"The Houston Hell Driver", and "The Blond Blizzard from Texas" are just a couple of the names the press used to refer to Cotton Grable in his auto racing days, is said by his family to have been born near the little town of Effie, Louisiana in Avoyelles Parish just southeast of Alexandria, Louisiana. He got his nickname "Cotton" due to his blonde hair and fair complexion. His family soon moved to the Independence, Amite, and Hammond area of Louisiana where he grew up. Cotton's father died when he was young and he and his brothers all worked as automobile mechanics to help out the family. Cotton also served as an automobile mechanic in the U. S. Army during World War I.
Cotton was the oldest of three boys born to William Grable (1869-8/13/1905) and Nancy Lucinda "Nannie" (Eady) Grable (1867-1941). Cotton's brothers were Darrell Virgil Grable (1900-1928) and Benjamin Franklin Grable (1904-1971).
Sometime after 1920, the family moved to Houston, Texas where Cotton began driving racing cars owned by Charles Hogwood, W. J. "Willie" Mahovel, and others. He was named in the book "Who's Who in Automobile Racing" published in 1936. Cotton competed all over the Midwest in races sanctioned by the Central States Racing Association (CSRA), International Motor Contest Association (IMCA), as well as in unsanctioned (or "outlaw") races throughout the late 1920s and through the 1930s before retiring from the sport just before World War II. During World War 2, Cotton traveled with his wife Louise all around the country as a mechanic for the U.S. Army. After the war, He lived for awhile in the Dallas area where He was the flagman and a race promoter at Fair Park Speedway until the early 50's. He returned to the Houston, Texas area where he became a starter / flagman at Playland Park Speedway and became an official with both IMCA and the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR). Although uncredited on the film itself, Cotton appeared as himself in a bit part as the pudgy flagman in the 1950 MGM movie "To Please a Lady" which starred Clark Gable and Barbara Stanwyck. Cotton was still flagging at Playland Park Speedway when A. J. Foyt began his driving career there in 1953. Cotton also had an auto repair service at the corner of 3502 Harrisburg and York St. in Houston, Texas. In his later years he worked for the Larry Meyers Company as a mechanic, also training others in the craft. After that he went work for the Main Lines Co. owned by John and Lucille Burris, working on fork lifts until he could no longer work due to a combination of diabetes and cataracts. He passed away at the Vetetans Administration Hospital in Houston, Texas on July 21st, of 1962.
Cotton was married first c1920 to Alta C. Hardgrove (1901-1988) and they had three daughters: Augusta Kathryn Grable (1921-1922), Frances Charlotte "Fran" Grable (1923-2012) and Anna Beatrice Grable (1926-2011). Cotton was married second in May of 1940 to Leon Louise Tingle (1919-2001) and they had three sons: Augustus Fuller "Randy" Grable Jr.(b.1955), Michael Wayne Grable (b.1957), and William Patrick Grable (b.1960).
A new marker for Augustus replaced the old one on August 10, 2017
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