Fannin County TXGenWeb
Mrs. Clemmie Rainey plays the "numbers game"
while Ladonia (pop.900) sleeps. And she has found that the pay-off is good.
Mrs. Rainey, 56, is nightwatchman in the Fannin County
town. She's been going to work- armed with a .38 special revolver- at 8
pm and making her rounds till 5 am for some 16 years 'off and on'.
She likes the job wouldn't have any other, and prides
herself on bing a constant watcher and jot-downer of license plates of
strange cars. That's how she plays the 'numbers game'. Significently, Mrs.
Rainey was born near the Hunt County community of Jot 'em Down.
A few months ago when the L.F. Fry Dry Goods store
in Ladonia was burglarized, Mrs. Rainey chased the intruders car all over
town in her 15 year old sedan. She jotted down the license number, phoned
it to deputies at Bonham, and the man was arrested. He had stolen more
than 50 dresses from Fry's.
More recently, Mrs. Rainey spotted a car parked in
back of Jay Lindley's second hand store. The time was 2 am, an unusual
hour for anything to be parked anywhere but at home in Ladonia.
She throught it over, and at 3 am awoke deputies in
Bonham with information about the license plate. This single phone call
helpted authorities clear up to 24 seperate burglaries- 12 in Fannin County
and 12 in Grayson County.
Generally, Mrs. Rainey prowls the Ladonia streets
and back alleys all night. Often, she's accompanied by her husband, Ross,
but points to her trusty .38 and says flatly: "I'm not afraid of anything
In the red brick city hall, which sits in the middle
of Ladonia's square, Mrs. Rainey can always get in a hot game of Forty-Two
with the "boys in the back room". Of course, even that breaks up around
midnight. The town restaurant, Dorothy's Cafe, cloese up at 8pm or earlier,
Severice stations cloese at dark. There is no movie, and Ladonia gets so
deserted at night that a bunch of local youngsters can safely start a game
of "kick the can' in the middle of a downtown street.
I'ts in the eerie quiet of the night, though, that
Mrs. Rainey reaches for the switch and turns off all the lights of City
Then, she sits in the dark and watches.
"You know, you can really learn things by just sitting
and watching", Mrs. Rainey said. "It's by sort of like detective work,
and I like that".
Time never hangs heavy on Mrs. Rainey's hands. She
has five keys that have to be punched throughout the night, and she's made
it a habit, too, to clock store fronts. Ever so often she discovers a door
accidentally left open, or finds keys left in the door by merchants anxious
to get home. Additionally, she has had to be on hand to answer Ladonia's
fire alarm setup at City Hall. Mrs. Rainey is responsible for calling out
Ladonia's 28 volunteer firemen.
Mrs. Rainey first got the hang of being a wathman
during the lifetime of her first husband, Luther A. Sealy, who had the
job in Ladonia 14 years. She started the job full-time several years ago.....