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

Friday, May 29, 2009












Grave of Pearl Brantley, Brantley
Cemetery, eastern Laurens County.















Kight's Store, Lovett, GA.
















Flat Rock, Georgia, between Minter and Rockledge, Ga. Hwy 29.










Beall's Store, Brewton, GA

Thursday, May 28, 2009

CORLISS PALMER




CORLISS PALMER



Her name seems to be inextricably tied to electricity. She was born in a city named for an inventor of electrical appliances, named for a steam engine which produced electricity, and sought and found the bright lights of Hollywood in the glory days of the silent movies. Seventy five years ago she was near the top of ranks of Hollywood’s leading silent movie comediennes. One hundred years ago on July 25, 1902 (1899?), Corliss Palmer was born in the southwest Georgia town of Edison, which was born the same year and named after the inventor Thomas Edison. Her father Luther Palmer brought the family to Dublin, where he worked as an engineer in the power plant on the lower edge of town down by the Oconee River. He named her for the Corliss engine, an engine which incidentally powered the plant where her father worked. She enjoyed minor success in Hollywood in the “Silent Movie” days, only to see her career fade away with the coming of “talking pictures.”

     Luther Palmer died about the year 1910.  Corliss' mother (Julia Alma Farrell)  remarried J.M. Simmons and the family moved to Macon, where Corliss was working as a clerk in a jewelry store in 1920. Corliss had a sister, Ennis, and a brother Grady., who were living in a house at 1019 Hazel Street, several blocks north of Tattnall Square.  The Simmons later moved to 614 Montpelier Avenue.




In the early 1920s, Corliss Palmer left home to follow her dreams to Hollywood, which was a far more different place than it is today. Her first credited role came in 1922, when she appeared in the silent movie, “Farm to Fame.” Corliss again appeared in the credits of a movie, when in 1926, she starred in three movies, including her most famous picture, “Bromo and Juliet.” The short film starred Charley Chase, a Pittsburgh born actor, who got his start in Hollywood working with “Silent Movie” legends Charlie Chaplin, Max Sennett, and Fatty Arbuckle. Corliss played Madge, a scheming bon vivant, who entices her suitor into performing the role of Romeo in a charity event. The twenty four minute short film featured a fellow Georgian by the name of Oliver Hardy, who hailed from Harlem. The picture was produced by Hal Roach, the king of comedy producers in the 20s and 30s in connection with Pathe’ Studios. Corliss’s other movies in 1926 were as “ Nancy” in “Her Second Chance” and with Anna Q. Nilson as “ Mrs. Gorman” in “George Washington Cohen,” which starred George Jessel in the lead role. That same year, Corliss married Eugene Brewster, a little known screenwriter.

Corliss reached the pinnacle of her success in 1927 and 1928. In 1927, she appeared in four comedies. Corliss played “Mrs. Fremont Cage” in a movie about a marriage gone bad, “Honeymoon Hate.” In “A Man’s Past,” Corliss portrayed the role of “Sylvia Cabot” opposite the well known character actor, Conrad Veidt. Her third role of 1927 came with a performance as “ Lisa Smith,” in “Polly of the Movies,” which starred the lesser known father of the well respected actor, Jason Robards, Jr.. Her last role of that year was in “The Return of Boston Blackie.” Corliss played an attractive blonde, Sylvia Markham, a daughter of a wealthy couple who steals her mother’s necklace. She draws the eye of “Boston Blackie,” a paroled jewel thief, to aid in her escape only to find that her mother wants the necklace to help her father out of a financial crisis. Blackie recovers the jewels for himself but is wounded in the process. This is where the bad guy steps in and takes them. Blackie, with the aid of his faithful German Shepard Strongheart, recovers the necklace, not once but twice. With the necklace back in the rightful owner’s possession, Blackie, Madge, and Strongheart hold hands at the end of the movie and live happily ever after.

Most of Corliss Palmer’s movies were seen by her fellow Dubliners at the Crystal and Rose Theaters. In the mid 1910s, Mrs. Genie Hightower and her son Bob Hightower, Sr. opened the Crystal Theater. The Crystal Theater operated for many years in the building now occupied by Top of the Line Reruns. Today the projector and the stage area still remain in the rear of the building. As the popularity of silent movies began to explode, many new theaters sprang up. Smaller theaters began to die out as the bigger ones like the Crystal and the Rose began to squeeze out the low budget theaters, which were not much more than a room with chairs, a screen and a projector. During the Twenties, the Rose Theater rose to prominence. The Rose Theater overtook the Crystal and was the first theater to run true talking pictures. "The Jazz Singer," shown at the Rose, was the first talkie shown in Dublin. In its early years, the Rose was located in the old Schaufele Building at 210 West Jackson Street. Shortly thereafter the Rose moved next door to the eastern end of Jackson Square, at or where the Crystal had later moved. The Rose Theater closed in 1938 and was reopened as a Friday and Saturday only theater in 1940.

In the year 1928, the last great year of the silent movies, Corliss appeared in no less than six comedy films. She played “Mrs. Harding” in “Into the Night” and “The Blonde” in the Reginald Denney comedy, “Night Bird.” One of her most well known leading men, Walter Pidgeon, appeared with Corliss in the 1928 comedy, “Clothes Make the Man.” Corliss appeared with Richard Barthemless and Thelma Todd, an early queen of short comedies, in the “The Noose.” Her final two movies of 1928 were as the lead actress in “ Trial Marriage” and in an unnamed role in “ Scarlet Youth.”

Silent movies ended in 1929. Many actors and actresses, who did not have to worry about the tone and inflection of their voice, or their pronunciation skills, found it difficult to survive in the world of the revolutionary talking pictures. Her sole role in the last year of silent movies was as “Lila” in “Broadway Fever.”

In 1931, the country was mired in the depths of the Great Depression. Movies were one of the few ways of escaping the trials and tribulations of daily life. Corliss appeared in her first and last “talking picture” when she played the role of “Betty Royce” in “Honeymoon Lane,” a movie which starred Noah Beery, Sr. and Raymond Hatton. Playing a minor role in the picture was a young actor, who shared the same birthday as Corliss. You know him from hundreds of movie and television appearances as Walter Brennan.

As her movie career ended in 1931, so did her five year marriage to Eugene Brewster, (LEFT) who produced “The Eternal Two,” a romantic film featuring Corliss. Corliss married a second time to William Taylor. Her life ended too soon, when on August 27, 1952.  Ironically the woman who was once the most beautiful girl in America, is buried in an unmarked grave next to her brother Grady in Woodlawn Cemetery in Santa Montica, California. .











THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN THE WORLD

Love At the End of the Rainbow

Corliss Palmer - An Epilogue





She was dubbed "the most beautiful girl in the world." Corliss Palmer, a one time resident of Dublin, left Georgia to find her dreams in the land of Hollywood. She found fame, fortune, and love in Tinsel Town, or at least she thought she did. Her triumphs in the Roaring Twenties, as documented in a previous column, were obliterated by the cruelness of the movie business. Her personal demons plunged her to the depths of utter despair. Left nearly all alone, she turned to within her own soul to discover that love is more important than money and popularity. After enduring agony after agony, Corliss ultimately discovered that true love is not based on how beautiful you are or how many films you have made, but it is much less complex. At the end of her vacillating life, Corliss found the real love, the love she had been looking for.

Corliss Palmer was born in the southwest Georgia town of Edison in 1902. Her father, Luther Palmer, who later brought the family to Dublin where he worked as an engineer in the power plant on the lower edge of town down by the Oconee River, named her for the Corliss engine, an engine which incidentally powered the plant where her father worked. The Palmers moved to Macon, where Corliss began working as a receptionist in a lumber company office at the age of fifteen. The sight of her blond hair, warm eyes and graceful figure drew the attention of the male customers as they came into the office. Within a few months, Corliss doubled her salary when she accepted an offer from the management of the Palace Hotel. Her job was to sweetly smile and talk to hotel guests as they stuffed their pockets with cigars. Twenty years later, Corliss lamented that it was the first time she traded her beauty for an easy job and a good salary. It wouldn't be the last time.

Corliss saw an advertisement announcing a contest to select "The World's Most Beautiful Girl." She shyly sent them a picture and then waited. Months went by. Then when she had given up nearly all hope of winning the contest, a congratulatory telegram arrived. Corliss boarded a train bound for New York, never to return to the simple and comfortable life she had known. The young ingenue trembled as she stood in front of the judges including the legendary Mary Pickford and a host of Hollywood producers, directors and actors. Corliss, overwhelmed with joy, was congratulated by the other girls, including Mary Astor, who became a famous actress in Hollywood during its Golden Era. Corliss' story was told over and over again in scores of publications around the world.





Eugene Brewster, the promoter of the contest, invited Corliss to come live with him and his wife in their Long Island, New York home. Brewster sought to capitalize on Palmer's beauty by forming Corliss Palmer Productions, Inc. He created a line of cosmetics endorsed by Corliss and profusely spread her picture on the inside and back covers of dozens of movie and women's magazines. Corliss was admired by hundreds of thousands of adoring fans, both men and women. Her biggest fan was Eugene Brewster, who controlled all of her activities and arranged frequent appearances in silent movies. Corliss came to expect all of the adulation that was heaped on her. So she was not surprised when Brewster announced his love for her. Brewster divorced his wife, married Corliss and bought her a fourteen room Hollywood mansion, filled with the finest art and antiquities that money could buy. Picture roles became even more frequent. Money, gifts and praise flowed in. Corliss had no cares. She had realized her dream. But had she?

At the time Corliss never questioned how or even why she had achieved stardom in Hollywood. Only later did she realize that " it doesn't matter how many pictures there were or how fabulous the wealth or how great the position was." She finally realized "all of these things were dumped into my lap and I snatched them with greedy hands and thought little of what I should give in return." Corliss lamented, " I thought only of myself and how much more I wanted than I already had." The Great Depression obliterated Brewster's fortune and consequently his financial contributions to her happiness. Out of money and out of love, Brewster asked Corliss for a divorce. Corliss consented, admitting that she admired and respected her gullible benefactor, but that she never really loved him truly because of her inability to love anyone except herself.




Then without a hint of a warning the casting calls stopped. Corliss was cast off as a gold digger and condemned to obscurity as a femme fatale. To ease her pain, Corliss succumbed to the soothing comfort of alcohol. "I wanted to make the world which had worshiped me to feel sorry for me. I was blinded by self-pity and I wanted to make them pity me, too, Corliss confessed. She believed, " I thought if someone pitied me, they would again give me the fame, love and fortune that I had let slip through my fingers."

Despite her plunge to the depths of despair, there were still admirers. One man who never stopped admiring Corliss was Dr. Roy Mason. Mason, an internist at Arroya Sanitarium, convinced Corliss to leave the anguish of Hollywood for the serenity of the country, where she could find rest, peace, fresh air and good food. The couple increasingly spent more time with each other. For Dr. Mason, it was total and eternal love. For Corliss, she loved the attention and jumped at the chance to spend some time in the country and receive the adoration of just another one of the hundreds of men who had been in love with her, but had never really touched her heart.

Corliss longed for the attention that Dr. Mason gave her. But there was no love. She went along with Mason's masquerade before his mother that the couple was engaged. Mrs. Mason took Corliss in and treated her with kindness that any future daughter in law would appreciate. Corliss continued to go along with the ruse until it became apparent that the young Dr. Mason could not provide her with the wealth and fame she so deeply desired. Not wanting to hurt Mason's mother, she ashamedly disavowed her love for the doctor and walked away from the Mason home in tears.

Corliss returned to Hollywood to regain her title as "The Most Beautiful Girl in The World." There was no one to greet her at the train station - no fans, no photographers, no reporters. She had no more friends. Hell was only a step away. Corliss befriended Betty Baxter, a failing screen writer. The duo drowned their sorrows in bottles of scotch and gin. Betty introduced Corliss to Rod Demora, a wealthy Arizona farmer and cattlemen. Demora, who recognized Corliss from her days of Hollywood glory, immediately attracted the despondent Corliss, who was still fixated on fortune and fame. The trio frequented all of the glamorous night spots around town. Rod proposed. Corliss, of course, accepted. When Rod's son became terribly ill, Corliss's last chance for her return to Hollywood faded.

Corliss began to look within herself. She was so disgusted at what she saw as if she had been slapped in the face. Her vanity, selfishness and self esteem nauseated her. She sobered up, returned to her mother's home and confessed her life had been a failure. With the unswerving devotion of her mother and her new found selflessness Corliss sought out the life she always needed but never had.

Claire Thomas, a former fan and café cashier, introduced Corliss to Bill Taylor, an awkward, shy and struggling rodeo cowboy. Slowly, but surely, the couple were drawn together. On her thirty second birthday, Bill presented Corliss with a long box of twelve fern stems and single rose - all that he could afford with the last quarter in his pocket. Bill grinned bashfully. Corliss' heart swelled. They kissed, and for the first time in her life, Corliss tingled. "I knew then at last I found honest love," Corliss fondly remembered. The couple led a simple and meager life until Corliss's untimely death at the age of fifty. Corliss never found her elusive pot of gold that she so desperately sought at the end of the rainbow that loomed over Hollywood. She found something much better, love.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

THE LONNIE WOODUM STORY

ODE TO JIGGS
The Lonnie Woodum Story

Fifty five years is a long time. But Bob Evans hasn't forgotten his best friend. He can't. Hardly a day goes by that Bob doesn't remember the good times in the Brooklyn neighborhood and at Washington Street School. Those places are all but gone now, but Evans still remembers the days when "Jiggs" Woodum was a young boy, free of all care, running like the wind, with his whole life in front of him. Little did either of the young men realize that Jigg's life would soon end in the second worst non battle naval disaster in American history.

Lonnie Gene "Jiggs" Woodum was born to his biological mother, Miss Mary Thomas. Miss Mary was a well-built attractive woman with a beautiful bronze complexion," Evans remembered. Mrs. Gussie Woodum raised Lonnie as her own son and gave him her name. Evans recalled that Mrs. Woodum was a strong mother figure to the boys and girls in the neighborhood. Mrs. Gussie, when she wasn't working in her restaurant on South Jefferson Street next to the Express Office, kept the neighborhood kids in line. "Often he and I would fight," Bob remembered, "and she would let us," Evans said. Bob usually came out on the short end of the stick after the pugilistic playing was over.

Just how Lonnie came to be known as "Jiggs," is unknown even to his best friend Bob. It could have come from the comic book strip, Maggie & Jiggs, or maybe it was just one of those names that kids make up. The nickname stuck and Jiggs quickly became a legend around Washington Street School and in Brooklyn, the name for a neighborhood bounded on the west by South Jefferson Street and Rowe Street and Belfry and Gray streets on the east. He was strong and fast. He could outrun any kid in Brooklyn.

The inseparable Jiggs and Bob played with their close buddies Curtis Kinsey, Douglas Williams, and Ernest Smith, all of whom were separated by five months in age. They played basketball together when they could find a goal. They played football together, except for Curtis and Douglas who played for Washington Street School, the forerunner of Oconee High School.

As Jiggs began to grow, Evans noticed that Jiggs was a fully developed with sprinters' legs, a small waistline, and large muscular thighs which went along with his strong upper body frame. "Jiggs was born with speed," Bob recalled. His coaches noticed. And, Jiggs was invited to join the football team at Washington Street in 1950. Although he was only a second-string halfback, the young Jiggs often played with the junior and senior starters. Not only a talented football player, Jiggs possessed a powerful pitching arm to compliment his blazing speed on the baseball diamond. Evans, the Oconee High School Historian, rates Woodum as one the three fastest athletes in the history of both Washington Street and Oconee High Schools.

In 1951, Jiggs, rotating in and out with the other halfbacks, helped his team to win the championship. His last season for the Oconee Trojans came in 1952 when he started at halfback. Jiggs often mentored Evans and other young players by giving them constructive criticism and suggesting better ways to carry out their assignments. But Jiggs wasn't just all about football. He liked to play jokes when he got the chance on his fellow teammates.

Sometime shortly after his eighteenth birthday, Jiggs enlisted in the United States Navy. His country still at war, Jiggs wanted to do his part. Bob Evans remembered Jiggs coming home after a Mediterranean cruise aboard the U.S.S. Bennington. "He brought me some exotic cologne and two terry cloth shirts with a printed photo of the aircraft carrier," Evans fondly recalled. "He jokingly told me that the cologne would really attract the girls, which it actually did," his old friend said. Jiggs, possibly in hopes that Bob would join the Navy too, told him about the military life, its benefits and the pleasures of travel. Today, Bob Evans remains proud of Jiggs, the sailor, the American patriot.

Jiggs was assigned to duty as a TA aboard the Bennington, a World War II Essex style carrier. The Bennington had been assigned to duties in the Mediterranean Theater, where American military presence was still necessary in post war Europe and with the emerging troubles in the Middle East.

It was a average morning on May 26, 1954. The crew of the Bennington was beginning to go about their duty of conducting flight trials from the carrier deck. At 0611 hours, a series of explosions racked the forward third of the ship. Total terror ensued. Many of the men aboard were just waking up from a good night's sleep. It was not a drill. Richard Pope remembered a black man, possibly Jiggs, coming down the ladder to sick bay. Completely naked, his clothes burned off his body, the man begged Pope to go and help his buddy. Those were his last words. He died in the arms of the operating room corpsman. "In my mind, he was a hero. Whether he ever received a medal, I can't say, he was not easy to identify," Pope recalled in 1992.

When the final casualty counts were taken, one hundred and four men, including Jiggs were dead. One hundred and thirty-nine others were injured, and some suffering terrible burns over their entire bodies. Jigg's body was brought home and buried beside that of his adopted mother, Mrs. Gussie, in Dudley Cemetery in Dublin.

But Jiggs wasn't just a athlete or a sailor. He was a singer. Jiggs sung the tenor parts in the Oconee High School choir, which won many competitions during those years.

Not every graduate of Oconee High School knew Lonnie "Jiggs" Woodum. But, they do know his words. Jigg's lyrics were selected to become the words for the Oconee High School alma mater; "School of love and charity, we lift our voice in praise to thee. And in our heart you are the best, we'll always love you O.H.S.. So I'll fight and win what 'er the battle be. The blue and gold thy sons shall 'er defend. And loyal to the voice of love attend,
Oconee, Oconee, Oconee, I love you."

Lonnie Woodum's non combative accidental death was none the less brave, none the less tragic. Jiggs was a victim of a war, the Cold War. And, because we were robbed of his friendship and his talents, we were victims as well. So, on this Memorial Day, let us remember Jiggs and the hundreds of other Laurens Countians who have given their lives so that we can be free.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pictures of the Week


Candelite Motel - North Jefferson St. Dublin, GA



Boiling Springs Methodist Church



Interior of Federal Court Room, Federal Building,
Dublin, Georgia



William Pritchett Home, southwest corner of
North Street and Highland Ave.

Monday, May 18, 2009

CROSSING THE ISTHMUS

Dubliner Helps to Build Canal


At the time of its completion, many believed the Panama Canal was one of the greatest engineering feats in the history of man. Some still do. At the turn of the 20th Century, if you wanted to take a sea cruise from New York to San Francisco, you had to go clean around Cape Horn at the southernmost tip of South America to reach your destination. Dreamers had dreamed of a canal across the narrowest part of Central America for nearly three centuries. The French tried it in the 1880s. They abandoned the project after the deaths of nearly twenty-two thousand souls. But no one could, or would, tell President Theodore Roosevelt it couldn't be done. The indomitable commander in chief spent the appropriated forty million dollars and bought all of the discarded French equipment that he could get his hands on and still worked along with the rights to continue construction along the abandoned ditches in the mosquito-infested isthmus of Panama.

One Dublin man was there to help and not just with a ditch digging spade in his hand. The work began on May 4, 1904 under the leadership of Chief Engineer John Frank Stevens. M.B. Stevens, no relation to the chief, went to work on the canal project in 1906 leaving behind his relatives and friends in Dublin. When he arrived, he found a ten-mile wide strip of land forty-seven miles long teeming with adventurers, miscreants, opportunists, desperados and peons.

"When the work first began, the government did most of the work," Stevens said in describing the deplorable conditions of the area. After a year or two, the sanitary engineers were able to establish semi-sanitary conditions, a tormenting task which took constant attention to every mud puddle and stagnant creek along the way.

Stevens observed that the bulk of the common workers were West Indian Negroes, whom he found more than inefficient, but a people, who possessed a great respect for morals and the law. "They rarely smile and sing," Stevens told a reporter for the Macon Telegraph on a visit back to Dublin in the fall of 1909. And why would they, working for a pittance of a dime an hour? Spaniards, working at a wage of twenty cents per hour, amounted to about five thousand of the work force. Panamanians, of whom Stevens did not think too highly, were used sparingly, primarily to cut through the brush. Nearly all of the skilled and clerical workers were Americans. Italians were rarely hired, because as Stevens put it, "they are too free with the knife."

Discounting the tales of the Canal Zone being a filthy and deleterious place, Stevens said, "I would favorably compare the zone with the average American city." "Yellow fever has been driven from the area and cases of malaria are under control," he added. Stevens boasted of the fifteen American cities along the projected route of the man-made waterway. He warned anyone that it was a mistake to assume that the Americans were not respected. "Many tourists come here and seem to enjoy it, although it does rain about eight months out of the entire year," Stevens said.

Proud of the quarters which he and his fellow workers occupied, Stevens said, "Life in the zone is pleasant enough. There are houses fashioned for the men in the style of railroad Y.M.C.A. barracks. Each person lives here for free." Married men were even furnished separate housing for themselves and their families.

When workers needed medical care, they were sent to the hospital where the medicine was free as well as all expenses of their stay. Government operated commissaries furnished the other necessities of life at cost. Three meals a day cost an American sixty cents, while Spaniards ate thrice for forty cents. All Negroes were charged thirty cents, presumably for less hearty meals.

M.B. Stevens returned home to Dublin in October 1909 to enjoy a well earned twelve week leave of absence. Though he had earned a well-deserved rest, Stevens was anxious to return to work and finish the job he started. At that point, the canal project was nearly half completed. "I am proud of the fact that I am taking part in the construction of this great canal," Stevens said. In the end, Stevens believed that it would be the South which would benefit the most from the completion of "The Big Ditch." "South Atlantic ports will reap a big harvest, but all of the interior points will benefit also," he added.

Stevens remained confident that the canal would be finished on time, perhaps even ahead of schedule. He was right. Stevens predicted that the canal would be finished by new Years Day in 1915. It formally opened some four and one half months on August 15, 1914, just in time for the opening battles of World War I.

M.B. Stevens could not leave the Panama Canal. He seemed to have loved it more than his old home in Georgia. Long after the canal was completed, Stevens remained at his job. In 1921, he served as Secretary to General Chester Harding at the Headquarters of the Executive Department in Balboa Heights. Harding, a Mississippian and graduate of West Point, served as governor of the Panama Canal Zone from 1917 to 1921.

I lost track of M.B. Stevens after that. I wish I could tell you more, perhaps at another time. Maybe one day, some day, someone will come forward and tell us the rest of the story of the Dublin man who helped to build "The Path Between the Seas."

AND NOW THE FABULOUS HERRMANS

If it sounds as if I am introducing a circus act, I am not. It is indeed quite rare when a family makes a significant impact on their community in a relatively short period of time, but the Herrman family of Dublin and Eastman did just that, helping to transform the sleepy hamlets into thriving cities. This is their story. It is a story of hard work, dedication to serving others and what one family can do to make their hometown a better place to live.

Henry Herrman was born in Bavaria Germany about the year 1832.Henrietta Goodman Herrman, also a native of Germany, was born five years later in 1837. Henry and Henrietta left their families and friends behind in Germany and set out for America in 1849. They found a country torn between the rights of states to determine if one man could own another and subject him to slavery.

After a short stay in New York City, where they married, the Herrmans chose to make Dublin their home in the 1850s. Henry and his brother Julius purchased one of the four prime lots in the Town of Dublin from the Guyton family in the late spring of 1858. The Herrmans paid the handsome sum of $1250 for the entire city block on the south side of West Jackson Street and the western side of South Jefferson Street. The purchase included the store being operated by John J. Keen and excluded the doctor shop lot. Henry was a merchant. Like many of his fellow countrymen, Henry came to the United States to peddle his wares and to make a living for his family. Henry quickly improved his lots and buildings and opened his own shop on the busiest corner in town.

Henry purchased two town lots on the site of the old Piggly Wiggly grocery store, now the used car lot of Pitts Toyota, for his home on New Year's Day in 1859.

On the very day that the Confederate States of America adopted their constitution, Henry and Julius began to divest themselves of their real estate holdings. Julius had already moved to Alachua County, Florida. Whether the Herrman brothers knew that economic times would be bad is unknown, but they, along with everyone else in the country, knew on February 8, 1861, that a war between the North and the South was eminent.

The Herrmans sold a portion of Lot 90 to Malcom Coneley and Bryan A. Herndon, where they had been operating a grocery store. Sigmund Elenger, a fellow Eastern European merchant, bought Lot 91 to establish his own store. John J. Keen paid $250.00 for the southern half of the city block where he was then residing. Henry bought out Julius' share of the remainder of Lot 90, where Peter Sarchett kept a grocery and Henry and Joel Perry operated the store on the corner under the banner of Herrman and Perry.

Times were bad in Dublin during the war, really bad. In fact, the small hamlet virtually dried up and blew away. Henry loved his adopted hometown. He was inducted into the Laurens Lodge No. 75, F.&.A.M. During the Civil War, Henry, too old to serve in the regular infantry, enlisted in Company A of the 2nd Georgia Militia on May 26, 1864. He served in the defense of General Sherman's campaign against Atlanta and her defensive neighboring towns and communities.

On July 6, 1869, Henry Herrman was appointed by President U.S. Grant as postmaster of Dublin, making him the first and only foreign born postmaster the city ever had. Herrman was also the first and only postmaster of the Jewish faith to serve as postmaster of Dublin. Hermann served in the position until October 1870, when he was replaced by Maggie Hester, the city's first female postmaster.

In the latter months of 1872, Henry and Henrietta decided that if they were going to survive the turbulent times of the post Reconstruction era, they would have to move. Dublin and Laurens County were stagnant. With no railroad and no promises of one on the horizon, the Herrmans knew that they had to follow the business. After a brief time in New York, where their sons obtained a substantial education, the Herrman's moved to nearby Eastman, Georgia on the Macon & Brunswick Railroad. The infant county seat of Dodge County was on the verge of a boom and Henry wanted to capitalize on the trade coming into the railroad town.

In the early days of 1873, Herrman sold his home store lot at a very handsome profit to Seaborn L. Weaver. Hermann threw in with the deal, a prized and highly coveted tract of land along the Oconee River at the eastern edge of town, including the highly lucrative ferry lot.

Known for his uncanny financial ability, Henry Herrman opened his first store in Eastman in the Macon & Brunswick Railroad depot. But Henry's life would soon end for in February 1875, he died, leaving his wife and seven children. As he lay dying for eight days, Henry repeated the prayers he was taught by his Jewish forefathers. His body was buried with Masonic honors in Rose Hill Cemetery in the City of Macon, where he attended worship services in the synagogue. Henrietta survived Henry by nearly nineteen years until she died in the winter of 1894 despite the heroic and loving efforts of her son, Dr. Jefferson D. Herrman. The editors of the Eastman Times described her death, "Being very feeble, the morning sun ushered in another day. Her aged form was cold in death, and her gentle spirit had taken flight to the land where the sun never sets and pain and death never enter." Henrietta was buried beside her dear husband in Rose Hill.

Isaac, the oldest son, was born in New York about the year 1851. He was elected as the second Clerk of the Superior Court of Dodge County in 1874 and served one two-year term. It was said that in his brief time in Eastman he had more friends than in his whole life. He moved to Tennille to be closer to the family of his wife, Miss Annie Bashinski. Among the couple's children were Henry, Moses and Clara. Isaac died all too young at the age of thirty-four at his home in Tennille on March 30, 1885.

Elias was, on September 15, 1858, the first of the Herrman children to be born in Dublin. Elias was educated in the schools of Dublin and New York City before being admitted to the bar of Laurens County at a very young age. He practiced in Macon until 1877, when he moved to Cochran, where he enjoyed a successful practice. Elias was honored by the Cochranites when he was chosen to serve as the city's attorney for many years.

In 1888, Elias rejoined his family in Eastman, where he immediately became one of the leading citizens of the city. In 1891, Elias was the first of the Herrman brothers to be elected Mayor of Eastman. Two years later in 1893, Col. Herrman was appointed by Georgia governor William J. Northern as Judge of the County Court of Dodge County. In his personal life, Judge Herrman was married to Miss Josephine Heimer of Montezuma, Georgia, who bore him six children.

As a lawyer in private practice, Col. Herrman was considered by some of his peers to be one of the best criminal lawyers in the state, a man of social instinct with many hundreds of friends. He was dubbed the Demosthenes of the Eastman bar in comparing the young barrister to the legendary statesman and orator of ancient Athens, Greece. Herrman, always considered earnest and zealous in the representation of his clients, was also a man who was considered kindhearted, generous and sympathetic. Judge Elias Herrman, at the age of only forty-three years, died suddenly at his home in Eastman on July 17, 1902. His body was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Eastman with full Masonic honors.

Solomon was born on August 20, 1859 in Dublin. He joined his brothers in traveling to New York to further their education. He moved to Eastman with his parents when the town was just beginning to grow. Following in the footsteps of his father, Solomon entered the mercantile business. In 1885, the voters of Eastman elected Solomon to serve a two - year term as city clerk, one year of which was under Mayor William P. Eastman.

His success in business led to his being asked to form the Merchants and Farmers Bank in 1905. He served as the vice-president of the bank until 1910, when it was reorganized as the First National Bank. The directors elected Herrman president of one of the town's most successful banks. Solomon was interested in the business of agriculture as well. He helped to form the Dodge Fertilizer Works and operated a large farm which employed 150 people.

In 1912, Solomon Herrman became the third son of Henry and Henrietta Herrman to serve as mayor of Eastman. This was a remarkable feat in light of the fact that there had been few Jewish mayors in the history of Georgia, and at the time, there had been an increase in anti-Semitic among some citizens of Georgia. Though Solomon was not a professional like his brothers, Elias and Jefferson, he was devoted to the improvement of education in Dodge County, serving on the board of education and being active there for sixteen years.

Solomon's first wife, the former Miss Hennie Oestrich of Lockport, New York, tragically died in October 1890. Solomon then married Sophie Bashinski of Tennille, Georgia, a daughter of Sam Bashinski. The Herrmans had four children, Joseph, Thelma, Julian and Jennie Claire. Solomon was a Royal Arch Mason and a founding member of the Eastman Masonic Lodge. He died on April 8, 1918 and was buried with Masonic rites in Woodlawn Cemetery beside his wife, who died in 1948.

Jefferson Davis Herrman was born in Dublin in 1861. There is an old tale that during the escape attempt of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, the leader of "the Lost Cause" spent the night in the home of the Herrman family, who named their son in his honor. That anecdote could be true. But, if you consider the fact that Jefferson Davis Herrman was born in 1861, his parents would have changed his name to honor the ever popular Southern leader.

Jefferson attended and graduated from the Medical Department of the University of Georgia in April 1882 at the age of twenty-one. He performed his post graduate requirements at New York Polyclinic Hospital. For forty years, Dr. Herrman was recognized as one of the leading physicians of Dodge County. At one time, Dr. Herrman was president of the Georgia Medical Society.

Dr. Herrman served as an officer of the Masonic Lodge, the Knights of Pythias, and the Bank of Eastman. In 1910, he became the second Herrman brother to serve as mayor of Eastman and was succeeded by his brother Solomon.

Dr. Herrman married Nettie Hirsh of New York City in November 1889, just five days after the marriage of his brother Solomon. The couple had two children, Ferdinand and Hortense.

When the depression began to strike Dodge County in the early 1920s, Dr. Herrman moved to join his son, Dr. Ferdinand H. Herrman, who was practicing in Far Rockaway on Long Island, New York. Dr. J.D. Herrman, who came within three months of practicing medicine for fifty years, died of a heart attack at his home in New York on January 4, 1932. Only his brother App survived him.

Ferdinand H. Herrman followed in the footsteps of his father. Ferdinand graduated near the top of his medical class at Tulane University at the age of twenty-two. He served an internship at Grady Hospital before enlisting in the U.S. Army in World War I. As a surgeon of the medical corps of the Second Division, Capt. Herrman was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by Gen. John J. Pershing to add to his award of the Croix de Guerre by the French government for his heroic actions at Merde Ferme.

Captain Herrman was stationed in a dressing station just behind the front trenches of the American line. When a bomb struck the temporary hospital, Herrman climbed out the debris and proceeded to carry the wounded, along with the aid of a sergeant, back to a cave some 200 yards behind the lines. He set up a new hospital and remained at his post caring for the wounded until he was relieved.

Carrie Herrman, the youngest child, was born on January 23, 1868. She married Sigmund Harris, who was eighteen years her senior. The Harrises lived in Eastman. Carrie, like many of her siblings, died at an early age, fifty-three, on October 3, 1921. She is buried beside her husband in the family plot in Woodlawn Cemetery. Their son, Herrman Hirsch Harris, was the first graduate of Eastman High School.

Albert, or App, Herrman lived for a while in Eastman where he was engaged in the insurance business and served as an alderman on the city council around the turn of the 20th Century. He married Gertie Harris, sister of his sister's husband Sig Harris. He died on November 27, 1939 as the last of the Herrman children who came to Eastman with their parents in the early 1870s.

The story of the Herrman family is a true American success story. Henry and Henrietta came to America to find freedom and a better way to earn a living for their family. By educating their children to learn as much as they could and to give back to their communities, the Herrmans were really and truly fabulous Americans.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


U.S. Post Office - East Madison Street
Constructed in 1911-1913



South Jefferson Street - Dublin, GA
Right - New Dublin Hotel, ca. 1903.




Dublin High School - 1902





Dublin City Hall - North side of
Courthouse Square - 1905

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Pictures of the Week


First Christian Church, Dublin, GA


Henry Memorial Presbyterian Church,
Dublin, GA


First Baptist Church, Dublin, GA


First Methodist Church,
Dublin, GA ca. 1908