THERE'S COAL IN THEM THE'R HILLS - A bed of coal was found near Marion in Twiggs County in the late spring of 1828. The layer of coal was four to five feet thick and possessed the quality of coal which is common in England. The coal was found by a well digger about four miles south of Marion. It ignited readily. The extent of the bed was unknown but beds were usually found in large quantities. The discovery was hailed as being more valuable than gold or silver. Macon Telegraph, June 9, 1828 The New Hampshire Gazette, July 1, 1828; Connecticut Mirror, July 14, 1828.
WHO TURNED OUT THE SUN? - A total eclipse of the sun occurred on November 30, 1834. The center of the eclipse ran along a line from West Point in Troup County, through Dublin and to the mouth of Ebenezer Creek in Effingham County. Total darkness occurred for two minutes. The Augusta Constitutionalist said "It will be a phenomenon more sublime than all the wonders of nature or art, to see the great concern that will appear in all kinds of animals, birds, beasts and fishes, upon the extinction of the sun; and it is even said that some astronomers cannot behold a total eclipse of the sun, without some sense of horror. Very few astronomers have had the good fortune to witness the sublimity of such an eclipse; as there has been one such in Europe for two centuries and only in the same space of time in any part of this continent. The Baltimore Gazette, November 27, 1834.
DOCTOR, DOCTOR, WHERE ARE YOU? - William Parramore took out an ad offering a reward for the capture of a runaway slave, which he ironically named "Liberty." The slave, missing some of his front teeth, was described as five feet six inches tall with a yellow complexion and very large eyes. Parramore described the man as a "cunning and artful fellow" who may have been passing for a doctor for he had been pretending to be a doctor among the Negroes in his home, located five miles north of Dublin. The Georgia Journal, June 19, 1816.
CAN WE HAVE A PAINTER, PLEASE? - The Laurens County Board of Commissioners knew that the courthouse needed a good coating of paint, inside and out. After all, the nearly twenty five year old government house hadn't had a thorough whitewashing in many years. In the summer of 1918 when the "War to End All Wars" was raging in Europe, painters were busy atop the handsome structure putting paint on every piece of exposed woodwork. All of sudden, a swinging scaffolding snapped, sending two of its terrified occupants plummeting to their deaths on the ground forty feet below. Fearing that the building was jinxed, no one would step forward to finish the job. For more than half a year, the commissioners tried and miserably failed to get someone, anyone to come forward to complete the project. Finally, the work was finished in the winter of 1919. Macon Telegraph, January 20, 1919.
WELL, AT LEAST WE GOT A TROPHY - Several of Dublin's finest policeman were out on patrol near Northview Cemetery one Sunday afternoon. The participants in a card game of skin noticed the boys in blue and skedaddled as fast as a rabbit running from a pack of beagles. It was then that two of the pursuers hurdled a big rattlesnake, coiled and ready to strike. A third man missed in his hurried attempts to kill the venomous serpent. Officer Meade turned and fired a point blank and bull's eye shot in the triangular head of the ten-rattle rattler. With no prisoners to be found anywhere, the men brought back their trophy which the hung on the wall of the fire department. Macon Telegraph, August 20, 1919.
HERE A STILL, THERE A STILL, EVERYWHERE A STILL - Folks in Dublin and Laurens County loved their liquor. They followed the Apostle Paul's command in his letter to Timothy, "Still do not drink water, but a little wine each day for thy stomach's sake and they frequent infirmities." In an effort to confound revenue agents and unsympathetic deputies and policeman, liquor lovers put their stills in all sorts of places where they couldn't be found, or so they thought.
D.N. Leonard believed that if he put his still right under the nose of law enforcement officials he would be safe. Leonard kept a big beer barrel in his house and put his liquor still out in the back yard as if no one would notice. But, Deputy Federal Collector E.C. Pierce and City Court Sheriff Tindol did. They found the booze and mash maker within five blocks of the court, confiscated it, and threw the perplexed prisoner in the hoosegow.
When officers Pierce and Tindol were hot on the trail of more suspected hootch, they discovered the trail ended on the edge of a pond surrounded by trees. They jumped aboard a bateau they found on the banks. They found that a a clever crew of moonshiners, headed by Monroe Hall, concocted a more devious plan than ol' Mr. Leonard. The men constructed a platform in the middle of a large pond filled with cypress trees. The shiners cut off tops of several of the water loving trees and placed three large stills. Also sitting on
the deck were 200 gallons of beer, ready for some thirsty throats. Macon Telegraph, August 1, 1919, October 7, 1919.
GERONIMO! ! - During the Civil War the use of lighter than air balloons was a new way to observe the movements and positions of infantry, artillery and cavalry. A half century later, once again the hot air balloons were used by the American Expeditionary Force in World War I. James Crowder, of Dublin, was assigned to a company of balloonists. His experiences, to say the least were exciting, dangerous and on one occasion nearly deadly. Often the balloonists could only remain in the air for just a few minutes before they were forced to land because of incoming German fighter planes.
It was during the offensive to take control of the Argonne Forest that Crowder and his company were sitting 1800 feet above the battle field attempting to gaze through the smoke to ascertain the position of the German army. German gunners fired phosphorous coated incendiary bullets at the balloons. Several rounds hit Crowder's balloon setting it on fire. There was no choice but to bail out. With the balloon on fire, the men put on their parachutes and jumped from their basket to safety. Macon Telegraph, May 24, 1919.