|October 18, 2009||EARL DUNHAM||1 comments|
|November 24, 2009||RUFUS KELLY||no comments|
|November 30, 2009||INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION||no comments|
|November 23, 2009||TRIBUTES TO UGA VII||no comments|
|November 11, 2009||THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH||2 comments|
|November 18, 2009||HERE COME THE BAPTISTS!||no comments|
|November 08, 2009||LAURENS COUNTY'S CONFEDERATE MONUMENT||no comments|
|October 29, 2009||THE BIRDS!||no comments|
|October 28, 2009||LOIS ADAMS - Memories of a LIfetime||1 comments|
|October 24, 2009||BIRDS AT SUNSET FAIRVIEW PARK||no comments|
The Captain of Carolina
Earl Dunham started something. Way back in the 1930s and 40s, about every eight or ten years or so, a young Laurens County boy moved with his parents to Macon. While they were in the capital of Central Georgia, three boys thought it would be a good idea to play football for the city's biggest high school. All three happened to be very good at it. Billy Henderson did it in the early 1940s and went on to an outstanding football and baseball career at the University of Georgia before becoming a coaching legend in Georgia High School football. Theron Sapp played at Macon's Lanier High School in the early 1950s before his immortal feats as a Georgia Bulldog running back led to his being named as only the third player in school history to have his jersey number retired. But way back in the late 1930s, Earl Dunham started it all. Here is his story.
Earl Dunham was born in Dublin, Georgia in 1921. One of at least seven children of Harry and Ethel Dent Durham, little Earl lived in a modest house at 214 Sawyer Street in the mid 1920s. Sometime before 1930, the Dunhams picked up everything they owned and headed for a better opportunity in Macon, where they lived on Walnut Street.
Earl attended elementary school and in 1935, enrolled in Lanier High School, where all boys participated in the R.O.T.C. program. It didn't take long for Earl's talents to be recognized by the coaches of the Poets. Yes, that was their mascot. After all, when you have a school named after Sidney Lanier, one of Georgia's most famous poets, what else are you going to call the teams?
In the 1938 basketball season, Dunham helped to guide the Poets to a state championship. Later that fall, Earl, billed as one of the best fullbacks in the state, was named as Alternate Captain of the Poets. Though he suffered a broken leg that limited his playing time as a junior, Earl returned for his senior season when he exhibited his strong blocking and power running skills. After his last game, Earl was named to the G.I.A.A. All Georgia team for the second consecutive year (the only two-year member) by a panel of sportswriters and coaches.
The South Carolina Gamecocks were whom Earl wanted to play for, not Georgia or Georgia Tech. From the beginning, Earl was destined to become a three-sport star in football, basketball and baseball. Dunham found only a little joy in first three football seasons, all losing ones, under Coach Rex Enright, who at the time of his retirement was South Carolina's all time winningest and losingest coach. Earl earned a starting berth at left half back in 1942, when his team won its first game against the Citadel, but failed to win another all season. Victories were more plenty when Earl was playing basketball and baseball. In his freshman year, the Gamecock hoopsters went 15 and 9 and played in the semifinals of Southern Conference championship. In his sophomore year, Earl moved from guard to center and posted an average of two field goals per game playing a position, which was usually in the center of the court in those days.
Something big happened. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Earl and many of his friends enlisted and went off to a whole new ball game. This time it was serious, real serious. Earl became a member of the 11th Airborne Division. The 11th was held in reserve until the latter half of 1944, when it first saw action in Leyte and in the invasion of Luzon in January 1945 in a final effort to sweep Japanese resistance from the Philippine Islands. During his spare time in his 42-month stint as a paratrooper of "The Angels," Earl did what he did best. He played ball. In his last game as a member of the 11th Division football team, Earl helped to secure a victory over an all star squad from Honolulu.
Like many other young men of his day who saw their collegiate football careers interrupted by the war, Earl returned to the campus at Columbia for one final season in 1946. He replaced future Dubliner Bryant Meeks as team captain in the first season of the modern era of football. Rex Enright returned from his naval duties to coach one of the finest teams ever to take the field in Columbia. The Gamecocks defeated their instate rival Clemson and never looked back on a 5-3 season.
As soon as he left the Carolina Field gridiron and stepped onto the hardwoods, Earl was honored by his teammates and coach by being named captain of the basketball team. It was then time for one more season on the diamond. Once again, Earl was named captain of the team. It would be the only time in the one hundred and fifteen-year history of South Carolina athletics that one man would named captain of the football, basketball and baseball teams in a single school year. I don't know it for a fact, but it may have been the only time in NCAA history that one athlete captained all three major sports at a major university. Certainly that feat hasn't occurred lately when few, if any, players play all three major sports.
When Earl Dunham's playing days were over, he turned to coaching to further his athletic career, He served as an assistant coach under his former head coach Enright until 1955 when he resigned to enter the business world.
Earl Dunham died on September 10, 2000 in Columbia, South Carolina. He was survived by his children, Earl, Jr. and Nancy Anne.
During his four years at the University of South Carolina, Earl Dunham rose to the heights of excellency both on and off the field. He was named a member of the prestigious academic fraternity, Phi Beta Kappa, and graduated cum laude in the Class of 1947.
As a football player, Dunham was named as an honorable mention on the 1946 All American team joining center Bryant Meeks (2nd team.) Ahead him were three legends of college football: Charley Trippi of Georgia and Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard of the United States Military Academy. A half century later, Earl Dunham was named to the South Carolina All Century Basketball Team as one of five players representing the pre-1950s era. Fifty years after he left South Carolina, Earl Dunham was inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame joining Bill Rogers as the only player in that illustrious group who played three sports in their careers at South Carolina.
As a footnote, although Dublin is located just a hundred or so miles south of Athens, Georgia, only a half dozen Dublin footballers have played for the Bulldogs. Nearly as many have played football for South Carolina. In addition to the aforementioned Bryant Meeks (Captain '45), who moved to Dublin just before his death, other Dubliners who have donned the garnet and black are Gregg Crabb ('69-'71), Chan Beasley ('71-'72), Scott Hagler ('83-'86, Captain '86), Tony Guyton ('83-'85, Captain '85) and Kyle Crabb ('99-'00.) In four of the last 65 football seasons since the end of World War II, the captain of the Gamecock football team has been a Dubliner. That's an unbelievable record!
Taking a Stand in Dixie
Rufus Kelly didn't take too kindly to Yankees. You see, one of them shot him in the leg and it commenced to hurt very powerfully. It got to hurting so badly that the ol' doctor had to cut if clean off. So, when about thirty thousand of the blue coated "Billy Yanks" came stomping down the road toward his native home of Gordon, Georgia, Rufus decided once and for all it was time for him to take his stand to live or die in Dixie.
James Rufus Kelly was born up in Gordon, Georgia in the western part of Wilkinson County in 1845. When he was just a young boy, Rufus, as he was known to his friends, lost his daddy, who was also named Rufus. Young Rufus and his baby sister Elizabeth were raised by their momma, Mrs. Rebecca Kelly. Just as Rufus was about to become a man, the menfolk in his county held an election to decide whether or not they and the rest of the counties in Georgia would leave the Union. They voted to decide if the people in the South could have slaves and if they wanted to fight a war over it or not. The Kellys weren't really rich, though they had more than most folks in Wilkinson County. Rebecca sewed clothes to keep food on their table and to keep Rufus in school. To help her out around the place, Rebecca depended on her twenty-year-old female slave and her three young children.
When the War Between the States started, Rufus was still a young boy. On July 9, 1861, he joined up with his friend and fellow fifteen year old William Bush in the Ramah Guards. William Bush would die more than 91 years later as the oldest Confederate veteran from Georgia. Rufus made it through the baths of blood at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness and Spotsylvania. During General Lee's retrograde move toward Richmond in the spring of 1864, Cadmus Wilcox's rebels ran headlong into Warren's Union Corps at a place they called Jericho Ford on the 23rd day of May 1864.
Rufus' regiment was right in the middle of a hot fight. The regimental commander ordered the men of the 14th to fall back. But, Rufus would have no part of any retreat. He saw his friends running. Instead of running with them, Rufus rushed forward to the front. With his rifle in his left hand and his hat in his right, Kelly tried to rally his boys. But they kept on running like scalded dogs. He saw some other rebels firing at the Yankees and rushed to their side. Just as the fight began to heat up, a stray bullet struck the eighteen-year-old in the leg. He made it back to the field hospital alive, but lost his leg. After he spent some four months in the hospital and a stint as one of the body guards of Belle Boyd, a famous Confederate spy, Rufus was sent home to sit out the rest of the war.
Rufus was never one to quit a fight. Back home in Gordon, he knew the fight was coming his way once again. General William Tecumseh Sherman's Army had taken Atlanta. They were coming south along the railroads with their sights set on Savannah.
By the 21st of November, the Yankees were knocking on the doors of Macon residences with their cannon balls. Instead of taking the city, Sherman's right wing kept on moving down the Central of Georgia Railroad straight for Gordon. Just outside of Macon was the tiny industrial hamlet of Griswoldville, where the Macon defenders were slaughtered in the newly fallen snow.
The next defenders were under the command of General Henry C. Wayne. Wayne's men were composed of some regular militia, boys from Georgia Military Institute and prison guards from the penitentiary in Milledgeville. Ahead of them were thirty thousand Union soldiers.
Kelly learned of the Yankee advance and dashed off toward Griswoldville. Along the way, he met a young Negro girl who was crying. She told him that two Yankees were at Dr. Gibson's house threatening the doctor's wife in his absence. Just then, John Bragg rode up and agreed to accompany Rufus to aid Mrs. Gibson. Upon arriving at the Gibsons, Kelly, alone by then, was attacked by the two Union soldiers inside the home. Kelly was able to seriously wound one of them. Despite his best efforts to save him, the soldier died in a tavern in Gordon.
General Wayne, Major Capers and T.D. Tinsley were sitting on the porch of the general's headquarters at the Old Solomon Hotel when Kelly road up on his horse the next morning. He had his trusty Winchester in hanging from one side of his saddle and a pair of crutches on the other. Kelly offered his services as a scout since he knew the countryside as good as anyone around. The general accepted the offer. The vidette spurred his mare and dashed off in the direction of Griswoldville.
Kelly returned just after noon and reported to Wayne that the Yankees were moving toward Gordon and Miledgeville. Once again he sped off looking for more Yankees. He returned shortly as the Union army was in sight. He found the General and his troops boarding a train headed east for the Oconee River. Kelly asked Wayne, "General what does this mean? Don't we make a stand?" Wayne said, "No, Mr. Kelly, to stay here would be ridiculous to check Sherman's army of one hundred thousand men with a force of seven hundred."
That's when ol' Rufus went crazy. "General, you are a white-livered cur without a drop of red blood in your veins!" he exclaimed. He screamed at the departing soldiers, "You damned band of tuck tails! If you have no manhood left in you, I will defend the women and children of Gordon!" Rufus grabbed his rifle and emptied his rifle at the blue cavalrymen swiftly coming at him. But was he was quickly captured, thrown in a wagon, and court martialed. They said he was guilty of murder. A band paraded around Rufus playing his funeral dirge. Kelly was told that he would be shot at sunrise.
Kelly wasn't shot. In point of supposed fact, he was summoned to appear before "Uncle Billy" Sherman. Kelly told his biographers that the general wanted to know something of the topography and the crops and game available on his path toward Savannah. When Sherman asked Rufus if he knew he was going to be shot, the rebel acknowledged that he did know. He defended his actions not as murder but as self defense. "General, any way, a man can die but once," Rufus said. The "murderer of Georgia" told the guard to take Rufus and see that his sentence was carried out. Rufus was slightly relieved when he saw the General smile as he spoke to the guard. The death march was played again that night and again the next night.
Kelly had enough. He wasn't ready to die, not just yet. When his blue captors weren't looking, Rufus calmed his shattered nerves, slipped out the back of the wagon and crawled into a nearby swamp. He lingered in the swamp for two days. Able to fashion a make shift crutch, the one-legged teenage veteran was able to make his way back from the Ogeechee River swamp to his father's farm near Gordon four days later.
Rufus resumed a long and happy life. He once taught at Turner School, which was three miles south of Gordon.
Of the 99 men who enlisted in Gordon on July 9, 1861, Kelly was the next to last to die. The highly heralded hero died on September 19, 1928 in his home near Danville. The undertaker dressed him in a $13.75 suit and buried his body in a $25 casket in Liberty Hill Cemetery near Gordon, which he so nobly defended 145 years ago today.
This photograph was taken of the International Space Station, moving at more than 17,000 miles per hour over Dublin on the evening of November 28, 2009. From time to time the space station can be spotted in the first hours after sunset or before sunrise. To find out when the station and other objects such as the space shuttle can be observed, go to www.spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/
I took these photographs of the tributes to UGA VII, the University of Georgia mascot who died unexpectedly of heart problems on Nov. 19, 2009. The photographs are copyrighted by the Courier Herald and the University of Georgia and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the written permission of the Courier Herald and the University of Georgia.
The four of UGA were taken in 2008 during the Central Michigan game, which was UGA's second appearance in Sanford Stadium.
It wasn't the circus of P.T. Barnum and James Bailey or that of the Ringling Brothers, but everybody loves a circus. Oh my why not? They have lions, tigers and bears! People, by the thousands, came from far and near to gather under the big top of one of the country's largest circus shows. They came to see wild animals, daring feats, and thrilling performances. Few left disappointed, except one newspaper reporter who had been to too many circuses.
The first known circus came to Dublin in the late 1860s. It was staged at the rear of the Troup House, which is on the site of the public parking lot on the first block of West Madison Street. John Robinson brought his big show into Dublin in 1900 in a time when the city was one of the largest in the state of Georgia. Hagenback and Wallace, the second largest circus in America, came to the Emerald City in 1907.
Robinson's big circus made a return to the city in 1909. Local businesses were booming and there was plenty of pocket money around. So, the promoters expected the crowds to be massive and so did the pick pockets who were slipping into town in the darkness. No one figured that the largest president in the history of the United States was going to appear at the Georgia State Fair in Macon on the very day the circus came to town. Though he was despised by the vast majority of the highly Democratic electorate, William Howard Taft, the three-hundred-pound chief executive, made it difficult for locals to decide whether to go to Macon or remain at home or to go to just another circus, which they had seen here before and would see again.
For one of the first times, the circus grounds were moved to the suburbs of the city. This time the circus grounds were laid out at the corner of Academy Avenue and Elm Street immediately in the rear of the home of R.F. Deese.
The John Robinson Circus, started by the first of four John Robinsons in 1842, finished a performance in Macon and headed down the railroad tracks toward Dublin, where the first of three sections arrived early in the morning of November 4, 1909. While the set up crews were getting the four-ring tent and animal quarters ready for the afternoon and evening shows at one and seven o'clock, the main body of the circus proceeded to deboard at the depot in three separate trains, a spectacle in of itself.
Just before high noon, a whistle blew and a grand parade of circus clowns, acrobats, animals, wagons, and performers passed through the downtown area signaling that the big show was about to begin. Six bands led the free parade of sixty cages, ten tableau wagons and some three hundred and sixty equestrians. Barkers roamed through the enormous crowd, which had been gathering since early in the morning, screaming "follow me to the circus!"
Despite the fact that the President may have upstaged Dublin's big day, five thousand people crammed into the tent for the first show. Seats were hard to find and the opening was delayed to accommodate the late comers. Though some stayed to watch the exhibition for a second time, others went home limiting the attendance to a "good crowd."
Inside the big tent was a hippodrome for the some three hundred horses and sixty ponies, which danced, pranced and raced about the sawdust-covered rings. The show featured, not one, but three, animal menageries, which featured a bloat of hippopotamuses, a crash of rhinoceroses, a sleuth of white bears, a herd of horned horses, a pod of seals, an obstinacy of buffalo, a flock of camels, a zeal of zebras, and the requisite elephant herd, leopard leap, lion pride and tiger swift. A rookery of sea lions mounted a string of three ponies juggling, balancing and throwing balls to each other and through flaming hoops.
Warren Travis, a champion heavyweight lifter, was new to the circus. It was said that Travis could lift an elephant or withstand the weight of a dozen men standing on a platform which rested on his chest. Many left shaking their heads after the strong man survived two Maxwell automobiles driving over his body. Another new act was the high dive, where a man dove from the top of the tent into a shallow pool.
King's Wild West show were advertised to feature cowboys, cowgirls and real live Mexicans and Indians or so that's what they said they were. Two companies of U.S. Cavalry performed thrilling monkey drills and acrobatic feats. The western show featured a stage coach robbery, hanging of a horse thief, a re-enactment of the Battle of Wounded Knee, and every other kind of western sport and pastime of the plains that they had the time or the people to perform.
Somewhat less than the fifty advertised clowns kept the show rolling. Troops of Japanese and Arabs, or people dressed like them, rode horses and displayed their talents to the captive audience. Costello's Riding Act, Tarant's Casting Act and the Minerva Sisters preceded the Iron Jaw Act when the Great Chambora jumped from the ceiling, struck a board and slid down a sixty-foot incline on his head. A high wire walker walked to the top of the tent and then slid down to the ground on one toe and one heal.
According to a writer for the Dublin Courier Dispatch, who thought not much of the highly billed circus, "the band was not up to average, being smaller than Robinson formerly carried." Also disappointing was the quality of the menagerie and the extent of the wild west show. The actual performances were not as wonderful as was billed according to the reporter, who complained that the wild west side show was composed of seven cowboys and a single cowgirl, deeming it more of a tame west show than a wild one. A long season of nearly daily performances had taken its toll on the horses, who were not as sleek as they had been in the past. But where it counted, the crowd enjoyed the festivities and some came back for an encore.
Howe's London Circus and Spark's Circus returned to Dublin the following year. In 1915, the Robinson Shows returned to the city for the final time. Soon the circus became just another event. Circuses meant money to the merchants and money to the coffers of the city treasury. But, they also brought out the con artists and skulkers, ready to relieve the inattentive and the gullible of their cash and valuable in the flicker of a moment.
Dublin's alderman turned a request by Spark's Circus to reduce the license tax from $200.00 and instead voted to double the tax for any circus having more than ten car loads of paraphernalia. Perhaps the final straw came in 1922, when Hagenback and Wallace returned to Dublin for an encore performance. An early morning winter rain flooded the 12th District Fairgrounds forcing a cancellation of the big event. The circus struck their tents and loaded up their animals and left town without a single show. The circus was found liable for its abandoning the children of the city by a court two years after the fact.
Although many circuses have returned to Dublin and still perform here on a regular basis, the grand circuses are gone now. So, the next time you ride down Academy Avenue and you pass by Cordell Lumber Company, look across the street and imagine that day one hundred years ago when the "Greatest Show of Earth," or the closest we ever got, came to town.
The State Convention of 1909
The Baptists were coming! The Baptists were coming! It was a grand week in Dublin. Some seven to eight hundred bible toting, hymn singing and money spending Baptist messengers and officials descended on the Emerald City for a week of worship, reaffirmation and business doings. Newspapers asserted that the congregation constituted the greatest gathering of so many distinguished laymen and ministers in the eighty-eight year history of the Georgia Baptist Convention.
In order to handle eight hundred visitors in a city of five thousand people, seemingly impossible arrangements needed to be made. Obviously there weren't enough hotel rooms to accommodate that many people, so the local Baptists enlisted the aid of their Methodist, Catholic, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, and Christian brethren. Their pleas were met although each host family was required to board and perhaps feed several guests in their homes for at least four nights. That's when an army of ladies sprang into action. They scrubbed their homes, the church, and most of the city clean of trash, dust and filth. Kitchens were busy non-stop for days leading up to the big event.
The owners of the Four Seasons Department Store, the city's largest establishment,
rearranged their furniture section and set up a writing room for those who wanted to open their mail and write letters.
The local church was ready. With a new edifice housing one of the finest new churches in the state, the sanctuary was crammed with people. Many of the three hundred and eighty-three voting members stood along the walls and in the rear of the sanctuary.
One of the convention's highlights came before the opening invocation. Special trains arrived during the day on Monday, but late in the afternoon, many had not yet arrived. A chartered train from Macon ran into trouble along the Macon, Dublin, and Savannah Railroad at the 18-mile post outside of Macon. When the train's tender car came off the track, the entire train skidded along cross ties for all too long a distance, coming to a halt just before it fell into a deep ravine. Despite the long delay, rail traffic in Dublin during the day was a spectacle within itself. Part of the fanfare was the large crowd of the curious and the criminal. Dr. C.H.S. Jackson had his cherished gold watch and fob, a gift of the faculty of Bessie Tift College, lifted from his pocket as he left his train car.
The convention came to order on the morning of November 16, 1919. Local attorney G.H. Williams issued a cordial welcome to the crowded worship house. Georgia governor Joseph M. Brown was expected to attend, but his name does not appear in the published accounts of the proceedings. Among the dignitaries were Railroad Commissioner George Hillyer, ex-congressman C.L. Moses, future governor Clifford Walker, and an unnamed justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. Conspicuously absent were ministers of other local churches. Their absence was not a spurn to a courtesy invitation, but of the five major denominations, only the Methodist position was filled. Even the pulpit of the host church was empty. But, former and well beloved pastor Allen Fort returned to Dublin to host the event.
A second highlight came early in the convention when President William J. Northern asked the assembly to accept his resignation. The former governor of Georgia asked for "new blood" in the organization's leadership. His hearing was not as good as it used to be.
Governor Northern asked and was granted permission to address the Negroes of Dublin, who were engaged in their fall fair across town. It would be the first time in twenty-five years that Northern was absent, albeit temporarily, from the Baptist convention.
Northern may have had a hidden agenda in asking to be excused from the proceedings. The convention's most heated moment came during a discussion of the church's role in including Negroes in their mission work. When he returned, the Governor rose to speak and proposed increases in the spreading of the Gospel to a large proportion of the state's residents. "I would rather see a million Negroes in the South converted than to see the conversion of two million Japanese, Chinese, or savages on some remote island," Northern proclaimed. "It would mean more to God and more to the South," he added. Keeping his speech calm and dignified and fearing that his pleas would fall on deaf ears, Northern beseeched the assembly that "nothing is being done."
Dr. J.J. Bennett, Secretary of the State Board, rose to counter Northern's accusations that the mandates of the previous convention in Valdosta were in fact being carried out. Dr. Bennett responded with an equally dignified, but highly vigorous, rebuttal claiming that Negroes were not being neglected. He attempted to substantiate his claim by pointing out the fact that the highest percentage of Negroes were Baptists.
The temperance question arose as it always did in the convention. There wasn't a drop of controversy on the subject of beer and liquor. As the members had decided in all previous meetings, drinking was a sin. The delegates decided that the drive for near beer was not acceptable under any circumstances.
With the venerable Governor Northern out of contention for the election as the new President, former Georgia governor Joseph M. Terrell and T.J. Lawson were nominated. Rev. Turner Smith, of Dublin, then submitted the name of Dr. S.Y. Jameson of Macon. After Messers Terrell and Lawson withdrew their names, Jameson won the election. Dublin's F.H. Rowe was selected as one of four vice-presidents for the upcoming year.
Rev. O.A. Copeland gave the main sermon of the convention. His topic, "The Purpose of God in the Individual's Life," was well received. Dr. R.J. Willingham, Secretary of the Southern Baptist Conventions Foreign Board of Missions, issued a strong plea for more workers to spread the word of the Gospel. When the more business oriented proceedings were completed, the attendees adjourned for a fine meal before reassembling at the Chautaugua Auditorium at the corner of South Monroe and West Madison streets. The meeting hall, which would house more than a thousand people, afforded the opportunity for local Baptists and the families of the delegates to attend the services.
When new president Jameson's Friday afternoon address ended, the congregation paid their respects to their cordial hosts and made their way through the swarms to board homebound trains.
In hailing the event, a writer for The Christian Index, the official organ of the Southern Baptists, wrote "The beautiful and spacious house of worship and the cordial hospitality of the citizens made Dublin an ideal place for the holding of the convention. The great Chautaugua auditorium afforded the opportunity for the entertainment of large audiences that attended the night services. The hospitality was unbounded."
I took this photo of Laurens County's monument to the Confederate soldier. (November 8, 2009). Notice the waning gibbous moon in the background.
Lois Adams loved life as a young woman growing up in Jeffersonville, Georgia. In the years before her marriage, Lois kept her memories in a scrapbook. Now, thanks to the fine folks at Adams Funeral Home and the members of her family, Lois' scrapbook, which was found neatly packed away in the funeral home started by her husband, has been donated to the Laurens County Historical Society, where visitors can catch a glimpse into the life of talented teenage girl long, long ago.
In the five-inch thick black paper scrapbook you will find everything from Leo Mullis' cigarette butts to her very own candy wrappers (she preferred Whitman's over Nunally's), filled dance cards to great football game tickets, and a real cotton boll to a real tarpon scale. Yes, I said a tarpon scale. There are also empty packets of cigarettes, Camel and Home Run, none of which she smoked. Obligatory family pictures and clippings of wedding, anniversary and funeral notices are in the book too. This child of Jack Shine Vaughn and Susie Elizabeth Johnson Vaughn, pasted all of her important memorabilia so that in a moment she could open the book and reach back in time to when life was grand. I like the menu for ice cream, 15 cents a cup, and fruity ice drinks, 10 cents a cup, which she stole and pasted in a special place in her scrapbook.
One of the first things you will see is a piece of chewing gum, Beechnut, I presume. That in of itself is not unusual since there are many gum wrappers and who gave her the gum. Written underneath this piece of gum is the phrase "You bet I wanted to chew it, but I didn't." And she was right, the gum, or what is left of it, hasn't been chewed in the last ninety years. Lois especially enjoyed a dance where she wore a red corsage and commented, "I was thrilled to a peanut." She glued a red ribbon in her scrapbook and posed the question, "Bet I had a good time, wonder who put this around my neck?"
Music and the arts were the fabric of Lois' young life. Not a recital nor a play was held at Twiggs County High School without her name listed in the program. On the 26th of May 1920, Lois performed a rousing version of Muscadine Gulp on the piano, before singing The Governor with her good friend Dorothy Jones. In addition to her talents as a singer and pianist, Lois was a dancer.
She loved going to musical events in Macon and Atlanta. Sometimes when she was lucky, there were musical artists who passed through Jeffersonville. There was this one evening when Lois and her friends Marin, Ethel and Daisy went to hear the Wesleyan Glee Club. The music was great, but the most memorable part of the evening was that the girls didn't return until to the late hour of one o'clock in the morning. When there was nothing else to do, Lois and her friends and family would go to a womanless wedding. She must have an eye for one of the all male participants whom she thought looked real good. Then there were plays and all sorts of things to do. There was no television in those days, nor was there any radio. Movies in Jeffersonville were rare. You had to go to Macon or Dublin to see the silent movies.
Lois Evelyn Vaughn walked across the graduation stage of the Twiggs County High School auditorium on May 21, 1923 with her friends Gladys and Ruth Califf, Dorothy Jones, Estelle Harris, Wilhelmina Faulk and Carrie Norris. But, three days before then, Lois and her fellow musicians had one last chance to showcase their talents in a program under the direction of Miss Elizabeth Pettus, director of the Expression and Piano Department. Lois closed the evening's thrilling show with her
performance of Rachmananoff's Prelude in C Sharp Minor.
Of all of Lois's favorite pastimes, dancing and going to dances was the best. One of the best was a big dance at the Dublin Country Club on July 28, 1926. Tom Wilcox asked her to go, but for some reason, Lois didn't remember why she turned down his invitation. But, she had a good time listening to the music of the Georgians, who performed all the great tunes in the club dance hall, which was then located east of the pond in what is now Saint Andrews subdivision.
With all of her artistic talents, Lois Adams had a talent for athletics. Among her most prized possessions is a scorecard for a basketball game against the Dublin High Whirls. I have to explain here why the girls from Dublin were called "the Whirls." The boys were dubbed the "Green Hurricane." Hence the supposedly meeker girls bore a more inferior team name. What was remarkable about the game, in which Lois said she became a famous basketball player, was that she scored 12 of her teams 24 points in a 24-6 rout of the Dublin girls.
Lois liked football as well. It didn't matter if it was Georgia or Georgia Tech. A good football game in the fall was always a thrill. She went to see Georgia Tech play the Auburn Tigers and the North Carolina Tar Heels in 1928. The following year, right before her marriage, Lois was one of the lucky who went to Georgia's game against Yale, a game which inaugurated play in Sanford Stadium and a game in which the Bulldogs gained national immortality for their stunning 15-0 upset victory over
the mighty Bulldogs from Yale.
In the fall of 1926, Lois took an extended trip of Lakeland, Florida. She brought back a black watch fob as a reminder of the good times she had. Before coming home with "Big Boy" Hicks and Bob Pitts, Lois took in a boxing match, actually several of them. The big fight on the card that October 13th was the bout featuring W.L. "Young" Stribling, a future contender for the world championship in the heavyweight division. The Macon boxer still holds the world record for the most fights and
knockouts by a heavyweight boxer.
Of all of her dancing partners, Lois found the best one of all in Cordy Adams of Dublin. Cordy, an up and coming undertaker and a graduate of the Cincinnati College of Embalming, won her hand in marriage. Before settling down, the couple left on a short honeymoon trip to Montgomery, Alabama and New Orleans, Louisiana. While they were staying in the Jefferson Davis Hotel in Montgomery, the newly married couple decided to go to yet another football game, another Bulldog victory over the hometown favorites, the Crimson Tide. It was the next morning when an invitation was slipped under their hotel room door inviting Mr. and Mrs. Cordy Adams to a fine breakfast. "It was the first time I felt recognized as a Mrs.," Mrs. Adams recalled.
Then the newlyweds were on to New Orleans, where they enjoyed dining, dancing and theater going in "The Big Easy." Although they had a good time, Lois wrote that the three nights in the De Soto Hotel were restless. Maybe it was the bill, a whopping $5.00 a night!
When the couple returned to Dublin, they made their first home in the Fred Roberts Hotel. There's even a note on an unused bar of soap to prove it. Then reality set in. Lois wrote on a bill from R.F. Deese Furniture store, "here is where all my money went." She kept the bill and converted it into a ledger sheet showing the purchase of a $150.00 bed room suite and a $125.00 dollar set of living room furniture and the record of her payments down to a zero balance.
Memories are priceless. Lois Adams kept some of hers. Maybe you should do so. Cherish them, preserve them and record them. Maybe some day someone will care about what was important to you. So on behalf of the Laurens County Historical Society, here's a big thank you to you, Mrs. Adams for preserving your present and keeping your fond memories alive for generations to come.
To see more photographs of the nature of Laurens County, go to www.thewaysofnaturelaurens.blogspot.com.