Presented by the Laurens County Historical Society, Dublin, Georgia. For questions and information, please contact Scott B. Thompson, Sr. at

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Offspring of the Sun

They are a people shrouded in mystery. No one alive knows their complete story and who they really were. These highly advanced people once lived in Laurens County many, many years ago. Today, less than three thousand of the once prolific tribe remain in the United States. There are few, if any, persons who speak their language fluently. They are a proud people, who today call themselves "Tsoyaha," or "Offspring of the Sun," or alternatively, "Children of the Sun." Others claim the name means "situated yonder, or "children of the Sun from far away."

One possible explanation of the name lies in the fact that most of the Indian tribes of North America crossed a land bridge from Asia to North America. It is reasonable to believe that the wandering bands traveled south to find warmer conditions. It also stands to reason that since they worshiped the Sun, these Indians would continue to travel southeasterly toward the direction of the sunrise in hopes of "touching the Sun." When the sojourners reached the Atlantic Ocean, they were forced to stop and settle in the Southeast.

Known by a variety of names, the Yuchi or Uchee were thought to have originated out of eastern Tennessee River Valley. The tribe’s most extensive habitation seems to have been between the Ogeechee and Savannah Rivers in Georgia.

In the east-central Georgia area, evidence of their presence comes in the form of creek and trail names. In Wilkinson County, just below Ball’s Ferry Bridge is Uchee Creek, which lies at the junction of the Oconee River and the Upper Uchee Trail, which ran from southern Alabama to the Savannah River area near Augusta. In Laurens County, the Lower Uchee Trail enters the county near the old Whitehall Plantation on the Bleckley County line. The main path roughly follows Georgia Highway 26 until its intersection with U.S. Highway 80. From that point, the trail ran in a northeasterly direction along the Old Hawkinsville Road past the Laurens County land fill, before turning in a more easterly direction crossing U.S. Highway 441, the Toomsboro Road and traversing the Oconee River just above the Dublin Country Club. From there, the trail roughly follows Highway 319 along a northeasterly course to the Savannah River, south of Augusta.

Although there is little or no evidence beyond the 18th Century, the Yuchi spoke a language that does not resemble any known language of the Southeastern United States.

18th Century explorer William Bartram said, "They are in a confederacy with the Creeks, but do not mix with them. On account of their numbers and strength they are of importance enough to excite and draw upon them the jealousy of the whole Muscogee Confederacy and are usually at a variance." Bartram reported that the Yuchi occupied the largest town (1000-1500) that he saw during his travels. Some believe that the Yuchi were actually slaves of the Creeks, who lived along the mid Chattahoochee River. Indian agent Benjamin Hawkins wrote the people of the Yuchi "They were more civil and orderly than their neighbors, and their women are more chaste and the their men better hunters. The men take part in the labors of the women, and are more constant in their attachment to their women than is usual among red people."

The Yuchi believed the Earth was created by the forces of nature. They believed at the beginning of time there was the air and the water, both of which were inhabited by animals. Changes came. The crawfish, after four days of scouring the ocean floors, dove to the bottom of the water and brought up a load of dirt from which the ground was made. The crawfish was almost dead, but the other animals picked him up. The birds picked out the dirt, rolled it into balls, and then dropped them into the water. The dirt, thin at first, began to harden and the land was created.

The animals gathered together to decide how to light their new lands. The panther was chosen for his ability to streak across the heavens. When the panther failed, the spider was chosen, but his light was too dim. So, they chose the moon and the moon’s light was still not bright enough. The animals chose the Sun and it went back and forth across the sky and forever illuminated the Earth.

Once upon a time, the chipmunk wanted the night to be brought upon the earth. The chipmunk said that persons needed to rest and they couldn’t sleep and procreate in the brightness of the day. This angered the panther, who jumped upon and scratched the back of the little creature, who today still bears the red stripes as the scars of the panther’s claws.

The Yuchi believed that they descended from the female blood of the Sun. For hundreds of years the Yuchi conducted ceremonies to celebrate their solar heritage. Most of the ceremonies took place during the time of the maturity of the corn crop in late June and early July. Dancing, singing and music were integral parts of the Yuchi ceremonies.

Yuchi lived in permanent village sites near streams and rivers. Their houses, grouped in square lots, were often made of clay and covered with bark. Known as superior farmers, the Yuchi were master makers of pottery and pipes. They utilized wood, stone, flint and animal parts for making all sorts of tools, clothes and implements.

During the early decades of the 19th Century, Yuchi populations began to wane. They did take part in the Indians Wars of the War of 1812 and sided with the Upper Creeks against the American government. In retaliation for their stance, Yuchi villages were destroyed by the American friendly, Lower Creek tribes.

When the American and Georgia governments forced the removal of the Indian from Georgia and the Southeast, the Yuchi traveled with the Creeks to the newly formed Indian territory of Oklahoma. They lived in a separate town until the Creek Nation was dissolved in 1906.

The tales of the lives of the Yuchi are fascinating to anyone who reads them. To learn more, read Ethnology of the Yuchi Indians, Frank G. Speck, Philadelphia, 1909. It is available on line through Google book search.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Prisoners at Laurens County Prisoner of Work Camp, 1943.

"The Goat Man" Chess McCartney

The Bank of Dudley, ca. 1905.

The White Spot Restaurant
Who’s In The Name?

We drive and walk on them every day. But, do we ever stop and think for whom are the streets of our cities are named? Some streets are named for people in our community or our nation who have made outstanding accomplishments to the betterment of our lives. Others are simply generic names, chosen by developers, or just names that sound good,fancy, or clever.

In the early 1900s, J.D. Smith, one of the Emerald City’s most wealthy businessmen and real estate owners, purchased a tract of land lying on what was then the western limits of the City of Dublin. Smith decided to name the streets in his subdivision for himself and his family members. So, he instructed the surveyor to lay out Beulah, Rosa, and Sallie as the north to south streets and John and even J.D. as the east to west streets. It goes without saying and I won’t say that these names just didn’t have that certain ring to them. Who would be proud of an address of 1101 J.D. Street? Some might think that it was a reference to the mega-millionaire J.D. Rockfeller. Without much adieu, the north to south streets were renamed Mimosa, Rosewood and West Drive. John Street was changed to Highland, which would later be extended further west and give rise to the name of a new subdivision by the name of Highland Woods at it’s western end. J.D. Street was eliminated and will be forever known as Woodrow Avenue as a permanent memorial to President Woodrow Wilson.

In the wave of sympathy following the death of Woodrow Wilson, the Dublin City Council granted the requests of Wilson’s admirers to name the street running out to the site of the Old Dublin Academy along what was called Academy Avenue. When the avenue’s residents complained, the council reversed its position.

Bellevue, or Bellview, Avenue first began to appear in public records in the mid 1880s. Before then, the dirt road was quaintly known as “The Old Hawkinsville Wagon Road.” But, take a look at the root words of the name. “Belle” is derived from the French word “beau” for beautiful. In the English language, “Belle” is defined as a beautiful woman. So, did the person who came up with the name of Bellevue mean “a view of a beautiful woman,” or just “a beautiful view.” Anyone who has ever seen the avenue, especially in it’s heyday, would tell you that Bellevue means “a beautiful view.”

New homes were erected on the southern side of Bellevue in the late 1890s and early 1900s in subdivisions known as “The New Dublin Subdivision” and “Bellevue Park.” The main artery of these subdivisions was originally known as Stanley Street, named in honor of Rollin Stanley, an early resident of the area. But, in the surge of nostalgia of the War Between The States in the 1890s and early 1900s, the city opted to rename Stanley Street to became Stonewall Street in honor of the iconic and beloved Confederate General, Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson.

Calhoun Street was named for Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina. Calhoun was an early advocate for State Rights, a cause which was a leading factor in the South’s withdrawal from the Union. Outler Street was originally named “Banker’s Avenue,” perhaps in honor of the bankers who lived in the upscale neighborhood. Ramsey Street, which should be correctly spelled “Ramsay Street,” was named in honor of Col. W.S. Ramsay, who built his home on the site of the South Atlantic ACA, in the 1870s. Coney Street was named for Joel Coney, a prominent resident of Dublin in the latter half of the 1800s.

On the north side of Bellevue was the farm of John T. Duncan. Duncan Street was named for this former sheriff and Judge of the Court of Ordinary, who was one of Dublin’s most influential and loved citizens.

Many streets are named for trees and rightfully so. Trees are an integral part of our community’s heritage and should be treasured as such. Hopefully there will be no nightmares on Elm Street. Though some postmen may suffer from the horrors of deciding which Elm Street the letter is supposed to go to. In point of fact, there is a North Elm Street and a South Elm Street in Dublin. In East Dublin however, there are two separate Elm Streets. One is two blocks north of Central Drive between Buckeye Road and Jordan Street, which by the way, used the be the Wrightsville Highway. The other Elm Street lies at the southern end of the town off Oakwood Drive.

When the commander of the United States Naval Hospital in Dublin began to lay out streets on the hospital grounds, he directed that the they be named for medical department personnel killed in action during the war. Gendreau Circle was named for Capt. Elphege A.M. Gendreau of San Francisco, who was killed in combat in the South Pacific. Blackwood Drive was named in memory of James D. Blackwood, of Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, and senior medical officer of the "U.S.S. Vincennes." Johnson Drive and Alexander Drive were named in memory of Cmdr. Samuel E. Johnson, of Clinton, Alabama, and Lt. Cmdr. Hugh R. Alexander, of Belleville, Pennsylvania and the U.S.S. Arizona, who were killed at Pearl Harbor. Lt. Cmdr. Edward Crowley of San Francisco had Crowley Avenue named in his memory after he was killed in the Solomon Islands. Neff Place was named in honor of Lt. Cmdr. James Neff, Senior Medical Officer of the cruiser "U.S.S. Juneau." Trojakowski Avenue and Morrow Place were named in honor of W.C. Trojakowski, of Schenectady, N.Y., and Lt. Junior Grade Edna O. Morrow, of Pasadena, Calf., who were killed in airplane crashes. The last street, Evans Avenue, was named in honor of Lt. Cmdr. Edward E. Evans, of San Francisco, who was killed in the Solomon Islands in December of 1942.

How many of you know where Jarondon Drive is? Jarondon Drive is a short street which branches off the southern end of Kellam Road. It runs to the southwest to the shops of Dixie Metal. The shop’s owner Woody Payne named the street leading to his business by contracting parts of the names of his children Jana Bradshaw, Rhonda Hudson and Weldon Payne.

Speaking of short streets, the shortest street in Dublin is Brantley Street. Brantley Street is that short street that runs along the eastern edge of the Piggly Wiggly Store on Bellevue Avenue. The street was named for C.W. Brantley, whose gothic-like home occupied the store site for many years until it was razed in the early 1960s. The longest street in the city, counting both the northern and southern legs is of course, Jefferson Street.

Monday, March 16, 2009


That Was the Question

On St. Patty’s Day, it is customary to down a few beers at the local pub celebrating the day when everyone is Irish. But, such wasn’t the case a century ago in the City of Dublin. City officials objected to anyone drinking a brew on St. Patrick’s Day or any other day for that matter. Then someone came up with the idea of "near beer," a refreshment which looked like real beer and tasted somewhat like real beer, but which wasn’t supposed to get you drunk. At least that what the bartenders said. But, the church going folk weren’t buying it. They believed drinking any beer, near or regular, was immoral to say the least.

Near beer was defined as a malt beverage containing less than 0.5 percent alcohol. The most popular brands were Bevo, Pablo, Vivo and Famo. Often, barkeepers would spike their near bear by injecting closed bottles and kegs with alcohol to give it a little extra kick. The Dublin city council met on December 1, 1908. The entire board of aldermen voted to suspend the sale of near beer. Alderman G.H. Williams wanted to close the beer joints by Christmas, while two aldermen wanted them to shut down immediately. City Attorney Earl Camp vowed if the saloons contested the matter, that he would give them "the strongest fight within his power." Though there were doubts that a ban would be legal, the council unanimously adopted an ordinance stopping the sale of near beer after December 31, 1908.

Messers Frank R. Radford and J.C. Kennedy opened their near beer stand just after Christmas Day in 1908. The men, along with their clerk, J.W. Moore, were arrested on a charge of illegally storing intoxicating whiskey. Prosecutors dropped the charges against Moore and Kennedy and opted to make Radford their primary target. Mercer University professor Sellers analyzed the seized beverages and testified that the beer contained 3.48 to 3.71 percent alcohol. His uncontroverted testimony led to City Recorder S.W. Sturgis’ finding of guilt.

The conviction didn’t stop the sale of near beer because Attorneys Kendrick J. Hawkins and Jule B. Greene sought and were granted a restraining order by Judge John H. Martin just before New Year’s Day. Their case was based primarily because their clients had been granted a license from the Judge of the Court of Ordinary and paid the requisite taxes.

Radford and Kennedy had been successful in being granted a temporary injunction prohibiting the city from enforcing its ordinance banning the sale of near beer. But, the proprietors decided on their own to stop selling the popular drink. In fact, Kennedy had enough of the controversy. He promised Dublin mayor W. S. Phillips to stop selling near beer if the $100.00 fine against him was nullified, a proposition which was accepted by the mayor.

The city council quickly adopted an ordinance which declared that the sale of near beer was a nuisance. In doing so, the council went around the injunction and stopped the sale under its powers to abate activities which are annoying and disturbing. Realizing the futility of staying in business, the Tindol brothers quit selling and closed their shop. Radford was determined to stay in business. He closed his place in Dublin until the court made a final determination. He set up his tavern outside the city limits and gave his customers a free ride there from the courthouse. Everyone else in town waited for a hearing before Judge John H. Martin on the fourth Monday in January.

Judge Martin found that the sale of near beer was legal, but granted the city the authority to abate nuisances. Martin, after more than six weeks of deliberating during an illness and busy court schedule, tendered his written decision on St. Patrick’s Day, one hundred years ago today. Judge Martin reasoned if the state of Georgia was levying a tax on the sale of near beer, then the city had no right to ban it from being sold. The judge maintained that the city could prohibit the sale of "spiked" near beer or any regular beer. He also upheld the conviction of Radford and Kennedy and denied their request for immunity. Martin left the door open for the police to shut down any establishment which could be determined a nuisance under the city code.

The city council met in an emergency session on March 22; an ordinance was adopted to regulate the sale of near beer. The ordinance effectively prohibited its sale by requiring a license seeker to obtain the unanimous approval of all property owners within 100 yards of their establishment and pay an exorbitant annual fee of $200.00. If such approval was granted, the saloon must not have tables, stands or any thing on the windows to block a view inside.

Additionally, near beer barrooms could only be open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.. Further, the city required all near beer establishments to be located in the high rent zone. That is, they had to be located on the first two blocks west and south of the courthouse on Jackson and Jefferson Streets, making the rent too high. Sales could not be made to minors and women and could not be made on holidays and election days.

But near beer continued to be sold much to the consternation of the town’s people, Who desperately sought to suppress the evil liquid. The prohibitionists continued to charge that the near beer was actually regular. No case could be proved. Three establishments were selling out of the highly coveted ale. Opponents cited the fact that there was more drunkenness in Dublin in the past three months than in several years previously.

In August, the Georgia legislature approved the sale of near beer in Dublin, since its population was more than 2,500. By New Year’s Day of 1910, Laurens County was declared "dry as a bone." Not a solitary near beer saloon could be found in the county outside the city limits.

By the end of August, Confederate Veteran H.P. Hale gave up the fight and closed his near beer stand. Though his business had been operated solely by two men from Dexter, Hale, then in bad health, and other near beer operators were indicted. With Hale’s closing, only two were left open and running.

The following summer, the Supreme Court of Georgia effectively killed the sale of near bear in Dublin. The court approved the lower court’s ruling without an opinion. The decision effectively ruled that every near beer saloon may be classified as a nuisance and may be abated as a nuisance. The high court’s decision effectively gave all Georgia cities the right to ban the sale of near beer.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Blackshear's Ferry circa 1930s. Ferrykeeper Rawls Watson.

Vintage color photograph (circa 1960s) of Old Dublin High School.

Day & Simmons Store, early 1900s, New Dublin Hotel, S. Jefferson Street, Dublin.

The Corker Building at 115 W. Jackson St., Dublin. Built by banker and attorney Frank G. Corker in the early 1900s, the buidling was occupied for many decades by J.C. Penney & Co.

Monday, March 09, 2009

SEABORN DELK - A Shooting Star Extinquished

His life was all too short. Seaborn Delk was going to be a successful lawyer, but death struck him in his late twenties. Here is the story of a young man whose meteoric, but tumultuous, career ended without warning and left his friends and family grieving for a man whose future may have led him to serve among the highest offices in the state.

Seaborn was born about the year 1807, probably in Wilkinson County, where his father, David Delk, served as the county’s first clerk of the Superior Court. His schooling was meager, but through his father’s tutelage, Seaborn became proficient in helping his father keep records. It was said that his penmanship was neat, even to the point of being elegant.

We first find Seaborn in the law office of Lott Warren in Marion, Georgia, the county seat of Twiggs County. As more and more lawyers like Warren, a native of Laurens County, removed to Marion, which at the time was the legal center of Middle Georgia, before Macon rose to that honor. Both men were young. They shared a strong desire to serve their country. Seaborn was a Colonel in command of a Wilkinson County regiment. Warren served on the staff of Col. Wimberly. Though both men dedicated their lives to protecting their homeland, conflicts with the Creek Indians had fallen in a lull after the battles in 1818 and before Indians troubles arose again in the mid 1830s.

Seaborn Delk was admitted to the bar at the 1828 October term of the Superior
Court. After satisfying the legal requirements, Delk took the oath of office from presiding judge O.H. Keenan. Seaborn walked across the street and immediately opened his law office. Delk counted among his colleagues Robert Hatcher, James P.H. Campbell and John S. Barry. Barry, a former Wilkinson County school teacher, left Irwinton and moved to Michigan, where he became 4th and 8th governor of that state.

In 1831, Seaborn Delk took the hand of Miss Theresa Coates, a daughter of Robert Coates, who lived in the northwestern part of Laurens County on what is now called the Old Macon Road and was one of the county’s most wealthy and influential citizens.

Delk moved his office back to Marion in 1832, where he concentrated on practicing law “without being annoyed by loungers and idle persons, who gave him no time for study or labor in his native village,” according to his biographer and fellow attorney, Stephen Mitchell, in his landmark work, “The Bench and Bar of Georgia.” Delk was known as an expert in pleading and conveyancing, and possessed much legal information, fluency of speech, and a great knowledge of human nature.

Mitchell described his friend as “one who aimed to please all who might possibly be useful to him, by adapting himself to their tastes.” “He told stories in a natural way, both in feeling and in language, and he always had a stock on which to draw, to suit the company, or any particular individual whose favor he desired,” Mitchell added.

There was a time when a man killed another by a blow to the head. The attacker fled into hiding. When the Governor offered a reward for the accused murder, Delk suggested to the father of the fugitive that he turn his son over to the authorities in the presence of a friend and agree with the friend that the reward be paid to Delk to defend the accused in his trial. The deed was done and Delk took the fee and kept it. Somehow, the case was never tried. And, on his Delk’s dying day, the man was still free on bail.

Seaborn Delk soon became a star in the Southern Judicial Circuit. Delk was known as a dexterous debater, whose eager mannerisms impressed all spectators. His talents brought higher and higher fees. Delk diligently pursued patronage from businessmen. Although he was regarded as a skilled lawyer, some of his peers grew weary of his actions.

Col. Delk allied himself with Governor Troup of Laurens County. He was an outward and visible supporter of the State Right’s Association of Twiggs County, serving as its secretary.

The two old friends, Delk and Mitchell, found themselves in a fight involving William H. Young, a former resident of Marion and a founder of the cotton mill business in Columbus. The enmity began on July 23, 1833. Delk sent a brief note questioning Mitchell’s comments on a fee he charged in the case of Taylor vs. Sheffield in Early County. Mitchell countered with an elegant and lengthy letter outlining his view of the matter. A month later, Mitchell received a letter from his friend John H. Howard, who implored Mitchell to apologize and peacefully resolve the matter between the two former friends.

Howard’s plea fell on deaf ears and the antagonism between Delk and Mitchell
escalated. On the 7th day of December, 1833, just after the session of the Superior Court had ended in Bainbridge, Col. Delk made a secret assault on Mitchell with a deadly weapon. He was immediately arrested and indicted by the grand jury. Owing to his position as an officer of the court, the presiding judge placed the defendant under a bond to appear in court to answer the charges of assault of intent to murder. Soon after the incident, the two friends reconciled. An amicable settlement agreement was entered into and presented in open court in Berrien County, the following March.

Some speculate that Delk had judicial ambitions. Their suspicions were partially confirmed when Delk ended his alliance with the State Right’s party and voted instead for candidates of the Union Party, who appeared to be headed for victory in the fall elections.

On the 13th day of October, following an illness of a couple of days, Seaborn Delk died. He was only twenty eight years old. Delk had just completed an attendance in the Superior Court of Laurens County. He met with his old friend Mitchell and asked him to handle his matters before the court since he had a conflict with a concurrent session of court in Irwinton. Delk attended court as he always did. He soon fell into illness and made it back to his home just moments before his death.

When Stephen Mitchell began writing his all encompassing biographical volume on the outstanding lawyers of his day, he considered that if he omitted his friend Seaborn, many might have said the exception was due to their deep, though short, animosity. In taking the blame for causing the hostilities, Stephen Mitchell, once and for all time, extinguished the malice by admitting that when he has the privilege of standing before the grave of Delk, that he would cry.

Following his death, his widow married Dr. James Moore, son of Dr. Thomas Moore of Laurens County. Warren Delk, the couple’s only child and who was named for Delk’s first law partner, Lott Warren, died at a very young age before his father.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Auld Lang Syne for Dublin High School,
February 19, 2009

Laurens Farm Supply, Rentz, Georgia

Christmas Bows, Home of Erwin Orr
Claxton Dairy Road, December 2008

Rentz Banking Company, Rentz, Georgia


The sole remaining remnant of the German-Italian Prisoner of War Camp is this barracks building located on Troup Street in Dublin at the railroad.


As the United States became more involved in World War II, more farm products were needed in support of the war effort. The problem was that many of the farmers were no longer fighting the weather but fighting in Europe and the Pacific. Those at home aided the war effort by stepping up agricultural production. In 1943, State Senator Herschel Lovett, County Agent Harry Edge, and Emergency Farm Labor Assistant Walter B. Daniel contacted Congressman Carl Vinson of Milledgeville to request the location of a temporary prisoner of war camp in Dublin.

Laurens County needed help in gathering the crops that would be ready for harvest in the summer through early fall. The gentlemen requested that a camp be set up at the County Farm on Highway 441 just above the present Interstate highway. Vinson contacted Col. I.B. Summers of the Prisoner of War Division of the Federal government. Col. Summers advised Vinson that the location of camp would not be easy because of the lack of trained prison guards. Vinson, undaunted, contacted Col. R.E. Patterson of the prison camp at Camp Wheeler, near Macon. Col. Patterson echoed the doubts about a camp for Dublin.

Under the guidelines of the Geneva Convention of 1929, prisoners of war must be paid eighty cents per day for labor outside of the prison camp. Prison labor was limited by the number of guards, not the number of prisoners. The Farm Labor Advisory Committee, consisting of Bob Hodges, Wade Dominy, C.L. Thigpen, R.T. Gilder, H.W. Dozier, Frank Clark, D.W. Alligood, and A.O. Hadden continued to press Vinson to acquire the camp to help in the harvest. Finally, Vinson succeeded and the army allowed some prisoners to be sent from Camp Wheeler.

The first couple of hundred prisoners arrived on August 26, 1943, under the supervision of Capt. Henry J. Bordeaux. The first prisoners were Italians. The camp was not located on the county farm but on the site of the old 12th District Fairgrounds where the New York Yankees, Boston Braves, and St. Louis Cardinals had played and where the cowboy hero Tom Mix had thrilled thousands with his traveling circus. The fairgrounds played host to thrilling feats of athletic skill by Olympic champion Jesse Owens in 1940, along with a barnstorming game with two Negro league teams. The fairgrounds were bounded on the north by the railroad east by Troup Street, south by Telfair Street and West by Joiner Street. The prisoners arrived just in time to help with the peanut harvesting in Laurens and surrounding counties. The camp was completed in three days under the Army Corps of Engineers and the Quartermaster Corps. After the camp was set up, the prisoners were immediately taken to the fields. The men were used to chop cotton and stack peanuts.

The recently completed naval airfield near Dublin soon began handling the first direct air mail into Dublin. The guards were getting letters from Fort Benning flown into Dublin every other day. The civic and church groups made the guards feel at home with parties, home cooking, and entertainment at the service center in the Henry Building at 101 West Jackson Street. It was not long before the soldiers could return the favor. A young woman was lying in the hospital in desperate need of a blood transfusion. No local donors with a matching type could be found. Her friends called the camp commander, Col. S.L. Irwin for help. Several volunteers arrived at the hospital within ten minutes. The soldiers came back for a second transfusion. The patient recovered. Nearly every one of the 250 guards stationed at the prison camp responded to the call of Lehman P. Keen, chairman of the 3rd War Bond Drive. The German prisoners adapted well to the South and were even heard singing "Dixie" after a hard day's work on the farm.

By October, the need for farm labor had significantly declined. The Army planned to move the camp by mid- October. The Fourth Service Command granted permission for the camp to remain open into November. One half of the five hundred prisoners were moved in the third week of October along with their guards under the leadership of Capt. Jennings. New guards were brought in to replace those who left. Shortly, the camp would close down for the winter.

Just as the allied forces began the invasion of Europe in June of 1944, the German prisoners returned to Dublin. It would be a long hot summer for the German prisoners in Dublin. One prisoner was killed by a falling tree on Snellgrove plantation. The prisoner was working with the pulpwood crew of Robert Cullens. On July the Fourth, three prisoners, Josef Damer, Jeorge Fries, and Willi Pape escaped while on a work detail at the Warner Callan Farm near Scott. They were captured the following day. Some people say that the prisoners just got lost in the woods and were not attempting to escape. The commandant of the camp instituted harsh disciplinary procedures as a result of the escape. The prisoners countered by staging a sit down strike - refusing to work on the farms. Within a few days, calmer heads prevailed. The matter was settled. By the end of the summer, the situation had eased, and the Army guards had enough free time to play baseball, basketball, and football games against the U.S. Navy at the new naval hospital.

Many of the local people bore no hatred to the prisoners. Nearly every Sunday morning the prisoners would march from the camp down Academy Avenue and turn north on Church Street for mass at the Catholic Church. Along the way the Germans sang hymns. The prisoners cooked their own food. Inside the camp there were many good cooks. Some people parked their cars outside the camp fence to catch the sounds of the beautiful German songs and get a sniff of the delicious German dishes being prepared inside the wall. Janice W. Williams of Wrightsville has a vivid memory of seeing a truck load of Germans passing through Johnson County one day. "One man stood in the back of the truck facing the front as their leader. I would watch them go through and they were strong, healthy men. Someone said they didn’t want to escape because they were out of the war and well fed," Mrs. Williams remembered.

One day while Oliver Bennett was working in the paint shop at the Naval Hospital, he noticed a German prisoner, by the name of S. Pretscher, sketching a picture of his girlfriend on a piece of scrap cardboard. Bennett was so impressed that he asked the man to paint a picture for him. Bennett secured the necessary materials - a linen towel stretched to form a canvas and a the paint. Pretscher went into his studio, a tent on the prison grounds, and diligently worked on the painting, which was a country scene from his homeland. Pretscher presented the painting to Bennett who remained friends after the war ended. The beautiful painting remains in the Bennett family today.

The prisoners came back for one more summer to help the farmers in harvesting their crops, which were still needed for the effort. With the end of the war in August of 1945, there was no longer a need for the camp. The camp closed in early January of 1946. Today, one lone barracks from the camp still stands at the corner of Troup Street and the railroad. It serves as a living reminder of the a time which we all hope will never be seen again.

Monday, March 02, 2009

William Lafayette Hughes

A Renaissance Man

William T. Hughes was a man of all things to his native hometown of Dublin. A man of humble beginnings, Professor Hughes was one the Emerald City’s most dedicated and respected citizens during the golden age of the city.

William Lafayette Hughes was born in Dublin, Georgia on May 8, 1873. His father, Pinkney Hughes, was a farmer and an adult slave at the beginning of the Civil War. His mother, Annie McLendon Hughes, was also born in 1842. William’s older siblings were Betsy, Susann, Fred, Laura and Eva. On his paternal side, William’s grandparents were the Rev. Allen and Mrs. Charlotte Hughes.

Little William attended the meager schools in the Dublin area. His parents were dirt poor, like many others, so William and his entire family had to work hard just to survive. By the late 1880s, William made it his life’s goal to attend college. In order to save enough money for tuition, the young man worked as much as he could. An intelligent student, William was hired as a teacher in the Dublin City School system in 1889, the first year of the separate city system. He was only sixteen years old.

With a sufficient sum in hand, William enrolled at Atlanta University. He attended four terms in that place, which he found, “helpful and inspiring.” After a year of reading law in the offices, Pledger, Johnson and Malone, Hughes studied for one year at Morris Brown to become an attorney. He completed his studies, but for some reason, never applied for admission to the bar.

Hughes returned to the classroom and was later elected Principal of the Colored School at Tennille, Georgia, where he served for seven years. His experience as a teacher and his superior intellect landed him the moniker of “Professor Hughes.”

In 1903, William Hughes was appointed by the Postmaster of Dublin as the city’s first Negro mail carrier. In those days, postmaster positions were political appointments. More black citizens were given positions of authority under the administration of President Theodore Roosevelt than at any other time in the South since the days of Reconstruction. Hughes served for many decades and was a popular figure on the streets of Dublin. But, his Federal duties did not extend only to delivering letters. Hughes served for a short term as a revenue agent and a gauger. He also operated a small store for a brief time.

Professor Hughes was known far and wide across the State of Georgia in the circles of fraternal organizations. From 1901 to 1903, Hughes served as the District Grand Master of the International Order of Odd Fellows. He remained active in that organization, serving many years as the Grand Auditor of the local district. Hughes, an articulate speaker, was always in demand to speak before civic, social and religious groups. Hughes was also active in the Knights of Phythias, an organization devoted to the promotion of cooperation and friendship between people of good will, through service to others.

Raised a member of the local Republican party, Professor Hughes was selected as a delegate to the National Convention of the Republican Party in 1940. In Philadelphia, Hughes and his fellow delegates nominated Wendell Wilkie, who unsuccessfully attempted to unseat President Franklin D. Roosevelt for a third term.

Though he retired from teaching at an early age, William Hughes was a life long advocate of education. He served as a trustee of the Central City College in Macon, Georgia. Hughes, believing that the Negro should support education morally and financially once said, “Let the colored man supplement the school fund in this Sate, and run the schools longer, pay the teachers more, and secure better teachers.” “This,” he added, “should apply to the South.” Mr. Hughes believed in reading. He was known to have one of the biggest and most attractive library of books in the city.

His father, Pinkney Hughes, was one of the first black citizens to advocate vocational education school for the colored students of Laurens County appeared in an advertisement in an 1886 issue of The Dublin Post. A.S. Dickson, President of the Dickson Institute, invited all of Dublin to join with him and Vice President Pinkney Hughes in a meeting to solicit funds for the school.

In 1917, the Central Colored People's Fair was incorporated by E.L. Hall, J.I. Clark, E.D. Newsome, Seaborn Daniels, Freeman Hill, C.B. Adams, H.N. Clark, M.H. O'Neal, W.A. Kemp, Thomas Mitchell, R.W. Thomas, Joe Hall and Frank Kilo. The second annual fair was held in November of 1917. E.D. Newsome was chairman of the event. Highlights of the fair included a parade, agricultural exhibits, the Ging Carnival Company, and a "Wild West" Show. Thirty one-hundred people showed up on Wednesday of the six-day fair.

In 1918, the Fair Association elected W.L. Hughes as President of the fair. Other fair officers were: E.L. Hall, Secretary; J.W. Dent, Secretary to Board of Directors; and E.D. Newsome, Manager. The board was composed of W.L. Hughes, J.W. Dent, E.L. Hall, W.A. Jenkins, E.J. Newsome, D.F. Kemp, W.T. Wood, Major Thomas, and E.D. Newsome. That year's fair was scheduled for November 4, 1918.

W.L. Hughes was active in supporting the soldiers and his country in World War I. He led the War Savings Stamps sale in the Negro community and was a leader in the Red Cross activities in Dublin.

Hughes and his wife, the former Miss Mary Barnes, were active members of the First African Baptist Church. He was often called upon to attend church and Sunday School conferences at both the state and national level. He married his bride, a daughter of Robert and Rebecca Barnes, on February 22, 1899.

William and Mary Hughes lived in their comfortable home at 423 South Jefferson Street in a neighborhood where many of Dublin’s most successful black citizens once lived. Their daughter Rebecca married Ernest Spurgeon Myers, Sr. Their son, Ernest, Jr., was a long time and respected educator in the Dublin city school system.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Dublin Industries 1919


From the 8th Annual Report of the Georgia Department of Commerce and Labor:

Lafferty’s Bakery
Chero Cola Bottling Company
Lime Cola Bottling Company
Dublin Brick Company
Dublin Buggy Company
Hardwood Manufacturing Company
Ogburn and Sons Co. (Buggies)
Dublin Cigar Company
Dublin International Agricultural Corporation
J.T. Pope Grist Mills
Atlantic Ice & Coal Company
Bass Steam Laundry
M.B. Carroll (Leather and tannery)
Dublin Marble Works
Dublin Mattress Company
Empire Cotton Oil Company
Southern Cotton Oil Company
Dublin Power Plant
Dublin Overall Company
Dublin Courier Herald
Dublin Tribune