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

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Connoisseur of the Exquisite

Annella Brown, according to some, was well ahead of her time.   From her earliest days, Annella knew that she wanted a career in medicine.  The problem was that in her day, most doctors were men and very few women in the country were doctors.  Obviously, there were rarely any women doctors in Georgia.  Still, Annella achieved her goal and more.  In her later life, her success as a physician allowed her to  pursue her perpetual passion for art, jewelry and antiques, especially the rare and exquisite.

Annella Brown, the oldest child of Moody Brown and Eunice P. Brown, was born in Dublin, Georgia on September 13, 1919.    Annella first lived in her parents home at 109 Columbia Street and later at 210 Ramsey Street.   Annella was determined to become a doctor.  She entered high school at the age of eleven and took college preparatory classes in lieu of the normal business and domestic classes usually reserved for the young girls.   The young miss  graduated from Dublin High School in 1935 before she was sixteen years old.  Despite her heavy load of honors classes, Annella finished college in three years and graduated from Georgia College for Women in 1938.  Thirteen years later, she would be the first alumnus to win the college's Distinguished Alumni Award.   She won the award for the second time in 1975, making her the only graduate to win the prestigious award on two occasions.

Annella had to delay her entrance into medical school because of the minimum age requirement of twenty-one.  To keep her mind sharp and to pay the bills, Annella taught English and math in a high school.    Miss Brown began her medical studies at the University of Georgia Medical School in 1941.  Two years later, she transferred to the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania.    Annella's dogged determination paid off in 1944, when she became Annella Brown, M.D.  Not only did Annella achieve her goal, but she achieved it with distinction, being one of only two graduates to graduate Summa Cum Laude.

After graduation came the normal practice of interning at a hospital.  Annella chose to do her internship at Philadelphia General Hospital, where she scored the highest grade among her colleagues on the surgery test given by the National Board of Examiners.  After three years of residency as the first woman surgeon  in the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Brown came back to Philadelphia General to practice medicine. Her dream came true.  But, bigger and better things were in store for the young physician.

At the age of thirty, Annella was recruited by and signed by the New England Hospital where she served as Surgical Educational Director in charge of training surgical residents, a high honor considering that she had herself recently been a resident in training.  In 1950, Dr. Brown was named the hospital's Surgeon-in Chief, a position which she held for a decade.       During her tenure, Dr. Brown reversed the hospital's long standing policy of female leadership and the service of only women and children to a practice of serving all patients with both male and female physicians.

Dr. Brown's brilliant surgical skills led her to become only the nation's fifth female certified surgeon and the first woman surgeon to be accredited by the American Surgical Board in the states of New England. While in Boston, Dr. Brown was a fellow in the American College of Surgeons, an Assistant Surgeon at Massachusetts Memorial Hospital, and Instructor of Surgery at Boston University as well as a published author of medical journal articles.

After a relatively brief career in Boston, Dr. Brown left the Bay State to practice in Pennsylvania at  the Milton Hospital in 1961.    For nearly three decades, Dr. Brown served on the staff of the Hospital, where she was President of the Medical Staff from 1985 to 1986.  She specialized in cancer surgery of the breast, colon and thyroid.   Dr. Brown was one of the first surgeons to use the practice of chemotherapy in treating her patients.

In an obituary written by her niece, who also contributed much of the information about Dr. Brown's life to the Laurens County Historical Society, Deborah Travers wrote "Throughout her life, Dr. Brown pursued both knowledge and beauty."    Annella seemed to be enchanted with poetry, history, art, antique furniture and fine jewelry.

Poetry was an early love.  Annella's poetry was published in the Modern Yearbook of Poetry and she was an author of several songs.    But her prime passion was art and antique furniture, especially 18th Century French furniture and pieces from the Art Deco era.   Travers stated, "She also possessed a keen eye for design, quality and the extraordinary pieces." Her extensive knowledge of art led to her invitation as a guest lecturer at Harvard University.

Auction houses loved Annella Brown.  She rarely failed to frequent the sales of fine antiques and art.  "By nature, she was a self made competitive woman," her niece Deborah remembered.  In explaining her passion for collecting, Brown was once quoted as saying of herself, "I want what I want when I want it.  I'm known for standing in the aisle with my paddle up until I get it."

Dr. Brown's captivation for having the most exquisite items for her home and collection was never more apparent than in 1977, when she arrived in a helicopter to attend the auction of the estate of the Earl of Rosebury in Mentmore, England.

Eventually, Annella developed a enchantment for jewelry, which "came in part from her attraction to jewelry boxes," her niece stated.  Though she rarely wore any of her best jewelry,  she amassed a fortune in  some of the world's most exquisite items, including her favorite Cartier necklace, which she sold and bought three times.  Her collection of Art Deco jewelry was reputed to be one of the finest in the nation.

Dr. Brown's loves extended to architecture.  She restored three homes in the Dordogne Valley of France and  an 1859 sixteen-horse stall barn in Sherborn, Massachusetts, which she converted into a ten-room colonial home.  Her collection of restored homes included five houses in Beacon Hill and a Boston town house.   In 1980, Dr. Brown discovered an Art Deco home in Miami Beach.  Though it was not for sale, Dr. Brown got what she wanted and began the lengthy, detailed and expensive process of restoring the 1935 house to its original grandeur.

A few years before her death, Dr. Brown's collection of art, jewelry, furniture and an eclectic amalgamation of the elegant was sold by Skinner Auction Company. At the age of 88, Dr. Brown died of heart failure at her home in Miami on April 13, 2008.  Those who knew her would say that , "She loved laughter, singing, originality, challenges, meeting new people, and learning something new."  Her niece simply said, "She was a Renaissance woman."

Saturday, December 26, 2015


"The End of a Long Voyage"

Every day as Ed White goes to work, he is reminded of all of the lives given in service to our country.  As he passes by the Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Commander White imagines what happened there on December 7, 1941.  He envisions the terror of the defenseless sailors aboard their ships as the Japanese zeros came diving toward them, streaking through the smoke filled skies, and igniting the world around them.  His emotions are mixed.  He grieves for the lives of the lost and their families, but at the same time remains proud knowing that in his own way, he and others have taken over where they left off in the honorable service of our country.

Commander Ed White, his friends still call him "Ed," remembers first learning about Pearl Harbor in his textbooks at Moore Street School, a block or so down the street from his Mimosa Street home.  His first true experience with the infamy of that fateful December Sunday morning  sixty seven years ago came while he was standing on the bridge of the USS Holland as she passed by the various memorials.  His desire to find out what really happened that notorious day drove White to study what happened, why it happened and the lessons he and others can learn from the attack.  "Once into port, I toured just about every memorial, and each has their own story to tell. Although tragic, this event united Americans, as did the 9-11 attacks," said White as he complimented the American people for their ability to navigate through the bad times with the help of God to serve his purpose.

Every morning as he drives down the Kamehameha Highway from his McGrew Point home, he observes bus loads of tourists, who come from all over the world and stand in line for hours, just to pay homage to the crew of the USS Arizona and the more than 3000 souls who lost their lives on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu.

As a young boy in Dublin, Ed White loved to play basketball - being taller than most of the boys in his class helped a lot.  After he graduated from Dublin High School in 1977, Ed had planned a career in the grocery and dry goods business, much like his paternal grandfather of the same name.  While working and going to college in Brunswick, Ed began to notice the big ships as they appeared and disappeared over the horizon near St. Simons and Jekyll Islands.  He wondered to himself, "What is beyond the horizon?"  He remembered visiting with his uncle Sibley White, an old navy man.  "Uncle Sibley used to show me pictures of the exotic places he had visited while he was in the Navy.  I can remember sitting with him on the white sandy beaches as a child and looking out over the water," White fondly remembered as he thought about those days and what the people aboard those ships were going to see after they disappeared below the sky.

Suddenly the thought of selling groceries drifted out of his head and Ed found himself enlisting in the U.S. Navy.  "I started out as a Seaman Recruit, at the bottom of the totem pole in 1977, " Ed commented.     Over the next dozen years, White, the youngest son of Judge William H. White and his bride, the former Melrose Coleman of Dexter, climbed the ladder in rank up to Senior Chief Petty Officer.  In 1990, he was commissioned an ensign.  Over the last eighteen years, White has risen in the ranks up to the position of Commander.  He credits his success as an officer to his time as an enlisted man and learning how they think and how they tick. "I feel it has made me a better leader as an officer," the Commander said.

As an enlisted officer, Ed served aboard the USS Mount Whitney and the USS Edison. He lived around the country in such places as Norfolk, Austin, Nashville, Newport and Galveston.  His first assignment as an officer came when he served aboard the USS Holland as the ship's Secretary, Personnel Officer and Administrative Officer.  His next post was aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which saw duty in the Mediterranean Sea.  After a three-year stint as Operations Coordinator for the U.S. Defense Attache Office in Australia, White returned to the states as Personnel Officer at Pensacola, Florida.  From July 2000 to June 2003, Ed served as the Executive Officer of the U.S. Navy Personnel Support activity for the Far East/Pacific.  While serving as Administrative Department Head aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis, White was awarded the Stennis Straight Furrow Leadership Award for 2004.  In March 2005, White was once again honored by being given the position of Executive Officer of the Naval base at San Diego, California, the largest of its kind in the Pacific and the Navy's second largest around the world.

Today, White serves as Staff Enlisted Personnel and Fleet Personnel Distribution Officer for the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet under the command of Admiral Bob Willard.  Among the numerous medals ribbons which enhance his uniform are the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Navy Meritorious Service Medals, six Navy Commendation Medals, three Navy Achievement Awards, along with campaign medals from Southwest Asia (bronze star,) Armed Forces Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, three Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, six Overseas Service Awards, and the Kuwait Liberation Medal.

Now, just three months shy of his scheduled retirement after thirty-one years of service, Commander White is preparing to pull into port for the last time in his naval career, giving up a sure promotion to Captain and even a possible one to Admiral.  He is retiring, not because he is tired of being in the Navy.  "The Navy has meant everything to me.  It has helped me to mature and given me opportunities that would I have never received, especially my education,"  White, the holder of a Master's Degree in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma,  remarked. He will miss talking with the President, congressmen, and ambassadors.  He will miss conversing with celebrities and sports stars before they perform.  And he will miss visiting the exotic places he saw in his uncle's photo album.  He will always remember the thrill of piloting several of the Navy's largest ships as some kid stares as them with his mouth wide open.

No, the real reason Ed White will never go to work again in his blue uniform is some things he doesn't want to miss.  For thirty years, Ed's wife Kim has supported him.  "I feel it's time to settle  down.  I am away from home for up to a year and I have constantly moved from place to place," White lamented.  "Now it is time for me to support and be there for her now that the kids are out on their own." His eldest child, William Douglas White, has just graduated from Wake Forest University.  His youngest, Meredith Lynn White, is a freshman at the state university in San Diego, California, the place where White hopes he can retire, perhaps as a civilian worker while maintaining his ties with the Navy.  He wants to be there when his daughter graduates.  He wants to be there for the birth of his grandchildren. He simply wants to be home when he wants to be home.

When he came into the Navy, Ed White never thought he would have the honor of serving at a place like Pearl Harbor with its roots deep in Naval history.  Ed, like many others, joined the Navy for the travel around the world, the free education and a new life.  It didn't take but a few moments after he first stepped into Boot Camp and later aboard his first ship, for Ed to realize that it was his purpose in life to serve his country.

"I have many people to thank, starting with God above, for what He has provided.   I 've been truly blessed, and I couldn't think of a better place to close my Naval career than here in Pearl Harbor."  Commander White's retirement ceremony, scheduled for next February,  will be aboard the Battleship USS Missouri, the same ship on which the Japanese surrender was signed. "Pearl Harbor will always have a special place in my heart," Commander White concluded.

Commander White sees the Navy's role as a peace keeper through a strong presence around the world.  He adds that the Navy is always training to fight when called upon, not only on the seas, but in the air and on the ground in support of the Global War Against Terrorism.  As a military man and an American, White believes that it is important to support our new leaders, despite what differences you may have with them.  White asks everyone to "Pray that God will guide them while they hold the most important positions in the world."   He adds, "I encourage all the people of Dublin and Laurens County to take the time to pray for our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines and their families." Lastly, to all his friends and family, his mother Melrose and his brothers Herschel White (left)  and Bill Fennell back home in Dublin and his sister Lavonne Ennis in Talbotton, Ed wishes "a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year."

The new year will bring a new life and new opportunities for Ed, Kim and their family.  Just for a change, Ed and Kim can then take a stroll through the neighborhood or a long drive through the country and see the wonders of this side of the horizon.   As you cast your anchors aweigh and sail at the break of day, and until you reach the shore, may we  all wish you a happy voyage home.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015



Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year.  It is day that I wait for all year long.  It is day to be with those you love and  to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord.  I wrote this poem, with all apologies to the poet, Robert Barrett Browning with whom I share a birthday (and that's about all).  The poem is in remembrance of the Christmas Eves I spent in Adrian, Georgia from the late 1950s to the late 1970s.  My grandfather, Henry "Gran" Thompson and my grandmother, Claudie "Gommie" Thompson, operated a country store on U.S. Highway 80 east of Adrian, just past the "Hoopee" River bridge and next to the Nazarene Campground. "Pig" was a man who lived across the road.  His real name was Hubert Hackle Moore.  Sometimes he couldn't hear it thunder, due to an injury he received during the war.

Hurry up, it's off to Gommie and Gran's we go.
Get in the car and don't drive slow.
By the drive-in and the empty farms,
with loads of presents in our arms.
On through Scott and by the old tracks,
look over the hill, I see Aunt Jack's.

Blow the horn Daddy, waving as we went by,
As the sun's last rays scattered across the sky.
Adrian was settling down for the night,
'round the curve and up the hill, it's almost in sight.
Who could see it, with anticipation we almost burst.
"I see it," "No I do," " No I saw it first!"

Stop the car at the store, we'll be at the house soon,
through the 'Hoopee oaks peeked a near full moon.
Nehi's, Mary Janes, and strawberry Kits by the pack,
Tootsie rolls, peanuts, and crackers crammed in a little brown sack.
"Throwing rocks in the pond, I had no control.
Every once in a while I would hit that light pole."

Behind the counter was a friendly old man,
to many he was Henry, to us, just "Gran."
Always with a smile and chewing gum in his hand,
Oh!  How lucky, a grandfather who is a walking candy stand.
People stopped to get a drink, gas, or just to say, "hello."
The dim lights hung down with their special yellow glow.

On the bench sat old "Pig" with a story to tell,
"I'm thirsty." "Beat you to the well!"
Time to go the house, a three-way race,
One to win.  One to show. One to place.
An arch of Christmas lights over the door.
"Don't slam the screen!" I had heard it many times before.

The warmth of the gas heater just drew me in,
To a hug from Aunt Georgia and from Uncle Don, a grin.
"Hey Donna! Hey Damaris! Merry Christmas to All!"
"I'm starving and I've got no time to stall."
I'll always remember that wonderful smell,
Daphne, Jack, and Jane, fixin and fixin without a spell.

The family's giant little lady, Gommie, was our heart,
"Say the blessing y'all, it's time to start."
A stack of hot biscuits on a light blue plate,
Grab a couple and don't be late.
Corn, peas, dumplins, and pecan pie,
                                                      So good, they still bring a tear to my eye.

"You younguns go outside and play some more,
And don't you slam that screen door!"
Nicky is lighting Black Cat firecrackers, oh what a noise!
"Cut out the racket all you boys!"
"Jump the ditch," that was Ricky's bet,
"Oh that water was cold and it sure was wet!"

"Jane, it's a quarter to eight,
Let's gather up, before it gets late."
One last stop at the Alfonso Christmas tree,
Exchanging gifts, "I can't wait to see."
"So long everybody, we got to get going,
                                                      Cause it will soon be Christmas morning."

Gazing out the window of the old Mercury car,
to catch a glimpse of the wonderful Christmas star,
"If it's flashing, that is because,
it's the reindeer pulling Santa Claus."
Those gran' times seem so far away,
but will remain in my heart to my very last day.


      As I begin to complete my 60th year on the face of this beautiful Earth and the beginning of my 20th year of writing this column, indulge me as I take a personal  look back at the people and events of 2015 and how they touched my life and in many cases,  your lives as well.

This year, in our household, was the year of the dogs - saving poor, pitiful dogs, feeding thin, starving dogs, healing seriously sick dogs, taking pictures of homeless dogs  and posting them all over the Internet; hauling puppy dogs to Macon and on many Saturday mornings watching my wife Kathy packing the back end of her SUV with several of the blessed canines headed for North Augusta on the first leg of the freedom trail to the Northeast and Canada.

I am truly grateful for Kathy, who has never met a dog that she could not or would not love, especially the sick, old, broken and emaciated ones.  She likes cats too, but is quite allergic to them. She tries to show them the love that they show us. You know, the love they freely give as they greet us at the door - barking, howling, wagging their tails and licking our hands.   And, most of all, she feels the same about all of God's creatures people who have no one else to love them.

One of our foster dogs, Smoochy, was left behind when her cold, no-hearted owners left town. Returned by her first adopter, Smoochy rode the train to freedom, only to wind up being adopted by a physician who lives in the Hamptons in Long Island, New York. What wonderful summers she will have running along and playing in the ocean while she sleeps in  a soft bed in a warm house filled with love!

We adopted, "Daisy Mae," the ugliest dog on the face of the Earth.  Picture if you will - but you don't have to - a dachshund head stuck on the body of a short, stocky blue tick constantly chewing coon hound.

Then came Peter and Woody, the bonded Mutt and Jeff duo of a large, black, galoot lab and a  small bronze impish Chihuahua.

      They  joined "Old Man Earl," the happiest dog on the planet.  Earl was set to be put down thirteen months ago  with a severely broken leg. We tried the splint and with lots of love and the finest medical treatment, Earl is still with us, sleeping, wagging his tail, and eating. He never barks, not even for his regular treats.  This old, fat black lab, with all of his medical problems, just keeps on smiling, thumping his tail to keep a  count of every day as yet another day of being loved.

As time went by, we all lost friends and loved ones.  This year we lost  several of the most beautiful and gracious ladies of Dublin, ladies who I was blessed to know.  It will be hard to imagine a church service with the Rev. Jack Key in the pulpit and  without his dear Ruth Ann sitting in the congregation.  The stands of the Shamrock Bowl will be a lot emptier without Kathryn Willis cheering on the Irish with her husband Bob sitting at her side.  Thanks to my sixth-grade teacher, Carolyn Rountree Odom, who tried her best to make me a neater and more organized student. We all said good bye to too many mammas and daddies, grandparents and friends this year. I regret that I cannot mention them all.

Hail and farewell to Tom Stewart, Mr. Dublin High School for a quarter of a century.  Mr. Stewart helped in a great way to mold several generations of Dublin's youth for the successes and contributions they made to our state and our country.  And to the quiet man, Dr. J.W. Zetterower:  You always checked and pulled our teeth with a soothing smile on your face. You got four  of mine, but only to make room for my braces.

What a year it was for downtown Dublin.  The completion of the skyscraper at the dawn of her second century boosted Dublin and Laurens County upward and onward. Our foreign owned industries are making us the envy of counties around the state.   The Carnegie Building, the Bicentennial Plaza and the Farmers Market of Dublin have become the focal point of our city as it soars through its second Golden Age. The Dublin-Laurens Museum, through the gracious donation of Kathrine Clark and the City of Dublin, moved into its new quarters on Bellevue.  A great big thank you to those who volunteer there and give up your days so that others may see and appreciate our county's deep and abiding heritage.

This was the year when the lost people of "Across the Creek" cemetery came home. Through the efforts of the City of Dublin, the City Wide Mission and the Laurens County Historical Society, nearly a thousand former residents finally received the respect and dignity they deserve as they rest in eternal peace.

We also lost a lot of old friends and faces who made us laugh, cry and watch in wonder and awe.  It will be hard to imagine a world without two of its greatest philosophers; Leonard Nimoy and baseball's Yogi Berra.   Nimoy, through his defining character Mr. Spock, made us look inward to see our inner souls to help guide us through  a our most illogical world.

"The miracle is this: the more we share the more we have," Leonard Nimoy

Berra made us laugh at ourselves and think as well with his seemingly nonsensical, but true maxims of life.  Yogi was the manager of my very first favorite baseball team, the 1964 New York Yankees.

"You can observe a lot by just watching," Yogi Berra

And goodbye to the Beverly Hillbillies' Donna Douglas, soul singer Percy Sledge and country music's gentleman, Jim Ed Brown.  Thanks for sitting a spell with us here in Dublin during the journeys of your lives.

All of baseball will miss "Mr. Cub," Ernie Banks.

 I  salute  John Smoltz, a 2015 member of the baseball hall of fame and the most genuine gentleman-athlete I have ever  had a conversation with.  Thank you for taking the time to stay to sign an autograph formy then  eight year old son Scotty.  You will always be my hero.

And here's a toast to the late Gary Owens, the nicest celebrity I ever met.  You probably don't know his name nor recall his face, but as the emcee of "Laugh In" and the voice of the cartoon hero Space Ghost you will remember his voice.  I will always remember his genuine kindness in a historic Hollywood ballroom filled with aloof, elitist actors.

         Speaking of voices, so long and adieu  to ESPN's Stuart Scott (left) and Senator Fred Thompson. I would gladly claim kin to both and am grateful to have heard their voices.   And to Frank Gifford, whose smooth voice  made pro football a fun thing to watch.   Thompson

There will never be another Three Dog Night after the death of  Cory Wells, whose strikingly-soulful voice made the group a legend in the late 60s and the early 70s.  They were once my brother's favorite rock band and the first one I ever saw live in concert when I was 16 and drove him to see them at the Macon Coliseum.

And, a sad so long to Maureen O'Hara, the most beautiful red-headed woman I ever saw, next to my mother.

It was a year for making new friends.  Thanks Mrs. Augusta Howard for sharing the memorabilia of your son Randy's God-given  gift of fiddling with the people of Laurens County.

As the new year begins, I am grateful for those who care about others. And, for new beginnings and happy endings.   I am grateful for the Laurens County library, which  give me the ability to travel online  back in time to discover many more of the pieces of our past.

So as we start anew, if you will,  a few words of wisdom from a soon to be old man:

         Let us pray for and lift up the spirits of those who suffer, especially the children and the disabled. 

         Let us share our blessings with those who are in need, including the poor little dogs and cats which are too often tossed away like broken toys.  

         Reflect upon the good things.

         Look to your dreams. 

        Remember to thank those who love you and tell them how much you love them.

        In a world filled with hypocrisy and  hate, let there peace on Earth and let it start with you and me.

Last and mostly, I  am grateful for my grandson. From far away, I say "Hey, Jude!" I  hope you can take this cold world and make it better.

What are you grateful for?  Take a moment and count your blessings.

Monday, December 21, 2015


From 1933 to 1964, the makers of Coca Cola placed advertisements on the back covers of National Geographic Magazine.   Every December, the ad would feature a colorful Santa Claus cover.  The Coca Cola company hired illustrator Haddon Sundblom to develop images using the real Santa Claus, the one who lives at the North Pole. These original oil paintings considered important works of art in their own right, are among the most popular advertising images of the Coca Cola company.

Presented here are the collection of the Dublin-Laurens County Historical Society.