FOWL PLAY - We used to hang horse thieves and cattle rustlers. But the question remains, what do you do with a chicken stealer. Times were getting tough after World War I. Actually, times were tough before and after the "War to End All Wars." And quite frankly, they still are. A rash of thefts of chickens began to plague the city of Dublin. The chicken kleptomania reached a pinnacle in the weeks before Christmas in 1920, sending chicken and even turkey owners into a panic. There were many a Dubliner who fancied themselves as breeders of fine chickens. These were the folks who were especially worried about the snatching of a prize rooster or hen. It appeared to police that a gang of chicken coppers conducted planned and systematic raids in all the chicken houses and turkey coops, one section of the city at a time, and with great success. Police were at loss to catch the poultry pluckers as they helped themselves to fine chickens and fat turkeys just in time for Christmas.
One chicken thief went after the best chickens he could steal. Everyone knew that N.G. Bartlett, Secretary of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, had some of the finest Rhode Island Reds anywhere in town. Arthur Davis knew it. And, he was bound and determined to get his hands on the fine fowl, hoping to sell them for a substantial profit.
Davis sold a couple of fine hens to a restaurant keeper at a cheap price. Several days later, Davis reappeared and sold the man some more at a bargain. The restauranteur became suspicious and reported the incident to the police. Baffled as what to do with the hens, the officers decided for their own safety, to put the birds in a jail cell in the woman's section of the city barracks, that is until the identity of their true owner could be determined.
When Bartlett heard that there was a pair of laying hens locked up in the jail, he immediately went to investigate the suspect for himself. After being hit three times in two weeks, Bartlett discovered that Davis' shoe was approximately the same size as the footprints left outside of his coop. The police verified Bartlett's finding and quickly set out to the restaurant before any more stolen chickens were fried, filleted or boiled. At the eating establishment they found Bartlett's pet chicken along with several other of Bartlett's prize poultry who were about to be put on the menu. Macon Telegraph, March 26, 1919, March 20, 1920, Dec. 12, 1920,
EQUAL RIGHTS - In 1882 all the children born in Dublin were boys. The following year all the new born babies were girls. "Colman's Rural World, Jan. 3, 1884"
BANANAS FOR SANTA - George Griffin was proud of his produce. At Christmas time in 1882, Griffin brought some of it into the store of L.C. Perry & Co. What was unusual about this fruit was that they were bananas. And they were fresh. That's right! Seems Griffin had planted his banana plant some four years prior and protected it from the cold winters. The four-foot-tall bush produced about a baker's dozen or so of the yellow delicacies, which were almost as sweet and delicious as the imported variety. "Southern Cultivator, January, 1883"
A BIRD IN THE HAND IS SHOT - When William Sugge of Dublin fired his gun, it blew off his hand. It appeared as if chimney swifts filled the barrel with clay. "Saturday Evening Post, Dec. 3, 1881"
WELL SHUT MY MOUTH - John Doe, a twenty-one-year-old Dublin resident, woke up after a long night's slumber. He noticed he couldn't hear a sound and when he spoke no sound came from his mouth. The young man, who remained nameless, was said to have been in his early twenties, was very intelligent, and was a general favorite of everyone. "National Police Gazette, Sept. 18, 1880, Macon Telegraph, August 11, 1880"
THE WINNER BY A NOSE - Ed Outlaw and Billie Martin were working on the same stack of timber near Condor. Neither man realized how close they were until Outlaw's axe split Martin's nose in two. "Dublin Post, January 8, 1879"
I'LL HAVE THREE WHOPPERS PLEASE - Mary McDermott, of the United Kingdom, thought she had the record. Her three whoppers weighed twenty-four pounds. The Guinness Book of World Records confirmed her astonishing feat. What Guinness' record keepers don't know was that in the late winter of 1888, Mrs. C.I. Howell, of the Buckeye District of Laurens County, had her three whoppers. They topped the scales at an average weight of ten pounds a piece. No, these whoppers weren't large mouth bass or pumpkins, these prizes were three brand new bouncing babies. The triplets, described by the Dublin Gazette as "as a fine and healthy looking babies as can be found anywhere," weighed a total of thirty pounds.
A TOWN WITH PITY - Anyone who saw her couldn't help but pity poor Mrs. Milly Gibson. With no one to care for her, Milly was relegated to be an inmate of the Laurens County Almshouse. It was truly a shame. Here was a woman whose skull bones had been for years gradually gaping open at both the longitudinal and transverse sutures. Only the skin of her head kept her brains from oozing out of her skull. Puzzled physicians could take her pulse by placing their fingers in the fissures.
To keep her brain inside her head, Mrs. Gibson kept a kerchief tightly bound around her head fearing that it would burst open when the band was removed, even for a short time. In spite of her problems, she was considered to be as nimble as a cricket.
By the summer of 1880, Mrs. Gibson began to fail. On the 4th of July, she was still cooking a mess of vittles with the best of any cook in the county. Dr. Harrison reported to the Dublin Gazette that Milly "was drawn into a semicircle and cannot stand at all, and she can lie only about two hours in twenty-four." The 90-year-old woman did not weigh more than forty or fifty pounds, the approximate weight of her worn skin and crumbling bones, all of which were plainly visible. Her skull crevices continued to widen, causing blindness and bleeding through her nose. Mrs. Gibson told Dr. Harrison that she felt as if every bone in her body was broken.
On September 11, 1880, the torture mercifully ended. Mrs. Gibson was probably buried in the poor farm cemetery on the grounds of the Southern Pines Complex. Finally at peace, Milly Gibson was characterized as a 50-year opium eater, a 73-year inveterate smoker, and a 70-year member of the Methodist Church. Dublin Post, Sept. 10, 1879, Sept. 15, 1880, Macon Telegraph, Aug. 8, 11, 13, 1880.