Carl had been gone from home for about a year. Since he had left, his brother A.J. Williams had gone to work at Powderly, Kentucky in Muhlenberg County, where A.J. met his wife-to-be Mable Mount.|
Carl's mother Mary Alice and Carl's older brother Thomas had gone north to Akron, Ohio. Thomas found work at the Firestone Tire Factory where he would work for the next fifty years. Mary Alice, who was now Mary Alice Popplestone from her short second marriage, managed to buy a house in Akron where she rented rooms to factory workers coming from the south.
So Carl had a decision to make. He could go to Ohio and work in the tire factory or stay with what he knew - coal. At this point in his life he wasn't overly excited about handling coal but he heard they were hiring at the mine in Drakesboro in Muhlenberg County. At the very least he wanted to visit his brother in Powderly, which is northwest of Drakesboro.
Stopping at the Black Diamond mine in Drakesboro, Carl remembered from his early years there was always a shortage of good food for the miners working long hours. The general store was right across from the mine and while talking to the store owner, Carl decided to try to make a deal with the him. Mr. Fox, owner of the store (and whose family still lives in Drakesboro), agreed to rent Carl a place in the store to cook hot food for the miners. Carl made plans to catch some catfish, a local favorite, and cook it up for the miners. Smoked pork, grits and greens bought from nearby farmers were available at the store; all Carl would have to do was cook up that food the way Kentuckians liked it.
The L&N train station was right across the road from the store. Carl met Pete Newman who worked at the depot and Pete would tell him what was coming in on the train, such as fresh fruit, and Carl would plan his meals accordingly. Carl later married Pete's sister, Ermie Newman. Pete Newman would work for the L&N for fifty years before retiring.
Carl Williams was a people person and he loved to talk. For him this job was the best one he could have dreamed of because people were always coming and going at the store and he never lacked having someone to talk to. Life was good for Carl and Ermie; they lived in a small house built by the mining company for the miners. Carl said they were good houses and he must have been right because some of them have survived even to this day. In 1916 a son, Robert Woodburn Williams, was born to Carl and Ermie; he was Larry Williams' father.
So things were going well until someone found a better grade of coal in Pennsylvania, and the Black Diamond mine closed down. Without the miners, Carl didn't have a business. Back in 1916 the U.S. Mail was the information highway; Carl found out there were still jobs in Akron, as his brother A.J. had already left Kentucky and found work there selling souvenirs at the Zeppelin Air Base. Carl's sister Prudy had married Manard Nance and they lived in Providence, but the mines were slowing down there also.
Carl heard Detroit was the place you wanted to go to make big money building automobiles. He found out the L&N would take him right to Detroit and Pete could get him on the train for free. So leaving his wife and son in Drakesboro, Carl hopped on the L&N and went north looking for a new adventure in employment. He got a job quickly at Continental Motors on Kerchaval, and got laid off just as quickly. Walking down St. Jean Street to the river with his last paycheck in his pocket, Carl came to a large construction site where Detroit Edison was building a new coal-fired power plant. Carl looked things over and as usual talked to everyone who would talk to him. Talking to the project foreman, Carl told him he knew how to operate their Brown steam hoist crane because it was just like the one he had operated in Kentucky. The foreman hired him on the spot and Carl would work for Detroit Edison for forty years. Back in the coal business again!