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

Tuesday, June 23, 2009








A Hero Becomes Judge

Charles Kibbee was groomed to be a judge. With the unequaled advantages of a superior education and the aid of his mentor, Charles Kibbee began the practice of law in 1859. His career on hold, Kibbee enlisted in the Confederate army and quickly rose through the ranks to become a Lieutenant Colonel. Heroes of the War Between the States were revered by the voters of the day. So, it was only natural that this hero-lawyer would become a Judge of the Superior Court of the Oconee Circuit, which included Laurens County for a brief time.

Charles Carroll Kibbee was born in Macon, Georgia on August 25, 1837. His parents sent him to Princeton college, where he graduated in 1858. In those days, aspiring lawyers had to do apprentice work under a mentor of their choosing. Kibbee couldn't have made a better choice. Charles studied under the guidance of Thomas R.R. Cobb. Cobb, who served as the reporter for the Georgia Supreme Court, was the first person to compile a comprehensive digest of Georgia laws. A brother of the Hon. Howell Cobb, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and former governor of Georgia, T.R.R. Cobb was instrumental in the compiling of the Georgia Code of 1861.

After his admission to the bar in Watkinsville in 1859, Kibbee removed himself to Hawkinsville. When war broke out in the spring of 1861, Kibbee was among the first to enlist. He was assigned as an orderly sergeant of Company C, 10th Georgia Infantry. Within a few months, Kibbee rose to the rank of lieutenant. By the winter of 1861-2, Kibbee was elected captain of the company. His first lieutenant was Dr. Peyton Wade Douglas, a future mayor of Dublin.

The 10th Georgia saw bitter action in the battles of the Seven Days, as well as the horrific battles of Chancellorsville, Antietam, and Gettysburg, in addition to a short stint in the state of Tennessee. Captain Kibbee, who was wounded at Savage Station, was promoted to the position of Lieutenant Colonel for his gallantry, especially on the battlefield at Chancellorsville, where valiant and the incomparable General Stonewall Jackson fell with a mortal wound.

When General Lee surrendered his forces at Appomattox in April 1865, Kibbee's regiment was positioned at the High Bridge on the Appomattox River not very far away from the actual surrender. With no way else to get home, Kibbee set out on foot for Georgia. It took him three weeks to get back, but he did so without any substantial difficulties.

Col. Kibbee returned to Hawkinsville to resume his practice. He refused to take the oath of allegiance to the United States and was temporarily barred from the practice of law. After a few months of working as a cotton factor, Kibbee was elected to represent Pulaski County in the state legislature. When offered a compromise oath, Kibbee took it and resumed his legal practice in 1866. In 1870, Kibbee was elected to represent the 14th District of the Georgia Senate, which included the counties of Pulaski, Dooly, Wilcox and Dodge. After six years in the Senate as Chairman of the Committee on Finance, Kibbee returned home to practice law on a full time basis.

In 1884, Kibbee was elected as Judge of the Oconee Circuit, which then encompassed Pulaski, Dooly, Wilcox, Twiggs, Irwin, Telfair, Dodge, Montgomery and Laurens counties. After only four years on the bench, Judge Kibbee returned to his native home of Macon.

During his only term on the bench, Judge Kibbee rarely dawdled. In his first two years, he disposed of 2,282 cases in the circuit. During a two-week term of Laurens County Superior Court in 1885, Judge Kibbee heard sixty-four civil cases, ten criminal matters and entertained ten motions for writs of certiorari.

One of his most celebrated cases came in the summer of 1885. It seems that the losing candidates in the Dublin municipal election thought they had been cheated by the winning candidates who ran on the dry ticket. Those favoring the right to freely drink whenever and wherever they wanted to hired a team of lawyers and asked Judge Kibbee to invalidate the choices of the temperance crowd. The judge seemingly dodged a delicate political issue by summarily dismissing the case because the winners had already been sworn into office and the case was filed too late.

In an uncharacteristic moment, Judge Kibbee drew the ire of the populace of Laurens County. Many judges often find it difficult not to nod on the bench during a tedious line of questioning. Judge C.C. Kibbee was presiding at one 1887 term of Laurens Superior Court. Judge Kibbee did something much worse than sleeping on the bench. The Grand Jury publicly rebuked the judge for being drunk on the bench, according to T.B. Darly in his 1920 pamphlet, A Brief History of Laurens County, the Superior Court, and Dublin.

The judge also possessed a green thumb. He was praised in the newspapers in the summer of 1885 for his Russian sunflower which had a seed pod two feet in diameter and a total diameter of three and one half feet.

Judge Kibbee was an active member of the Masonic brotherhood. He was a member of Mt. Hope Lodge in Hawkinsville and the St. Omar's Commandery, Knight's Templar in Macon. In 1874 and 1875, the judge served as the grand master of the Georgia department of the International Order of Odd Fellows and represented the state at the national convention in Baltimore and Philadelphia in 1876 and 1877.

Charles Kibbee, son of John Morrison Kibbee of Concord, New Hampshire and Martha M. Graves of Sunderland, Connecticut, took the hand in marriage of Louie Taylor, daughter of Clinton Taylor. They had two daughters, Annie L. and Millie C. Kibbee.

Judge Kibbee died as the result of cancer on October 17, 1905 in Macon. Eulogized as one of Georgia's most able and scholarly jurists, Judge Charles Kibbee was funeralized at Saint Paul's Episcopal Church, where he was a member of the vestry. His body was buried in Riverside Cemetery in Macon.

Friday, June 19, 2009


1963 DHS State Championship Trophy
1960 DHS State Championship Trophy
1959 DHS State Championship Trophy

City National Bank, S. Jefferson St., Dublin, Georgia

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Okay, I can't help myself. If you enjoyed my last two columns, then you will enjoy this one. If you missed them and enjoy this one, then I invite you to get a copy of them and enjoy them as much as I have had in writing these tales of the uncanny.

The Case of the Little Brown Jug - When Joseph Winner wrote the song, "The Little Brown Jug," he lamented the hard life he and his wife suffered because of their addiction to alcohol. Swing band leader Glenn Miller popularized the tune with lyrics which were less evil in the eyes of teetotalers. But, for years little brown jugs most often contained liquor and not lemonade. E. C. Pierce carried a badge. The prohibition officer was hired by the Federal government to seek out and find all illegal intoxicants and destroy them before they could be consumed by dipsomaniacs or disposed of by blind tiger saloon keepers.

Officer Pierce set out on visit to see Pete O'Neal, a moonshiner he had raided some time previously. Pierce met O'Neal coming down the road near his house. He searched Pete's buggy for contraband whiskey. He found none. But, Pierce knew old Pete always had whiskey nearby, so he accompanied the suspected bootlegger back to his house in the company of City Court Deputy Renfroe.

When the officers arrived, they saw women suspiciously scurrying about the home. Pierce entered the house and found one woman standing on the floor and another lying in a bed. Noticing the woman in the bed was fully dressed, the officer began to interrogate the other lady. He asked, "What's the matter with that woman in bed?" "She got de smallpox," the lady nervously uttered. Since Deputy Renfroe had already infected with the skin marring disease, Pierce logically sent him to the bed to ascertain if the other woman was really sick.

Seeing no signs of smallpox, the deputy pulled back to the covers. Just as he and Pierce had expected, the woman was fully dressed, including her shoes. The guilty woman laid there cradling a little brown jug by her side. Renfroe confiscated the spirit filled jug. Knowing that Pete and his drinking buddies wouldn't be without a single jug, the officers searched the premises and found a still and a barrel of beer capable of filling dozens and dozens of those little brown jugs that lovers of liquor always kept near their beds.

Pierce began to worry. He wondered if the woman really have the smallpox? Was it a joke or the truth? He made a bee line for the doctors office just in case. (Macon Telegraph, 3-11-1921)

Pass the Melba Toast, Please - Most of us are introduced to Melba Toast when we are six to seven months old and our teeth are beginning to cut through our gums. No one of us waits for sixty-seven years for new teeth to emerge from our gums. Mrs. Mollie Curry did. Mrs. Curry visited her dentist, who found a new tooth protruding through her gums in her upper right jaw. A closer observation revealed that the gums on the right side of her mouth were swelling, a sign that more new teeth would be forthcoming.

Dublin dentists stated that there were only one or two instances on record where new teeth were found on a person of advanced age. (Macon Telegraph, 2-13-1920)

Diamonds Are Forever - They say diamonds are forever. Or, so did Mrs. W.S. Phillips and her daughter, Mrs. Blue Holleman, think. When the ladies discovered that three of their prized diamond rings, valued at $5,000.00, were missing, they reported the theft to the police department. When the police announced they had no clue as to the whereabouts of the three missing gems, the ladies had nearly given up all hope of their return. That is until two of them showed up on the front porch of newspaper editor Marion Kendrick.

Police found the diamonds with a note requesting that they be returned to Mrs. Phillips. Investigators tried to determine the location of the third missing ring until it mysteriously appeared in Mrs. Phillips's mail box. The officers arrested four women, including Mrs. Phillips's cook, along with two other men, one or more whom had a change of heart.

Two years later, another jewel thief stole a diamond ring from Mrs. P.C. Hutcheson. When the Hutchesons had given up hope after four months, the ring, carefully wrapped in paper, was returned to its rightful owner in the mail. (Macon Telegraph, 3-29-1920, 4-1-1920, 6-30-1920)

Writs For Rats - In the movie True Grit, Marshal Rooster Cogburn had a rat writ, writ for a rat which was eating the cornmeal of Chin Lee. Government officials in Dublin and Georgia were also seriously concerned about the health issues posed by the proliferation of rodents in the city and throughout the state.

Dr. A.G. Reecardson of the Georgia Department of Agriculture and Mr. Silver, of the National Department of Agriculture, were granted permission by Judge S.W. Sturgis to use his City Court room to address the public on the details of the anti-rat drive being instituted by the Agriculture Department.

To jump start the program, the Chamber of Commerce offered a reward for the delivery of rats. The Chamber didn't want the whole rat, just the tail, offering two cents a rat tail and one cent for a mouse tail. (Macon Telegraph, 12-8-1922)

No Trump - The challenging game of bridge is rarely considered a hard gambling card game. The game was originally played mostly by women. As the game became more popular, some of the local ladies in Dublin decided it would be only fitting and proper to offer prizes to those players with the winning hands.

The all male grand jury of Laurens County, some of whom were known to play a few rounds of poker when they had a chance, decided that the women's prize winning bridge games legally constituted gambling under state law. All of a sudden, the popular bridge clubs were put under close scrutiny with threats of arrests if prizes were awarded. Do you think the grand jurors heard about it when they got home. I do. (Macon Telegraph, 2-4-1922)


Some of you might think I am a little weird and you may be right. I can't seem to get enough of the uncanny tales I told you about last week, so here's some more.

Stubborn as A Mule - Mules are stubborn. They are born that way. When a mule doesn't want to, he doesn't, or so they say. Actually, this highly intelligent hybrid between a female horse and a male donkey is smarter than both of its parents. In an effort to improve auto traffic between the Post Office and the First National Bank on East Madison Street, city officials decided to post one-way signs directing that all vehicles travel from west to east and not east to west.

Though people can read, mules can't. It seems this one john was used to going from east to west along the busy thoroughfare. While on his route his driver stopped to deliver ice. When the determined jack mule turned the corner and headed west, a traffic policeman tried to stop him. The mule kept on his determined path, ignoring the dray driver's cries. A half dozen men attempted and failed to aid the confounded cop. Though tired of fighting his human antagonists, the mule stayed his course, halting at the usual stopping spots until his duty was done. ( Macon Telegraph, 9-27-1920. )

The Dying Well - Tank Brown and Robert Sessions could dig a well with the best of them. Dr. W.B. Taylor hired the well diggers to construct a shallow well on his farm. Brown descended to about fifty feet below the surface in an attempt to remove an annoying rock. He placed a shot of dynamite next to the boulder and returned to the surface to ignite it. When the explosive failed to detonate, Brown left the site, only to return the following day. He slid down the rope to figure out what went wrong. Something did. The helpers up top felt him strongly pull on the cord indicating he was in trouble. When Brown was half way up to safety, he inexplicably turned loose from his secure grip and fell to his death.

Robert Sessions was summoned. He reluctantly agreed to fetch the corpse of his friend from the void. He managed to get a noose around Brown's lifeless body, only to realize that he too was in trouble. This time, his rescuers managed to hoist him to safety. When he was pulled from the mire, Dr. Taylor determined that Sessions had been overcome by nitroglycerine gas, which formed in the base of the well when the water saturated dynamite decomposed. (Macon Telegraph, 4-26-1921)

Acid Kills - In the 1960s, everyone was told that acid kills. Yes, strong acids do. One Laurens Countian found out the hard way. Knox Linder, a prominent farmer in these parts, was preparing for another day of work on the farm. The sixty-five-year-old farmer Knox didn't have the same get up and go that he used to. He had suffered through hard times, living out his childhood during the Civil War and his adulthood in the difficult decades of Reconstruction and its aftermath.

Linder was grasping in the predawn darkness for a bottle of tonic. He reached up on the mantel and picked up a bottle similar in size and shape to his trusty tonic, but instead chose a deadly bottle of carbolic acid. He took a swig and immediately realized the gravity of his mistake. He called out in for his son Glenn to rush to his aid. It was too late. Knox Linder was buried a day or two later in Northview Cemetery. (Macon Telegraph, 12-9-1921)

Help! Santa Claus Is On Fire! - Most of us always wondered why Santa Claus doesn't catch on fire when he crawls down our chimneys. We know that his red suit is incombustible. The same doesn't go for Santa's helpers, you know the guys who dress like Kris Kringle just before Christmas while the real Santa is busy at his toy factory at the North Pole.

The Sun Beams of the First Baptist Church in Dublin were enjoying their annual Christmas party. The children looked forward all year long to the time when Santa came to visit with them and hand out presents from under the Christmas tree. In those days, many Christmas trees were still lit with candles, not the electric kind but the real fire burning ones. Milo Smith, billed as one of the most highly esteemed young men of the city, was going about his business in his Santa costume giving out goodies to the kiddies.

All of sudden, Smith's coat tails brushed against the old tannenbaum. His red coat was engulfed with flames. The children screamed and ran, yelling "Santa Claus is on fire!"
Smith, now a blazing candle himself, fell to the ground while excited parents rushed to extinguish the previously jolly St. Nicholas. Physicians sent Smith home to rest for a couple of days in bed, believing that he would recover from the second degree burns which were confined to his hands and legs. (Macon Telegraph, 12-18-1920)

The Streaking Skulker - A skulker is one who lurks in hiding places and moves about stealthily out of cowardice. Such a scamp caught the attention of Dublin police and curiosity seekers as well in the fall of 1922. Most burglars dress themselves in dark clothing to avoid being seen as they burglarize homes and businesses in the dark of night. This particular prowler was slightly, well more than slightly, troubled.

For several days, residents of Dublin observed this malefactor moving about the city au naturale. Without a stitch of clothing on, the bare bandit made his way in and out of the creek swamps which ran though the city. Witnesses recalled that he made no effort to notice or speak to any one, nor did he seem to care if anyone noticed that he was completely naked. Though police believed the miscreant was not a thief, but a disturbed and deranged young man who was purposely trying to frighten women and children, they urged everyone to keep out a careful watch for the man, fearing that the public and the police would be further aroused. Yes, they really did say that. (Macon Telegraph, 10-25-1921)

There'll Be No Dime Shoe Shines, Boys! - In the old days, men had their shoes shined and often. Many shined their own, but there were times when the rush of time necessitated a trip to see the shoe shine boys, who set up their stands on the streets and the barbershops of the city. When times began to get tough after the boll weevil's devastation of the cotton crops, shiners of shoes needed a stimulus to keep on eating and living. Instead of a minimal increase, the bootblacks decided to up their nickel charge a denomination up to a silver dime.

The members of the Dublin city council took offense to the inflationary practice. After all, in those days, an extra nickel was a still a nickel. Some folks had to work an entire hour just to earn one of the buffalo headed coins. The council was determined to nip the dime shoe shines in the bud. An ordinance was passed placing an additional $50.00 a year tax on any shoe shiner who charged a dime a shine, never stopping to realize that if all of the shoe shiners banded together, they could easily absorb the extra cost with the first thousand shines. (Macon Telegraph, 1-10-1922)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Old time readers of pulp magazines would remember reading stories of the strange, the weird and the bizarre in Uncanny Tales. But stories of the uncanny don't just happen in the minds of fiction writers. They happen in real life, even right here in Laurens County.

Percy, the Pink Eyed Possum - Percy - that's not his real name because real possums don't have names - was skulking around Cadwell grabbing for some good grub. Clarence Burch, a local filling station operator, spotted Percy and put him in a pen for his curious customers to gaze upon while their automobiles were being filled with gas and oil.

Percy wasn't your average gray, rat-like marsupial. You see, Percy was white, pure white. There was no solitary tinge of gray, black or any other color on Percy's fur, which was thicker and longer than your standard possum's. The pink-eyed albino had such thin ears that they appeared to be pink as well. And so were his nose and toes. (Macon Telegraph, 11-09-1921)

Who Were Those Masked Men? - It was a sad cold day in Dublin on the morning of February 23, 1922. The friends and family of Alma Faye Stuckey Baggett were gathering around her grave in Northview Cemetery to pay their final respects. As Mrs. Charles E. Baggett's coffin was being lowered into the ground, eight masked men, dressed in the full regalia of the Ku Klux Klan, suddenly and silently marched double time two abreast toward the sorrowful gathering of the recently turned thirty-one-year-old woman.

The stunned mourners stared in disbelief as the Klansmen split their columns and surrounded the grave. At the head of the grave, the staid admirers placed a large wreath with a note which read, "In appreciation of the life of this good woman. Dublin Klan No. 108, Realm of Georgia, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan." As silently as they appeared, the octette disappeared into the surrounding neighborhood.

Some speculated that the grieving widower was himself a member of the Klan or perhaps a close member of the departed's family was a member as well. It could just be that the masked mourners were honoring a pure woman, a devoted wife, an affectionate mother and a good friend to all. (Macon Telegraph, 2-24-1922)

Yes, We Do Have Bananas - Residents of Dublin, Georgia rarely see bananas growing in their back yards. Our climate simply won't support the cultivation of the yellow tropical fruit. But Stubbs Hooks, manager of the New Dublin Hotel, didn't believe he, or his customers, should have no fresh bananas. He had been growing them for years. In the fall of 1921, Hooks, proud of his harvest, went out to his garden on the sunny side of the hotel and plucked a bunch of bananas, not the toy variety, but the real thing, large, well matured, ripe and ready for some good eating. (Macon Telegraph, 11-24-1921)

Which Came First, The Chicken or the Egg? - Mrs. J.G. Coleman went out to her coop to gather some eggs for a scrumptious Sunday breakfast. She took what she thought were some nice fresh ones, which in fact had been lying under a laying hen for some three weeks.

When Mrs. Coleman commenced to cook, she accidentally forgot and left one of the eggs on her sideboard. Throughout the afternoon and Saturday, the Coleman family became concerned over the peeping of a lost biddy somewhere in or under the house. Thorough searches revealed nothing. That is until someone wandered into the dining room and found the new born chick wallowing out of its shell and clucking it's heart out. (Macon Telegraph, June 17, 1920)

The Whisperer Speaks - On the radio, Lawyer Philip Gault lost his voice in an unexplained accident and was able only to whisper to his clients. After regaining his ability to speak normally, Gault disguised his new found ability to speak to fight crime by pitting criminal organizations against each other. In real life, H.H. Lowry, a Laurens County veteran of World War I, contracted a case of meningitis while undergoing army training at Camp Wheeler on the eastern outskirts of Macon. Just after camp opened in late 1917, Lowry lost his ability to speak. The camp doctors couldn't cure him. He gave up any hope of ever speaking normally ever again.

Move the clock forward for three years to January 3, 1921. Lowry had relegated himself to another new year without speaking. He was getting dressed and like most people who like to talk to intelligent people and listen to intelligent people talk, the silent soldier began to whisper to himself. When he uttered, there was no husky whisper. Normal sounding words came out of his mouth, which by then had dropped wide open in disbelief. It goes without saying that Lowry never went without saying any more. (Macon Telegraph, 1-4-1921)

If It Weren't For Bad Luck, He'd Have No Luck At All - The hillbilly farmers of Hee Haw whined about gloom, despair and agony, but their problems were pale in comparison to those of Laurens farmer Jim Thomas. Ol' Jim lost six of his finest swine when they swallowed some calcium arsenate and died. Jim set out to clean out their pen and start out with a clean and healthy drift of pork producers.

Jim's chickens made their way into the sty and did what chickens do. They scratched the dirt. The ignorant poultry ate the still poison infested soil and joined their fellow barnyard animals in Hog Heaven. Jim talked about giving up raising hogs and chickens for good, thinking that he would never have any luck at producing either one again. (Macon Telegraph, 1-6-1921)

It's Okay, We're With the Band - The long gray line of aging Confederate veterans, their families and friends were enjoying a good old-fashioned street dance during the statewide reunion in Dublin in the spring of 1920. Dublin policemen Crowder and Hadden were enjoying the band music as well as they manned their post in front of the City Hall on the courthouse square. Ever vigilant for any unruly rousing rebels, two of Dublin's finest spotted a band member named Lloyd walking toward them carrying a two-gallon jug in his hand. Thinking someone was playing a practical joke upon them, the officers decided to put the jesting to an end. But, this was no joking matter.

The merry musician offered to share his liquor with the officers as they arrested him and took him to sleep off his stupor. Several minutes later, a tipsy fiddler stumbled upon the rear entrance of the City Hall in hopes of liberating his mate. The performer staggered toward the front door and fell out of it, nearly killing one of the cops. The lawmen picked up the sot and left him in the company of his band mate for the rest of the evening. (Macon Telegraph, May 16, 1920)