|July 12, 2011||REMEMBERING THE GOAT MAN||0 comments|
|July 05, 2011||PICKIN' THE PIG, BARBECUE AND THE FOURTH OF JULY||no comments|
|June 28, 2011||JONATHAN SAWYER - THE FOUNDER OF DUBLIN||no comments|
|June 28, 2011||JOHN M. COURIC, JR., MORE THAN KATIE COURIC'S FATHER||no comments|
|June 28, 2011||JIMMY KING, THE REST OF THE STORY||no comments|
|May 25, 2011||ANDREW WILLIAM GARRETT - CAPTAIN OF THE EMERALD CITY||no comments|
|June 05, 2011||LAURENS COUNTY HONORS THE MEMORY OF LT. COL. CLYDE STINSON||no comments|
|June 05, 2011||FALLEN HEROES HONORED AT VA CEREMONY||no comments|
|June 05, 2011||ANIMAL STORIES||no comments|
|June 05, 2011||JIMMY BEDGOOD||no comments|
REMEMBERING THE GOAT MAN
Chess McCartney, without a doubt, is the most famous 20th Century folk icon of Middle Georgia and perhaps even the Southeast. For decades the wandering evangelist traveled with his tribe of goats all over the country, spreading the word of God and earning a meager living in the process. For all of us who lived along Highway 80, McCartney, known simply as "The Goat Man," we were privileged to see him on a regular basis. The really lucky ones got to talk to him and pet his goats.
Many people have read about "The Goat Man" in books and magazines. So, when I set out to tell his story, I enlisted the aid of my Facebook friends. These are their memories of the heavily bearded man who lived in a kudzu-covered ravine near the village of Fitzpatrick in northwestern Twiggs County and who walked along the highways and towns of America, including right here in Dublin.
When Barbara Lewis Barroso was five, she remembered hearing that the "Goat Man" was coming down Highway 80 near the VA. "All the kids on my block would run across the alley between our houses and through the yards of the houses behind us, cross the street and go to the edge of the highway," Barbara recalled. "I remember all the pots and pans hanging down from his wagon. I remember him talking to us, but don't remember anything he said." she added. He was a man ruff in appearance with his scruffy beard and clothes, but he had this magical charisma that charmed and delighted us. Those of us that had that experience were lucky that we lived in such a place and time that we were worry free. I think kids today would be afraid of him and run the other way. Tommy Martin remembered the pots and pan too, "He came down Mincey St. on a fairly regular basis with his old wagon, pots and pans hanging thereon, and of course, a herd of goats. We actually bought things from him from time to time."
Barbara's sister, Mary, recalled the time the "Goat Man" stopped at a gas station near their Highland Ave. home. "He and Mr. Brown were arguing because he wanted his goats to use the bathroom. It was memorable because two grownups were arguing and there were all these goats, and they were pooping all over his station," an amused Mary remembered.
The Whipple sisters, Suzanne Hagan and Jennifer Whiddon, had fond closeup memories of McCartney. Their father, Lucian, would take his family to see "Goat Man" whenever he was in town. Lucian, a prolific photographer, took many pictures. His son, Miles, took some and made them into a scrapbook. Whipple, also an adept conversationalist, talked to the folk icon as if he were just an ordinary person. Jennifer has never forgotten the banging noises of his clanging pots, which to her was as exciting as the ice cream man coming down the street. Suzanne had a more up close experience. "When I was in my first year of nursing school, about 35 years ago, I was assigned to him as a student nurse," she remembered. Weak and frail, Chess required delicate personal care. "When we were learning basic nursing cares such as giving a patient a bed-bath, I remember drawing up his bedside basin and I set it next to him on the table beside his bed. I explained to him that I was going to give him a bath. Well, he very distinctly told me that he didn't need a bath that day and refused it stating that he never bathed on any kind of regular schedule. My nursing instructor wanted me to be a little more assertive in this matter. Well, I tried again but he refused and that was that. However, he was very kind and friendly but simply was not interested in being bathed. Now, he could have used a clean bath as he had a long white beard and looked very rugged and smelled like his goats but in the end he won and did not have to take a bath that day."
Kim McCoy Wyatt also encountered McCartney in a Macon hospital. While visiting her aunt, Kim went down the hall to look for something. "I bounced right back into her room I thought!. There I was face to face with the Goat Man... I knew it was him the minute I saw him. Long white beard & hair.... I will never forget it. We were eye to eye... I said, 'I'm sorry. I'm in the wrong room.'He was very nice and sweetly said, 'that's all right child & smiled."
Dwight Stewart used to go by his house to hear him preach. " I went in the house and stood. I didn't want to sit down. His goats came in and out of the house as they wanted too," Dwight reminisced. Leaving the house and its pretty strong odor behind, Preacher McCartney got his Bible and from his podium preached a sermon to Stewart and his friend. To pay his bills, McCartney sold postcards to his admirers. "I bought two of them. I still have them." Stewart fondly remembered.
Kim Kirz and her family traveled from Dublin to Macon every Sunday for Sunday school. Whenever possible, the Kirz family would stop and visit. "The goat nursery under his wagon was our favorite thing to check out," Kim said. Lynn Alligood begged her daddy to stop by the "Goat Man's" school bus house every time they came back from Macon. Lynn also remembered seeing him across from the old drive-in theater. "People were lined up to get their pictures made with him," Alligood remarked. Jan Stanley Edwards also remembered the clanging pots and thought to herself that when she grew up, she wanted to be like the "Goat Man." Marilyn Freeman Dailey also visited the "Goat Man" at his home, but also remembered seeing him during a vacation on U.S. Highway 1 near Daytona.
Cindy S. Brown's daddy was in a bank in Dublin one day when the "Goat Man" came in to cash a check back in the early to mid 50's. "The 'Goat Man's check was for $500, a good bit of money back then. The banker called Macon to verify that the check was good and was told that his check is good up to fifty thousand dollars," Cindy recollected.
Connie Dominy wrote, "He used to camp out on 80 in the area right across from where Bank of America is. There is a car dealership there now. We use to go up and hang out with him. His wagon had car tags from different states all over it. He also had other things, like pots and pans hanging off the side. I remember he would straddle a goat, milk it and then turn the mason jar up and drink it. He would offer us kids some. Underneath the wagon was his nursery area for a better word. That is where the babies and sometimes the mama's would ride. He and the goats would sleep in the wagon. He would make a campfire and cook beans and stuff. He was a preacher and would always preach some. He was a gentle man and would take time with us kids. He would let us hold the little baby goats and of course pet the others. He would sit on an old bucket while talking to us. He had about eight goats that pulled his wagon and would tie others up to walk behind the wagon. I remember the look and smell. Once his son was with him. I remember the son went into the woods and came out smelling like baby powder. Every time he came through and stopped up there, we would all go up and hang out with him. As a kid, I was not afraid of him at all. He was so gentle. He used to tell us about places he had traveled. I also remember going up 80 and stopping at his house outside Jeffersonville. And his house had a school bus and little church on the grounds."
As for me, I wish I had the writing bug thirty five years ago, for I could kick myself all the times I drove by him as I was coming home from college. Let that be a lesson to us all.
If you have memories of the man we called, "The Goat Man," please email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Fourth of July without a barbecue is like Thanksgiving without a turkey. For more than two centuries, the advertisement of a barbecue, especially a free one, has been used to attract customers, visitors, voters and most especially friends, who come to taste the scrumptious swine, savory chicken, and grilled hamburgers, not to mention the potato salad, pork-n-beans, potato chips, slaw, and the decadent desserts which we cram into our mouths on America's birthday, all in the celebration of the Declaration of Independence.
In the spring of 1794, Augustus Elholm, Georgia's Adjutant General, called for a remonstrance to the House and Senate of Georgia to establish a jubilee throughout the state, annually on the 4th of July, consisting of a barbecue and home distilled spirits, furnished by the government to each battalion and every citizen within its limits, with an arrangement for shooting matches. Let's hope the men shot before they imbibed the spirits.
One of the state's first political barbecues was held in Macon on August 15, 1827, when the Republicans of Macon, Georgia held a free barbecue to honor their candidate for governor of Georgia, Matthew Talbot.
Someone played a mean trick on Mr. John Snellgrove at an 1881 Laurens County barbecue. It seems that Snellgrove prided himself on his ability to eat enormous amounts of food. To prevent eating too much, the big eater placed eight belt holes, each an inch a part. He kept on eating everything in sight until his belt grew too tight. One day he began to eat tripe and other things until the last notch on his belt was reached. He had swelled to the last notch hundreds of times before. But on this occasion a devilish trickster cut another hole. His intestines ruptured and the poor glutton died.
The Boys in Gray gathered for a reunion in July 1887 in a grove of trees near the Burney residence in Dublin. Some say there was 3000 to 4000 people consuming the best food Dublin cooks could prepare. During their three years in the Confederate army, these aging veterans scarcely saw so much fine food for an entire army. Beside food, there were orations, baseball, and dancing. All went home happy, but stuffed, tired and hot.
Perhaps the largest barbecue ever held in Dublin took place in July 1891. The occasion was the arrival of the first train from Macon along the Macon, Dublin and Savannah Railroad. Thousands of persons rambled through ten acres of oak groves eating chicken, pig, mutton, pies, cakes, and peaches and cream.
Turns out that one of the biggest ballyhooed barbecues came exactly one century ago on the nation's birthday in 1911. It was billed as a day of feasting, good music, and rallying for good roads. It was just that and more.
The big celebration was held in the newest amusement park in Dublin. It's owners, the Tindol Brothers, F.C. and W.P., opened the park they called East Lake along the cool waters of Hunger and Hardship Creek. The Tindols established the entrance to East Lake at the point near where North Franklin Street crossed the creek at the new steel bridge, a place therefore only crossed by fording. It was also the place where the Baptists and Methodists gathered to dunk or sprinkle their true believers in the spirit of the Lord.
The whole hullabaloo was sponsored by the newly formed Dublin Chamber of Commerce. It was the chamber's first big function. And, it was a big success. The greatest measure of any barbecue was obviously, the meat on the grill. And, as usual, Major T.D. Smith, a celebrated Confederate veteran and barbeque master, did an outstanding job. In the haste to put on the event, planners forgot to plan for enough help to serve the pork and chicken. By one o'clock when the dinner bells rang, enough volunteers stepped forward and the feast went off without too many hitches.
The Dublin Band didn't disappoint either. The band, fresh off their rave performance at the National United Confederate Veterans Reunion in Little Rock, Arkansas, filled the air with streams of patriotic tunes and toe-tapping melodies.
And, there was a lot of talk about good roads. Why else would Dublin's businessmen donate the food and all the trappings and close their business for several hours in the middle of the day? Good roads were essential to the growth of Dublin and Laurens County. Better road surfaces and more direct routes to other commerce centers were a necessity if the local community was to continue its meteoric growth.
Captain L.Q. Stubbs, a four-time and popular mayor of Dublin, served as the master of ceremonies. Stubbs introduced one of his predecessors, the eloquent orator Thomas B. Felder, Jr. . Felder, then an Atlanta attorney, commented on the growth of Dublin since he had left nearly two decades before. He told the crowd that if had been unconsciously placed in Dublin, he would have not known where he was. In his homecoming address, Col. Felder complimented his fellow Dubliners by saying, "By your energy, industry and enterprise, you have built this city from a village into a metropolis, rivaling its beauty, its population, its culture, refinement, and commercial importance as other older cities of the state."
Felder, a consummate politician and prohibitionist, could not resist launching into a tirade against Gov. Cole Blease of South Carolina.
Perhaps the most famous barbecue to involve Laurens Countians took place not in the county but on the lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C. in 1980. Three hundred Laurens Countians, headed by Cecil Passmore and Bennie Mullis, gathered to support President Jimmy Carter in his reelection campaign against Ronald Reagan. But, that's another story for another column in the future.
So, on this 5th day of July when your bellies are filled with barbecue, let us take time to rejoice in the freedoms we were given two hundred and thirty five years ago by a group of fifty-six men, who thankfully didn't gather together to pick the meat off a barbecued pig, but boldly subscribed their names to a declaration of which many of us know the beginning words. I ask you when you think of barbecue and the 4th of July, take a look at their concluding words, "And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.
In memory of H. Dale Thompson, (April 14, 1923-July 5, 2001).
Jonathan Sawyer was immortalized by James Joyce in his nonsensical work, Finnegan's Wake. But to those of us who live in Dublin, Georgia, Jonathan Sawyer is our founding father. Little has been written about the man. And, some of that has been woefully misprinted. Just about two hundred years ago, the tiny post office of Dublin, Georgia was established by its first postmaster and the founder of Dublin, Jonathan Sawyer.
Although for a century Sawyer has been called an Irishman, he was in fact a Massachusetts Yankee. Born around the time of the American Revolution in Westminster, Massachusetts, Jonathan Sawyer came to the capital city of Louisville, Georgia in the early 1800s to seek and find his fortune. Sawyer went into business with his brother-in-law, David McCormick, son of Dr. James McCormick. With no fortune in sight, Sawyer decided instead to try his hand in the genesis of a new town.
He settled at a place called "Sand Bar" on the banks of the Oconee River where an old Indian trail crossed. Sawyer was granted a license by the Inferior Court of Laurens County to sell spiritous liquors during its August 1809 term. At the time, the county seat of Laurens County was at Sumpterville, some five miles inland to the west. But Sawyer knew that sooner or later, the center of the county would need to be moved to the banks of the Oconee River.
Jonathan Sawyer married Elizabeth McCormick. Elizabeth McCormick was not a native of Ireland, but of Baltimore, Maryland. Her granddaughter, Ann Eliza Oakley, reported that her grandmother Sawyer had once taken a trip to Dublin, Ireland to visit the land of her ancestors. Oakley said, "They loved at first sight and were soon married. He built the first house in Dublin." For centuries, those who knew Mr. Sawyer wasn't Irish, believed in their hearts that Mrs. Sawyer was from the land of shamrocks and leprechauns. Mrs. Oakley, during an extended visit to Dublin in 1908, once and for all confirmed that the founder of Dublin was not Peter Sawyer, but indeed Jonathan Sawyer.
The Sawyers had three children, two boys and a girl, none of whose names have survived the sands of time. Sometime about the early part of the year 1810, Elizabeth Sawyer died during the birth of her daughter.
No trace of Elizabeth Sawyer's ground could be found on her granddaugther's visit in 1905. It could be presumed that she was buried near the Sawyer home or perhaps in the city cemetery on the northwestern corner of the town, just inside the front gate.
The Sawyers had a close family relationship with Laurens County's most preeminent citizen, Gov. George Troup. The former United States senator and congressman married Anne St. Claire McCormick, a sister of Mrs. Sawyer. Hessie McCormick, another sister, married James Jackson, who moved to Gainesville and later Alabama, where he served as a college president. Brother David McCormick lived in the Dublin area before removing elsewhere. His son, Pollard McCormick became a millionaire in the iron business in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
In his correspondence with the editors of the Dublin Times, T.F. Sawyer, of Hutchinson, Kansas, related the stories of his father, the only surviving child of Jonathan and Elizabeth Sawyer. Ironically, the Sawyer's son's name is never mentioned. Sawyer said, "My grandfather would send a Negro after my father on Saturdays or at the end of each month, riding one horse and leading another, and some times during vacations how he would run away from his home, or from his uncles, with the young Negro boys and spend weeks at neighboring plantation." He concluded the story by saying "Then a Negro would come and capture him and take him on the horse behind him and he would pull the servant's wool and scratch his face; thence when he got home, I remember he said Uncle Jackson made him thrash the young colored boys who had been with him telling him to put it on harder, what he did not give, then he (Jackson) would have to give his father and usually gave him more than he gave his companions."
On another occasion, Jonathan Sawyer and his son were out for a pleasure ride on horseback and met the rival merchant from up or down the river who was desirous of settling a little matter with the Dublin founder. The other man told him to get off his horse and would take it out of his hide. Young Sawyer began to cry. The six-foot, two-fisted New Englander dismounted, handed the lines to the young Sawyer, and commenced business. Sawyer took the man's pistols away from him and got full satisfaction as they left him lying by the side of the road. As the Sawyers approached the nearest plantation and requested the neighbors to go and gather him up and revive him, the young boy was still crying.
It has been written by some that Jonathan Sawyer gave the land for the Laurens County courthouse and the town of Dublin. In reality, the 101.5-acre half land lot where the city of Dublin originated was sold to the commissioners of the public buildings Laurens County by Joseph L. Hill on March 11, 1811 for the nominal sum of $100.00. Sawyer bought the other half of the lot from Hill on the same day for $200.00.
Sawyer accumulated nearly a thousand acres on the west side of the river in and around Dublin and nearly an equal amount on the eastern side. At one time, Sawyer owned lands at Fish Trap Cut, which he sold later sold to his brother-in-law George M. Troup.
The financial troubles which plagued Jonathan Sawyer from his founding of Dublin culminated in 1817. Sawyer removed himself and his family to the port city of Darien in southeastern Georgia. Sawyer caused a notice to be published in the Georgia Journal that he was currently engaged in the factoring and commission business in Darien in the late fall of 1817. Sawyer later joined forces with the firm of T. Herring, which was based in New York City.
Sawyer was elected in 1821 as Clerk of the McIntosh County Court of Ordinary and served as many as three terms in a position which involved the issuance of marriage licenses and the administration of estates.
Jonathan Sawyer, the man who named our home, died in February 1847 in Anderson Courthouse, South Carolina. This once active and successful man simply faded away.
The date of the establishment of the post office of Dublin occurred between April 25 and May 6, 1811. No one knows for sure. However, Friday marks the first written record of the post office of Dublin, Georgia, which would not officially become a town until December 1812. So now you know that Dublin, the name sake of the heart of all Irish folk around the world, was not founded by an Irishman but by a New England Yankee, who loved his wife so much that he gave us our most wonderful name of Dublin, which by the way in ancient Gaelic "An Dubh Linn," which means "black pond" or "black pool."
JOHN M. COURIC, DEAD AT 90
Former Dublin Man Was Respected Journalist
John Martin Couric, father of network news journalist and host, Katie Couric, and a former resident of Dublin, died at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Virginia on Wednesday, June 22, 2011 from complications due to Parkinson's Disease. Couric began his journalistic career as a general reporter for the Dublin Courier Herald while he was attending Dublin High School. Couric went on to a forty-year career in journalism and business before retiring in 1985.
Born in Brunswick, Georgia on August 28, 1920, Couric was the son of John Martin Couric, Sr. and Wildie Hibbler. The senior Couric was a cotton merchant and exporter. The Courics lived on Bellevue Avenue in a home located adjoining the current location of Bubba's Tire Center. After his graduation from Dublin High School, Couric worked for his university's publications and graduated in 1941 from Mercer University in Macon, where he later worked as a reporter for the Macon Telegraph.
John Couric joined the U.S. Navy during World War II. He served in both the Mediterranean and the Pacific and participated in the invasions of Sicily, Tarawa, Peleliu, the Philippines, and Okinawa. Couric continued to serve his country in the Naval Reserves, retiring in 1965 with the rank of lieutenant commander
As a political reporter, Couric covered the always fascinating Georgia politics and the activities under the golden dome in the state capital for the Atlanta Constitution. He joined the United Press wire service in the late 1940s and continued to cover politics. In 1948, John was named head of the United Press office in Tallahassee, Florida. Among his most heralded reports were his coverage of Georgia governor Herman Talmadge and a 1949 hurricane which ravaged the east coast of Florida.
In 1951, Couric was assigned to the Washington Bureau of the United Press. He began to write more about national events, including Senate Majority Leader and later President, Lyndon B. Johnson's heart attack. Couric eventually became Assistant News Editor.
He was an editor with United Press before leaving his position to enter the field of public relations in 1957. He worked with the National Association of Broadcasters as a Chief Writer and Manager of News and Publications, a role in which he supervised newspaper, magazine and on-the-air programs. In 1963, Couric, a member of President John F. Kennedy's Committee on the Employment of Handicapped and a committee of the National Commission on Community Health Services, was promoted to Vice President of Public Relations for the NAB. Couric also served in a position with the American Health Care Association. After six years of service with the Food and Drug Administration, John Couric retired in 1985.
Couric was a member of the National Safety Council, American Heart Association, American Nursing Home Association, National Press Club, Sigma Delta Chi Professional Journalistic Society, Public Relations Society of America, Broadcasters Promotions Association, Washington Trade Association Executives, and countless other organizations, boards, and committees.
Mr. Couric received a master's degree in communications from American University in 1968 and was an adjunct professor of journalism and public relations in the university's graduate program and the University of Maryland twenty-seven years.
Couric, who reportedly gave up a promising career in print journalism for public relations, encouraged his daughter Katie to go into broadcast journalism because it was more exciting than print journalism.
During her commencement address at Mercer University in 1996, Katie Couric reminisced about her father and his influence on her life and career. "I am in awe of my father's generation. And I am in awe of my father. He is a man of intelligence, compassion, gentility, humor, integrity and honor. Some parents tell their children to do as I say, not as I do. My sisters, my brother and I did as he said, but we also became the people we are by watching him every day," she said. "Recently, when my dad was getting a prescription filled, the pharmacist called out his name and asked, 'Are you Katie Couric's father?' 'No,' he said, 'she's my daughter.' I am indeed and for that I am lucky, grateful and proud. Thirty-six years from now, if my daughters can say the same thing, that will be the true measure of my success."
Mr. Couric is survived by his wife, Elinor H. Couric, and children Clara Batchelor of Brookline, Mass., Katie Couric of New York, NY, and John M. Couric, Jr. of Arlington, Va. His oldest daughter, former Virginia State Senator Emily Couric, preceded him in death in October 2001.
When Jimmy King arrived aboard a troop train at Camp Wheeler outside of Macon, Georgia, it was hot, real hot! Jimmy had grown up in the snowy lands of Minnesota and had never been in the deep South for that long in his life. Jimmy was in the Army then. Before the sun came up, he was up. After the sun went down, it was time to get some rest for the next arduous day of training. Only the few trips into town or over to nearby Lakeside Park for a refreshing swim broke the monotony and adversity of basic training.
When he was still a growing young boy, Jimmy found it difficult to sit inside a classroom all day. Finding school too confining, Jimmy wanted nothing more than to walk home through the great outdoors after school. It was his father who taught Jimmy how to shoot, hunt, and fish. It was his mother who instilled in Jimmy and his brother Pete the love of reading. Jimmy became fascinated by stories of sailing. His mother often took Jimmy and his brother on long hikes around the lakes near his home, wanting her sons to become more involved in social activities. Jimmy once said, "All I wanted to do was to escape society and stay in the woods." One thing Jimmy loved to do was to sit inside his grandmother's home for hours and listen to opera records by Enrico Caruso and other singers..
Jimmy's father rented a cabin on Ox Island for ten years. Up until the time Jimmy starting working in the summers, he spent weeks every summer on Ox Island, hunting, camping, and fishing. During the winters, Jimmy loved to skate and to ski. He and his father built an ice boat. When the wind was right, Jimmy's boat would top nearly 40 miles per hour on the frozen lakes.
A poor student in school, Jimmy joined the junior high glee club. At least Jimmy loved to sing. He tried his hand at football, but hated the discipline it required. Jimmy just wanted to be free. Jimmy's parents found out that he was often skipping school, so they transferred him to a new high school. Although he continued to miss classes, Jimmy continued to excel at singing. He even joined the prestigious Hennepin Ave. Methodist Church choir.
It was about that time when the allure of the freight train almost seduced Jimmy away from his love of singing. Jimmy and friends often hopped on a freight train to ride to nearby towns and then to far away cities. But, Jimmy always made sure he was back home just in time for two choir performances every Sunday.
In the summer of his junior year in high school, Jimmy worked for the first half of his vacation, and then, upon the promise of his father who matched his wages, Jimmy set off on a journey working on a boat in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. When he returned for his senior year, Jimmy continued to struggle but eventually graduated in the summer of 1942. Then it was off to a logging camp in Idaho, where the young man earned $90.00 a week.
The country was at war. Jimmy wanted to be a naval pilot, but he exceeded the height limit. His eyes were bad too. Bowing to pressure from his mother, Jimmy entered Beloit College. But, when Jimmy loved to party more than he needed to study, he left college dreaming of going into the Merchant Marines or even better, the Ski troops, who were being trained for mountain warfare in Europe. When he thought he was going just to do that, the troop train detoured to Macon, Georgia.
Jimmy enjoyed boot camp at Camp Wheeler. The 20-mile hikes were nothing to Jimmy, not even in the hot Georgia sun. "I hardly broke a sweat," he recalled. He met new buddies, coal miners from Pennsylvania, mountain men from the hills and accountants from large cities. Jimmy, for a change, was a part of a group and loved the regimentation and drills of the Army.
Jimmy's ship arrived in Casablanca, North Africa. Jimmy had seen the movie Casablanca back at Camp Wheeler. He kept looking around for Bogart-like characters, but never saw one. In the days after Christmas 1943, Jimmy and his buddies were waiting for an amphibious landing in Italy. Then the day came. "We heard our craft's engines revving up, then we moved out toward our assigned beaches. As we waited for incoming fire, I tried to concentrate on images of home. So much that was unknown and frightening lay ahead, while behind me lay everything I knew and everyone I loved. I kept the pictures in my mind for as long as I could," Jimmy later recalled. Because of his enormous height, Jimmy was the first off the landing craft to test the depth of the water.
After a relatively easy landing, the American forces were outnumbered four to one. One evening Jimmy and his unit were creeping through a vineyard. Jimmy found himself right in front of a German machine gun nest. All of sudden. there was fire whizzing by and then an explosion. Jimmy's lower right leg was shattered. He leaped over the grape vines and laid on the ground for hours, nearly going into shock. After being field treated by a medic, Jimmy was sent to a hospital to recuperate. A while later, Jimmy, with a purple heart pinned to his uniform, was reunited with his brother Pete, who was a crewman on a B-25. Jimmy never quite recovered from his wounds. Later in life he would do all of his long walking early in the morning before his leg became too sore. Jimmy received a disability pension of $56.00 a month. The pension, which rose to $500.00, lasted for more than 55 years.
After the war, Jimmy's mother again began to push him to return to college. Jimmy relented and began to take courses in radio announcing. He tried it for a while and was later convinced to join a movie production company. There he met Marion. Jim and Marion became best friends. Marion hired Jim to work under him on various projects.
Another company began to pester Jimmy about leaving Marion's company for a new job. They promised him a bigger salary and more opportunities. Jimmy had misgivings about leaving his friend, but took the job. When he informed Marion of his decision, his former boss strongly suggested that he take the job. He pointed out that he too had worked on small jobs, which led to bigger and better jobs.
In fact, Marion went before the cameras to tell America about a new tv show. When he first heard of the show, he knew that only Jimmy would be right for the role. Marion went on to say, "He's a young fella. I'll predict that he'll be a big star, so you might as well get used to him as you got used to me." Marion knew a little bit about acting.
By now, you may know Marion Morrison by his stage name, John Wayne. Wayne ended his introduction of his good friend, Jimmy King, by saying, "And now I'm proud to present my friend, Jim Arness, in Gunsmoke."
You know the story of James King Arness, the tall, shy Minnesotan, who hated school, but loved the outdoors, singing, skiing, and sailing, and who nearly gave his life for his country in World War II. You know the stories of the strong silent hero who gave us 20 years of thrills in his role as U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon. And, now you know the rest of the story of a giant gentle man who began his military career right here in Central Georgia, sixty eight years ago this summer.
In memory of James Arness and Paul Harvey, two of my favorite all time heroes. And, to my mother, Jane Scott Thompson, who lived and worked at Lakeside Park that summer renting bathing suits to the Camp Wheeler soldiers and keeping the change they left in their pockets.
Cap Garrett knew how to lead. In fact, he was a leader for most of his life. From his youthful days when he led processions of his siblings and friends in his back yard to his golden days when he led the fledgling town of Dublin into The Emerald City, one of the Peach State's largest cities. Although he wasn't the richest man on Bellevue Avenue, known to some as the "Millionaire's Row," Andrew William Garrett knew how to get the job done and who to enlist in his mission to make our city one of Georgia's most prosperous cities.
Andrew William Garrett was born in Sparta, Georgia on November 10, 1870. Although Garrett possessed only the rudimentary elements of a small public school education, the Hancock countian became one of Dublin's most astute financial men. When Cap Garrett first arrived in Dublin, he found his new home, a Phoenix rising out of the mire of alcohol loving and uneducated men, governed by the remaining sons of the Antebellum plantation days. Dublin was still without a true bank. It would be several years later before the formation of the Dublin Banking Company. Garrett was first hired as the bank's exchange clerk. He left the bank for a better position in the bank across the street, the Laurens Banking Company.
Cap's stay at the Laurens Banking Company was short lived, for in 1902, Frank Corker, President of the newly chartered First National Bank of Dublin, hired Garrett as the bank's first Cashier. A decade later, the First National would move into its new quarters, a skyscraper on the corner of South Jefferson and West Madison streets. Known as the tallest building between Macon and Savannah, the bank itself became the largest bank between the two cities as well. In 1917, just before the boll weevil attacked and killed the cotton crop, Laurens County was home to seventeen banks, a total matched only by Fulton and Chatham counties.
As Vice-President, A.W. Garrett oversaw the daily operations of the bank. When the economy began to collapse during the years of World War I when vital cotton crops, which had only years before pumped millions of dollars into the local economy, collapsed, tenant farmers began to migrate to the North. One by one, Dublin banks began to fail. Garrett stood firm in his opposition to buying the assets of the Dublin-Laurens Bank, the merged institution of his former employers. Nevertheless, his fellow directors disregarded Garrett's advice and went ahead with the purchase. The result was a financial disaster. In 1928, after desperate attempts by Garrett and others, the powerful First National Bank closed its doors, leaving the once thriving city without a bank. To Garrett, who had invested nearly all of his assets in the bank, the failure was financially fatal. He lost everything he had.
Cap Garrett had known despair before. His beloved Mamie died in childbirth in 1906. She was only 29 years old. Garrett had left his home and moved to Dublin to establish himself as a businessman before proposing marriage to the love of his life, Miss Mamie Culver, a Sparta school teacher. The couple married in 1902. To the union were born, two daughters, Elizabeth (Mrs. B.B.) Page and Martha (Mrs. Lewis W.) Turner. When Mamie died, Cap Garrett was left a busy businessman with two small daughters. Garrett wrote an eloquent letter to his sister, Addie in Sparta beseeching her to "come and raise his two motherless little girls to be Christian women." Addie moved into the Garrett household and raised her nieces in the first Garrett home, which was located on the present site of the post office.
A very eligible bachelor, Cap was inundated with casseroles by the eligible ladies of the city. Andrew Garrett married Mary Elizabeth Felder, who had come to Dublin to live with her sister Lula Felder Fuller, who lived across the street from Garrett's home.
In 1910, Garrett, at the zenith of his business career, hired John A. Kelley to build a handsome home on the corner of Bellevue Avenue and North Calhoun streets.
Garrett invested large sums of money into his farm at Garretta, Georgia. Garretta was a rail stop on the Dublin and Southwestern Railroad where it crossed Turkey Creek on present day Highway 441 South. Garrett named his highly successful and productive Greystone Farms, which produced large quantities of cotton, crops and fine livestock, in honor of the favorite summer camp of his daughters.
It was the custom of the day for the city's wealthiest men to subscribe shares of stocks in as many ventures as they could to minimize their losses by diversifying their assets. Garrett was no exception. Cap Garrett's primary interests outside of banking were in the area of insurance and private loans. Garrett joined his neighbor, J.M. Finn, known as Dublin's Number One Citizen, to form the real estate investment firm of Finn, Garrett and Holcomb. He formed the Citizens Loan and Guaranty Company, said to have been the section's largest insurance Company. Garrett invested huge sums into his company, Mutual Life Industrial Insurance Associates.
But, Andrew Garrett was more than just a businessman. He gave back to the community he loved. Cap Garrett helped to form the city's first Y.M.C.A. chapter and the first Board of Trade. And, he was an early advocate and promoter of city parks. He was active in the founding and operation of the first Chamber of Commerce. When the call came out to organize a local Red Cross Chapter in World War I, Cap Garrett jumped to the forefront to help lead the effort. His list of agri-business interests included the Middle Georgia Fertilizer Company, the Dixie Fertilizer Company, and the Dublin Lumber Company.
Garrett generally shied away from politics, but did serve a term as Treasurer of the City of Dublin and a term as an alderman. Late in his life, Garrett conducted an unsuccessful campaign for Tax Commissioner of Laurens County.
Cap Garrett was a devout Methodist. He was Superintendent of the First Methodist Church Sunday School, member of the Board of Stewards, and the founder of the Leaders Sunday School Class - what other class would this inveterate leader be a founder of? The highly reverent Garrett was not too keen on the modern day ways of the youth of his day. But, nearly every Sunday night after church, Garrett allowed his daughters to entertain their friends with punch, cookies and games. When the curfew time came, Garrett would come to the head of the stairs, clear his throat, and watch as his daughters' guests said pleasant goodbyes and thank yous for a fine evening, remembered his granddaughter, Betty Page. Betty fondly remembers the Sundays when her grandfather would stop by on his way to church to take his grandchildren to Sunday School, but not before taking the time to read the funny papers, to them a ritual which always amused everyone.
Captain Andrew William Garrett, dubbed a monarch of finance, and with integrity of the highest order, was loved for his concern for the common folks of the city. Garrett, who had seen economic booms and financial calamities, maintained that good crops were the key to financial prosperity. He said, "Good crops provide abundant work, not merely in the harvest field, but on the railroads, the factories, and in every department of business. The farmer is the real fountainhead of progress."
January 23, 1939 was a sad day in Dublin. Cap Garrett was dead. For the first time in nearly fifty years, Andrew W. Garrett was not there at the helm to improve and keep building the town he loved, Dublin, The Emerald City.
"A soldier's soldier." That is what they all said about Lt. Col. William C. "Doc" Stinson, Jr., a native of Laurens County. Members of veteran's and patriotic organizations joined dozens of members of the Stinson family at the First Baptist Family Life Center on Memorial Day to honor the memory of Lt. Col. Stinson, a graduate of West Point, one of the first advisors to serve in Vietnam and one of the highest ranking officers to be killed in battle during the Vietnam War. His memory will be permanently preserved with the naming of the northern leg of the Highway 441 Bypass in his honor.
Last year, Laurens County Commissioner Buddy Adams launched an effort to honor the two-time recipient of the Silver Star, our nation's third highest award for heroism. Adams contacted state officials and worked diligently to make the project a reality. Later this year around Veteran's Day, the southern leg of the bypass will be named for Lt. Kelso Horne, one of the oldest paratroopers on D-Day and whose picture on the cover of Life magazine is still one of the most coveted by military collectors today.
Members of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and National Daughters of the American Revolution were present as well as a host of family friends and patriots. The Laurens County Rural Fire Department, led by Dan Bray, the Official State of Georgia bagpiper, posted the colors. Mrs. E.B. Claxton, Jr., John Laurens Chapter, N.S.D.A.R., led the audience in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Elizabeth Holmes, a senior at Trinity Christian High School, sung a stirring rendition of the National Anthem. After a presentation of the life story of Col. Stinson by Scott B. Thompson, Sr., Clay Young, also a senior at Trinity Christian School, inspired those present with his performance of Lee Greenwood's, God Bless the U.S.A..
Mike Letson, a son-in-law of Lt. Col. Stinson, spoke on behalf of the Stinson family. He thanked Buddy Adams for hosting and organizing the event. Letson told the story of a man, he never knew, but reiterated the universal adjectives which described him; courageous, caring, and dedicated. He told of his achievements during his career and that his father-in-law lost his life while rescuing his dead and dying soldiers. Letson spoke of the significant legacy Stinson left to his family by saying,
"He made a huge sacrifice in serving his country, in that he never knew his adult family. "I am sure that Col. Stinson is smiling down on us all today," Letson concluded.
Col. Ray Battle, a classmate of Col. Stinson at West Point, spoke of his days at the Academy with his friend. Before beginning his remarks, Col. Battle recognized the veterans and current members of the armed forces present in the audience.
Battle stated that if he ever wrote about a book about his friend, he would call it Born To Be A Soldier. Battle stated, "It was two young boys from Dublin, Georgia confined to a prison with gray granite walls right in the middle of Yankee land where they taught us everything we did except to pray in their bunks at night."
Stinson and Battle became close friends in same company at Camp Bunker. He remembered the time when he and Stinson learned of the elder Stinson's capture by the enemy in North Korea. Battle continued, " Doc made a friend of all who came his way. He chose to be an infantry officer. His oustanding career was cut short when he was attempting to rescue his men." .
In the beginning of their senior year, Doc volunteered to be a cheerleader for the Army football team. "Back in 1949, men played football and women were cheerleaders," Battle quipped. Battle asked his friend, "What in the world you doing this for?" To which "Doc" responded, "Ray, it is like this: Army is going to play Georgia Tech in Atlanta this year and I will travel with the team. When I get there, Mildred will be there." Battle smiled. Upon graduation Doc and Mildred were married in the chapel at West Point.
Battle hoped, "I wish there was a way to put on that sign, 'Lt. Col. William "Doc" Stinson and family,' because their sacrifice is very real." "Doc Stinson was born to be a soldier. He lived a soldier's life. And, he died being a solider." And, what a magnificent soldier he was." one of Stinson's oldest and dearest friends concluded.
All eyes turned to stage left as Lt. Col. Stinson's first cousins, Buddy Adams and Jimmy Stinson, unveiled one of the official state highway markers which will be put in place on Tuesday. Adams made special arrangements to have four smaller versions of the sign, which he and Jimmy Stinson presented to the Colonel's widow, Mildred Stinson, and his daughters, Dawn, Leigh, and Katherine, along with seven grandchildren, one great-grandchild and a host of other relatives.
The colors were retired to the hauntingly beautiful Amazing Grace and God Bless America. Promptly at three o'clock during the reception, members of the American Legion called for a moment of silence as the crowd paused for the National Moment of Remembrance while bagpiper Bray played taps.
After the meeting, Mrs. Stinson spoke of her husband fondly, "I told him not to go to combat in Vietnam, but he went away." She remembered the good times she and her husband had during his military career. "Some people didn't enjoy it, but we did. We got to meet a lot of people from different backgrounds. My husband never met a stranger," the native of Glenwood and former resident of Dublin concluded.
Gloria Richardson couldn't hold back her tears when she heard her brother's name mentioned during Memorial Day ceremonies Sunday afternoon at the Carl Vinson VA auditorium. In 1968, her brother Jimmy Bedgood was killed in action in Vietnam. The loss was compounded by the fact that she lost her personal guardian, one whom she could turn to in times of crisis. Her mother, Louise Purvis, had been at the ceremonies before. In fact, the Gold Star Mother has been present at every Memorial Day and Veterans Day service at the VA since 1968 with the exception of the time she was too ill in an Augusta hospital.
A small group of family and friends of fallen heroes, along with the purely patriotic, gathered together on Sunday afternoon to pay homage to those American servicemen who gave their lives in defense of our country. Emcee Johnny Payne, a former combat veteran of the Vietnam War, welcomed the audience. Harriett Claxton, representing the John Laurens Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, led the recitation of the American's Creed and the Pledge of Allegiance. After Rhonda Hambrick sung the National Anthem, a combined honor guard of the Dublin Police Department and the Laurens County Fire Department posted the colors.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Steven Greer, of Eastman, Georgia. Dr. Greer is a professor of terrorism and security studies at American Military University and serves on the Center for Security Policy Military Committee in Washington, DC. Greer was a former special assistant to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and served as the only retired Non-commissioned Officer on the Secretary's Military Analyst Group. He served as a Senior Fellow at the National Defense Council Foundation conducting research on terrorism and briefed members of Congress on detainee policy issues.
Between 2003 and 2008 he gave more than 400 television and radio interviews on Fox, CNN and other national programs. A twenty-year Army veteran, Greer competed four times in the Grange Best Ranger Competition, the most physically and mentally challenging 3-day competition in the world. The son of an Army soldier served as a Ranger Squad Leader, Special Forces Weapons Sergeant, Special Forces Intelligence Sergeant, Special Forces A-Detachment Sergeant, Instructor at the Special Warfare Center, Infantry Company First Sergeant, Commandant of the Light-fighters School, and Command Sergeant Major for two light infantry battalions and one infantry brigade. At 33 years of age, he was selected as one of the youngest Sergeants Major in Army history.
"I think its encouraging that the seats aren't filled, because the reason that I and others went off to battle was so that we can do the things we enjoy doing in a free society," the former Sergeant Major said in commenting on the small crowd in attendance. "I was fighting so that I can come home and pitch with my son, do something with my daughter, hug my wife, grill or drive my pickup truck," said the veteran special forces expert. Greer reflected back on the twenty-one close friends he had lost in battle. "We are so fortunate that in this country that we have men and women of courage, character, and confidence to go to places like Afghanistan, Vietnam and Korea, Europe and France to fight for our freedoms," he added. Greer challenged the young members of the audience that none of things they enjoy today come from communism, totalitarianism, and dictatorships. "It only happens under democracy. Greer stated as he summed up his message by saying, "When you grow up do yourself a favor and serve your nation and serve well because it has served you. Do something for your country before we no longer have a country that will do something for you."
Greer reminisced about the friends he lost in Afghanistan, especially MSG "Chief" Carlson, a descendant of the Black Feet Indian tribe and the toughest soldier he ever met in the United States Army. Carlson, after 21 years in the Army as a Special Forces expert, volunteered to return to Afghanistan as a member of the CIA, only to be killed in the line of duty.
After the conclusion of Dr. Greer's remarks, Chandler M. Beasley, Sr. rose from his wheel chair at the back of the auditorium and carried a memorial wreath as he walked solemnly to the front of the stage. The former Marine and veteran of the Pacific Theater in World War II snapped to attention and saluted the memory of our fallen heroes, many of whom he had to leave behind on the island beaches and jungles of the Pacific. After the war, Beasley joined the reorganized National Guard Unit in Dublin and served for thirty-three years.
Refreshments were served by members of the First Baptist Church. On Monday afternoon at 3 p.m, a Moment of Silence was held, and the colors were retired. The National Moment of Remembrance was established in 2000 after a group of school children answered what Memorial Day meant to them by saying, "that's the day the pools open."
Strange Stories of Nature
Strange stories of animals and their behavior were often used by newspaper editors to fill spaces between regular news stories. Not all of these stories can readily be believed, but some of them are true, or at least true with a little bit of hype and embellishment. So here are a few pieces of our past for all of you animal lovers out there.
A DOG OF GOD- Seems that there was a time, way back in 1880, when there was a dog in Dublin that ran all over the town. The canine never seemed to show up for a church service, except for Sunday evening services when the dog was a regular visitor. When the church bell tolled, the dog poignantly howled in reverence to the proceedings inside. Macon Telegraph, August 20, 1880.
WHERE OH WHERE HAS MY LITTLE DOG GONE?- Sam Harris was looking for a faithful friend, so he bought a dog. The Thomasville carpenter paid for his hound and had it shipped from Dublin in a wooden crate. Harris went to check on his dog the next morning and found that it was gone. Then, a few days later, Harris received a letter saying that the dog had returned to Dublin. The question was, how did a dog, crated inside a train, find its way all the way from Thomasville back to Dublin? Atlanta Constitution, May 30, 1926.
I THOUGHT I SAW A BUNNY CAT - W.B. Jones caught a pair of young rabbits in his garden. Also hanging around was an old Maltese cat which recently lost all of her kittens. The caring cat adopted the bunnies and looked after them as if they were her own children. Macon Telegraph, April 23, 1888.
HOW NOW OLD COW - Henry C. Stanley was right proud of his cow. He claimed it was nearly a century old. Stanley said he got the cow from his great-aunt, a Mrs. Kuntz, of Dublin. He had the cow for 16 years and his aunt had owned it for a long, long time. How then could anyone explain how an animal which lives generally to a maximum of twenty-two years, be almost a hundred years old. The Atlanta Constitution believed Stanley to be an honest man, but this story about a century-old milk cow seems to be a little bit of bull. Atlanta Constitution, May 1, 1889.
A PARTRIDGE AND A CHICKEN NEST - S.J. Fountain was out walking a couple of hundred yards from this plantation home in the Bethel District of Wilkinson County one day when he discovered a hen's nest, which contained four chicken eggs. Guarding the nest was a male partridge. Fascinated by his discovery, Fountain returned home and told his friends of the amazing sight. Upon his return, Fountain and his crew found three chicks under the guarding wings of the partridge. The fourth egg was already pipped. Fountain removed the pheasant-like bird, which promptly headed toward a nearby branch with three chicks following it. A few days later, Fountain returned to the scene to secure the birds to further show off his astonishing find. Alas, a huge slithering snake had killed two of the baby chickens and was setting its sights on the other. Fountain was able to rescue the surviving chick, but not the partridge, which wanted no part of being put on display and quickly disappeared into the woods. Atlanta Constitution, July 12, 1889.
Paul Yopp knew that chickens and partridges were compatible too. He took a young partridge and placed it in the care of one his hens. The hen raised the bird as if were her own. By the time it was grown, the instinctively wild bird had grown so accustomed to the chicken yard that it had no desire to fly the coop. Stevens Point Gazette, June 19, 1886.
FOWL FIGHT - But, not all birds get along with each other. P.M. Solomon was visiting his friend T.J. Renfroe in Laurens County. While sitting in the house, Solomon heard a commotion coming from the chicken yard. The Cochran resident looked out the window and saw a hen and a hawk engaged in a fight to the death. Solomon took the side of his friend's chicken in the fight and quickly ended the battle with a load of buck shot directed at the hawk. Oblivious to the true reason for her opponent's withdrawal from the battle, the hen strutted and cackled like a victorious gamecock, although all but one of the other chickens survived the wrath of the Accipiter. Marion Daily Star, February 19, 1885.
MORE THAN ONE WAY TO KILL A CAT - No, this isn't what you might think it is. It seems that William Lee and Lou Clark were out for a winter hunt for food for their families. Neither man knew of the other's presence. Then, at the same instant, both men fired their rifles in the direction of a wild cat, the same wild cat. One or both of the shots hit their marks. Then the men discussed who killed the cat and how to split their bounty. Atlanta Constitution, January 17, 1887.
MAD COW! - Down in the lower edge of Laurens County, a rabid dog had been terrorizing the community, biting dogs, cows and various other animals. One of the victims of the mad dog was a rather large bull which belonged to a Mr. Wilkes. While under the influence of the infectious disease, the bull began to attack other cows as well as hogs. The hydrophobic bovine gored and ripped open animals along the roads and farms throughout the community. Much faster horses fled for their lives. Then one day, Mary Livingston was taking breakfast for her husband and his farm hands who were in the Oconee River swamp constructing a cypress timber raft. Mrs. Livingston spotted the bull, but it was too late. The bull attacked the woman with his horns and foaming teeth. Mrs. Livingston sought refuge by moving into shoulder deep water. The beast followed her into the river. Livingston screamed for help. Just as the bull poised for a fatal strike, Mrs. Livingston feinted. Her son arrived in the nick of time to drag his seemingly lifeless mother into his rowboat. The mad cow stayed in the water for several hours before returning to feast on Mrs. Livingston's breakfast. It was the bull's last breakfast, as Mr. Livingston put the poor bull out of its and everyone else's misery. Atlanta Constitution, May 28, 1895.
DOE, A DEER, WHAT A FEMALE DEER! - W.B.F. Daniel was out deer hunting when he happened upon a fawn. When Daniel's dog signaled the presence of the wild animal, Billy Daniel rushed forward to capture the fawn for his own pet. The fawn's mother, described as a fine sleek doe, raced to the scene to save her baby. Daniel ordered his dog, Old Roper, to fight off the mother. Daniel joined in the fracas and tried to grab the mother deer. Well, the doe wanted no part of being captured for a pet as well and began to strike back. Then it was reported that Daniel "saw stars and smelled brimstone." When Daniel gathered his senses, both deer were gone and Daniel learned a valuable lesson about messing with a mama's baby. Atlanta Constitution, August 13, 1882.
Being the Best He Could Be
Jimmy Bedgood knew in his mind that he would never celebrate his sixty-fifth birthday last weekend. He knew that he was going to die. And, if he did, he was going to die for his country so his brother wouldn't be killed in the jungles of Vietnam. This is the story of an outgoing, young country boy who always tried to be the best he could be in the finest tradition of the United States Army.
The first Monday in May 1968 was a cool mid-spring day in Dublin. Astronaut Neil Armstrong, still 14 months away from being the first man to set foot on the moon, was nearly killed while flying a lunar landing trainer. Bobby Goldsboro's Honey was spending its 5th week at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Dublin teenagers were listening to the Box Tops, Gary Puckett and the Beatles. The duo of Simon and Garfunkel held down the top two slots on the LP album charts. The Braves lost to the Pirates, 2-1. Newsweek's cover story featured students protesting the war in Vietnam. Most households in Laurens County were tuned to Gunsmoke, Andy Griffith, and The Monkees. Audrey Hepburn was terrified in Wait Until Dark on the giant screen of the Martin Theater. Edward Alligood and James Malone led the Dexter Hornets in defeating the baseball team from Twiggs County. The City of Dublin actually lowered natural gas rates upon a motion by Councilman Junior Scarboro.
Meanwhile in Vietnam, the Viet Cong were launching guerilla attacks throughout the Vietnamese capital of Saigon. One hundred and six young American men died on that single day. United States Army Staff Sergeant Jimmy Bedgood, Service Number 14875003, was one of them. More than fifty thousand American service personnel in all died before the fighting stopped. You can find his name on Panel 55E, line 39 along the bottom of the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C.
Jimmy Bedgood, son of Fermon Bedgood and Louise Purvis, was born on May 20, 1946 in Wrightsville, Georgia. Jimmy, a highly intelligent young man, skipped some courses in school. In speaking of her highly industrious son, Mrs. Purvis said, "I didn't have to support him financially. The spiffy, organized, and picky teenager worked hard and bought everything he needed for school." Jimmy played football at East Laurens High School, graduating from there in 1964. Al Manning remembered Jimmy as a young man who wanted to do the best he could do at everything he did. "For a relatively small teenager, he could hit you very hard," Manning also recalled.
Clinton Lord often double-dated with Jimmy and a girl friend from Dublin. Lord asked the girl's father about letting her date Jimmy. When Clinton issued an unequivocal endorsement of the guy everyone liked and admired, the reluctant parent readily approved the date.
"After graduation, Jimmy Bedgood went to work at Central State Hospital in Milledgeville to work with teenagers with alcohol and drug problems," said his mother, Louise Purvis. "His employers were impressed with his grades and his ability to work with people his own age," his mother added. Bedgood entered the Army in December 1964. After training at Fort Jackson in South Carolina, he was transferred to Fort Hood, Texas, where he remained until his first tour of duty in Vietnam. Soon Bedgood was assigned to the "Big Red One, " the First Division of the United States Army.
On June 14, 1967, while leading a five-man long range recon patrol, Sgt. Bedgood sensed the presence of the enemy and halted his squad just before crossing a stream. Instantly the sergeant saw a ten-manViet Cong patrol approaching his position. After arranging his men for a fire fight, Bedgood called in helicopters to pin down the enemy while he and his men made it to a landing zone and safety. As Bedgood and his men approached the landing zone, they encountered another enemy patrol and engaged and wiped out the force with no American casualties. For his heroic actions, Sgt. Bedgood was awarded the Bronze Star.
On another occasion, Bedgood was serving on a stay behind patrol when he and his men came under a vicious attack just after dusk. With complete disregard for his own personal safety, Bedgood exposed himself to a hail of fire to reach a machine gun emplacement. Bedgood stood up straight and began firing directly in the direction of the incoming enemy fire, eliminating the threat to himself and his men. In awarding another Bronze Star Medal to the Staff Sergeant, the United States Army cited, "His aggressiveness and quick thinking prevented extensive injuries to his men while driving out the enemy." The citation salutes Sgt. Bedgood for his actions which reflected great credit to himself and to the 9th Infantry Division.
In February 1968, just as the Tet Offensive was beginning, Sgt. Bedgood received his fourth bronze star for heroism. At least one of the awards carried a "V device" for unique valor. Also pinned to his chest were not one, but two, Purple Hearts for injuries received in the line of battle.
Jimmy Bedgood came home during a 30-day leave in late March 1968 after his second tour in Vietnam. Clinton Lord last saw Jimmy when he pulled his car into the White Castle Drive-In on North Jefferson Street. Jimmy told Clinton he was shipping out to Vietnam. Lord questioned his motive for going to Vietnam for the third time. Bedgood responded, "It is the promotions, I am going to make this my career." Bedgood told others that one of the reasons he was returning to combat was to try to insure that his brother, Robert Reynolds, wouldn't have to go. Lord remembered his friend saying, "Being in the army is great and it brings direction to my life." Bedgood naturally relished the higher pay that combat soldiers received.
When Jimmy came home for the last time, he brought with him one of his best dress uniforms. He replaced the regulation brass buttons with shiny silver ones. He sewed on shoulder patches of the 1st Infantry Division and the 1st Armored Division. Jimmy placed the suit in his mother's wardrobe where it remained until recently when the uniform was turned over to Commissioner Buddy Adams, Laurens County's curator of military memorabilia. "Jimmy wanted to be buried in that uniform, but I didn't know it." Bedgood told his family that he wouldn't be coming back. They hoped he was wrong. Bedgood's younger sister, Lorene West, loved her big brother. "He called me monkey," Lorene fondly remembered.
Gia Dinh, outside Saigon, Vietnam, May 6, 1968: When Bedgood returned to Vietnam, he was assigned to Co. C of the 52nd Infantry Regiment, a company of combat veterans working as security guards and assigned to the 716th Military Police Battalion. An agreement between the United States and South Vietnam prohibited the stationing of combat forces within Saigon. Only a small contingent of lightly-armed military policemen were allowed to remain within the city.
A Viet Cong squad attacked a bachelor's officers quarters on Plantation Road. An MP patrol responding to the attack was pinned down. Sgt. Bedgood was called to lead a reaction team to rescue them. Bedgood's team covered the trapped Americans until they escaped the ambush. During the attack, a rocket propelled grenade struck Bedgood's jeep, killing him instantly and wounded the other occupants. Nine soldiers of "C" Company lost their lives in defense of the Vietnamese capital. The company's valiant actions led to its award of a Presidential Unit Citation.
Staff Sergeant Bedgood was buried with full military honors in Andersonville National Cemetery. If you have never been there, you owe it to yourself to make the trip - especially on Memorial Day when the entire cemetery is covered with American flags placed on every grave. It will blow your mind. It will make you proud. It made me cry. I think it will make you cry too.
On this Memorial Day, let us all remember Jimmy Bedgood, the little boy playing in his overalls, the smart, hard-working teenager who always did the best he could do at everything he did, and the brave American hero, who gave his life so that all of us would continue to live in a free world.