Tuesday, May 31, 2011

LAURENS COUNTY HONORS THE MEMORY OF WILLIAM C. "DOC" STINSON

"A soldier's soldier." That is what they all said about Lt. Col. William C. "Doc" Stinson, Jr., a native of Laurens County. Members of veteran's and patriotic organizations joined dozens of members of the Stinson family at the First Baptist Family Life Center on Memorial Day to honor the memory of Lt. Col. Stinson, a graduate of West Point, one of the first advisors to serve in Vietnam and one of the highest ranking officers to be killed in battle during the Vietnam War. His memory will be permanently preserved with the naming of the northern leg of the Highway 441 Bypass in his honor.

Last year, Laurens County Commissioner Buddy Adams launched an effort to honor the two-time recipient of the Silver Star, our nation's third highest award for heroism. Adams contacted state officials and worked diligently to make the project a reality. Later this year around Veteran's Day, the southern leg of the bypass will be named for Lt. Kelso Horne, one of the oldest paratroopers on D-Day and whose picture on the cover of Life magazine is still one of the most coveted by military collectors today.

Members of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and National Daughters of the American Revolution were present as well as a host of family friends and patriots. The Laurens County Rural Fire Department, led by Dan Bray, the Official State of Georgia bagpiper, posted the colors. Mrs. E.B. Claxton, Jr., John Laurens Chapter, N.S.D.A.R., led the audience in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Elizabeth Holmes, a senior at Trinity Christian High School, sung a stirring rendition of the National Anthem. After a presentation of the life story of Col. Stinson by Scott B. Thompson, Sr., Clay Young, also a senior at Trinity Christian School, inspired those present with his performance of Lee Greenwood's, God Bless the U.S.A..

Mike Letson, a son-in-law of Lt. Col. Stinson, spoke on behalf of the Stinson family. He thanked Buddy Adams for hosting and organizing the event. Letson told the story of a man, he never knew, but reiterated the universal adjectives which described him; courageous, caring, and dedicated. He told of his achievements during his career and that his father-in-law lost his life while rescuing his dead and dying soldiers. Letson spoke of the significant legacy Stinson left to his family by saying,

"He made a huge sacrifice in serving his country, in that he never knew his adult family. "I am sure that Col. Stinson is smiling down on us all today," Letson concluded.

Col. Ray Battle, a classmate of Col. Stinson at West Point, spoke of his days at the Academy with his friend. Before beginning his remarks, Col. Battle recognized the veterans and current members of the armed forces present in the audience.

Battle stated that if he ever wrote about a book about his friend, he would call it Born To Be A Soldier. Battle stated, "It was two young boys from Dublin, Georgia confined to a prison with gray granite walls right in the middle of Yankee land where they taught us everything we did except to pray in their bunks at night."

Stinson and Battle became close friends in same company at Camp Bunker. He remembered the time when he and Stinson learned of the elder Stinson's capture by the enemy in North Korea. Battle continued, " Doc made a friend of all who came his way. He chose to be an infantry officer. His oustanding career was cut short when he was attempting to rescue his men." .





In the beginning of their senior year, Doc volunteered to be a cheerleader for the Army football team. "Back in 1949, men played football and women were cheerleaders," Battle quipped. Battle asked his friend, "What in the world you doing this for?" To which "Doc" responded, "Ray, it is like this: Army is going to play Georgia Tech in Atlanta this year and I will travel with the team. When I get there, Mildred will be there." Battle smiled. Upon graduation Doc and Mildred were married in the chapel at West Point.

Battle hoped, "I wish there was a way to put on that sign, 'Lt. Col. William "Doc" Stinson and family,' because their sacrifice is very real." "Doc Stinson was born to be a soldier. He lived a soldier's life. And, he died being a solider." And, what a magnificent soldier he was." one of Stinson's oldest and dearest friends concluded.

All eyes turned to stage left as Lt. Col. Stinson's first cousins, Buddy Adams and Jimmy Stinson, unveiled one of the official state highway markers which will be put in place on Tuesday. Adams made special arrangements to have four smaller versions of the sign, which he and Jimmy Stinson presented to the Colonel's widow, Mildred Stinson, and his daughters, Dawn, Leigh, and Katherine, along with seven grandchildren, one great-grandchild and a host of other relatives.

The colors were retired to the hauntingly beautiful Amazing Grace and God Bless America. Promptly at three o'clock during the reception, members of the American Legion called for a moment of silence as the crowd paused for the National Moment of Remembrance while bagpiper Bray played taps.

After the meeting, Mrs. Stinson spoke of her husband fondly, "I told him not to go to combat in Vietnam, but he went away." She remembered the good times she and her husband had during his military career. "Some people didn't enjoy it, but we did. We got to meet a lot of people from different backgrounds. My husband never met a stranger," the native of Glenwood and former resident of Dublin concluded.

Photographs of ceremony by Kathy Thompson.


FALLEN HEROES HONORED AT VA CEREMONY


Gloria Richardson couldn't hold back her tears when she heard her brother's name mentioned during Memorial Day ceremonies Sunday afternoon at the Carl Vinson VA auditorium. In 1968, her brother Jimmy Bedgood was killed in action in Vietnam. The loss was compounded by the fact that she lost her personal guardian, one whom she could turn to in times of crisis. Her mother, Louise Purvis, had been at the ceremonies before. In fact, the Gold Star Mother has been present at every Memorial Day and Veterans Day service at the VA since 1968 with the exception of the time she was too ill in an
Augusta hospital.


A small group of family and friends of fallen heroes, along with the purely patriotic, gathered together on Sunday afternoon to pay homage to those American servicemen who gave their lives in defense of our country. Emcee Johnny Payne, a former combat veteran of the Vietnam War, welcomed the audience. Harriett Claxton, representing the John Laurens Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, led the recitation of the American's Creed and the Pledge of Allegiance. After Rhonda Hambrick sung the National Anthem, a combined honor guard of the Dublin Police Department and the Laurens County Fire Department posted the colors.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Steven Greer, of Eastman, Georgia. Dr. Greer is a professor of terrorism and security studies at American Military University and serves on the Center for Security Policy Military Committee in Washington, DC. Greer was a former special assistant to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and served as the only retired Non-commissioned Officer on the Secretary's Military Analyst Group. He served as a Senior Fellow at the National Defense Council Foundation conducting research on terrorism and briefed members of Congress on detainee policy issues.

Between 2003 and 2008 he gave more than 400 television and radio interviews on Fox, CNN and other national programs. A twenty-year Army veteran, Greer competed four times in the Grange Best Ranger Competition, the most physically and mentally challenging 3-day competition in the world. The son of an Army soldier served as a Ranger Squad Leader, Special Forces Weapons Sergeant, Special Forces Intelligence Sergeant, Special Forces A-Detachment Sergeant, Instructor at the Special Warfare Center, Infantry Company First Sergeant, Commandant of the Light-fighters School, and Command Sergeant Major for two light infantry battalions and one infantry brigade. At 33 years of age, he was selected as one of the youngest Sergeants Major in Army history.

"I think its encouraging that the seats aren't filled, because the reason that I and others went off to battle was so that we can do the things we enjoy doing in a free society," the former Sergeant Major said in commenting on the small crowd in attendance. "I was fighting so that I can come home and pitch with my son, do something with my daughter, hug my wife, grill or drive my pickup truck," said the veteran special forces expert. Greer reflected back on the twenty-one close friends he had lost in battle. "We are so fortunate that in this country that we have men and women of courage, character, and confidence to go to places like Afghanistan, Vietnam and Korea, Europe and France to fight for our freedoms," he added. Greer challenged the young members of the audience that none of things they enjoy today come from communism, totalitarianism, and dictatorships. "It only happens under democracy. Greer stated as he summed up his message by saying, "When you grow up do yourself a favor and serve your nation and serve well because it has served you. Do something for your country before we no longer have a country that will do something for you."

Greer reminisced about the friends he lost in Afghanistan, especially MSG "Chief" Carlson, a descendant of the Black Feet Indian tribe and the toughest soldier he ever met in the United States Army. Carlson, after 21 years in the Army as a Special Forces expert, volunteered to return to Afghanistan as a member of the CIA, only to be killed in the line of duty.

After the conclusion of Dr. Greer's remarks, Chandler M. Beasley, Sr. rose from his wheel chair at the back of the auditorium and carried a memorial wreath as he walked solemnly to the front of the stage. The former Marine and veteran of the Pacific Theater in World War II snapped to attention and saluted the memory of our fallen heroes, many of whom he had to leave behind on the island beaches and jungles of the Pacific. After the war, Beasley joined the reorganized National Guard Unit in Dublin and served for thirty-three years.

Refreshments were served by members of the First Baptist Church. On Monday afternoon at 3 p.m, a Moment of Silence was held, and the colors were retired. The National Moment of Remembrance was established in 2000 after a group of school children answered what Memorial Day meant to them by saying, "that's the day the pools open."

ANIMAL ANECDOTES


Strange Stories of Nature

Strange stories of animals and their behavior were often used by newspaper editors to fill spaces between regular news stories. Not all of these stories can readily be believed, but some of them are true, or at least true with a little bit of hype and embellishment. So here are a few pieces of our past for all of you animal lovers out there.

A DOG OF GOD- Seems that there was a time, way back in 1880, when there was a dog in Dublin that ran all over the town. The canine never seemed to show up for a church service, except for Sunday evening services when the dog was a regular visitor. When the church bell tolled, the dog poignantly howled in reverence to the proceedings inside. Macon Telegraph, August 20, 1880.

WHERE OH WHERE HAS MY LITTLE DOG GONE?- Sam Harris was looking for a faithful friend, so he bought a dog. The Thomasville carpenter paid for his hound and had it shipped from Dublin in a wooden crate. Harris went to check on his dog the next morning and found that it was gone. Then, a few days later, Harris received a letter saying that the dog had returned to Dublin. The question was, how did a dog, crated inside a train, find its way all the way from Thomasville back to Dublin? Atlanta Constitution, May 30, 1926.

I THOUGHT I SAW A BUNNY CAT - W.B. Jones caught a pair of young rabbits in his garden. Also hanging around was an old Maltese cat which recently lost all of her kittens. The caring cat adopted the bunnies and looked after them as if they were her own children. Macon Telegraph, April 23, 1888.

HOW NOW OLD COW - Henry C. Stanley was right proud of his cow. He claimed it was nearly a century old. Stanley said he got the cow from his great-aunt, a Mrs. Kuntz, of Dublin. He had the cow for 16 years and his aunt had owned it for a long, long time. How then could anyone explain how an animal which lives generally to a maximum of twenty-two years, be almost a hundred years old. The Atlanta Constitution believed Stanley to be an honest man, but this story about a century-old milk cow seems to be a little bit of bull. Atlanta Constitution, May 1, 1889.

A PARTRIDGE AND A CHICKEN NEST - S.J. Fountain was out walking a couple of hundred yards from this plantation home in the Bethel District of Wilkinson County one day when he discovered a hen's nest, which contained four chicken eggs. Guarding the nest was a male partridge. Fascinated by his discovery, Fountain returned home and told his friends of the amazing sight. Upon his return, Fountain and his crew found three chicks under the guarding wings of the partridge. The fourth egg was already pipped. Fountain removed the pheasant-like bird, which promptly headed toward a nearby branch with three chicks following it. A few days later, Fountain returned to the scene to secure the birds to further show off his astonishing find. Alas, a huge slithering snake had killed two of the baby chickens and was setting its sights on the other. Fountain was able to rescue the surviving chick, but not the partridge, which wanted no part of being put on display and quickly disappeared into the woods. Atlanta Constitution, July 12, 1889.

Paul Yopp knew that chickens and partridges were compatible too. He took a young partridge and placed it in the care of one his hens. The hen raised the bird as if were her own. By the time it was grown, the instinctively wild bird had grown so accustomed to the chicken yard that it had no desire to fly the coop. Stevens Point Gazette, June 19, 1886.

FOWL FIGHT - But, not all birds get along with each other. P.M. Solomon was visiting his friend T.J. Renfroe in Laurens County. While sitting in the house, Solomon heard a commotion coming from the chicken yard. The Cochran resident looked out the window and saw a hen and a hawk engaged in a fight to the death. Solomon took the side of his friend's chicken in the fight and quickly ended the battle with a load of buck shot directed at the hawk. Oblivious to the true reason for her opponent's withdrawal from the battle, the hen strutted and cackled like a victorious gamecock, although all but one of the other chickens survived the wrath of the Accipiter. Marion Daily Star, February 19, 1885.

MORE THAN ONE WAY TO KILL A CAT - No, this isn't what you might think it is. It seems that William Lee and Lou Clark were out for a winter hunt for food for their families. Neither man knew of the other's presence. Then, at the same instant, both men fired their rifles in the direction of a wild cat, the same wild cat. One or both of the shots hit their marks. Then the men discussed who killed the cat and how to split their bounty. Atlanta Constitution, January 17, 1887.

MAD COW! - Down in the lower edge of Laurens County, a rabid dog had been terrorizing the community, biting dogs, cows and various other animals. One of the victims of the mad dog was a rather large bull which belonged to a Mr. Wilkes. While under the influence of the infectious disease, the bull began to attack other cows as well as hogs. The hydrophobic bovine gored and ripped open animals along the roads and farms throughout the community. Much faster horses fled for their lives. Then one day, Mary Livingston was taking breakfast for her husband and his farm hands who were in the Oconee River swamp constructing a cypress timber raft. Mrs. Livingston spotted the bull, but it was too late. The bull attacked the woman with his horns and foaming teeth. Mrs. Livingston sought refuge by moving into shoulder deep water. The beast followed her into the river. Livingston screamed for help. Just as the bull poised for a fatal strike, Mrs. Livingston feinted. Her son arrived in the nick of time to drag his seemingly lifeless mother into his rowboat. The mad cow stayed in the water for several hours before returning to feast on Mrs. Livingston's breakfast. It was the bull's last breakfast, as Mr. Livingston put the poor bull out of its and everyone else's misery. Atlanta Constitution, May 28, 1895.

DOE, A DEER, WHAT A FEMALE DEER! - W.B.F. Daniel was out deer hunting when he happened upon a fawn. When Daniel's dog signaled the presence of the wild animal, Billy Daniel rushed forward to capture the fawn for his own pet. The fawn's mother, described as a fine sleek doe, raced to the scene to save her baby. Daniel ordered his dog, Old Roper, to fight off the mother. Daniel joined in the fracas and tried to grab the mother deer. Well, the doe wanted no part of being captured for a pet as well and began to strike back. Then it was reported that Daniel "saw stars and smelled brimstone." When Daniel gathered his senses, both deer were gone and Daniel learned a valuable lesson about messing with a mama's baby. Atlanta Constitution, August 13, 1882.









Sunday, May 29, 2011

LT. COL. WILLIAM C. "DOC" STINSON

Lt. Col. WILLIAM CLYDE STINSON


William Clyde Stinson performed his duty with the utmost honor for his beloved country, the United States of America. In peace and war, Lieutenant Colonel Stinson, one of the cadets of the Long Gray Line of the United States Military Academy, earned the honor and respect of his superiors and his subordinates. His life ended in the service of his men, who admired him as a soldier and as a man.

William Clyde Stinson, Jr. was born on the 8th day of September, 1928 in Dublin, Georgia. His father, William C. Stinson, Sr. had served his country in World War I a decade before. Stinson grew up in the depths of the depression. The family's faith got them through the hard times and taught William how to handle the difficult times to come. Just after William's eleventh birthday, World War II began in Europe. During the early years of the war, William joined the Victory Corps at Dublin High School and took part in many activities to support the war effort. He graduated from Dublin High School in 1944. Stinson dreamed of being a physician. He enrolled at Emory College at Covington in hopes of becoming a doctor. His friends began to call him "Doc."

"Doc" Stinson left Emory in 1946 to join the United States Army, but he would forever carry the brotherly nickname for the rest of his life. Stinson began his military career as a staff sergeant of the 19th Infantry Regiment for a short term until he decided to return to Emory. Still unsure of what he wanted to do with his life, Stinson couldn't get the military out of his system. He re-enlisted in 1948 and sought an appointment to the United States Military Academy. Stinson was assigned to the 1802nd Special Regiment, which was stationed at the Academy at West Point.

On July 2, 1949, Stinson was accepted to the freshman class at West Point. He was officially a member of the Class of 1953. Ray Battle, another young Dublin man, joined Stinson at West Point that year. Almost immediately this amiable young man from the South was accepted by all who knew him. Those who attended the Academy with "Doc" Stinson remembered him as one who gave meaning to the plebe system, encouragement to the cadets who were failing in their studies, and life to those whose souls were faltering. In his class yearbook, the following lines are found beside his name: "When Army men gather we'll no doubt find Doc spinning another yarn. It'll be a long time before we find anyone else with as much time set aside to spend with others."

Second Lieutenant William Clyde Stinson graduated with his class on June 2, 1953. Just hours after tossing his hat into the air, William married his sweetheart, Mildred Pierce, whose faith was just as strong as that of her husband. His first assignment took him to Fort Campbell, Kentucky as a member of the 11th Airborne Division. From Fort Campbell, the Stinsons moved to Ulm, Germany. Stinson returned the United States for assignments at Fort Carson, Colorado with the 9th Infantry Division; at Fort Benning, Georgia with the Infantry Board; and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas with the Command and General Staff College. Apart from his army life, Stinson was blessed with a fine family. He was a devoted husband to Mildred and a loving father to his three daughters, Dawn, Leigh, and Katherine.

In 1962, Stinson was among the first advisors sent to Vietnam, half way around the world. He served a five-month stint and returned home after being wounded on a patrol in late November, 1962. During the ambush, Stinson was shot at least three times in his legs. He carried the rounds in his legs for the rest of his life. When he recovered, Stinson was assigned to the Office of Military Instruction at West Point. During his three years at the Academy, Stinson instilled the true spirit of the soldier in a time when many doubted the soundness of our country's involvement in the war in Vietnam. "Doc" left the Point in 1966 for an assignment as a staff officer at the headquarters of the Commander in Chief in Honolulu, Hawaii. Stinson followed the events in Vietnam with particular concern. Stinson, like the fictional "Mr. Roberts," saw the war passing him by. During the time he was desperately seeking a combat command, Stinson never missed an opportunity to show his compassion for those soldiers on "R and R" in Hawaii.

"Doc" Stinson got his wish. In September 1968, Lt. Col. Stinson was given command of the 1st Battalion, 52nd Infantry Regiment, 198th Light Infantry Brigade of the famed 23rd "Americal" Division. On March 3, 1969, A Company of the 1st Battalion engaged the North Vietnamese Army. Enemy small arms fire killed three Americans just before noon. Stinson's battalion was sent into Hau Duc in the Valley of Quang Tin Province to protect Vietnamese villagers and relieve the pressure on a Special Forces camp in the area. The company commander requested a "dust off" from helicopter gun ships to relieve the situation (A Company had been cut off from the other two companies). Incoming enemy mortar fire began enfilading A company's position. The dust off helicopter was shot down just after one o'clock. The enemy shot off the tail rotor of the first medivac copter sent in to remove the casualties. Additional air strikes were called in.

A lull in the fighting began just before three o'clock. LTC Stinson borrowed the Command and Control Helicopter from Col. Tulley. The helicopter was manned by the 1st Flight Platoon of the Company A, 123rd Aviation Battalion. Stinson, anxious about the condition of his men, took the copter in to bring out the dead and the dying. A second medivac copter was able to get out the wounded. Stinson's helicopter, with a fresh supply of ammunition, landed without major incident. 2nd Lt. William Cox, commanding the third platoon of A Company, sloshed through the water to the edge of a rice paddy. Cox and another man handed two dead men up to Col. Stinson, while the helicopter pilot hovered his craft (an easy target for enemy riflemen). Lt. Cox was the last person to speak with Stinson as he gave him the thumbs up signal to take off. As the ship ascended into the air for the quick trip to Landing Zone Baldy, Stinson crouched next to the open door holding onto a lifeless body so that it wouldn't fall out. A single .51 cal MG shot rang out. The only round to hit its mark struck the colonel in the leg. The pilot radioed Cox that the round hit the colonel in the leg and exited through his neck. The pilot reported "it didn't look good." The wound was mortal. Stinson never made it to the landing zone.

This wasn't the first time the Colonel had flown into lethal situations to rescue his men. On a prior occasion, Stinson was awarded the Silver Star, America's third highest award for heroism and known as the "Soldier's Medal," for risking his life to save the lives of others. On many occasions, LTC Stinson guided his helicopter into close contact with the enemy. On one occasion on New Year's Eve on the last day of the tumultuous year of 1968. He made the only kills on the regiment's attack near LZ Professional. For his valor on that fatal third day of March 1969, LTC Stinson was posthumously awarded his second Silver Star.

Just like "Mr. Roberts," "Doc" Stinson gave his life serving his country. The men of his command, who thought the world of him, renamed their base camp, "Fire Support Base Stinson." The United States Army honored the memory of LTC Stinson by naming a guest house at Fort Gordon in his honor. William Stinson was a "soldier's soldier." A member of his command said after his death, " I have met few men in my life that I had as much respect and admiration for... He was a fine man." Stinson's former boss at West Point summed up his feelings for Doc upon his burial at the West Point Cemetery: "To pay honor to Doc as he comes home to the place which I guess next to God, his country, and his family he loved best of all. There was always something special about Doc - something that made him better. I think perhaps it was a combination of gentle compassion, his quiet courage, and his deep and genuine concern for the feeling and well being of others."

Lt. Cox eulogized Stinson by commending his personal "hands on"style of leadership. " I think as a matter of principle, he had a deeply held private conviction about what's right that led this much experienced, decorated, and wounded senior warrior to share the risks of battle directly with the soldiers he commanded. He was always a visible presence on our battlefields. He demanded success when we met the enemy and he often demonstrated for us, over the battle zone and delivering supplies and extracting wounded, the courage needed to achieve success in our fights."


Saturday, May 28, 2011

JIMMY BEDGOOD



Being the Best He Could Be


Jimmy Bedgood knew in his mind that he would never celebrate his sixty-fifth birthday last weekend. He knew that he was going to die. And, if he did, he was going to die for his country so his brother wouldn't be killed in the jungles of Vietnam. This is the story of an outgoing, young country boy who always tried to be the best he could be in the finest tradition of the United States Army.

The first Monday in May 1968 was a cool mid-spring day in Dublin. Astronaut Neil Armstrong, still 14 months away from being the first man to set foot on the moon, was nearly killed while flying a lunar landing trainer. Bobby Goldsboro's Honey was spending its 5th week at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Dublin teenagers were listening to the Box Tops, Gary Puckett and the Beatles. The duo of Simon and Garfunkel held down the top two slots on the LP album charts. The Braves lost to the Pirates, 2-1. Newsweek's cover story featured students protesting the war in Vietnam. Most households in Laurens County were tuned to Gunsmoke, Andy Griffith, and The Monkees. Audrey Hepburn was terrified in Wait Until Dark on the giant screen of the Martin Theater. Edward Alligood and James Malone led the Dexter Hornets in defeating the baseball team from Twiggs County. The City of Dublin actually lowered natural gas rates upon a motion by Councilman Junior Scarboro.


Meanwhile in Vietnam, the Viet Cong were launching guerilla attacks throughout the Vietnamese capital of Saigon. One hundred and six young American men died on that single day. United States Army Staff Sergeant Jimmy Bedgood, Service Number 14875003, was one of them. More than fifty thousand American service personnel in all died before the fighting stopped. You can find his name on Panel 55E, line 39 along the bottom of the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C.

Jimmy Bedgood, son of Fermon Bedgood and Louise Purvis, was born on May 20, 1946 in Wrightsville, Georgia. Jimmy, a highly intelligent young man, skipped some courses in school. In speaking of her highly industrious son, Mrs. Purvis said, "I didn't have to support him financially. The spiffy, organized, and picky teenager worked hard and bought everything he needed for school." Jimmy played football at East Laurens High School, graduating from there in 1964. Al Manning remembered Jimmy as a young man who wanted to do the best he could do at everything he did. "For a relatively small teenager, he could hit you very hard," Manning also recalled.

Clinton Lord often double-dated with Jimmy and a girl friend from Dublin. Lord asked the girl's father about letting her date Jimmy. When Clinton issued an unequivocal endorsement of the guy everyone liked and admired, the reluctant parent readily approved the date.

"After graduation, Jimmy Bedgood went to work at Central State Hospital in Milledgeville to work with teenagers with alcohol and drug problems," said his mother, Louise Purvis. "His employers were impressed with his grades and his ability to work with people his own age," his mother added. Bedgood entered the Army in December 1964. After training at Fort Jackson in South Carolina, he was transferred to Fort Hood, Texas, where he remained until his first tour of duty in Vietnam. Soon Bedgood was assigned to the "Big Red One, " the First Division of the United States Army.

On June 14, 1967, while leading a five-man long range recon patrol, Sgt. Bedgood sensed the presence of the enemy and halted his squad just before crossing a stream. Instantly the sergeant saw a ten-manViet Cong patrol approaching his position. After arranging his men for a fire fight, Bedgood called in helicopters to pin down the enemy while he and his men made it to a landing zone and safety. As Bedgood and his men approached the landing zone, they encountered another enemy patrol and engaged and wiped out the force with no American casualties. For his heroic actions, Sgt. Bedgood was awarded the Bronze Star.

On another occasion, Bedgood was serving on a stay behind patrol when he and his men came under a vicious attack just after dusk. With complete disregard for his own personal safety, Bedgood exposed himself to a hail of fire to reach a machine gun emplacement. Bedgood stood up straight and began firing directly in the direction of the incoming enemy fire, eliminating the threat to himself and his men. In awarding another Bronze Star Medal to the Staff Sergeant, the United States Army cited, "His aggressiveness and quick thinking prevented extensive injuries to his men while driving out the enemy." The citation salutes Sgt. Bedgood for his actions which reflected great credit to himself and to the 9th Infantry Division.

In February 1968, just as the Tet Offensive was beginning, Sgt. Bedgood received his fourth bronze star for heroism. At least one of the awards carried a "V device" for unique valor. Also pinned to his chest were not one, but two, Purple Hearts for injuries received in the line of battle.


Jimmy Bedgood came home during a 30-day leave in late March 1968 after his second tour in Vietnam. Clinton Lord last saw Jimmy when he pulled his car into the White Castle Drive-In on North Jefferson Street. Jimmy told Clinton he was shipping out to Vietnam. Lord questioned his motive for going to Vietnam for the third time. Bedgood responded, "It is the promotions, I am going to make this my career." Bedgood told others that one of the reasons he was returning to combat was to try to insure that his brother, Robert Reynolds, wouldn't have to go. Lord remembered his friend saying, "Being in the army is great and it brings direction to my life." Bedgood naturally relished the higher pay that combat soldiers received.

When Jimmy came home for the last time, he brought with him one of his best dress uniforms. He replaced the regulation brass buttons with shiny silver ones. He sewed on shoulder patches of the 1st Infantry Division and the 1st Armored Division. Jimmy placed the suit in his mother's wardrobe where it remained until recently when the uniform was turned over to Commissioner Buddy Adams, Laurens County's curator of military memorabilia. "Jimmy wanted to be buried in that uniform, but I didn't know it." Bedgood told his family that he wouldn't be coming back. They hoped he was wrong. Bedgood's younger sister, Lorene West, loved her big brother. "He called me monkey," Lorene fondly remembered.

Gia Dinh, outside Saigon, Vietnam, May 6, 1968: When Bedgood returned to Vietnam, he was assigned to Co. C of the 52nd Infantry Regiment, a company of combat veterans working as security guards and assigned to the 716th Military Police Battalion. An agreement between the United States and South Vietnam prohibited the stationing of combat forces within Saigon. Only a small contingent of lightly-armed military policemen were allowed to remain within the city.

A Viet Cong squad attacked a bachelor's officers quarters on Plantation Road. An MP patrol responding to the attack was pinned down. Sgt. Bedgood was called to lead a reaction team to rescue them. Bedgood's team covered the trapped Americans until they escaped the ambush. During the attack, a rocket propelled grenade struck Bedgood's jeep, killing him instantly and wounded the other occupants. Nine soldiers of "C" Company lost their lives in defense of the Vietnamese capital. The company's valiant actions led to its award of a Presidential Unit Citation.

Staff Sergeant Bedgood was buried with full military honors in Andersonville National Cemetery. If you have never been there, you owe it to yourself to make the trip - especially on Memorial Day when the entire cemetery is covered with American flags placed on every grave. It will blow your mind. It will make you proud. It made me cry. I think it will make you cry too.

On this Memorial Day, let us all remember Jimmy Bedgood, the little boy playing in his overalls, the smart, hard-working teenager who always did the best he could do at everything he did, and the brave American hero, who gave his life so that all of us would continue to live in a free world.







Wednesday, May 25, 2011

ANDREW WILLIAM GARRETT


The Captain of the Emerald City


Cap Garrett knew how to lead. In fact, he was a leader for most of his life. From his youthful days when he led processions of his siblings and friends in his back yard to his golden days when he led the fledgling town of Dublin into The Emerald City, one of the Peach State's largest cities. Although he wasn't the richest man on Bellevue Avenue, known to some as the "Millionaire's Row," Andrew William Garrett knew how to get the job done and who to enlist in his mission to make our city one of Georgia's most prosperous cities.

Andrew William Garrett was born in Sparta, Georgia on November 10, 1870. Although Garrett possessed only the rudimentary elements of a small public school education, the Hancock countian became one of Dublin's most astute financial men. When Cap Garrett first arrived in Dublin, he found his new home, a Phoenix rising out of the mire of alcohol loving and uneducated men, governed by the remaining sons of the Antebellum plantation days. Dublin was still without a true bank. It would be several years later before the formation of the Dublin Banking Company. Garrett was first hired as the bank's exchange clerk. He left the bank for a better position in the bank across the street, the Laurens Banking Company.

Cap's stay at the Laurens Banking Company was short lived, for in 1902, Frank Corker, President of the newly chartered First National Bank of Dublin, hired Garrett as the bank's first Cashier. A decade later, the First National would move into its new quarters, a skyscraper on the corner of South Jefferson and West Madison streets. Known as the tallest building between Macon and Savannah, the bank itself became the largest bank between the two cities as well. In 1917, just before the boll weevil attacked and killed the cotton crop, Laurens County was home to seventeen banks, a total matched only by Fulton and Chatham counties.

As Vice-President, A.W. Garrett oversaw the daily operations of the bank. When the economy began to collapse during the years of World War I when vital cotton crops, which had only years before pumped millions of dollars into the local economy, collapsed, tenant farmers began to migrate to the North. One by one, Dublin banks began to fail. Garrett stood firm in his opposition to buying the assets of the Dublin-Laurens Bank, the merged institution of his former employers. Nevertheless, his fellow directors disregarded Garrett's advice and went ahead with the purchase. The result was a financial disaster. In 1928, after desperate attempts by Garrett and others, the powerful First National Bank closed its doors, leaving the once thriving city without a bank. To Garrett, who had invested nearly all of his assets in the bank, the failure was financially fatal. He lost everything he had.

Cap Garrett had known despair before. His beloved Mamie died in childbirth in 1906. She was only 29 years old. Garrett had left his home and moved to Dublin to establish himself as a businessman before proposing marriage to the love of his life, Miss Mamie Culver, a Sparta school teacher. The couple married in 1902. To the union were born, two daughters, Elizabeth (Mrs. B.B.) Page and Martha (Mrs. Lewis W.) Turner. When Mamie died, Cap Garrett was left a busy businessman with two small daughters. Garrett wrote an eloquent letter to his sister, Addie in Sparta beseeching her to "come and raise his two motherless little girls to be Christian women." Addie moved into the Garrett household and raised her nieces in the first Garrett home, which was located on the present site of the post office.

A very eligible bachelor, Cap was inundated with casseroles by the eligible ladies of the city. Andrew Garrett married Mary Elizabeth Felder, who had come to Dublin to live with her sister Lula Felder Fuller, who lived across the street from Garrett's home.

In 1910, Garrett, at the zenith of his business career, hired John A. Kelley to build a handsome home on the corner of Bellevue Avenue and North Calhoun streets.

Garrett invested large sums of money into his farm at Garretta, Georgia. Garretta was a rail stop on the Dublin and Southwestern Railroad where it crossed Turkey Creek on present day Highway 441 South. Garrett named his highly successful and productive Greystone Farms, which produced large quantities of cotton, crops and fine livestock, in honor of the favorite summer camp of his daughters.

It was the custom of the day for the city's wealthiest men to subscribe shares of stocks in as many ventures as they could to minimize their losses by diversifying their assets. Garrett was no exception. Cap Garrett's primary interests outside of banking were in the area of insurance and private loans. Garrett joined his neighbor, J.M. Finn, known as Dublin's Number One Citizen, to form the real estate investment firm of Finn, Garrett and Holcomb. He formed the Citizens Loan and Guaranty Company, said to have been the section's largest insurance Company. Garrett invested huge sums into his company, Mutual Life Industrial Insurance Associates.

But, Andrew Garrett was more than just a businessman. He gave back to the community he loved. Cap Garrett helped to form the city's first Y.M.C.A. chapter and the first Board of Trade. And, he was an early advocate and promoter of city parks. He was active in the founding and operation of the first Chamber of Commerce. When the call came out to organize a local Red Cross Chapter in World War I, Cap Garrett jumped to the forefront to help lead the effort. His list of agri-business interests included the Middle Georgia Fertilizer Company, the Dixie Fertilizer Company, and the Dublin Lumber Company.

Garrett generally shied away from politics, but did serve a term as Treasurer of the City of Dublin and a term as an alderman. Late in his life, Garrett conducted an unsuccessful campaign for Tax Commissioner of Laurens County.

Cap Garrett was a devout Methodist. He was Superintendent of the First Methodist Church Sunday School, member of the Board of Stewards, and the founder of the Leaders Sunday School Class - what other class would this inveterate leader be a founder of? The highly reverent Garrett was not too keen on the modern day ways of the youth of his day. But, nearly every Sunday night after church, Garrett allowed his daughters to entertain their friends with punch, cookies and games. When the curfew time came, Garrett would come to the head of the stairs, clear his throat, and watch as his daughters' guests said pleasant goodbyes and thank yous for a fine evening, remembered his granddaughter, Betty Page. Betty fondly remembers the Sundays when her grandfather would stop by on his way to church to take his grandchildren to Sunday School, but not before taking the time to read the funny papers, to them a ritual which always amused everyone.

Captain Andrew William Garrett, dubbed a monarch of finance, and with integrity of the highest order, was loved for his concern for the common folks of the city. Garrett, who had seen economic booms and financial calamities, maintained that good crops were the key to financial prosperity. He said, "Good crops provide abundant work, not merely in the harvest field, but on the railroads, the factories, and in every department of business. The farmer is the real fountainhead of progress."

January 23, 1939 was a sad day in Dublin. Cap Garrett was dead. For the first time in nearly fifty years, Andrew W. Garrett was not there at the helm to improve and keep building the town he loved, Dublin, The Emerald City.











Thursday, May 19, 2011

GENTLEMEN, START YOUR ENGINES!


The Great Races of 1911

It wasn't exactly the Indianapolis 500. That would start twenty days later. It was more like the Dublin 1.6. It wasn't run on a circular tract, and the participants didn't race each other. They raced against the clock. But, to the thousands of locals and several hundred visitors, they were the first car races, the Great Races of 1911.

Automobiles had not been around long. The first one came to town nine years earlier, fascinating bystanders and terrorizing horses tied to the hitching posts. Five more years passed before Dublin's first automobile dealers set up shop. The thrill of the "horseless carriage" captivated the well to do men of the city. Cars became status symbols. They have always been status symbols. Bigger was better. Faster was even better.

The allure of racing charmed more than seventy five Dubliners who traveled to Savannah in 1908 to watch the international 400 mile car races. Most of the people in Dublin had never see a car race of any kind before. By the time of the 1911 races, there were an estimated 150 cars in the city.

The precursor of the Great Races came in late April 1910, when a group of men staged a hill climbing contest on Turkey Creek Hill near Dudley, from the west side of the creek up to the top of the hill. Charles Eberlein, driving a White Star car, finished first with a 35-second run. Coming in a close second was Noble Marshall, who opened the first Chevrolet franchise in town, and L.W. Miller, who owned the first car dealership in Dublin. Another hill climb was staged on the day before the Great Races, just to get everyone in the mood for speed.

Car afficionados organized themselves as the Dublin Automobile Racing Association, Inc. H.G. Stevens, a hardware store magnate, was elected president. L.J. Bowyer acted as the group's secretary, while W.L. Branch was hired as general manager to run the day to day activities of the company.

Although this racing thing was new to everyone in town, organizers had an idea of what they wanted in a race track. The Laurens County Commissioners of Roads and Revenue agreed to furnish convict labor to grade the track since most of the course was outside the city limits, which at the time extended only to the Coney Street area. Newspapers reported that the organizers "got what they wanted." Boosters claimed their track was equal to any track in the United States.

The 1.6 mile races began near the home of J.R. Robinson on what was then known as "The Chicken Road," an old Indian trail running from Hawkinsville to the Oconee River at Dublin. The racers would cross the finish line at the Carnegie Library (Dublin-Laurens Museum.)

The races were divided into four events. Cars costing less than $650.00 were placed in the "A" Class. Those autos valued at $650.00 to $950.00 were assigned to the "B" Class. All cars above that exorbitant price would race in Class "C." Class "D" would be composed of an open class of cars.

Any good race needs prizes. So the people of Dublin who wanted to see the cars race chipped in. Handsome loving cups were purchased to go along with more useful cash prizes. Winners in Class A were awarded $15.00 in cash and a $25.00 cup up to $75.00 and a $100.00 cup in Class D. Any good race needs revenue too. The race itself was free. But, a special grandstand was built on the Burts property on Bellevue. Box seats cost a dollar a head, while regular grandstand seats went for a silver half-dollar. Entry fees ranged from $5.00 for Class A to $15.00 for the open class cars of Class D.

Races need rules too. Every car was required to be a gasoline-powered stock automobile, although drivers were allowed to remove certain parts to boost their speed. No professional drivers were allowed. Every car underwent an inspection thirty minutes before the starting time.

Cars began to arrive in town on Sunday. During the practice runs, several of the cars nearly topped the 75 mph mark. One racer was so excited he drew the attention of a Dublin police officer. The policeman admonished the driver for being a little too reckless and asked him to ease up a bit. The confident motorist responded, "If you can drive this car slow, you beat me. Get in and let me show you how she can fly!" His invitation was quickly declined.

The Great Races were set for 10:00 o'clock in the morning on Wednesday, May 10. All business houses closed early that morning. School kids got the day off. Inbound trains were crammed with hundreds of enthusiasts. The starting time was moved up to accommodate out of town visitors in meeting their afternoon trains back to their homes in Hawkinsville, Macon and other places. The night before the races, a crew was sent along Bellevue Avenue and the Chicken Road, known today as Bellevue Road, to sprinkle the dusty dirt avenue into ideal racing conditions. The Weather God came through with picture perfect skies. Traffic coming into town from the west was diverted at Captain W.B. Rice's home on the present grounds of the VA Hospital down to the Cotton Mill property on Marion Street. Members of the D.A.R.A. stood guard at every intersection along the track to prevent non-racers from entering the course.

Dublin's John F. Smith fell out of contention a third of the way down the course when his Maxwell blew a piston rod in the first sprint of the day. J.T. Coleman, of Hawkinsville, dropped out when his Buick 16 caught on fire and was completely destroyed.

With an obligatory 100-yard running start given to all contestants, A.M. Kea, of Dublin, driving a Maxwell A, captured first place in Class A, just ahead of J.L. Roberson, also of Dublin, at a slow poke average speed of 37mph. The two virtually equal Ford cars of the Laurens Automobile and Repair Company, driven by T.F. Dunnell and E.L. Porter, traveled 56 mph and finished 1-2 - a single second apart in the second race. Dominating the entire field was Herbert Wilson, of Hagan, Ga., driving his Cole 30 automobile. Wilson finished first in the third round of the day. In the open class, Wilson, traveling at an average speed of 65.6 mph, bested his own time with a course record of 1 minute and 28 seconds. Wilson took his second first place of the day twelve seconds ahead of F.S. Michael, of Baxley, driving a Buick 16, who took second place in the last two races. Thankfully, no one was injured.

The Great Races were an unequivocal success. In the excitement of the moment, men began plans to establish a country club with a circular race track nearby. Every one wanted bigger and better races. It would only be two more months before the races returned on the 4th of July. The excitement proved too much to the public as Dublin Police Chief J.E. Hightower had to buy and use a stopwatch to catch the speeders still on a high from the Great Races of 1911.


Friday, May 13, 2011

SATURDAY NIGHTS ARE NOT ALWAYS RIGHT FOR FIGHTING


If they had it to do all over again, Benton Woods, Neal Canady, Ira Lindsey, John McLeod, and Ben Smith would have stayed home on Saturday nights a century ago. On two consecutive Saturday nights in Emanuel County, Georgia, two Emanuel County sheriff's deputies were shot by their prisoners. And, their prisoners were themselves killed by persons unknown, the usual verdict handed down by Judge Lynch. Dave Blount should have stayed at home too. He was the first to die.

May 13, 1911: John McLeod had been up to no good. McLeod, a known sinister desperado, had been captured just before pitch dark. Under arrest by city marshal Curl, John McLeod had been charged with larceny. Curl was escorting McLeod through the streets to deliver him to Emanuel County deputy sheriff, R. Benton Woods in front of Bell's Drug Store.

Deputy Woods had just taken control of McLeod when the prisoner grabbed his gun and fired point blank into his captor's chest just below his heart. McLeod sprinted in the direction of the Opera House. Marshal Curl gathered nearly all of his wits and fired at the fleeing felon. Bystanders began to fire as well. Four shots hit their marks, one in each hand, one in an arm, and another in McLeod's hip. Curl raced toward McLeod as he laid, bleeding in the main street near the point where two of the nation's major highways now intersect.

Standing over by the Bank of Emanuel was one Dave Blount. When the confusion was over, Blount was lying dead on the sidewalk, the result of a single, but deadly, bullet hole in his chest. Investigators speculate that the bystander was actually an accomplice of McLeod. Their conclusion was based on the fact that a half empty six-shot revolver was found by his side.

Sheriff Fields arrived on the scene in front of the Opera House and took McLeod into custody. McLeod's pistol had only one unfired round in its chamber. Fearing that his prisoner would be lynched by the agitated crowd which had gathered around the jail, Fields set out to find Dr. Chandler to tend to McLeod's wounds before transporting him by car to a jail in a nearby county.

Deputy Woods was taken into the drug store, where he received all the treatment which doctors Chandler and Smith could give. But the doctors efforts proved ineffective when they proclaimed that his wounds were mortal. Woods lingered in subdued agony until nearly all of his family arrived from the Cowford District in the western section of the county.

The rapidly increasing mob discovered that the sheriff had left the prisoner alone. By the time the sheriff and the doctor returned, the mob had already found the cell keys and were taking McLeod to a hearing before Judge Lynch. Sheriff Fields pleaded for the crowd to release the prisoner. Realizing that resistance was futile, Fields retreated. The vigilantes took McLeod and dragged him through the streets for a half mile. To make sure the judge's sentence was carried out, they hung him from a limb of a stout tree. To further vent their anger, McLeod's body was riddled with bullets.

A rare Sunday morning coroner's inquest determined that both McLeod and Blount died at the hands of unknown parties, although the Swainsboro Forest Blade reported, "The mob dispersed as quietly as they gathered and in less than an hour nearly all the white male population of the city had been to the scene of the lynching."

Benton Woods's body was turned over to his father, Judge Isaac Woods. Less than eighteen hours after his death, the popular deputy was laid to rest in the family plot at Bethel Church.

May 20, 1911: Over at Summit, one of the twin cities of eastern Emanuel County, the Rev. Ben Smith had been accused of abuse by his wife. Rev. Smith was well known and admired in his community. His word was considered the law among his people. Deputy Sheriff Neil Canady and his posse went to arrest the elderly Negro. During a moment of inattentiveness, Smith picked up his shot gun and aimed it squarely at Canady's chest. Just as Smith pulled the trigger, Canady managed to push down on the barrel. Canady fell to the ground.

Smith set out on foot, running as fast as he could. Right behind him was a posse of local men led by bloodhounds. Smith was captured at the edge of a swamp, the place where nearly every man running from the law goes when he is chased.

This is where the story changes. The Forest Blade reported that Smith resisted arrest and was shot when the crowd fired into the darkness, only to be found the next morning not far from his farm.

Newspapers in Macon and Augusta reported an entirely different account. Smith was described as a very old, white-haired man with no teeth. During the chase, the Colored Odd Fellows Hall in the area was dynamited into smithereens. The papers reported that Smith was ordered to hang from a tree by Judge Lynch for his crimes. Other Negroes in the area were so frightened that it was reported that a general mass exodus was being planned.

Neal Canady survived the wound to his upper thigh. There was no fifth funeral.

My somewhat feisty and mostly fearless grandmother Claudie Thompson, frequently said, "Stay out of Kite on Saturday night." She knew about such things in Kite and other towns personally. For you see, Benton Woods, who was murdered in the streets of Swainsboro, was her mother's first cousin - a fact unknown to this author when he began compiling this article. Kite, a neighboring Johnson County town just outside the northwestern border of Emanuel County was known for its rowdy behavior. Saturday night, April 22, 1911, was no exception. The Dixon brothers, Cliff and Sherman, had been drinking when Kite Marshal Ira Lindsey requested that they go home and sleep it off. Sherman Dixon cursed and struck the marshal. When the marshal retreated, Sherman shot him once and Cliff fired three effective rounds into the slumping officer.

Bystanders helped the dying man into Eldridge Price's store, where he died in less than five minutes. The Dixons did go home and sent word into town that they would surrender themselves to the sheriff. Sheriff Davis and his deputies took the brothers into custody. Meanwhile at the cemetery that afternoon, Rev. M.R. Little, attempted to comfort Lindsay's widow, orphan and his brothers and their father who came down from their homes in Washington County.

Judge Lynch chose not to hear the Dixon's case. Their fates were left to a jury of their peers.


Tuesday, May 03, 2011

ALL THE MINUTIAE THAT'S FIT TO PRINT

A POT TO CHIP IN - Abraham Lease wanted to do something to help his adopted country of the United States of America. His son Izzie flew with the Army Ferrying Command. Another son, Nat Lease, also a pilot, was stationed in Lubbock, Texas. There was a war going on in his native homeland of Russia. When Lease and his wife immigrated to the United States from Russia in 1904, they brought with them a copper boiler which dated back to the 1840s. The five-pound, ten-inch wide, five-inch deep pot could be used by the American military by melting it down to use to make shells for both the U.S. and Russia. To further help the war effort, Lease looked around his back yard and removed thousands of pounds of scrap metal from the abandoned family laundry. Lease saw his donation as a way to save on his taxes and help the cause of freedom. Atlanta Constitution, Oct. 1, 1942.

WILL THE REAL W.J. MULLIS, PLEASE STAND UP? - Any postal carrier whoever put an envelope in the mail box of a John Smith or Elizabeth Williams frequently wondered if they got it in the right place. The postal carrier on the Dexter rural route had a bigger problem. There were at least two hundred members of the Mullis family who lived on his route. The real problem was there were three Mullises who carried the name of W.J. Mullis. At the suggestion of the carrier, one added a "Sr." to his name, another "Jr.," and the other just plain W. J. Mullis. Atlanta Constitution, July 20, 1938.

WE AIN'T NOTHING BUT TWO HOUND DOGS - N.M. Corder always kept a tribe of goats around his house. In the winter of 1889, one of Corder's nanny goats lost her kids. With no children to care for, the nanny decided to adopt two hound dog pups. Every day the goat would go to the front gate of the Corder house and bleat. And, just like clockwork the hungry pups would go to the nanny for a daily feeding of goat milk. The remarkable goat had furnished life nourishing milk to two human orphan children two years before. Atlanta Constitution, March 18, 1889.

BISCUITS, BOARDS, AND BABIES - Henry Dies had enough children to field a football team and a baseball team, with one more for good measure. In 1917, Dies was the father of twenty-one children, seventeen sons and only four daughters. Another son died soon after becoming of legal age. His living issue ranged in age of 18 to 49. And, if that wasn't enough mouths to feed at Thanksgiving, Dies had sixty-four grandchildren. Of course, Dies had help in raising nearly two dozen children. And the credit for this record should not go to him, but to his two wives who nurtured an army of children.

Dies, who at the age of fifty-six fathered his last child, moved to Dublin from his native Sparta. He reported that he was healthy, never being sick, not even ever suffering from a headache, backache, or toothache. At six feet, three inches tall, the 180-pound behemoth board sawyer was the self-proclaimed champion biscuit eater of Laurens County. Two of his children ate their share of biscuits, covered with butter and gravy. William Dies, of Atlanta, topped the scales at 475 pounds, while one daughter, Mrs. Katie Dyal of Augusta, weighed a walloping four hundred and forty-four pounds. Remarkably, the other 19 Dies children were of normal weight. Atlanta Constitution, Nov. 25, 1917.

ONLY IN AMERICA - Many people, especially these days, consider the phrase "government intelligence" an oxymoron. That was never more true than back in 1939. It seems that a representative of the newly formed Social Security Board forbade the employment of a pair of oxen on a grading project on a Wrightsville street. When W.F. Scott Contracting Company were unable to use modern machinery in paving East Elm Street, Scott secured the use of two strong oxen belonging to Clayton Wood. When the beasts of burden were nearly half way through their work, a hopeless bureaucrat appeared on the scene and quickly ordered the work to stop. In compliance with the governments instructions, Wood and engineer Sam Alexander drove to Dublin to the nearest Social Security office. There Wood registered his two oxen as Louis Wood, aged seven years, and Brown Wood, aged eight years. And, to ensure their compliance with the law, the boys were issued their personal social security cards, numbered 477 and 478. With the full permission of the Federal government, the oxen answered the whistle and went back to work to finish the project. This is no joke. Atlanta Constitution, May 26, 1939.

WE DON'T NEED A DOCTOR, WE'VE GOT GRANDPA - Dr. Luther Johnson Thomas was born in 1839. During the Civil War, Dr. Thomas was a Third Sergeant in Company B of the 27th Georgia Infantry. After the war, Thomas worked as a pharmacist in the village of Wellston, which later became Warner Robins. After graduating from Atlanta Medical College in 1882, the doctor moved to Dublin to begin his practice of medicine, which lasted until his death in 1924. During his career, Dr. Thomas delivered a lot of babies. Three of those were on the house. He delivered his daughter, Mrs. C.A. Rogers of Macon. Two decades or so later, Dr. Thomas was present and aided in the birth of his granddaughter, Mrs. A.G. Johnson. Another twenty something years later, Dr. Thomas brought his great granddaughter, Minnie Elizabeth Johnson, into the world. In addition to his prowess as a physician, Dr. Thomas was known for his agricultural skills in using modern scientific methods of farming. Later in his life, Dr. Thomas, married Anna Mary Rainey, widow of Daniel L. Bennett. Mrs. Thomas died on August 27, 1964 and is buried in Northview Cemetery. The 93-year old was the last surviving Confederate widow in Laurens County. Macon Telegraph, Oct. 21, 1914.

AN ALARMING MESSAGE - Mailboxes in neighborhoods are now a thing of the past. But, in 1914, they were placed at strategic locations around the city. It seems that in the days before Thanksgiving in 1914, a Dublin lady walked down the street from her to home to mail a letter. As she stood at the corner, she reached for the box. Its door was open. She pulled the lever to open the slot and let go. In just a few minutes, the entire Dublin fire department showed up with sirens blaring as the embarrassed lady looked around to see the mail box right beside the fire alarm box. The large crowd which had gathered laughed out loud. So did the fireman, who had a brief moment of hilarity during an otherwise boring day. Macon Telegraph, Nov. 27, 1914.