FORSYTH COUNTY — As the old saying goes, it’s better late than never, and one Forsyth County author has taken that to heart.
Louise Warren, who celebrated her 99th birthday in February, will hold a signing later this week for her first book, “Growing Where I Was Planted.”
The autobiography details her life, notably how she became an entrepreneur and millionaire at a time when few women worked from home.
“I’ve led an interesting life,” Warren said Friday. “I had one man say to me, ‘This is an inspirational book,’ because I was doing things in a man’s world that a man should have been doing. And I was doing it by myself to raise and educate my children.”
After two marriages that didn’t work out, Warren decided to take matters into her own hands.
“My father had been injured and didn’t have the money to send me to college,” she said. “I had to figure out a way — after I had these children, because my husbands weren’t going to be able to keep me — of what do I do? You make it work.”
“I thought, well, if I could raise chickens, I could do that at home and take care of my children.”
From her family’s farm in central Pennsylvania, Warren invested in her first few hundred chickens, then doubled the amount.
“I raised the first 500 and advertised them in the paper and the very next day they were gone. I had made $300 in eight weeks. Back in 1945, that was a lot of money,” she said. “Being the adventurous person I am, I decided to get 1,000 chickens the next time.
“What I didn’t realize is that the farmers didn’t want the chickens in September, they wanted them in May. So here I am with all the problems, 1,000 chickens and no money.”
Through help from her father she was able to put the chickens in the second level of a barn on his property and began selling eggs, then meat and further expanding her business.
“Finally, I got to my goal, which had been to be a millionaire,” she said.
Warren named her company Island Poultry Farm Inc., since it sat on a 14-acre island on a creek. Working on that farm is where Warren established her goal.
“The reason I decided to be a millionaire is my dad had put a little roadside stand,” she said. “The people that came to buy were the wealthy people from town … I saw these people come with their chauffeurs and they were sitting in the backseat smoking their cigarettes. I thought if they can be millionaires [so] I can.”
Warren said she wrote the book to remind future generations of her family that it had taken work — not luck — to succeed.
“I started just to write stories down so that my grandchildren would be able to know because I’ve been retired 35 years,” she said. “ … They all kind of felt, in my opinion, like the business just fell in my lap and I wanted them to know what all I went through.”
Though she goes by her middle name, Warren used her full name, Margaret L. Kryder Warren, as an author so her maiden name would honor her father.
The signing for Warren’s book is set for 4 to 5 p.m. April 10 at Dogwood Forrest Assisted Living on Majors Road. Books are on sale for $12 a copy and more information can be found at www.outskirtspress.com/growingwhereiwasplanted.