HIS FIRST TIME ON THE STAGE - Little Lorenzo didn't go the movies very often as a child. When he did go, he always sat in a certain section of the theater. Lorenzo never got the chance to get close to the stage. He always sat in the back, up the balcony. He never even got to go on the main floor of the auditorium. You see little Lorenzo was forced to sit in that section. It was during the days before theaters were integrated. Little Lorenzo grew up and left his hometown for a higher education. Little Lorenzo became Lorenzo Mason, an engineer for an architectural engineering firm. Mason's firm was hired to design the engineering work for a theater. Mason, as the chief engineer, designed the removal of the old balcony, which separated the patrons of the theater by race and which was replaced with a new balcony - this time for sound, light, and air conditioning equipment. Mason and his colleagues had to find a way to keep the ground water out of the theater - a problem which plagued theater owners and patrons for forty years. That problem was solved in short order. Some of his friends and fellow construction personnel never knew that Mason was born and lived in that same town. The time came for the final inspection of the construction work on the theater. It was then, more than thirty years later, when Lorenzo Mason finally made it to the stage of the Martin Theater (Theater Dublin) for the first time - this time as the chief engineer of the project to renovate the theater where, as a child, he was never allowed to go on the main floor. As suggested by Richie Allen of Allen's Plumbing and Heating.
THE FEDERAL FUGITIVE - Young Robert Keen was not a bad boy. He was a little bit devilish and liked to have fun on occasion. About November 16th, of 1903, Keen decided to fire his gun. He struck the target. The crime was reported but no action was taken for nearly four months until deputy federal marshal George Thomas of Macon was notified. Thomas came to Dublin in February of 1904 to serve an arrest warrant on the Keen boy. Upon the advice of a local man, Thomas took J.D. Prince, Sheriff of Laurens County, with him on Route 6 out near Brewton. When the officers arrived, they commanded Keen to come out and submit to the arrest. Keen came out all right, but out the back door, running as fast as he could. Keen ran so fast that he appeared to be in fear of his life. The officers followed in hot pursuit. Sheriff Prince tripped over his long overcoat and fell heavily to the ground. Despite breaking his arm at the elbow, Prince continued the chase. Meanwhile, Keen had also fallen a few yards ahead of Prince. The sheriff managed to catch Keen and delivered him to Marshal Thomas. It would appear that it was a terrible crime that the boy had committed. After all, the federal marshal had to be called in. Keen was taken to Macon and confessed to his crime before a U.S. Commissioner Irwin. When Keen shot his gun, he violated federal law. No, it wasn't murder or assaulting a federal officer, you see, all young Keen did was shoot a mail box. The Dublin Times, Feb. 6, 1904, p. 1.
CLASSIFIED BRIDE - A.A. Thomas was one of Dublin's most popular bachelors. Thomas, an engineer at the electric plant, was determined to find a bride. He placed an ad in the "The Atlanta Journal." Numerous answers were received. Thomas liked the tone of one and responded. The couple exchanged letters and photographs for nearly two months. Thomas then took the train to Atlanta where he was met by his prospective bride. After talking the matter over, Miss Cora Lee Weaver, said "yes." The Thomases married in Atlanta on April 6, 1904, and moved back to Dublin to make their home. Dublin Times, April 9, 1904, p. 1.
HONORABLE STUDENT - Sidney F. Brown was a quiet young man. He was respected by most everyone who knew him. Brown tragically lost an arm in an accident at a cotton gin. Sidney never completed all of his primary education. In his day, most farm kids never got the chance to receive a high school diploma. Sidney was about to begin a new job. He thought it best that he go back to school to prepare himself for any matter that might come up during his new job. Sidney Brown was twenty-six, somewhat older than many of his classmates. You see, Brown's new position was an elected one. In 1904 Brown was elected Tax Receiver of Laurens County. Dublin Times, Sept. 24, 1904, p. 1.
AGAINST THE ODDS - A child has a one in three hundred and sixty-five and one quarter chance of being born on Christmas Day. For most kids, that isn't so great when it comes to presents and birthday parties. Christmas was a landmark day in the life of James Erwin Loyd of Laurens County. Loyd was born on Christmas day in 1866. He died on his 82nd birthday on Christmas day of 1948. The odds of being born and dying on Christmas Day are one in one hundred thirty-three-thousand two-hundred twenty-five. His wife, Leonia Wood Loyd, was born on March 15, 1876, known to many as the "Ides of March." Mrs. Loyd died in 1944 - the date was of course, March 15th, her sixty eighth birthday. The odds of a husband and wife both being born and dying on their birthdays is one in one hundred thirty-three-thousand four hundred and seven. The Loyds are buried in the cemetery at Union Baptist Church on the Soperton Highway just north of Minter.
THE LAST LADY IN GRAY - Anna Rainey was born in Pike County on January 11, 1871, nearly six years after the end of the Civil War. She married Daniel L. Bennett whom she later divorced. Her second husband was Dr. Luther J. Thomas of Laurens County. Dr. Thomas served as Sergeant of Company B of the 27th Georgia Infantry, C.S.A.. He was thirty two years older than Mrs. Thomas. Following the death of Dr. Thomas in 1923, Anna Thomas married again. Mrs. Anna Rainey Bennett Thomas Parker died on August 27, 1964, nearly one hundred years after the end of the war. The last surviving widow of a Confederate Soldier was laid to rest in Northview Cemetery beside her second husband. Northview Cemetery, p. 106, Dublin Courier Herald, August 28, 1964.
TWO GOATS, A DOZEN CHICKENS, AND A CAN OPENER - Laurens County Commissioner Robert Beacham grew up in southeastern Laurens County. He was man of modest means and education but had a sharp mind and wit. Sometimes Beacham could solve the most complex problems with simple solutions. One day in the early 1970s, the commissioner met with a representative of the Environmental Protection Department. The issue for discussion was the disposal of solid waste - a problem which continues to plague communities today. Mr. Beacham spoke up and presented his solution to the government man. "You see what you need to do is this. You buy each family in the county two goats - a billy and a nanny, a dozen chickens - a rooster and eleven hens, and a can- opener. Give your garbage to the goats and chickens. Take whatever the goats and chickens won't eat and open any cans and stomp them flat with your feet and pave the rest of our dirt roads." In one simple statement Mr. Beacham came up with a humorous, but interesting, solution to a major problem in our county. As suggested by H. Dale Thompson, Laurens County Attorney.