Glen Lineberry grew up near Clifton, TN and described his family as farmers and hillbillies. We got a chance to interview him near Clifton Marina where he comes in most days as a kind of handyman around the marina.
He worked for 50 years on line towboats that would travel from the big river ports hauling stuff upriver. He started as deckhand, and worked as mate, assistant engineer, and finally chief engineer for decades.
He said the job of a chief engineer was to take care of anything and everything mechanical. They are a combo electrician, plumber, radio repairman, air conditioner repair, and diesel and gas engine mechanic.
He’s been from New Orleans to St. Paul on the Mississippi River, from Cairo to Pittsburgh on the Ohio, St. Louis to Omaha on the Missouri River, from Smithland, KY to Celina, TN on the Cumberland, and from Paducah to Knoxville on the Tennessee River.
He answered all of our curious questions about towboats and barges, going through locks, accidents, life aboard a line tow, shantyboats he remembers on the Tennessee, and the history of this little town.