Now that summer is gone, let us turn back the clock one hundred Septembers to the fall of 1910. There wasn't much in the news in those days. But, that wasn't a bad thing. Life in seventh month was a little less frenzied. Now you say, September, the seventh month? Yes, under the original Roman calendar, September, the seventh month, didn't become the 9th month until the year 153 A.D..
Thomas Haskins was interested in banks. In fact, Haskins was the vice president and director of the Bank of Dudley. He owned quite a bit of the capital stock of that bank, as well as an interest in one of the banks in Dublin. Trouble was, Haskins didn't trust banks, not at all. In fact, when he died, Haskins didn't have a lone Indian Head, V nickel, or silver coin in the Bank of Dudley or any other bank for that matter.
The old man thought his cash would be safer in his tin box, which he kept in an old desk. On the day after his funeral, his family opened the box and found $11,400.00 in cash along with $18,000.00 in notes and mortgages. His widow was afraid to open the cache. She asked some friends to count the money. During the previous year, Haskins invested a great deal of his currency in promissory notes. It wasn't all paper money, Haskins had a considerable amount of gold and silver coins stashed away.
Just a few months before his demise, Haskins sold his plantation to an Atlanta man, who paid him half in cash and half in gold and silver. He put the coins in one pocket and the currency in the other pocket. Just for one day, he let the bank hold his silver coins. Though some doubted his distrust of banks, the reason most often given for Haskins' refusal to use deposit slips was that he wanted to keep his wealth a secret. On the other hand, word of a treasure chest was never made public as to not entice burglars and robbers to take their wrongful share of his wealth. After the money and notes were properly counted and documented, Mrs. Haskins did the right thing and put it all back in the bank to earn some interest.
Speaking of banks, the folks in Rockledge were right proud of their new bank, which was formed on the last day of summer. C.R. Williams was made the president. The bank would not be fully organized until April 1912. The list of incorporators read like a "who's who" of the Rockledge area. They included C.R. Williams*, J.S. Drew, Jr.*, D.A. Autry, M. Thigpen*, B.F. Barfield*, William Thigpen, Sr.*, D.E. Walker*, J.R. Graham, Dr. W.E. Williams*, W.T. Lord*, T.A. Smith, L.J. Pope, C.J. Donaldson, J.H. Salters, J.M. Thigpen, G.M. Thigpen, William Thigpen, Jr., C.L. Thigpen, J.A. Salters, A.P. Odom, J.J. Green, J.F. Cobb, B.E. Barfield, C.W. Brantley, Fannie Thigpen, L.N. Foskey, John A. Johnson, Sr, J.I. Johnson, William Bales, J.M. Williams*, J.R. Hester*, J.I. Maddux*, J.R. Graham, Jr.*, R.V. Odom, Sherman Johnson, W.H. Toler, D.E. Walker, L.J. Flanders*, J.B. Thigpen, Richard Thigpen, E.L. Branch, W.H.H. McLendon, R.L. Odom, J.H. Drew, Jr.*, L.F. Pope*, and E.A. Wynn. (Those men whose names are marked with an asterisk were the initial members of the board of directors.) The Bank of Rockledge failed like all its sister small town banks.
But no one was more proud than the farmers of the county and stockholders of the Consolidated Phosphate Company. Located near the eastern banks of the Oconee River in Dublin, the five-story building towered above the landscape of Dublin in the years before the First National Bank scraped the sky even more. Izzie Bashinski was the chief executive and operating officer of the concern, which put out more than one hundred tons of acid phosphate per day. Bashinski hoped that the annual output would amount to two hundred million pounds. City fathers were happy. The plant used and paid $3600.00 annually for electricity to turn the plant's gigantic motors adding more money to the city's coffers for infra structural improvements. The plant used phosphate rock from Florida and sulphuric acid from Ducktown, Tennessee to produce their product for a single buyer.
Times were good in Dublin. Money meant jobs and jobs meant there was money to throw around. And, too many people liked to throw their money into the hands of the owners and operators of illegal liquor establishments, known as "blind tigers." City Recorder Judge A.W. Sturgis was bound and determined to put an end to the proliferation of demon rum throughout the city. So, when nine defendants appeared in his court, he meted out punishment swiftly and harshly. Mason Walker, a repeat offender, was given the maximum fine, ninety days in jail and a $150.00 fine. Love Watts was sentenced to go with him, but escaped the fine. William Morris, Mose Jones, and Elsie McDonald were invited to go along too, but were given the chance to get a "get of jail card" by paying the maximum fine, an amount they didn't have after spending their profits. Vashti Brooks and Dallas Coffey were acquitted and got out of jail. Frank Rozier did go, when he perjured himself in an effort to exonerate Brooks.
Mrs. N.H. Marshall had a September she would just soon forget. The wife of one of Dublin's premier car dealers and an enthusiastic automobilist in her own right, was attempting to crank her car when the crank shaft broke striking her in her right wrist, breaking several small bones and badly tearing her ligaments. Her physician banned her from driving for at least a few weeks or until she could get a kind gentleman to crank her car for her.
Winnie Crosby, on the other hand, had a September to remember. At the age of seventy-six, Mrs. Crosby boarded a train for the first time in her life. Although the ride to Rentz along the Southwestern Division of the Wrightsville and Tennille Railroad was her first, she described her experience as a pleasurable one.
Fifty aging veterans of the War Between the States gathered in Dublin for a grand reunion. Out of six companies from Laurens County, only half a hundred veterans were able to participate. One hundred and two men from other counties joined their comrades under the command of Judge John H. Martin of Hawkinsville, who was elected Colonel of the brigade. Dublin attorney W.C. Davis was elected to serve as Col. Martin's Chief of Staff. Capt. Hardy Smith commanded the soldiers of the Laurens County companies while railroad executive L. A. Matthews commanded the out of county company. The Dublin Band led a parade down Jackson Street to Church Street and then to the pavilion in Stubbs Park. Speeches were given by C.A. Weddington, Mayor L.Q. Stubbs, Judge Martin, and Col. G.N. Saussy of Hawkinsville. A big barbecue dinner was served at the pits on Calhoun Street under the supervision of Major T.D. Smith, known far and wide for his culinary skills.
So, as the autumn days grow shorter, think about a time when life was a little bit slower, people were little bit kinder, and there was a little good news to read.