like good ole Country Music.
Born in a small railroad shack along side the KD railroad in 1931 Lecil Travis Martin was the son of a farm and section hand for the railroad in Sterratt, Texas. The railroad provided a small 3 room tool shed which served as a house for them. From the front porch to the first set of railroad tracks was about six feet. This is where Lecil spent his childhood playing on the rail cars in front of his home.
Lecil joined the United States Air Force in may of 1949 and became a pilot, he trained on the B-36 bomber. In 1952 the Korean war was in in full swing, Lecil was a second engineer and at this time was sent for final training in preparation for the conflict. Flight engineers were needed, he was then re-assigned to the magnificent B-29 super fortress.
Lincoln Nebraska is where he got the idea for Boxcar Willie. His chief boom operator at the time was a gentleman named Willie Wilson. On one afternoon Lecil was driving in Lincoln when he came upon a railroad crossing, he was the first in line as the crossing gates closed. As the train rolled by slowly he saw a man sitting inside an empty boxcar. This guy looked so much like Willie the boom operator he thought “there goes Willie”. He imediately pulled off to the side of the road and wrote a song called “Boxcar Willie”.