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

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

STILL MORE UNCANNY TALES

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)

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