The Fascinating and the Strange

I never tire of finding the strange, the bizarre and the unusual stories of our past. They are all true, or at least I think they are. You decide. The recent record rainfall on June 2-3, 2007 poses some interesting questions. Though the daily record was officially set on January 19, 1943 at 7.13 inches of rain, the official rainfall from the remnants of Tropical Storm Barry was 6.90 inches measured in the rain gauge at the 911 Center. Radar instruments measured 8 inches or more along a stretch of eastern Laurens County. Along the Savannah Road area, the instruments estimated that more than 10 inches fell to the scorched Earth. The total rainfall measured more than all of the rain from February through May and erased a 7-inch deficit in a matter of a day. Did you ever think how much that rain weighs or how much volume such a rainfall would fill? A seven-inch rainfall evenly spread over the entire 813 square miles of Laurens County would weigh 4,776,470,300 pounds or the equivalent weight of 310,156 average African male elephants or 25,165,805 average American male adults. The water would fill a swimming pool with the area of a football field to a depth of 1645 feet or nearly one-third of a mile, more than 5000 average size homes or a canal, seven feet deep and forty feet wide, for a distance of 621.04 miles. It would fill the Empire State Building twenty times or both of the felled World Trade Center Towers six times. If you want to know how many gallons that is, it is 57,271,820.

A more mysterious rainfall began to occur in 1918. Every day for nearly two years from 11:00 a.m. and mid afternoon, a light rainfall could be seen on the sidewalk of Columbia Street, between Franklin and Washington Streets, rain or shine. The mist appeared to emanate from a nearby tree, perhaps it was a "weeping willow" or maybe a "rainbow shower tree." There really is one. Look it up.

The odds that Henry Jones' cow would give birth to triplets were one in one hundred and five thousand. But it happened. The first calf was born on the afternoon of March 30, 1913. The other two were born the next morning. Two were female and one was a male and all were born healthy. Emory Whittle was concerned that his usually reliant cow wasn't delivering her share of milk. She seemed healthy, so Whittle suspected somebody was stealing her milk. Whittle wrote to the Washington Post about the solving of the mystery. "Imagine my surprise when I found the cow was mothering ten baby pigs." Whittle continued, "It was the pigs idea to start, but the cow didn't mind, and they took to one another naturally." Whittle wondered if he would ever be able to take the piglets away from their surrogate mother, so that he could have milk for himself and his family. In 1889, it was reported that where was a nanny goat in Dublin which had lost both of her kids. Longing for something to nurture, the goat adopted two of her owner's new born hound dog pups. Every day the goat would come to front gate and bleat. Soon the pups would be seen running toward her for their daily serving of goats' milk.

During the year 1882 all of the children born in Dublin were males. The trend reversed itself when in 1883 all of the babies were girls. Mrs. Felton Lowery of Dublin gave birth to triplets on September 11, 1930. She named her three sons George Carswell Lowery, Ed Rivers Lowery and Dick Russell Lowery in honor of three of the leading Democratic candidates in the primary held on that very same day.

Col. Phil Howard had rheumatism which caused much pain and consternation. Howard had traveled to Flat Rock, Georgia for a January 1896 session of the Justice of the Peace Court. The courthouse was a somewhat shabby structure, with a rickety table and dilapidated benches. As Col. Howard began his closing argument, two dogs commenced to have a vicious fight. Howard, forgetting the limitations of his ailing body, leaped onto the top of the shaky table, figuring that he was safer there than in between the fighting fidos. Howard brandished his cane and braced for an attack. Col. Hightower attempted to join him on the pedestal but had to make arrangements of his own. Justices Thigpen and Drew grabbed as many volumes of the Georgia Code as they could hold, just in case they needed a protective projectile. After five rounds of fighting, the dogs went their separate ways. It was said that the laughter could be heard for a half mile, but I seriously doubt it. Howard did report that the symptoms of his rheumatism were gone.

Following the untimely death of President William Henry Harrison in 1841 just weeks after his inauguration, the ladies of Dublin decided to honor their fallen president by placing flowers on a small hillock in the old City Cemetery. The tradition continued for many years, but with the Civil War and other distractions to occupy their thoughts, the practice was abandoned. When William Henry Harrison's grandson, Benjamin Harrison, was elected President, the old tradition was revived.

In the category of fantastic fruits and vegetables, consider these produce. J.M. Butler was proud of his sweet potatoes. He showed four of his prize spuds with a combined weight of fifteen pounds. He was also proud that he dug four to five thousand bushels of sweet potatoes from his ten-acre field. Not one to be outdone, Judge J.E. Page, of Orianna, brought a twenty-one-inch long ten-pound sweet potato into the newspaper office five days later in November 1917. The big tater was seven inches in diameter at its thickest point. Unless you were a cotton farmer, 1917 was a good year. J.H. Taylor of Dudley set out tomato plants in July and carefully cultivated them, protecting them from the summer's scorching heat and the fall's chilly nights. In early December, Taylor delightfully took a couple of beauties into Dublin to show them off. Have you ever seen a double watermelon? Well in July of 1900, J.W. Weaver brought in his unnatural oddity for believers and nonbelievers to see. J.N. Mullis, of Laurens County, may hold the record for the most odd clump of fruit. In 1891, Mullis brought a four-inch long twig from his prolific apple tree. To the amazement of the editors of the Eastman paper who saw it with their own eyes, the short branch had twenty-two well-developed apples attached to it.