Saturday, May 16, 2015

THE DAY THE PRESIDENT CAME TO TOWN


    April of 1865 saw the end of the bloodiest and most divisive four years in American History.  Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his cabinet fled Richmond one week before General Lee's surrender at Appomattox.   Davis's plan called for an escape to Texas where the remaining Confederate forces would combine to fight a guerilla type war against the North.   This week marks the 150th anniversary of the day the President came to town.



   Jefferson Davis arrived on May 4th in Washington, Ga. where the Confederate Cabinet held its last session.  Davis and his family headed in two different directions.  The main party paused at Warthen and went south to Sandersville around noon on the 6th of May. Acting Confederate Treasury Secretary John Reagan transacted the last business of the Confederacy in Sandersville.  Davis moved on toward the Oconee River in the area east of Ball's Ferry, with the intentions of camping there for the night.  Shortly after their arrival at Ball's Ferry on the Irwinton to Wrightsville Road, President Davis, whom it has been said were planning a westward course,  and his escorts learned of a plan to attack the wagon train of Mrs. Davis which was pressing southward on a converging path.


   Fearing for his family's safety, Davis pressed south along the river road.  Whenever possible they had to travel off the edge of the road in order to hide their trail and prevent visual observation.  After several hours of difficult travel through thick pine woods Davis and his party arrived just before dawn in the Mt. Pleasant and Frog Level communities,near the Laurens County home of E.J. Blackshear.  As the two parties came together, each, at first thought the other was the enemy.  Davis’s pickets discovered that it was Mrs. Davis, the children, and the rest of the party who arrived at the Blackshear home earlier that evening.   After a short reunion, the Davis family had breakfast and then made their plans to resume their journey.  By then,  they knew that Union forces would not be far behind.

     The Union Army had already begun to search for Jefferson Davis.  The best cavalry regiment was selected to proceed east toward Dublin where they would cross the Oconee River and hopefully pick up the trail of Davis's wagon train.  Davis's train of light wagons and ambulances crossed at the Dublin ferry early on the morning of the seventh of May.  From there they proceeded into the center of town.  As was the case of his previous traveling habits, Jefferson Davis traveled separately from the train.  He crossed below  the Dublin Ferry mounted on a fine bay horse.  Davis then proceeded to the southeastern edge of town. 

     Davis never came into town but remained in the area now bounded on the north by Madison Street, east by Decatur Street, south by the railroad, and west by South Franklin Street. 



     The wagon train pulled into Dublin late Sunday morning.  In those days,  Dublin was a small village which had practically died out during the war.  A Confederate officer dismounted and approached the store of Freeman H. Rowe.  Freeman Rowe, a native of Connecticut, operated his mercantile store on the southwest corner of the courthouse square in the spot where the Hicks Building now stands.  Rowe, who had been in Dublin nearly twenty years, advised the officer of the terrain and roads in the county.  He advised the party to proceed south down the Jacksonville Road, which is today known as the Glenwood Road.  While the party was stopped, the Davis's carriage driver, John Davis, noticed a young black girl, Della Conway, approaching him.  After the eventual capture of Jefferson Davis, John Davis would return to Laurens County where he would find and marry Della Conway.  They would live  in Laurens County for forty years before moving to Dodge County where they lived the rest of their lives.  Mr. Rowe extended an invitation to Davis to dine at his house at the southwest corner of Rowe Street and Academy Avenue. Owing to the necessity of pressing on, the officer graciously declined the invitation,  but he did accept freshly cooked food from the Rowe kitchen.  

A detail was sent down to the President to advise him of the direction of travel.  They joined Davis a few miles south of town and proceeded down toward Turkey Creek.  The wagon train first started down the Jacksonville Road (Georgia Highway 19) but shortly moved over to the Telfair Road (U.S. Highway 441). 

 According to the maps of the Union Army Corps of Engineers,  the main road south would have been the Telfair Road (U.S.Highway 441) down to Turkey Creek, after crossing the creek, Davis and his party turned more to the southwest near or along the present day Payne Road and the City of Rentz. Following Snow Hill Church Road and the Old Eastman Road south from the Cadwell area, Davis and his band camped in the forks of Alligator Creek, most likely on the high ground  just below the Laurens-Dodge County line. 

Through the eastern portion of then Pulaski County, Davis continued on along the present day Airport Road.  After crossing the current Highway 46, Davis maintained his southwesterly course until he ran headlong into a overflowing Gum Swamp Creek, a major tributary of the Little Ocmulgee River.  The President’s forward observers found a place to attempt a crossing in the swollen waters of a wide and treacherous swamp.   

After a long day of arduous travel of less than 15 miles, the Confederates came to rest on the western side of the creek, west of Parkerson Church.  The spot was marked in the 1920s by Davis’s carriage John Davis, who returned to the area to mark the exact spot of the camp site, located on the southeast corner of Jefferson Davis Memorial Road and Parkerson Church Road.

From that point, Davis and his band left early on the morning of the 9th along or near Friiendship Baptist Church Road toward the Five Points community arrived at noon at the Levi Harrell farm.  During the rest of the day, the caravan moved south to Rhine, where they turned west  toward Abbeville. 

















     As Jefferson Davis was leaving the campsite at the Blackshear Plantation, Col. Harnden and the Wisconsin Cavalry were preparing to leave their campsite near Marion in Twiggs County.  The cavalry pushed down the Old Macon Road until they came to it’s intersection with the Hawkinsville Road.  The crossroads was then and is now known as Thomas Cross Roads.  The Hawkinsville Road, also known as the Blackshear Trail or Blackshear's Ferry Road, followed an old Uchee Indian trail from Augusta to southern Alabama.  As the Federals were approaching the crossroads, they learned that a contingent of several hundred paroled Confederate cavalry soldiers from General Johnston's army had just passed through there on their way home. This information seemed to be a little alarming to Col. Harnden because the men were mounted and as a precautionary measure he sent Lieutenant Orson P. Clinton and twenty men southwest to Laurens Hill on the Hawkinsville Road to reconnoiter that area.  During the war,  Laurens Hill had been the location of a Confederate commissary of arms and supplies.   As the cavalry approached Laurens County, they ran into small groups of Confederates. 

Harnden proceeded to the ferry where he arrived at 5:00 o'clock in the evening of May 7th.  It was just a few miles north of the ferry where Davis had camped the night before.

         Just as Davis was passing through Laurens County, so were John C. Breckinridge, a Confederate field offficer and the former Vice President of the United States under James Buchanan. Breckinridge hid out on the east side of the river, opposite Dublin and made his way down to Jacksonville, Georgia, the county seat of Telfair County.  The lackluster general, managed to escape to Florida, Cuba, Great Britain and Canada. 







    Following on a more westerly course was Judah P.  Benjamin. Benjamin, the Confederate Secretary of State and a United States Senator from Louisiana,  left Davis and his party and too moving quietly and almost alone.  Benjamin managed to escape to Florida within a week or so, escaping to Europe and safety.






Upon arriving in Dublin, Harnden noticed that the people were considerably excited at their presence.  In an effort to disguise their true reason for being in Dublin, Harnden instructed his men to tell the townspeople that they were establishing courier posts between Macon and Savannah.  The First Wisconsin bivouacked on the flat area between the town and the river, probably along the main road down to the ferry.  Today that road would have been Jackson Street down to Dudley’s Motel and from that point running behind the motel to East Gaines Street to the Dublin ferry, which was located at the mouth of Town Creek just above the Riverwalk Amphitheater.  Colonel Harnden was approached by several of the town’s gentlemen, who insisted that he spend the night in their homes. Colonel Harnden, suspicious and not used to such attention, kindly declined their invitations and remained with his men.

The gentlemen’s insistent requests aroused Harnden’s suspicions that something big was going on.  Questions brought about evasive answers.  Harnden, still oblivious to the fact that he had missed Davis by slightly more than a half day, concluded that it must have been some more important members of Johnston’s army.  Dublin was filled with Confederate officers, all still in uniform, though the war had been effectively over for four weeks.  The officers stood in small groups, eyeing every movement of Harnden’s men with foreboding glances.  Uneasy and dead tired from riding twenty four out of the last thirty six hours, Harnden and his men bedded down for the night.

As Harnden was on the verge of collapsing into sleep, his servant, Bill,  came into his tent to awaken the Colonel with some important news.  Bill, who had been a slave belonging to a staff officer under the command of Confederate general Braxton Bragg and who had waited on General Bragg personally, was left behind when Bragg’s forces were dislodged from Tennessee in 1863. Harnden described Bill as “homely as a hedge hog, but a perfect tyrant over the other darkies.” Harnden trusted Bill, whom he also described as “being true as steel and very intelligent.”  Bill told Colonel Harnden that he found a colored man who wanted to tell him something.  “What is it?” the Colonel asked as he strained to see the man in the pitch black dark night.  Harnden managed to see some of his eyes and knew that he had important information.  The man told Harnden that Jefferson Davis had been in town that day.  Harnden asked the man how he knew it was Jeff Davis.  “Well,” he said, “all the gentlemen called him ‘President Davis’ and he had his wife with him and she was called, ‘Mrs. Davis’.”  (Above) The man told Harnden that Davis had come over the river on a ferry on a nice number of wagons and fine horses.   He added that another large party came into town but did not cross the river.  This group may have been the party of Gen. J.C. Breckenridge, a Confederate General and former Vice President of the United States, who was hiding out in East Dublin.  Gen. Breckinridge barely escaped capture in Laurens Co. and hid out in Telfair Co. for a few days. He later escaped to England.  

Harnden’s suspicions about the gentlemen in Dublin were confirmed when Judge Freeman Rowe, (Rowe House left) who had offered the hospitality of his home to him, had offered the same hospitality to Davis earlier that morning.    Harnden was fearful that the Negro man’s testimony was a ruse to get him to follow the wrong trail, much the same as Judge Rowe had attempted to do.  Harnden trusted Bill’s opinion on the veracity of the informant’s statement.  Bill told the Colonel, “Certain, sure, Colonel, you can believe him, he’s telling God’s truth.”  



To verify the man’s statement, Harnden sent a couple of men down to the ferry to query the ferryman as to who was brought across the river.  “He was either too stupid, ignorant, or obstinate to give us any information of importance,” lamented Harnden, who regretted not complying with the wishes of his sergeant who wanted to “throw the old scamp into the river.”  Harnden returned to his bivouac and summoned Lt. Hewitt, who had been sent to Laurens Hill with thirty men to reconnoiter the area which had once housed a Confederate commissary. 

   Harnden ordered Lt. Lane to remain in Dublin with forty-five men.  Lane’s mission was to scout up and down both sides of the river in hopes of gaining further information as to Davis’s route. Harnden set out with seventy-five men following the trail which had been given to him.  There were no good roads, only trails.  It was dark, very dark.  The cavalrymen were going in circles and during the night, they wound back up in Dublin. 

Despite the misdirection from F.H. Rowe, they proceeded down the Jacksonville Road.  At Turkey Creek, a woman confirmed that a wagon train had passed the afternoon before.  From this point the cavalry entered the unpopulated pine regions of southern Laurens County. They saw few people and quickly lost track of the wagons due to the rain.  While the calvary were attempting to find the trail, a man approached on horseback. Denying that he knew anything,  the man confessed upon threats by the cavalry. He disclosed that the wagon train stopped for the night about eleven miles away.  He guided the cavalry to that spot in the forks of Alligator Creek.  Col. Harden picked up the trail, followed it for a short time and eventually lost it again.  Shortly thereafter the cavalry came upon another guide who,  upon payment for his knowledge,  guided the cavalry to the southern side of the forks of Alligator Creek,  where the trail was again revealed.  After they crossed Gum Swamp Creek, the cavalry stopped for the night as nightfall approached. 
  
Davis left the rest of the party moving southwesterly toward Abbeville on the morning of the 8th.  The torrential rains continued to cripple his escape, but allowed Davis to delay his capture by a day because even the faster cavalry units could not follow washed out trails.  Davis reached the banks of the Ocmulgee in the late evening.  After he  crossed the river, Davis made his camp in a deserted house on the outskirts of Abbeville.  Most of the townspeople knew nothing of his presence due to the heavy rainfall.   The rest of the wagon train crossed the ferry just after midnight.  About 3:00 o'clock on the morning of the ninth a courier was sent by President Davis warning the wagon train of the presence of Union Cavalry in Hawkinsville - only a few miles to the northwest.   

On the last full day of freedom and with only a few moments of sleep the members of the Confederate wagon train pulled out of camp from Abbeville early in the morning of the 9th.  They stopped to rest and a cook a sunrise breakfast about eight to ten miles below Abbeville.  The relentless rains continued to plague the flight of the Confederates.  Davis caught up with the rest of the party in the late afternoon.  With the men and horses completely exhausted, the party crossed a small creek north of Irwinville to camp for the night. 

    It became increasingly apparent that in order to escape to the Trans Mississippi area that President Davis and his party should go ahead before camping for the night.  Davis promised that he would move ahead after a quick meal.  With the last reports of the Union Army in Hawkinsville and no sign of any pursuit, Davis decided to stay with the party for one more night.  


   Just before light on the morning of the ninth, Col. Harnden broke camp and moved toward the Ocmulgee.  He then quickly moved down the river road to Abbeville.  There they were overtaken by the advance scouts of the 4th Mich. Cavalry, under the command of Lt. Col. Ben Pritchard.  Col. Harnden sent Lt. Clinton to the point while he returned to Abbeville.  They continued on the Irwinville Road until nine o'clock that evening.  After traveling forty five miles and not wanting to warn Davis of his presence with a noisy river crossing, the Wisconsin Cavalry halted for the night in a field on the north side a small creek a little over a mile from the Confederates.  The Mich. Cavalry moved north from Irwinville.  Three hours before dawn the Wisconsin and Michigan cavalry soldiers were poised to surround the camp.  Neither regiment knew of the other's presence.  Shots rang out!  The Union Soldiers were firing at each other.  Two men were killed.

     While the two Union regiments were violently bringing the search for Davis to an end, the actual capture of Jefferson Davis was peaceful.  At the instant the firing on the north side of the creek began,  the Michigan Cavalry charged through the Davis's campsite. Davis gave himself up when he felt his wife was being threatened. The Confederates were arrested and taken to Macon.  From Macon, Jefferson Davis was sent to Fortress Monroe Prison in Virginia. 






     While the southern half of Middle Georgia escaped the ravages of battle, it was the site of the last major event of Civil War.  The most critical event in the capture occurred in Dublin, where the Wisconsin Cavalry first learned of Davis's route.  If Col. Harnden had been here a day earlier, then the capture would have been made in Laurens County.  If he been delayed by a couple of days, the capture may have never occurred. 

Ironically, Henry Harnden was a southerner by birth.  The Harndens, a well respected family of Wilmington, North Carolina, served in the forefront of the defense of the port city during the American Revolution.  Born in Wilmington in 1823, Harden moved to Wisconsin in early adulthood.  He enlisted as a private in Company D of the First Wisconsin.  For his acts of valor and meritorious service, Harnden quickly promoted up the chain of  command.  Harnden led a charge against a superior force at Scatterville in 1862, capturing a large number of Confederate prisoners and munitions.   He was severely wounded while leading an attack at Burnt Hickory.  In March of 1865, Harnden was temporarily breveted a Brigadier General in the Union Army.  After the end of his military career, Col. Harnden served in the Wisconsin state assembly.  He served as a trustee of the Soldier’s Orphan Home, a United States Assessor, and a Collector of Internal Revenue.  Harnden spent the last year of his life as Commander of the Wisconsin Department of the Grand Army of the Republic.  He died in 1900 and was buried in the Forest Hill Cemetery in Madison.

As Davis and his party attempted to elude capture by Federal authorities along their secretive and meandering path through the countryside of the Carolinas and Georgia, Davis rode with John Taylor Wood, John H. Reagan, Francis Lubbock and William Preston Johnston,  four remarkable members  of President Davis’s senior staff.   This  quartet of Davis’s most trusted and experienced aides provided invaluable services to the President, his family, and members of his staff.   With his primary destination being Texas, Davis assembled a group, which included three Texans and one naval officer, just in case the alternate plan of fleeing by ship to England was necessary.   When Davis was informed of a possible attack on his family in the main wagon train, Colonels Wood, Lubbock and Johnston aided Davis in his frantic and eventually successful search for his family, which culminated at the home of E.J. Blackshear at the intersection of the current day Ben Hall Lake Road and Willie Wood Road.   Secretary Reagan remained with Mrs. Davis and her children during the ordeal and acted as the leader of the wagon train when the group approached the Dublin store of Freeman H. Rowe in the mid morning of May 7th seeking directions as to the best and most direct route to the southwest.  

John Taylor Wood graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1853.  Wood, a son of an Army surgeon, served in the Mexican War and in the Mediterranean Sea.  In April 1861, the native of Minnesota, resigned his commission in the Federal navy to assume a neutral stance in the burgeoning conflict.  Six months later, Wood received a commission as a First Lieutenant in the Confederate Navy.    Lieutenant Wood was assigned to duty along the eastern shore of Virginia.   He served aboard the ironclad C.S.S. Virginia, aka C.S.S. Merrimac, which was destroyed in its legendary encounter with the U.S.S. Monitor.  During the next two years, Wood led a series of successful raids against Union ships along the Virginia coastline.  For his valuable service to Confederate President Davis, Lt. Wood was promoted to Commander.  At the same time, he was promoted to the rank of Colonel in the Confederate Calvary, a unique distinction in any military force.   

Known for his daring military exploits, Wood played a vital role as a liaison between the two branches of the Confederate military and the civilian government.  In the last summer of the war, Commander Wood took command of the CSS Tallahassee and made effective attacks on Federal ships along the Atlantic coast.  Near the end of the war, Wood was promoted to the rank of Captain.  As the government of the Confederacy began to crumble in the last weeks of the war, Captain Wood was summoned to Richmond to aid Davis and his cabinet in their attempted escape from Federal authorities.  While most members of Davis’s cabinet left Davis during his flight, Wood remained with Davis all the way to Irwinville, where he was captured.  Wood managed to escape a long prison sentence and made his way to Cuba and then to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he became a businessman.  Wood died at the age of seventy-four in 1904. 

John H. Reagan floundered around during his youth before he set out for Texas to seek his fortune.  Reagan served as a soldier, surveyor and scout before he became an attorney. Reagan rose in the political ranks first as a county judge, a member of the 2nd Texas Legislature and finally as a United States Congressman in 1857. Upon the secession of the Confederate States in January 1861, Cong. Reagan resigned his seat in Congress and returned to Texas.  Reagan represented Texas in the Secession Convention in Montgomery.  He was appointed by the Confederate government as Postmaster General of the Confederacy.  His tight management of the Postal Service led to criticism by the Southern people.  After the resignation of George A. Trenholm, Reagan briefly assumed the duty of Treasury Secretary of the Confederacy until he was captured along with Davis near Irwinville.  

Reagan was confined to solitary confinement along with Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens for twenty-two weeks at Fort Warren.    After urging his fellow Texans to cooperate with the Federal occupation of their state, he returned in political disgrace.   The opinions of is fellow politicians and constituents reversed and Reagan was returned to the favor of the Democratic party.   He was easily elected to Congress in 1874 and remained in office until 1887.  Cong. Reagan served a brief stint as a United States Senator before resigning to become the first Railroad Commissioner of Texas.  Commissioner Reagan served as Commissioner of Railroads until 1903.  At the age of eighty-six, Reagan, “The Old Roman of Texas,” died in Palestine, Texas in January 1905.  
Francis Lubbock, a native of Beaufort, South Carolina, migrated to Texas in 1836. Lubbock was first appointed Clerk of the House of Representatives and later  as Comptroller of the Republic of Texas by President Sam Houston.   Lubbock resigned his position to serve a sixteen-year term as the district clerk of Harris County, Texas.   In 1857, he was elected Lieutenant Governor of the “Lone Star” state.  After the secession of the Southern states in 1861, Lubbock was elected Governor of Texas.   

 Gov. Lubbock opted not to seek a second term as governor and seek a post in the Confederate military instead.  After serving a brief term in Louisiana,    Lubbock was made a Colonel and given a position on the staff of President Davis.  The two developed a close personal relationship. Col. Lubbock  was with the President when he was captured in Irwinville.  After nearly eight months of solitary confinement in a Federal prison, Lubbock returned to Texas for a career in ranching and business.  He served as State Treasurer from 1878 to 1891.   Gov. Lubbock died in June 1905 at the age of eighty-nine.

William Preston Johnston, a native of Kentucky, was raised by his maternal grandfather General William Preston.  Johnston’s father General Albert Sidney Johnston, a former Secretary of War of the Republic of Texas and a military hero in his own right, was one of the most revered and admired generals in the Confederate Army until he was killed at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862.  William Johnston graduated from Yale in 1852 and studied law at the University of Louisville at Louisville, Kentucky, where he took up the practice of law.    During the war, Johnston was given a position as an aide-de-camp to Jefferson Davis. Johnston was with the president until the final moment of his capture at Irwinville.

After the war, Johnston accepted a position chair of the history and English departments at Washington & Lee University by that’s school’s first president, Gen. Robert E.  Lee.  After ten years of teaching at the Virginia college, Johnston moved to Louisiana, where in 1880, he accepted the presidency of Louisiana State University.  In 1884, he became the first president of Tulane University.   During his teaching career, Johnston published several volumes of poetry, wrote numerous magazine articles and authored a biography of his father.  He died in 1899 and was buried in Lexington, Virginia. 

Decades after the capture, Col. Henry Harnden pointed to the moment that a Negro slave walked into his tent between the courthouse and ferry in Dublin and told the Wisconsin cavalryman of Jefferson Davis’ recent presence as the key to his capture.  Had that man not come forward, Harnden doubted if he would have ever captured the fleeing Confederate leader. 


Jefferson Davis Highway Marker
in front of Dublin's Southside Fire Station
Intersection of S. Jefferson Street and 
Saxon Street. 



Monday, May 11, 2015

ANNIE YARBOROUGH


Georgia’s Second Female African American Dentist







































Dr. Annie Yarborough may or may not have been the first African-American female dentist to practice dentistry in the State of Georgia, but she was certainly the second African-American woman ever to be awarded a license by the state.  Dr. Yarborough was the first woman ever to practice her profession outside of Athens, Georgia, where Dr. Ida Mae Hiram hung her out her shingle in 1910.

Born Annie E. Taylor on July 18, 1882 in Eatonton, Georgia, Dr. Yarborough was the mulatto daughter of the Rev. Hilliard Taylor and Anna E. Pennaman.  Her maternal grandfather, Morris Penneman, was a successful farmer and mill right and for his time a large landowner among a small group of former slaves who owned land in post Civil War Georgia.

Annie attended the public schools of Eatonton. After she graduated from high school in 1896, Annie enrolled at the Atlanta University.  Life was difficult for Annie and her family after Rev. Taylor died all too young.    She was educated in the field of education and took her first job in her hometown.    Miss Taylor moved out of town and taught in the Putnam County schools before moving to Jasper, Dodge and Laurens Counties.   In her spare time and between school terms, Annie was quite a successful dressmaker and fancy seamstress.

It was during her tenure in Laurens County that Annie met Dr. Adolphus Yarborough.  They fell in love and married on February 22, 1906.    Adolphus Yarborough learned his dental skills while working as an office boy.   Before he entered Dental School, Adolphus worked as a porter.   He was regarded by many as the best mechanical dentist of his race in Georgia.    Adolphus Yarborough, born in September 1881,  was a son of Nelson and Charley Yarborough and was the first African American dentist to practice in Laurens County.  When they first got married, Adolphus and Annie lived in his father's home on Marion Street in Dublin. 

Annie longed to work beside her husband.  Adolphus' office hours and home visits rarely allowed the couple to see each other, so Annie made up her mind that she was going to become a dentist.  There was only one problem.  There were no black female dentists and Georgia and no black dental schools in the state either.   

Annie had to leave Dublin and move to Nashville, Tennessee where she enrolled at Meharry Medical College.  During her first year at Meharry, Annie was elected to teach sewing and domestic science at Walden University.  In another rarity, Annie was both a student and a teacher at the same time.  

In the spring of 1910, Annie Taylor Yarborough walked across the stage and accepted her diploma as a graduate.  Dr. Ida Mae Hiram, credited as the first female African-American dentist in Georgia was also a member of Class of 1910.    Later that same year Dr. Hiram passed the dental board examinations and joined her husband in their dental office in Athens.    It would be another year before Dr. Yarborough would be officially licensed to practice in Georgia.

Dr. Yarborough was active in the Baptist Church.  She was an outstanding member of the Household of Ruth and the Court of Calenthe.  

The onset of World War I provided new opportunities for dental students and practicing dentists as well.  Black dentists finally thought this may be their chance to expand their practices beyond their own race.  Applications to the newly created Dental Reserve Corps poured in.  Annie Yarborough was one of the first to apply.  On June 6, 1917, just two months after the United States officially entered the war, Dr. Yarborough volunteered for service.  Her two brothers had served in the 9th and 10th Cavalry during the Spanish American War and at the age of thirty four, Annie believed it was her duty to serve her country.  She informed the Army that she was one of the few female dentists in her state (either black or white) and had completed four years of dental education at Meharry College.

Four weeks later, the office of the Surgeon General of the Army issued its standard denial of all women applicants, though the offer was appreciated.  As the war progressed, the policy of no women in the Dental Corps changed. 

During, or shortly after the war, the Yarboroughs divorced.  Annie, with no children, changed her name back to her maiden name and lived in a house at 626 South Jefferson Street in Dublin with her mother and her sister Leola Smith and her husband Henry.

Following the 1920 Census, Dr. Annie Taylor seems to vanish from Dublin.  I could find no records of her.  Perhaps she, like her father, died young.  Maybe she moved to another town.  Who knows?  If you know, contact me immediately.

Dr. Annie Taylor Yarborough was a woman of high integrity, high education and one whom all of Laurens County can rightfully and deservedly be proud of.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

MOVED BY THE WALL

When you touch it, it will touch you. 


People came by the thousands, more than fifteen thousand in fact.  People like two-month old Drake Edge, whose great uncle was killed in Vietnam, and 100-year-old Arthur Afdahl, who served in World War II, came from all over Laurens County, Georgia and the Southeast came to the grounds of the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center during four hot August days to pay homage to more than 58,000 Americans who gave their lives for their country during the war in Vietnam which lasted from 1958 to 1975.



Inscribed on the black panels of the Vietnam Wall are the names of fifteen Laurens Countians.   The typical man was a 26 year old white male, a  Baptist, married and one hundred and sixty one days into his tour.  The average commissioned and non-commissioned officer was a 37 year old white male, a Baptist, married and more than one year into his tour.  The typical private was a 22 year old white male, a Baptist, single and 154 days into his tour.

The oldest Laurens Countian killed in Vietnam was forty four year old Lt. Col, Harlow Gary Clark, Jr.  The youngest was Cpl. David Lee Copeland, some two months short of his 20th birthday.  The first man killed was Sgt. First Class James A. Starley, who was killed in an explosion on Feb. 22, 1965.  The last man killed was PFC George Wayne Baker on June 9, 1970.  Both Specialist Four Bobby Finney and PFC George Baker were killed in action on the 21st day of their first tour.

The highest ranking officers killed were Lt. Col. Harlow Gary Clark, Jr., who was killed when his helicopter crashed on March 7, 1966. And Lt. Col. William Clyde Stinson, Jr., who was awarded two Silver Star Medals for heroism, was killed in his helicopter while attempting to rescue some of his wounded soldiers.

“I felt like Dublin could be an important part of making sure Vietnam veterans were acknowledged for the sacrifices they endured and honored for their service to our country and all of us,” said Jennifer Whipple Whiddon, a member of the John Laurens Chapter of the N.S.D.A.R. who first came up with idea to bring the Moving Wall to Dublin more than two years ago.

“This being the war of my own generation made me feel personally indebted and responsible for carrying this project through,” said Jennifer, who devoted a lot of her spare time raising money for the project in the beginning.

Whiddon enlisted the aid of the Laurens County Historical Society to sponsor and raise large sums of money to pay the cost of the wall itself and all necessary expenses.  Dr. Stephen Svanovec, a Historical Society director, joined the cause by managing the funds.


That’s when Johnny Payne, a Vietnam veteran and perpetual patriot, took command.  With the aid of County Commissioner Buddy Adams, also a perpetual patriot, all of the plans fell into place.  When the chance came to take an earlier date, Payne jumped at the chance to hold the event.

“The committees commitment to this mission was just outstanding. Working with the men and women who helped bring this to our community was such and honor and it was only through their hard work and planing that made it such a huge success, said Payne, who believes the wall's visit here was one of the all time historic events in  Laurens County.

“To  escort three spouses who had never seen their husbands name to the panels was such an honor. To see them reach out and touch their husbands names on the wall was an overwhelming experience for me, one which I will cherish forever.... To hear them say that they could now begin to find some healing and bring  closure after all these decades in the loss of their husbands.”  declared Payne,  who has seen death in Vietnam up close and personally and was himself moved by the reverence and respect displayed who came to the wall.

The volunteers, numbering more than 400, are too numerous to single out.  Jack Baynes led the lay out of the grounds with the help of a Sunday school class of senior citizens from First Baptist Church.  Mike Brooks and his ramp crew from the Dublin Civitan Club built a walkway the entire length of the wall.   A major part of the success of the event was the support and dedication by the VA Hospital and its entire staff, too numerous to mention, sufficed to say that they all took part.

The four-day event, held on August 14-18, was kicked off as David “Hound” Blanton and his corps of Patriot Riders motorcyclists and dozens of law enforcement officers escorted the wall through Dublin to the VA, where the riders helped to erect the 253-foot- long, half-scale replica of the wall.

Major General Jim Butterworth, Adjutant General of the Georgia National Guard, gave the keynote address in the opening ceremonies, hosted by  Master of Ceremonies, Allen Thomas and which featured the music of The Wardlaw Brothers, Kellie Knight, Dick Burrell and Tom Turner.  United States Senator Johnny Isakson was on hand to salute these American heroes.

For four days, visitors left remembrances and gifts at the base of the wall.  On Friday, thousands of school students came and left thank you notes to servicemen who died four decades before they were born.  And on every morning, volunteers cleaned the wall. And on every night, Marvin Barlow came in the middle of the night to clean it again just because he couldn’t stand the thought of any smudges on the hallowed memorial.  And, there every night was Vietnam veteran and frequent VA volunteer Gus Albritton, who would pull out his guitar and sing to the fallen heroes.

For almost eighty straight hours, volunteers read the list of names from the wall going through the full list one and a half times.   The ladies of the DAR and other volunteers kept a detailed list of each of the 15,000 plus visitors.  The research staff, led in part by teenager Paxton Smith, was able to direct many people to the exact spot where a name was located.

One man came on mission.  After sitting for a long time, he walked over to the wall to honor a pledge to a fallen comrade.  The men had an agreement to share a beer after the war, so the man drank one bottle and took the remaining five to the wall along with five cups with a note which stated in part, “Here’s the beer I promised and I left some cups if your buddies want a sip.”  In point of fact, many of the visitors were Vietnam veterans who came by to remember their old long, lost friends.

The closing ceremony was held on sweltering Sunday evening, which, as if divinely on cue, turned refreshingly cool as dark clouds and a cooling breeze swept over the grounds.  After remarks by Georgia congressman John Barrow and Georgia Attorney General Sam Ohlens, General James Sehorn gave the concluding address. A special salute was made to POW John H. South, whose son John South and first wife Phyllis Parrish were in attendance.

General Sehorn, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” spoke of duty to country and of the men whom he served with in Vietnam, remarking that he had never been to the wall as it was too painful for him to relive the deaths of his men and close fellow POWs.

After nearly everyone had gone home, Gen. Sehorn quietly moved over to the reference table, found the names of several of his closest friends who died in Vietnam, and walked alone out to the wall first time to pay his respects to those who gave the last full measure of devotion to our country.

In some way, everyone who walked along the wall and read the names were moved. Some were moved to tears;  tears of anguish, tears of closure and tears of love.  Others were moved to accept those who gave their lives as heroes and not killers.  And, still others were moved to resolve that this type of war shall never deeply divide our country ever again.

The Dublin-Laurens Museum is featuring an exhibit in its new quarters at 702 Bellevue Avenue, which will commemorate the week when the patriots of Laurens County and the surrounding areas came by the tens of thousands to tell all of the 58,195  veterans “thank you for their sacrifices and a well deserved welcome home.”

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

MARVIN METHODIST CHURCH

MARVIN METHODIST CHURCH




















You may have never heard of Marvin Church. And, you probably never knew it was in Laurens County, much less that actually it still is.  Yet, many of you ride by it nearly every week and never knew it was there.  Wearing a disguise of clay bricks, Marvin Methodist still stands more than one hundred and thirty years after it was first built.  Transported from its original location on the New Buckeye Road in northeastern Laurens County, the small one room church is now a part of Centenary Methodist Church, which recently closed its doors after nearly ninety years of service to the Lord.

The story of Marvin Church actually goes back to January of 1866, when Professor Gustavas Adolfus Holcomb, a teacher from Riddleville, Georgia, opened a school on the old W.O. Prescott Place on the Dublin to Sandersville Road.  Sixty seven students came to class on the first day, eager to learn.  Holcomb's school house was a one room log structure, measuring only eighteen by twenty feet.  Obviously with less than five square feet per pupil, the facility was not large enough to accommodate the students.  Parents rushed into action and added a forty by fifty-foot shelter. The ten-foot-tall addition rested upon heart pine posts.  The floor was made of rough pine planks nailed to a foundation of logs.  The cover was made from five- foot pine boards, cut from local woods and fastened with nails made in a local blacksmith shop.   One end of the shelter was boarded up entirely and the others were left open except about three feet around the three sides at the bottom, which gave an appearance of an enclosure.

The primitive school house had no heat.  On colder days, the teacher and the students built a large fire out on the grounds and positioned their school benches as close to the heart of the fire as possible.  In the school's early days, twenty of the older kids were denied the opportunity to attend school because they were serving in the Confederate army.  These young men, who had experienced vast extremes of heat and cold, spent most of their time in outdoor classrooms.
In 1867, the Methodist Conference sent the Rev. John Morgan of Guyton, Georgia, to serve as the minister of the Dublin Circuit.  At the time, there were only four Methodist churches in the circuit.  The main church was in Dublin with three churches located in eastern Laurens County at Boiling Springs, Gethsemane and what would become Lovett Methodist Church, but which was then a small church about one mile north of Lovett, known as "Gopher Hill," taking its name from the fact that gophers had chosen this sand hill for easy digging of their holes.

Church services began in the school, which was affectionately known as "the Shelter."  Rev. Morgan kept his appointments to preach on the third Sunday of every month.  The Rev. Thomas Harris, a Christian Church minister from Sandersville, preached to his flock late in the evening on every fourth Sunday. Frederick W. Flanders, a member of a clan of Methodist ministers from Johnson and Emanuel Counties, filled in when ever he had a free Sunday.

For nearly a decade, the plan of filing engagements had to suffice until a permanent church could be established.  After ten years of planning and hoping, it was the energy of a young minister, H.M. Williams, that provided the impetus to build at church at "the Shelter."

During the four years in which Rev. Morgan served the yet organized and unofficial church, local residents subscribed twelve hundred dollars to build a permanent house of worship.  Any building needs a plan and it was obvious that Col. John M. Stubbs was just the man to design the church.  Stubbs, a lawyer by profession and a man of many talents, lived just up the road at Tucker's Crossroads, the seat of his wife's family, the Tuckers.  Mrs. Stubbs' father was Dr. Nathan Tucker, the largest plantation owner in the area and one of the largest property owners in the county.  Stubbs tried several plans and attempted to come up with final cost estimates.  He settled on his design which included a magnificent edifice with a tall steeple.   His estimate of a cost at five thousand dollars discouraged many citizens whose resources were scant in the days of Reconstruction and its aftermath.  The young lawyer's ambitious plans were abandoned in favor of the status quo.

 Only when Rev. Williams rekindled up a new interest, did the citizens of the community come forward with their pledges and subscriptions to pay for the framing and weather boarding.   A new site one mile south from "the Shelter" was chosen as a more desirable location at a meeting at the old "Shelter."  

Sixteen people stepped forward to form the new church to be named Marvin. The members represented many of the oldest and wealthiest citizens of the community.   They were: Elijah F. Blackshear, Mrs. Elijah F. Blackshear, William H. Walker, Mrs. William H. Walker, Kinchen H. Walker, Richard A. Kellam, Mrs. Temperance Kellam, Miss Addie F. Kellam, Winfield B. Smith, Alfred A. Morgan, Laura M. Smith, Mrs. Polly Garnto, Mrs. Rebecca Davis, Mrs. I.M. Blackshear, David S. Blackshear, Mrs. Susan Mason and Mrs. Winifred Mason.  

The first Board of Stewards was composed of Kinchen H. Walker, Richard A. Kellam, W.B. Smith and David S. Blackshear.  After the election of stewards, the next step was to give the church a new name.  Suggestions were sought from the members.  Some suggested the traditional names such as Evergreen and Olivet.   One person suggested naming the new church Guyton in honor of Joseph M. Guyton and Col. C.S. Guyton who had given the land for the site.  A disillusioned old gentleman rose from his seat in the back of the church and proposed  the name of "Luck and Trouble."   Rev. Williams asked the pessimistic old man, who was somewhat of an agnostic, why he suggested that name he supplied should be used.  He responded that "they were lucky to get it so far and trouble to get it further." Rev. Williams proposed the name of "Marvin" in honor of Bishop Enoch Mather Marvin.  Rev. Williams's suggestion seemed most popular and the new church was given the name
of "Marvin."

Robert H. Hightower instructed his mill hands to furnish the lumber from his mill, some sixteen miles away in Johnson County.  T.J. Blackshear volunteered to hall the lumber with a three-yoke team of oxen as his matching contribution. David Stout Blackshear directed the construction.  With little or no haste the the church was framed, weather boarded and covered The building remained unfinished until about 1885, when the work was finally completed.  During the interim, regular services were held at  "the Shelter."

After the organizing of Marvin Church, the membership increased until the day of opening the new church   A large enrollment of members were present.  The church was not dedicated until 1885.  Dr. J.O.H. Clark preached the dedication sermon. George C. Thompson was pastor at that time.  The following preachers filled the pulpit at intervals.  Rev. A.M. Williams, Rev. F.W. Flanders, Rev. Hudson, Rev. Powell, Rev. Hearn. Rev. H.A. Hodges, Rev. Joseph Carr and Rev. G.M. Prescott, a local preacher.

By the 1940s, the church, located on the western side of the Buckeye Road, just before it intersects with the Cullens/Ben Hall Lake Road,  was abandoned and was used sparingly for funerals in the church yard cemetery.  After decades of abandonment, the building was removed some twenty five years ago and annexed to  Centenary Methodist Church on Telfair Street, where it still stands today. 

LOVETT, GEORGIA

LOVETT, GEORGIA
A Look Back


The town of Lovett is the third oldest incorporated town in Laurens County, losing  the honor of being the oldest town not including Dublin or Brewton, which it finished behind  by a mere three days in 1889.   At the turn of the 20th Century much of the experiences in Lovett was published in the Macon Weekly Telegraph.  Then without any explanation the snippets of the shenanigans and shining moments disappeared leaving the historians with virtually no record of the events which happened there until surviving issues of the Dublin papers began to chronicle her past. But when the calendars began to replace the 18s with the 19s,  Lovett could be lively and Lovett could be lovely. And, Lovett could be lurid, but loving too.

Just after Easter Sunday, the Rev. George C. Matthews, a former minister of the First Methodist Church in Dublin and a founder of the Holiness movement in Georgia, was the featured speaker at the South Georgia Holiness Association's annual meeting.  The streets of Lovett were crowded with  hundreds of people, all in town to hear the elegant sermons of Rev. Matthews and a host of other prominent religious leaders.   Association organizers provided special daily train rides for the large crowds  from Garbutt's Mill to the meeting place, a large sixty foot by ninety foot cloth tent.  The professing Christians met for more than a dozen days.  The Rev. W.A. Dodge, Matthew's counterpart in the North Georgia District, spoke to the gathering, estimated to have been more than two thousand believers and sinners. As the session came to a close, thousands appeared at the tent.  They came on foot, on horseback, in wagons and on trains. They came early and continued to assemble after the climactic service began.  Rev. Dodge preached the morning sermon and spoke only to the men that afternoon.  Mrs. Crumpler spoke to the ladies, while the men folk talked about manly things.  It was reported that the meeting exceeded any other meeting ever held in Lovett in the good it did and "many sinners were moved to repentance and conversion - and the town was generally shaken up."

But, as it goes in small towns of the day, the good news turned to bad news, within a cycle of the moon.  Pebe Hall and Miss Radford of Lovett had gone down to the Big Ohoopee River at Snell's Bridge for a day of jollity and picnicking.  Leaving their friends on the banks of the river, Pebe and his best girl rowed their boat into the center of the stream. All of a sudden the boat wobbled throwing the couple into the swollen stream.  They cried out for help, and help was on its way.  But before they could be rescued, the popular couple disappeared down to the sandy bottom of the muddy water. The pall of their deaths lasted a long time in the minds of their many friends.

It would only be three fortnights before another dead body would be found in the merciless waters of the Big Ohoopee near Snell's Bridge.  A crowd of men were seining the river for a mess of fish when to their utmost horror the fisherman found a solitary leg and a man's head.  Attached to what remained of his neck was a 150 pound iron bar.  A closer examination of their nets revealed a satchel and several articles of clothing.    Investigating officials determined the dismembered remains belonged to one George Yates, who had disappeared three months earlier on March 4th.  There were suspects.  Just to make sure, Georgia governor Allen D. Candler offered a one hundred dollar reward for the villainous perpetrators.

Within a week, George Yates rose to the surface, not from the water or his grave, but he had been alive all the time.  Thoughts of the identity of the corpse turned to Jack Benedict of Athens.  Thought to have been wearing similar clothes at the time of his disappearance led Dr. Benedict, the brother of the suspected victim, to examine the remains and determine that the skull sizes matched. Believing that the Athens physician was simply seeking closure to his brother's fate, the investigation continued.    J.T. O'Neal, a convicted bootlegger who had vanished after his release, may have been the casualty of vindictive co-conspirators he helped to convict.    Johnson County Ordinary J.E. Page continued to investigate the true identity of the mystery man.

Just as the citizens of Lovett were trying to overcome the horrors of the river deaths, a small epidemic of smallpox terrified every man, woman and child.  Between two and three dozen cases of the deadly disease were reported in a small area between Harrison and Lovett.   Physicians were summoned and comprehensive vaccinations were begun, ending the crisis.

Another month brought another tragedy.  On the 9th of August, Bascom Flanders was trying to find a seat on the wood in the tender of a fast running train when he lost his balance and fell to the ground striking his head against an series of immovable cross ties.  Little hope for his recovery was given.

On the lighter side, the farmers of Lovett were enjoying a plentiful season, raising enough corn, fodder and provisions to provide for their families for another year, without being forced into debt.  Ike Askew brought the first two bales of cotton into town on August 9th.    Mr. E.A. Lovett paid Askew $5.80 for his prized bales.  By the end of the month, heavy tropical rains severely damaged the unpicked half of the cotton crop. Fears of losses were erased by the first of October, most of the
farmers were happy. But Lovett continued to grow.  Sidewalks were given much needed and overdue repairs and three new handsome homes were erected that summer.  The young people were preparing a concert and a traveling showman thrilled the congregation of folks with a ascension of his hot air balloon.

The townsfolk of Lovett were proud of the wonderful springs on Tucker's Mill Creek. Although unnamed in a newspaper article, these springs are now known as the "Thundering Springs," which are located three crow fly miles west of town.  Folk medicine believers swore by the healing effects of the mineral laden waters which erupted from the earth.  The boil of the spring was constant and constantly rose about a foot above the surrounding water level.  The springs were ideal for swimming and bathing because even the poorest swimmer could never sink below his heart.   Determined divers attempted to touch the bottom, but the force of the boiling water pushed them back to the surface.  It was said that on cloudy days, the roar of the springs, which emanate from miles and miles away,  rival the loudest reports of an approaching  thunderstorm.

After a festive, and somewhat lively,  holiday season and the end of the 19th Century, promises of bigger and better things were abundant in Lovett.    On the very first day of the 20th Century, six inches of snow covered and killed  a fine crop of winter wheat and oats in the fields. J.T. Lovett was chosen as the century's first mayor.  E.A. Lovett, A.T. Cobb, W.J. Stewart, P.M. Johnson and Z.M. Sterling constituted the town's first council in the 20th Century.    Professor W.J. Daley opened the doors of the Lovett School.  Fifty kids came to class and more were expected to attend. E.F. Cary and W.J. Stewart established an Express office in town. Lovett farmers planned to increase corn plantings in the spring.  The farms and saw mills of the area were so profitable that the lack of available laborers became a problem.

RETURN TO OZ



 

For nearly seventy years, Karl Slover has been following the Yellow Brick Road to the land of Oz. Though he and his fellow midget actors were on screen for less than ten minutes in the epic film "The Wizard of Oz," the Munchkins have become icons of American cinematic history. Finally, and most fittingly, seven of the nine surviving members of the Munchkin cast returned to Hollywood, California, where their legend began in 1939. During the week of Thanksgiving, on a boulevard lined with golden stars, Karl Slover, Mickey Carroll, Ruth Duccini, Margaret Pelligrini, Meinhardt Raabe, Clarence Swensen and Jerry Maren accepted a well deserved and long overdue star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on behalf of the 124 actors, who welcomed Dorothy Gale over the rainbow.

Many people thought that the Munchkins were already honored with their own stars. Chicago restauranteur Ted Bulthaup led the effort to have the Munchkins awarded their own star. His dream was aided by such Hollywood icons as Steven Speilberg, George Lucas, Ted Turner and dozens more. Actually they are the only group of characters to be so honored for their memorable, albeit brief, appearance on the big screen.


Karl Slover, a resident of the Sheridan Place in Dublin, received the news this past summer.

The 89-year- old Slover frequently travels throughout the country to Oz festivals and autograph sessions. Upon the receipt of the news, Sheridan director Gina Ensley Drown and her staff began the preparations for the trip to Hollywood during the week of Thanksgiving. A dozen Dubliners traveled to Hollywood to accompany Karl. Ten travelers stayed up all night following a Dublin football game to catch an early morning flight. The celebration began on Sunday night with a delicious meal hosted by Mayor Phil Best and his wife Cile at the L.A. Prime, some three hundred feet above downtown Los Angeles. Mayor Best presented an honorary award to Karl, who was accompanied by his niece Gay Griffit.


The festivities began in earnest on November 19 at Graumann’s Chinese Theater. The Hollywood Preservation Society sponsored a showing of "The Wizard of Oz." It would be the last time that this legendary film, specially enhanced just for this showing, would ever be shown in its technicolor format on the big screen. The entrance to the theater, one of the country’s most historic movie houses, was lined with yellow brick road carpet, a battalion of cameramen, and a few hundred adoring fans and passers by. My son Scotty and I, along with Pam Green of WDIG-TV got our crowded guard rail spots two hours early. The official media stood in relative comfort across the aisle in their reserved places. While the rented spotlights beamed into the unusually foggy L.A. sky, the honored guests began to arrive.


As the Munchkins began to walk down the yellow carpet, a hoard of media, more voracious than the wicked witch’s monkeys, swarmed over Karl and the other midget actors. They don’t mind being called midgets, because that’s what they are. After the honorees had their pictures taken with the sponsors and in clips for the national networks, the ceremony opened with a humorous introduction by Gary Owens, of "Laugh In" and "The Gong Show" fame. Stan Taffel, a comedian and Hollywood historian interviewed the Munchkins. When it came Karl’s turn, he began to sing "We’re off to see the Wizard," a charming tune which drew a loud round of applause and quite a few tears.

The feature of the night was the showing of the Wizard of Oz in the same theater it premiered in August 1939. The picture was so clear you really could see the freckles on Dorothy’s face. If you have never seen the movie on a big screen, you missed a wonderful treat. And though most of the audience had seen the movie before - some dozens of times - there was reciting of the lines, applause, laughter, and cheers throughout the showing. Some in the Dublin delegation drew the attention of several photographers and a documentary cinematographer as we were all dressed in emerald city green attire, each of us wearing specially designed "Karl Slover Fan Club" buttons. Also present that night were actresses Tippi Hedren, of Alfred Hitchcock’s "The Birds," Margaret O’Brien of "Meet Me in St. Louis" and a childhood friend of Judy Garland, and Anne Rutherford, who played a sister of Scarlett O’Hara in "Gone With the Wind." The granddaughter of Frank Morgan, who portrayed the Wizard and several other Emerald City residents, was in attendance along with the great grandson of L. Frank Baum, the writer and creator of the story. There were also several actors who portrayed Munchkins present, but because they were children and not midgets, they were inexplicably - to me anyway - not included in the festivities.

The highlight of the week came on Tuesday morning with the star presentation ceremony.


Hosted by Johnny Grant, the "Mayor of Hollywood," and Joe Luft, son of Judy Garland, and a squad of politicos, the ceremony began right on time. Covering the entrance to the theater was a tall arch of balloons simulating a rainbow. The Munchkins arrived from their hotel rooms in a carriage, pulled by a horse of a different color. This particular steed was a pale purple one. The crowd swelled. The Hollywood High School band played. Cameras went high into the air to catch a glimpse of the little people as they approached the podium. We had been at our station near the star site for two hours, long before any of the crowd arrived.


The Munchkins walked down a wider and much longer yellow carpet strip to the site of their star, located at the far eastern end of the theater. In front of a battery of television and still photographers and barely within our view, the star was finally unveiled. After thousands of photographs and hours of film were taken, Karl and his comrades were given another carriage ride back to the Roosevelt Hotel.

Following the presentation ceremony, a luncheon was held in honor of the Munchkins in the Blossom Room of the hotel. In the very room where the first Academy Awards were held in 1929, the tables were decorated with green table cloths and illuminated underneath to give the room a virescent glow, reminiscent of the chamber of the Wizard of Oz. Behind the dais was a striking rendition of the Emerald City. The tables were decorated with baskets filled with red poppies and a stuffed toy version of Toto. The luncheon passed all too quickly before the actors were once again whisked off to face the media for one final time and much to the chagrin of autograph seekers who had politely waited until they finished eating.

Karl’s final night in Hollywood was spent with his niece and the folks from Dublin in a quiet restaurant on Sunset Boulevard. Following a long day and puny luncheon food, Karl enjoyed the largest hamburger he ever saw. Still hungry, Karl downed a big bowl of chocolate ice cream.

Karl enjoyed the visit and appreciated the honor that he and his fellow Munchkins had finally received. Though he was honored to be there, he found nothing very exciting in Hollywood like he did seventy years ago. Feeling smothered by the media sticking microphones in his face and blinding his eyes with spot lights, the little man with the big smile was glad to be back in the "Emerald City" of Dublin. "Heck yeah, I am glad to be home," Karl said, "after all, there’s no place like home."