In the short month of February when the short days seem to fly by, I will present a series of footnotes of February in our past. In a sense, these notes are merely frivolous. I hope in looking back to the days of yesteryear, that you will find them entertaining and informative, and just a wee bit humorous.
WOMAN MAKES LOCAL HISTORY - Ruth Gordon had been around the army for decades before she came to Dublin to serve in the position of Laurens County health nurse. A native of Fort Gaines, Georgia and a graduate of Vanderbilt University, Mrs. Gordon served as a nurse during World War I as did her first husband, a member of the American Expeditionary Force and a native of Oklahoma.
The Dublin legion post had formed an auxiliary unit in February 1927, under the leadership of Mrs. George Ingram, Mrs. Kendrick Moffett and Mrs. Theron Woodard, but no female members had ever joined the veteran's organization.
When she arrived in Dublin, Mrs. Gordon applied for membership in the theretofore all-male American Legion Post No. 17. The members, under the command of L.D. Woods, accepted her into the legion and installed her as a member on February 5, 1942. Macon Telegraph, Feb. 3, 1942. P. 2.
THE OTHER LIBRARY - Did you know that the first Laurens County Library was established in 1938. The Carnegie Library in Dublin gave free service to only city residents at the time. The ladies of the Parnassus Club sponsored a library for county residents. The library was located in the county office building on East Madison Street, which served formerly as the post office from 1912 until 1936. Virginia Graves served as the first and only librarian. The library first opened on the morning of February 5, 1938. After a few months the Laurens County Library merged with the Carnegie Library. County wide service began with the help of the W.P.A. which funded a traveling librarian. Dublin Courier Herald, 8/6/1938, Laurens Co. History, 1807-1941, p. 239, 248, Macon Telegraph, 2/5/1938, p. 12.
SKINNY SNAKE - M.S. Taylor had seen many snakes in his lifetime, some big and some small. But of all the snakes Taylor had ever seen, the one he picked up in February of 1931 was most unusual. The slithering serpent was twenty-two inches long - nothing unusual there. This specimen was so thin that observers described it as "thin as hay wire." The snake, which a writer described as a "hair snake," was most likely a nematomorpha, which is not a snake at all but a "horsehair worm." Macon Telegraph, Feb. 17, 19731, p. 11.
GLADYS HAD A LITTLE ROOSTER - If Mary's little lamb followed her everywhere she went, it only stands to reason that Gladys Graham's rooster would do the same thing. Gladys called her rooster, Johnny. The brightly feathered chicken followed Gladys to school every day. It seemed to understand and obey Gladys' commands. Gladys would yell, "Scratch!" And, the clever bird attacked the Condor school grounds with his near razor-like claws. Then the little girl commanded her pet to crow and Johnny crowed loudly, which drew a crowd of students. To remove all doubts of the onlookers, Gladys yelled, "Come here, Johnny!" The intelligent fowl then jumped into his master's arms. Discounting her own ability to make Johnny do human things, Gladys remarked, "Daddy can make Johnny do more than I." Macon Telegraph, February 20, 1942.
ONE LESS LIFE TO LIVE - One day in February 1926, a tom cat was taking a nap on a large belt of a Corliss engine at the Dublin power plant. When the engine started without notice to the snoozing feline, the oblivious cat was sucked into the fly wheel and thrown out the other side. The victim kicked a few times and then stopped moving altogether. When a worker grabbed a shovel to remove the cat's corpse and bury it outside, the tom, which only appeared to be dead, attacked the spade, rolled over and resumed his catnap. After a sufficient siesta and a loss of one life, the dazed cat sat up, lightly scratched his ear and set out to find something to eat. It will also be remembered that six years earlier, a frog took a spin on the same fly wheel for eight hours, traveled more than 500 miles and survived to hop away. Macon Telegraph, February 21, 1926, Atlanta Constitution, May 3, 1920.
WHEN THE GROUNDHOG SAW RED It was in the early months of the Great Depression when the Laurens County School system ran out of money. Realizing that the books were in the red that Ground Hog Day, School Superintendent T.M. Hicks shut down the 18 white and 35 colored schools and sent some five thousand students home for an unexpected winter vacation. With no credit available to fund the bankrupt system, the kids all hoped that the financial crisis would mean six weeks of vacation before the warming spring came. Macon Telegraph, February 4, 1930. p. 2.
IT TAKES A THIEF - Some folks will say, "some people will steal anything." That maxim was never more true than in February 1935. Mrs. J.B. Williams was right proud of her newly planted pecan and peach trees which she had placed in the yard of her home on Telfair Street. Her pride turned to puzzlement and distress for on the next day, a thief or thieves transplanted the fruit trees to their own yard. Macon Telegraph, February 18, 1935, pa. 2.
NO EXCUSE SIR! - Dublin Police Chief J.W. Robertson had no patience with slackers and freeloaders. After all, there was a war going on. Charged with the duty of enforcing the city's ordinance requiring all able bodied men in Dublin to go to work or go to jail, the chief worked with local industries and businesses to develop a time card system for all of the city's employees. Any adult male was required to carry the card on his person at all times. If searched by the Chief or his men, the worker had to give a very good reason why he was not present at work for the last six work days. "It just isn't right for our boys to be off fighting the war for the very lives of all of us and some able-bodied persons back home are laying off the job without any reason. Sadly, Chief Robertson would all too soon become a victim of that war when his 19-year-old son Randall was killed in action on the beaches of Iwo Jima. Macon Telegraph, Feb. 22, 1943. P. 2.
THE PROMISING PARSON - Rev. WH. Budd, Minister of Dublin's First Methodist Church, promised his congregation that he would vacate the pulpit if the members of the church did not pay off the loan on the building. Rev. Budd proclaimed, "I would rather preach under an oak tree with clear titles from God that hold service in a church building, magnificent as it may be, which is held as security for a debt." Budd continued, "A church cannot be God's house while it pledged as collateral by agreement of the members without God's consent." The congregation took the preacher's message to heart. In two weeks the members raised ten thousand dollars ($156K in 2015 dollars) to pay off the debt. Half of that shortage was raised the following Sunday and on the day of reckoning, a large glass bowl was placed on the altar. It was promptly filled with cash, checks and copies of deposit slips and the parson remained in the pulpit. Macon Telegraph, Feb. 27, 1918, p. 3.