it through at $100 a month, on the theory that it would be easier to start that way than to try to get it raised later. Due to the change there was a delay, and it was five weeks before I received my first check. Feeling like. a millionaire, I went right down and bought a new suit ($35, with two pairs of trousers).
|Mr. Hancock, my boss, was a bluff character who harkened back to the rough and tumble days of the oil industry, when deliveries were made in 100-gallon wagons and the kerosene carried by hand in 5-gallon buckets to be dumped in the customers' tanks. He had had little formal education, and I soon learned to make necessary grammatical changes as I transcribed letters he had dictated. He started with the Indian Refining Company which was later bought out by The Texas Company. One carryover from the Indian Refining Company is the tradename Havoline for Texaco's premium line of motor oil. One of the Grand Rapids area salesmen, Floyd Richason, also had come over from Indian.
|Mr. Hancock's salary was $270 a month. It had once been $300, but all employees took a 10% cut at the bottom of the Depression. I could tell his salary as it was coupled with the Clerk's salary on cost records. 1 also learned this way that my predecessor, Dean Ellinger, had been getting $125 a month, and his work had been far from satisfactory. After a year I asked to be raised to the same figure, and after slight grumbling, it was granted.
|The rest of the office was devoted to plant operation, in charge of Richard VanderVeer. There was also a cashier named Harry Norton. After a couple years he was transferred, and I took over his duties in addition to mine. Bill Roth was the warehouseman, and there were three drivers, Art Betteridge, Iran Stilwell and Les Bouman, who drove trucks ranging from 1000 to 1250-gallon capacity. There must also have been a stake truck for oil deliveries, although I don't recall it.
|A description of Dad's civilian work appeared in his military discharge papers. He gave his job title as stenographer and described his duties as "Took dictation in shorthand, typed correspondence and kept records and files. Also was cashier, checking in driver's reports and receipts, and made daily reports on receipts."
|In addition to Floyd Richason, whom I have already mentioned, there was a fellow named Ed Bauman, and a third, L. F. Castleman, who worked out of Battle Creek. Jack Schugman, another old-timer with a ready supply of jokes, was Industrial Salesman.
|The plant was roughly three miles from the Aunts' house, and much of the time I walked the distance. In inclement weather there was a streetcar line on Division Avenue which brought me within a half-mile. Sometimes Aunt Leena's work schedule was such that I could ride with her.