As the year 1909 came to an end, Dublin and Laurens County were on the apex of a tsunami. The county and her capital were among the ten largest in the state in population. Times were good, although within another decade, the unfettered growth would come to a screeching halt.
Though cotton acreage was being reduced because of the lack of money, low prices for cotton and high cost of mules, good things were happening. Some of them were important and some were merely trivial. Here are a few of the highlights for the final year of the first decade of the 20th Century.
W.B. Rice purchased a 30-horse power Cadillac car, the most powerful in Dublin, from Miller Brothers.
H.H. Smith hired the Rev. George C. Thompson to design a five-story building on the northwest corner of N. Jackson and N. Jefferson Streets. Smith offered to pay thirty-thousand dollars of the cost and try to raise another thirty-five thousand to erect the building which was supposed to house the Laurens Banking Company on its first floor. The project never got off the ground.
Hardy Ellington, who lived on the plantation of E.W. Fordham, owned a hen which laid half pound eggs.
Members of the Catholic Church purchased a lot from the Dublin Real Estate Company on the corner of Elm and Stonewall Streets for the erection of a new church. The plan was abandoned when Victoire Stubbs, widow of the late Col. John M. Stubbs, donated a portion of her land on North Church Street for the erection of the new church, which ceased to be used as a Catholic Church on this past Christmas Day.
In 1909, pedestrians in Dublin were finally able to walk on concrete sidewalks, ones which were manufactured by the Georgia Hydraulic Stone Company. The company used quality sand from ancient sand dunes just off the current Nathaniel Drive in East Dublin to manufacture its hexangol pavers.
Frank McCall was struck by lightning and killed in the cemetery near the home of Anderson Whitehead some three and one half miles west of Dublin. He was attending the funeral of Eliza Taylor. Dr. B.D. Perry was present and pronounced McCall dead of a broken neck. McCall was returned to town in the same funeral wagon which brought out the body of Mrs. Taylor.
Some irritated citizens objected to straw (hay) rides. It seemed that they believed the participants thought that they must sing and laugh so loud that they could be heard from one end of the block to the other.
Preparations were made for a race from Dublin to Atlanta. Entry fees were set at $10.00. The prize for first place was 30 percent of the pool. The second place finisher garnered 20 percent, while the 3rd place finisher took 10 percent. The next eight took the remaining 40 percent.
Dixie Cotton Co. moved from Sandersville to Dublin. The company had 25 offices in Georgia. H.M. Carrere, secretary and treasurer, announced that the company would absorb the Bashinski brother's business, which was located in the Georgia Warehouse and Cotton Compress building. J.R. Powel of that company remained with the new venture. E.A. Lovett of Wrightsville was a director, along with J.R. Powel, W.G.S. Rowe, and Izzie Bashinski of Dublin. More than fifty-four thousand bales of cotton were processed at the Georgia Warehouse and Cotton Compress Company during the year ending 8/31/1909.
A debate society was organized at the library. Its first officers were President Peter S. Twitty, Vice President Jule B Green, and Secretary C.B Heidt.
An application for a charter of the Bank of Rentz was made by H.D. Barron, B.P. Wynn, W.E. Bedingfield, R.C. Coleman, B.A. Moye, M.R. Mackey, I.S. Knight, and T.J. Taylor. The bank's initial capital stock was $25,000.00. Mr. F.M. Kirkpatrick of Adel was hired as the cashier. Messers H.D. Barron, B.P. Wynn, W.E. Bedingfield, R.C. Coleman, B.A. Moye, M.R. Mackey, I.S. Knight and T.J. Taylor were among those asking for the charter, although many other citizens of Rentz and its vicinity are among the list of stockholders. The success of the bank was certain. The bank's backers believed the men behind it were the most enterprising in the county, and Rentz would soon have one of the best banking institutions in the state. The bank eventually merged with Citizens and Southern Bank, a six decades later.
L.B. Holt and G.C. Wood of Sandersville, and H.C. Coleman, Jr., W.H. Mullis, Sr., J.A. Burch, H.C. Burch, H.R. Bedingfield, A. McCook, H.C. Stonecypher, and W.B. Coleman, all of Cadwell, petitioned for charter for Cadwell Banking Company, which began business with an initial capital of $25,000.00.
The name of the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy was changed to the Oconee Chapter. The new club's officers were President Mrs. J.A. Thomas, First Vice-President Mrs. L.R. Reinhart, Second Vice President Mrs. T.J. Pritchett, Secretary, Mamie New, Corresponding Secretary Lily Hightower, Treasurer Mrs. Miller, Historian Mrs. V.L. Stanley, and Assistant Historian Mrs. L.W. Miller.
Harris M. "Hal" Stanley, a Dublin newspaper man, was elected as Grand Outer Guard of the Georgia Knights of Pythias.
A petition for the incorporation of Ebenezer High School in Dudley was made by M.M. Hobbs, T. Bright, and Otto Daniel. The trustees of Ebenezer School were Chairman W.T. Haskins, Treasurer J.A. Hogan, along with F. Bobbitt; R.S. Shiver, and W.W. Grant.
To the surprise of all who heard and those few who saw, Hayden Lowery walked into a local newspaper office and presented the stunned onlookers a mess of watermelons fresh from his patch on Christmas Day.
So, as I complete my thirteenth year of bringing you Pieces of Our Past, I wish all of you a healthy, prosperous and happy new year. I thank all of you for your encouragement for me to keep on writing. Moreover, to the thousands of you whose prayers helped me to survive my critical cardiac moment, I thank you for the bottom of my newly repaired heart.