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

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A NIGHTMARE IN WINTER

Henry Burney knew the way out of town. Any way would do. The shorter the better. Burney didn't take too long to take his badly beaten bruised body out of Dublin to meet the 48-hour vigilante-imposed deadline and avoid being beaten, stabbed, shot, hung, or a combination of any or all of the above by a violent mob of lynchers.

Henry Burney's nightmare began on the night before Christmas in 1887. Santa Claus had abandoned his sleigh for a boat as cold winter rains transformed the city's sandy sidewalks into a boggy branch.

The Christmas rush was over. It was time for J.M. Reinhart, Jr. to close up the Red Barn and settle down for a cold winter's night. There was no safe in the place. So, the young merchant stuffed $2100.00 in cash in a large wallet and then slid it inside his overcoat. As the clock struck ten, Reinhart turned out the light and set out along a once bustling street toward his home, only some two hundred yards away.

As he approached his house, Reinhart was struck from behind. The heavy blow, softened somewhat by the cushion of his umbrella, was nevertheless, a severe one. He collapsed. In a few moments, Reihart was able to rise from the ground. In the dim light emanating from his front hallway, the victim was able to catch a glimpse of his attacker as he disappeared into the darkness, but not before Reinart managed to fire several pistol rounds in his direction.

Reinhart unequivocally identified his assailant as one Henry Burney, a Negro already suspected of violating the laws of the state. City police officers immediately sought out and quickly apprehended the suspect, whom they promptly threw into a cold damp cell.

While Henry languished in his jail cell on Christmas morning, J.M. Reinhart returned to open his bar. Later in the day, Reinhart felt bad. He went home and straight to bed.

Henry's day in court was delayed long enough for Reinhart to appear as the state's main witness on the following day. David Ware, a Dublin attorney, prosecuted the case on behalf of the State of Georgia against the defendant Burney, who was ably represented by attorneys Hightower and Roach. Ware tendered a ten-foot pole the size of a grown man's arm as the weapon used by Burney. The prosecutor maintained publicly that Burney had an accomplice, but never produced evidence to prove his theory.

The defense attorneys pointed out the fact that Reinhart's back and head bore no sign of blunt force trauma which they claimed proved that the purported victim was not struck as alleged. Some doubted that a robbery took place at all. Despite the exculpatory evidence in the day long trial, Justice of the Peace W.H. Walker ruled there was enough evidence to bind Henry Burney over for a trial on the charge of attempted murder and armed robbery, committed him back to jail and set a bond of $1,000. In his main trial, Burney was convicted and sentenced to four years based on the jury's recommendation for mercy.

That's when the most intriguing part of the case began. Burney was worried that he would be lynched. Jailer Arnau assured him that if he would holler when anyone was trying to get to him, he would be protected. Just before midnight on the morning of January 13, 1888, Burney heard voices outside of his cell. He yelled. Some forty-two masked men swarmed into the jail. Burney picked up a board and threatened to take a few of them out if they tried to take him away.

The masked men began to sing in an understandable dialect which appeared to be some sort of Negro spiritual. Henry put his board down and moved toward a corner. Just then, a rope, fit for lynching, was thrown around his neck. As Henry struggled, the avengers threatened to kill him. One tried to do just that by striking Henry with the butt of his gun.

Jailer Arnau, visibly shaken, could not tell the race of the alleged emancipators, first saying that they were all white and later stating that it was a mixed crowd. While Arnau stated that only five masked men entered his jail, other witnesses put the number of liberators anywhere from twenty-five to forty-two.

The mob carried Burney up the Irwinton Road toward Hunger and Hardship Creek and Blackshear's Ferry. There he was hacked and beaten some more. Not a hide nor hare of Burney could be found the next morning, so almost everyone assumed that he had met with Judge Lynch and dumped in the nearby swamp.

Burney escaped to Oconee, Georgia, where he carried a double-barreled shotgun in anticipation of his capture by the law. Capt. G.W. Shackleford, of the Georgia Central Agency, enlisted the aid of J.J. Dunn to receive the $100.00 reward for the fugitive. On the morning of February 2, 1888, the men found Burney peacefully working at the home place of Judge G.J. Elkins. Dunn offered Burney a drink while the Captain drew a bead on Burney's torso and commanded him to raise his arms. Dunn slapped a pair of handcuffs on Burney, who then drank his dram. The officers took Burney to a Macon jail to await his testimony before the next session of the Laurens County Grand Jury.

Burney told his captors that masked marauders had beaten him repeatedly with fence rails and stabbed him numerous times. "They asked me if I knew the way out of town to which I said, 'yes,' " Burney said. He added, "They told me, 'Well then, we'll give you two days to get out of and never come back again.' " Henry showed the officers a piece of rope which was strung around his neck as he was led out of town. He also pointed out a severe gash on his cheek which came at the hands of his so-called liberators.

After being granted a new trial, Burney testified before the jurors that he was innocent and that Reinhart was never robbed. He alleged that the entire matter was a convoluted scheme between Reinhart and his partner, Capt. Louis C. Perry. Arnau and Perry, along with messers Waters, McGowan and Webb, were indicted by Grand Jury for unlawfully releasing Burney from jail.

Don't get me wrong, Henry Burney was a bad man. And, being bad was probably the reason he was convicted. Captain Perry and jailor Arnau were outstanding citizens of the community and no one would believe that they could be involved in such an elaborate scheme. The defendants were never tried, although many others believed Burney was innocent. As for Burney, he seemed to have disappeared from sight, at least from the headlines which told the whole world of his nightmare in winter.

ANDY OUTLAW

A HERMIT'S TALE



Andy Outlaw watched the dough boys march by. He rarely saw the sun in the noon day sky or heard a baby's midnight cry. Andy lived alone indoors for most of his life, surrounded by the things that meant the most to him, without a child or a wife. And, he loved it, because Andy Outlaw was a hermit.

A son of Morgan Outlaw and Roxann Snell, Andrew M. Outlaw, was born in Johnson County, Georgia in 1859. When he was merely five years old, Andy recalled Sherman's army invading his hometown of Wrightsville. He remembered that his mother pleaded with the Yankees to save Wrightsville's churches and its school, courthouse, and Masonic Hall. To his dying day he knew in his mind that Roxann Outlaw's pleas touched the heart of the Union general and spared the Johnson County capital from total annihilation.

Andy was known as a quite handsome man in his youth. Though he loved them from afar, Andy was afraid of girls. No one could ever remember him courting a single girl. The Outlaws were determined to give their children the best education they could receive by sending them to the academy, an octagonal building located on a ridge on the outskirts of town. London born and bred teacher, Wycliffe Loyd, was able to capture and bring out Andy's ability to write in fine style.

Upon reaching manhood, Andrew Outlaw removed himself from Wrightsville to Bartow, a railroad town some twenty crow-fly miles away in Jefferson County. After three years in the mercantile business, Andy became deathly ill. He got the fever. When Bartow's finest physicians couldn't cure him, they sent Andy home to die.

But Andy didn't die. He lingered in his room in the Outlaw's hotel, which was erected in 1861 and operated by his father, who was then sheriff of Johnson County. Though Andy recovered from his illness, as far as the world around him was concerned, he was all but dead.

In the nearly sixty years before his death, townsfolk noticed that Andy ventured outside of his large home only on three or four occasions. The first time anyone could remember was the time when he got curious and walked across the street to get a closer view of a traveling show. There was another time when Andy took part in a fiddling contest. He won five pounds of mullet, a jar of preserves and a free pass that day, a memorable time which remained in the old man's mind for many decades. And, he did go to church, just once.

Andy continued to live with his aging mother until her death. He felt comfort in roaming the dark and narrow halls looking at and touching family heirlooms which filled the two-story, ghostly home.

The old parlor, once the site of gay parties, was so dark that the thick coat of dust covering the furniture could hardly be seen. Right in the middle of the parlor sat a Chickering piano, which his parents bought in 1875. As an 80-year-old, Andy demonstrated his still outstanding musical abilities to W.R. Manry, a reporter for the Courier Herald. Manry described Outlaw as a man having an inborn, better than average musical ability who could play the flute and the violin. He had nine violins until he gave two of them away. Andy did keep his prized violin in a bureau drawer. It was a Stradivarius, one made by the old man Antonio Stradivari himself in his prime way back in 1713.

"Andy could make two noises with his cheeks and mouth, snap his fingers of both hands, kick both feet together off the floor and shake his head - all at the same time - a feat very few people can do, regardless of age," wrote Manry.

The old hermit rarely threw anything away. Stacked next to the fireplace mantle was a collection of old almanacs. In nearly every room in the house, Andy strung strings of twine along the walls. Rooms adjoining the parlor was filled with mounds of boxes, bags and paper sacks. Kits crammed with kaboodles covered every corner, nook and cranny. In justification of his hoard, Andy cited the Biblical phrase, "Blessed is he that hath of his own for he shall want not." His quote actually does not appear in the Bible, but it did seem to justify in his own mind his addiction to accumulation.

The old hotel, which was frequented by Gov. Herschel Johnson during his time on the bench of the Superior Court, was filled with antiques and collectibles. There was an old organ from Arline Chapel Church, which he got in a trade. Above the mantle was a working 1818 open face clock and a mirror with relief sketches of heroes of the Spanish American War. All throughout the house were framed pictures of loved ones whose lives Andy could recall in exacting details. One of Andy's prize possessions was a picture of George Washington, which he cut from a cardboard box of plug chewing tobacco. One could hardly step without moving around an old broken chair, scattered stacks of tattered books, or some useless antiquity that he hated to discard.

During six decades of seclusion, Andy did a lot of reading, though in his old age, he had to wear glasses to keep from ruining his eyes. Outlaw developed a keen interest in astrology. Particularly fascinating to the recluse was the day of July 3. What was special about this particular eve of Independence Day was it was the day when his father was born, married and died, a feat which may happen to one in nearly 49 million people. But there was more. His brother was born and married on the same day, but didn't die on July 3, a fact which meant nothing to him since he died on another day anyway.

Andy was superstitious too. Over his door, he nailed a horse shoe and recited to his visitors as he rarely welcomed them, "Be sure you nail it right and you will chase the witches away tonight." To keep himself free from harm from witches and other evil specters, Outlaw carried in his shirt pocket an alligator tooth wrapped in waxed paper, a good luck ring and an assortment of spirit repelling charms.

The once handsome man became a decrepit, but friendly, octogenarian. Dressed in heavily patched britches and a torn army blouse, a gray-haired Andy Outlaw told reporter Manry, "I would rather be filthy than sickly." Andy's long life came to an end on May 8, 1943.

In the last years of his life, Andy sat by the window peering out into the modern world. He could see the new two-story courthouse, large brick stores and warehouses around him. He could see cars go by and planes flying in the sky. Andy lived through four major wars, saw the end of slavery and the coming of the automobile. He lived long enough to use the electric light, though he never used it much. He lived long enough to listen to music of the phonograph and the side-splitting laughter and the suspenseful screams coming out of his radio.

Andy Outlaw, once a good looking rich kid, died a far poorer man. For he turned inward instead of outward and missed the magnificence of the wonderful world outside the walls of his home.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

THE BRIDGE TO EVERYWHERE


It was a big thing. It is still a big thing. The thing is the bridge at Ball's Ferry. Way back some seventy years ago, the skeptics said that it was a bridge to nowhere. There were no highways leading to either side of the 1,683 foot long bridge. None of this mattered at all to the thousands of people from surrounding counties who gathered to get a closeup look at the first bridge over the Oconee River on the final day of March 1939. It was their bridge. And, they were proud of it. Last Friday a dozen seniors came back to relive old memories and remember the day when as kids they walked across the bridge for the first time.

Dennis Holder, Chairman of the Wilkinson County Board of Commissioners, hurriedly organized a ribbon cutting before the new bridge is scheduled to go into operation on Friday, January 22nd. A call was sent out to find as many of those people who were there the day the original bridge was dedicated to come back and walk across the bridge before it is opened to vehicular traffic.

Marlene Tompkins came. She was five years old when she watched her daddy, Mr. Cecil Lord, as he pushed wheel barrows full of cement and dumped them into wooden forms used to support the bridge. Mr. Lord kept the ferry at night and worked on the bridge during the day. "It was good work and he was glad to get it," Mrs. Tompkins added.

"I remember seeing 15 hogs cooking on the bar-b-que grill about where the new bridge is now," said Frank Mills. "My father bought me a new pair of shoes to wear. He got them from Mr. Murray Hall's store in Toomsboro. I think he paid five or six dollars for them. Before it was over, I had worn them completely out," Mills chuckled.


Ferry before the bridge.

A.W. Stuckey was there too. "I walked all the way across the bridge and then came back on the bottom side," he recollected. Stuckey remembered that the folks from Washington and Johnson counties met the folks from Wilkinson and Laurens County in the middle of the span. "I remember seeing lots of dignitaries everywhere. When the primary celebration was over, there was a big dance in the middle of the bridge that night. The bridge was really swaying that night." the ol' man recalled.


Perry Dominy's most vivid memory came just before the keynote speaker came to the podium. "I was a senior in high school and was trying to get a good look," Dominy remembered. As the Army band from Fort Benning was playing, someone suddenly shoved him out of the way. That someone was Gov. E.D. Rivers who was making his way to speak to the assembled multitude. "Gov. Rivers was never a favorite of mine," said Dominy, who added, "the bridge was a political football. He recalled that there were no roads there at the time because until that point travelers crossed the muddy river a short distance to the north at the ferry.

"My parents thought I was too little. So, I didn't get to come" said Annie Loyd Mason. But, Annie Mason was there last Friday. After seven decades Annie got her chance. She stepped onto the spotless concrete bridge and walked.

Paul and Hayden, great grandsons of Mary Holland Duke, were there to help her retrace her steps. Betty Paul and Polly Sumner Brinson, who were students at Ball's Ferry School back in 1939, were back to walk again. Betty remembered masses of people everywhere. Polly thought about her daddy, Eugene Sumner, who helped build the bridge.

Charles Paul came with his mother Betty and brought his daughter Layla along too. This time there would be three generations walking across the new bridge. Layla was glad to see her grandmother get a chance to do it again. Paul, who helped round up participants, crosses the bridge every day. "It is more than just a bridge, it is a bridge to the future," said Paul, who believes his great grandchildren will be using this bridge into the next century.

Those who gathered on the west end of the bridge were greeted by Commissioner Holder, who thanked Georgia state senators Gillis and Brown for their roles in securing the ten million dollars in state and federal funding for the new bridge. Holder also thanked the members of the Ball's Ferry Park Association, which is composed of citizens from Wilkinson, Baldwin, Washington, Johnson and Laurens counties, for their dedication in establishing a state historical park. He also thanked the D.O.T. officials and project managers for the bridge, Chris Jordan and Kevin Joiner.

The project, which is slated to begin later this year, is now being tolled while environmental studies are being conducted on the burrowing crayfish, which lives along the banks of the river. The commissioner told the crowd that the new bridge will create a change in direction and offer a better entrance into the state park.

Cecil Hodges, of Washington County, was only eight at the time of the first dedication. He remembered school children were all lined up to walk across. "Before we began, we were told not to walk in step because it may cause the bridge to wobble and collapse," Hodges fondly remembered.

Mary Alice Jordan, a leading Washington County historian, was present lending her support to the bridge and the new park. Mr. Byron McCook, at 93 years, was a grown man back in 1939 when he crossed the bridge for the first time on foot. Mr. Byron responded, "I am just glad to be here again."




Kimberly Watkins - First to cross.

Kimberly Watkins was the first to accept Commissioner's Holder's invitation to walk across the bridge. Stopping only a few times to see if she could spot a gator flopping around in the suddenly warmer waters, Hopkins was the first to make the one-third of a mile trek to the Washington County side. "I wanted to be able to tell my five-year-old son, who was fascinated by the bridge building equipment, that I was one of the first to walk across the bridge," commented Hopkins. "People don't realize the history we have in our county. You always hear about the negative parts. But, I wouldn't trade living here for anything in the world." Right behind Mrs. Watkins was Connie Etheridge, the first of the repeat walkers to make it to the other side.


The new bridge took exactly seventeen months to complete. Workers of the Rogers Bridge Company installed more than ten thousand feet of beams and placed nearly 450 tons of reinforced steel into the new bridge, which is some 37 feet longer than the old one. They poured more than four thousand cubic yards of concrete. Heavy contractors dumped and graded 140,000 cubic yards of dirt along the approaches.

Today people will continue to cross the river on the new bridge at Ball's Ferry, but on a wider and safer bridge. No longer are there any doubters about the new one, which now and forever will always be the bridge to everywhere.

Monday, January 18, 2010

LATE COTTON



Cotton still in the fields in mid January.  Harvesting was delayed to heavy and frequent autumn rains.

Montform Farm, Claxton Dairy Road.

Monday, January 11, 2010

LIMERICK




There once was a town called Limerick.

Dreamers hoped it would prosper and quick.

Electric cars and lights,

Factories within all sights.

But soon the money died and so did Limerick.



(Sandbar, Georgia, during 2002 snowfall)


Okay, after that hapless attempt at limericking, here is the story of the brief life of Limerick, Georgia. To understand how Limerick came to be, or almost came to be, we must go back to the early years of the 19th Century.



Situated at the northwestern corner of Montgomery County was the place where an old Indian trail running from Indian Springs to Savannah crossed the Oconee River. The old timers called this place "Sandbar." There was sand everywhere - primarily along the bluffs of the east bank of the river. When the river was low, there sand bars crept into the water. You can still see the sand on the banks and well inland, if you know where to look.



When Georgia seized control of the lands west of the Oconee River, she created more counties, one of which was named Laurens. The land around Sandbar and east of the river was annexed into Laurens County in 1811. Dublin, the new county seat, was situated on a high ridge opposite Sandbar.



For decades, Sandbar was nothing more than the place where travelers crossed the ferry into Dublin. But, when the railroads came in the 1880s, so did the speculators. Dr. R.H. Hightower owned the best high lands, some 341 acres between Keen's Mill Creek and the Savannah Road. When the rails of the Dublin and Wrightsville Railroad were laid to the river bank in 1886, Hightower's land became instantly and immeasurably valuable. Protracted litigation ensued over the railroads' rights and endeavors on the east side before the railroad bridge and passenger bridges were completed in 1891.



In the spring of 1896, Thomas M. Cunningham, treasurer of the Central of Georgia Railroad, led the formation of Oconee Investment Company. W.W. Mackall, Walter Charlton and several others joined in the venture to capitalize on Dublin's explosive growth.



By the end of the 19th Century, Dublin had grown into one of the state's largest metropolitan areas. With cotton related businesses as the core of the city's economy, factories of Agra-related businesses sprang up between the center of town and the river. One of these factories was the Dublin Hame Works, where J.A. Spain and his employees had a fine business supplying local farmers with hames for their horses and mules.



At the dawn of the 20th Century, Oconee Investment Company announced its plans to establish a new town, Limerick, which they named after Ireland's fourth largest city. The owners of the company hired Spain to run their new enterprise. For any businessman, property taxes and license fees are always crucial issues. Spain began to think of ways that he and the other factory owners like him could minimize their cost of doing business. The owners logically deduced that if they owned their own town, they could exempt factories from taxes and license fees as they saw fit. Cunningham, on the other hand, also knew that his company could erect warehouses, which new factories could use to store raw materials or finished goods, all of which would hopefully be shipped in and out of Dublin by his railroad.



The owners of the new company devised a scheme to build a new town on their land opposite Dublin. To survive, any town needs people. Plans were drawn to lay out streets and set aside neighborhoods where new residents could buy or rent homes. New families would require new schools and new churches.



City dwellers need infrastructures. The company promised that an artesian well would be dug to tap into the vast underground caverns of pure spring water in the area. A sufficient series of water works was designed to get water to the factories, homes, schools and churches.



Manager Spain made arrangements to establish electrical service throughout the new town. Before a single gasoline-powered automobile ever clinked and clanked in the city, the promoters of Limerick were promising prospective Limerikians that they could ride into their sister city on fancy new electric cars. To sweeten the deal, newcomers were lured with the promise of "every conceivable convenience they could imagine."



Cunningham, Spain and Mackall wanted everyone to know that they bore no animosity toward Dublin. Moreover, the opposite was true. They hoped that Limerick's industries would compliment and further accelerate Dublin's business boom. They just didn't want to pay their taxes into the Emerald City's pots of gold.



For some unknown reason, the town of Limerick never came to pass. Dublin's Prussian entrepreneur and honorary Count, H.E. Kreutz, paid $300.00 for a half dozen lots. James Brack bought the land where his house was. The bulk of the lands were sold for $2500.00 to Mrs. Fannie Brady in 1906. Brady hoped to capitalize on the idea of new a town. Jackson, Madison, and Marion Streets were extended into the new town. The old road leading east from the ferry was renamed Savannah Avenue. Five north-south avenues, numbered one through five, were laid out.



Mrs. Brady's plans also never materialized. She sold the bulk of the western part of East Dublin to Dublin attorney G.H. Williams in 1927. Williams took the plans for a new city a step further. He hired a surveyor and laid out 25' x 100' lots for small houses and larger lots for commercial enterprises. New north-south streets were Park, Maloney, Felder and Dorsey. East-west streets beginning at the railroad and going north were Bowery, Jackson, Macon, and Dudley.



The third attempt to make a city out of Limerick was somewhat successful. Twenty-five years later, the place they once called Sandbar, North Dublin and even "Booger Bottom," and hoped to call "Limerick," would officially and forever be known as East Dublin.

Monday, January 04, 2010

EARL WILLIAMS

Never Asleep at the Wheel

Earl Williams could drive a car in his sleep if he had to. But the deal was that he wouldn't fall asleep for one hundred consecutive hours as he drove around the city of Dublin. It was all part of a publicity stunt, or advertising gimmick, to raise funds for Earl's habits, eating in particular. Just like the fictional Bo "Bandit" Darville, Earl loved to show off to pay the bills. The thing is, Earl didn't have Sheriff Buford T. Justice in hot pursuit behind him. Most of his driving stunts were along city streets or on circular tracks within the speed limits. The real reason for the spectacle was to raise funds for the Lieutenant Williams' sponsors.

Before he began driving cars for days at a time, Earl Napoleon Williams won national fame for his daring feats as a stunt pilot for Ivan Gates and his "Flying Circus," the nation's most popular barnstorming air show of the 1920s.



Earl Williams is handcuffed to wheel of his car.

In the fall of 1928, Earl was approached by Dave R. Yantis, sales manager of the LeRous Motor Company of Atlanta, to drive one of his Whippet automobiles in a daring endurance test at the Southeastern Fair. Earl's job was to drive a Whippet around a small track for 128 hours without sleeping and only stopping for gas, oil and water. To ensure that the driver remained in the vehicle, Williams was handcuffed to the steering wheel by policeman A.G. Stone. Such an assignment wouldn't be difficult for Earl, who had already set a world record in Chattanooga by driving nonstop for 141 hours. Williams did, however, express concerns that the test would be more grueling because of the tightness of the confined space.



Earl Williams in his Whippet automobile.

A large crowd of fans gathered around the 80 by 175 foot oval tract in the first trial of its kind in the country. Even the doubters in the gathering had their chances to look for trickery during the allowed pit stops. At two o'clock in the morning after circling for 90 hours, the strain of driving around and around the small tract took its toll on Earl. He fainted and was rushed to a hospital for emergency treatment. Against his doctor's advice, the dazed driver insisted on getting back into the seat of his car. All the time, two of Fire Captain J.T. Peel's men had taken Williams' place and kept the Whippet on his mundane trek. Earl Williams crawled out of bed and returned to the track to finish the remaining 38 hours of his run, just as he had promised. Then after fulfilling his mission, Earl collapsed into a soft bed in the showroom window of the car dealership for a long rest. Then and there everyone could see that he was indeed human.

The next summer, Earl Williams drove a car at a record pace to the top of Pike's Peak in Colorado.

For his next feat of endurance, Earl enlisted the aid of his wife. The couple began their drive around a track in their Graham Paige automobile on August 27, 1929. The conditions of the test were that the vehicle could not stop for any reason. Refueling, servicing and even tire changes had to be made while the car was in motion requiring all the innovation Williams and his crew could muster. The rear seat of the car was fashioned into a bed room and bath room. The hard part came when the two drivers switched places. The couple drove 18,232 circles for more than 464 hours and seven minutes before a ruptured tire ended their stunt. After driving 9,116 miles, the couple only required a 12-hour rest. Then, it was once again time to get back on the road to travel to other cities and towns across the country to make some more spending money.


Mrs. Earl Williams

George T. Morris of Morris Motor Company hired Earl Williams to come to Dublin to promote the sale of his models A & T Ford coupes and sedans. Other merchants wanted to get in on the action as well. Jewelry store owner Cullen Fisher was appointed the official time keeper. During the 100-hour event, Fisher ran a special on Bulova watches. Sinclair gas and Opaline oil was provided by Glover M. Burney. Mr. Peacock, of the Service Radio Company, installed a Majestic Radio in Williams' car. The Burch Brothers chipped in a Willard battery. J.C. Penney and Co. furnished the driver with Penco sheets to cover his bed once the run was complete. When his car needed gas and oil, Earl could pull into the Fred Roberts Hotel's gas station, an event which everyone was invited to watch.

The big event began with Williams' appearance on the stage of the Rose Theater at 2:00 p.m. on January 8, 1930, eighty years ago next week. Promptly at 3:15, Mayor T.C. Keen handcuffed Williams to the wheel and gave the signal. The race against Morpheus began.

As the car pulled away from the curb, those who gathered around took a brief glance at the placards which covered most of its body. It was the only time during the 100-hour marathon that anyone could get a stationary glimpse of the sponsors ads. Those wanting to tag along for a ride were instructed to contact the desk manager of the Fred Roberts Hotel to reserve their ticket.

One of the biggest secrets to keep Earl awake was his daily morning shave. Pearly Hutchinson, one of the city's best barbers, was given the assignment of clean shaving the lieutenant every morning as he drove throughout the city. "He was sore and stiff from the awkward and unusual positions he had to get into every morning to shave," Hutchinson remarked.

As the race progressed, Williams' began to show the strains of sitting shackled to the car for days. To break up the monotony, Williams would drive outside the city limits. The culmination of the run came with a race to Wrightsville and back.

Williams looked at his Bulova watch. When it said 7:21 on Sunday evening, he headed his car toward the Fred Roberts Hotel and sleep. A physician was standing by to escort Earl to his hotel room. The public was invited to cheer him to finish line and even come into the hotel to watch him sleep and recuperate.

The whole event was a resounding success. Everyone went away happy. The merchants cash registers were a little more full. And, so was Earl Williams' wallet. Earl could sleep again. That is until it was time to climb back in his car and ride around for four days and four hours without succumbing to Mr. Sandman.

Eventually the records Earl Williams set were broken. His achievements faded into obscurity as few accounts of his activities ever appeared after the day in Dublin when he was never asleep at the wheel.